Climate change has often led to unequal shifts in the seasonal timing (phenology) of interacting species, such as consumers and their resource, leading to phenological ‘mismatches’. Mismatches occur when the time at which a consumer species’s demands for a resource are high does not match with the period when this resource is abundant. Here, we review the evolutionary and population-level consequences of such mismatches and how these depend on other ecological factors, such as additional drivers of selection and density-dependent recruitment. This review puts the research on phenological mismatches into a conceptual framework, applies this framework beyond consumer–resource interactions and illustrates this framework using examples drawn from the vast body of literature on mismatches. Finally, we point out priority questions for research on this key impact of climate change.