Abstract Novel applications in unstructured and non-stationary human environments require robots that learn from experience and adapt autonomously to changing conditions. Predictive models therefore not only need to be accurate, but should also be updated incrementally in real-time and require minimal human intervention. Incremental Sparse Spectrum Gaussian Process Regression is an algorithm that is targeted specifically for use in this context. Rather than developing a novel algorithm from the ground up, the method is based on the thoroughly studied Gaussian Process Regression algorithm, therefore ensuring a solid theoretical foundation. Non-linearity and a bounded update complexity are achieved simultaneously by means of a finite dimensional random feature mapping that approximates a kernel function. As a result, the computational cost for each update remains constant over time. Finally, algorithmic simplicity and support for automated hyperparameter optimization ensures convenience when employed in practice. Empirical validation on a number of synthetic and real-life learning problems confirms that the performance of Incremental Sparse Spectrum Gaussian Process Regression is superior with respect to the popular Locally Weighted Projection Regression, while computational requirements are found to be significantly lower. The method is therefore particularly suited for learning with real-time constraints or when computational resources are limited.