The East African cichlid radiations are characterized by a rapid generation of different trophic specialists. Sand sifting is one feeding strategy that evolved several times independently and characterizes large clades of cichlid species in several lakes. Hybridization has the potential to rapidly generate novel phenotypes. Hybrids can have extreme trait values and such transgressive phenotypes may allow natural selection to quickly explore new directions. Here, we cross two generalist cichlid species from Lake Malawi. Some of the second-‐‑generation hybrids (F2s) resemble specialized sand sifting species of Lake Malawi. First, we combine experimental behavioural and comparative morphometric approaches to test whether F2s are transgressive in phenotype and whether they display functional novelty. Next, we perform a QTL-‐‑analysis to investigate the underlying genetic architecture. We find transgression in several morphological traits and shape and we observe high efficiency in sand sifting in the F2s. Hence, we demonstrate a case, where hybridization has rapidly generated novel phenotypes that may be suited to occupying a niche neither of the parental species is specialized for. Some further work is required to resolve causal relationships between morphology and efficiency and their genetic basis.