This exploratory study investigated the effects of early v. delayed time-restricted eating (TRE) plus caloric restriction (CR) on body weight, body composition and cardiometabolic parameters in adults with overweight and obesity. Adults (20–40 years) were randomised to one of three groups for 8 weeks: early time-restricted eating (eTRE; 08.00–16.00) plus CR, delayed time-restricted eating (dTRE; 12.00–20.00) plus CR or only CR (CR; 08.00–20.00). All groups were prescribed a 25 % energy deficit relative to daily energy requirements. Thirteen participants completed the study in the eTRE and CR groups and eleven in the dTRE group (n 37). After the interventions, there was no significant difference between the three groups for any of the outcomes. Compared with baseline, significant decreases were observed in the body weight (eTRE group: −4·2 kg; 95 % CI, −5·6, −2·7; dTRE group: −4·8 kg; 95 % CI, −5·9, −3·7; CR: −4·0 kg; 95 % CI, −5·9, −2·1), fat mass (eTRE group: −2·9 kg; 95 % CI, −3·9, −1·9; dTRE group: −3·6 kg; 95 % CI, −4·6, −2·5; CR: −3·1 kg; 95 % CI, −4·3, −1·8) and fasting glucose levels (eTRE group: −4 mg/dl; 95 % CI, −8, −1; dTRE group: −2 mg/dl; 95 % CI, −8, 3; CR: −3 mg/dl; 95 % CI, −8, 2). In a free-living setting, TRE with a energetic deficit, regardless of the time of day, promotes similar benefits in weight loss, body composition and cardiometabolic parameters. However, given the exploratory nature of our study, further investigation is needed to confirm these findings.