Understanding the cross-scale linkages between drought and food security is vital to developing tools to reduce drought impacts and support decision making. This study reviews how drought hazards transfer to food insecurity through changes in physical processes and socio-environmental systems across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. We propose a multi-scale, integrated framework leveraging modeling advances (e.g. drought and crop monitoring, water-food-energy nexus, decision making) and increased data availability (e.g. satellite remote sensing, food trade) through the lens of the coupled human–natural system to support multidisciplinary approaches and avoid potential policy spillover effects. We discuss current scale-dependent challenges in tackling drought-induced food security whilst minimizing water use conflicts and environmental impacts.