Abstract Global warming poses a major threat to food security and necessitates the development of crop varieties that are resilient to future climatic instability. By evaluating 149 spring wheat lines in the field under yield potential and heat stressed conditions, we demonstrate how strategic integration of exotic material significantly increases yield under heat stress compared to elite lines, with no significant yield penalty under favourable conditions. Genetic analyses reveal three exotic-derived genetic loci underlying this heat tolerance which together increase yield by over 50% and reduce canopy temperature by approximately 2 °C. We identified an Ae. tauschii introgression underlying the most significant of these associations and extracted the introgressed Ae. tauschii genes, revealing candidates for further dissection. Incorporating these exotic alleles into breeding programmes could serve as a pre-emptive strategy to produce high yielding wheat cultivars that are resilient to the effects of future climatic uncertainty.