Breeding crops in a conventional way demands considerable time, space, inputs for selection, and the subsequent crossing of desirable plants. The duration of the seed-to-seed cycle is one of the crucial bottlenecks in the progress of plant research and breeding. In this context, speed breeding (SB), relying mainly on photoperiod extension, temperature control, and early seed harvest, has the potential to accelerate the rate of plant improvement. Well demonstrated in the case of long-day plants, the SB protocols are being extended to short-day plants to reduce the generation interval time. Flexibility in SB protocols allows them to align and integrate with diverse research purposes including population development, genomic selection, phenotyping, and genomic editing. In this review, we discuss the different SB methodologies and their application to hasten future plant improvement. Though SB has been extensively used in plant phenotyping and the pyramiding of multiple traits for the development of new crop varieties, certain challenges and limitations hamper its widespread application across diverse crops. However, the existing constraints can be resolved by further optimization of the SB protocols for critical food crops and their efficient integration in plant breeding pipelines.