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How to Cook Zucchini

Updated June 23, 2021
Knowing how to cook zucchini and what to make with it can be challenging. We break down everything you need to know to transform this understated veg into delicious family-approved recipes.
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Whether you prefer to get it from the farmers' market or the grocery store, zucchini is a versatile ingredient. If you're not sure what to do with zucchinis, let us help.

You already enjoy it roasted, sautéed, or grilled, but you can also use it in a ton of tasty creations, like a delicious Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie! It can be rolled into Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups or spiralized into spaghetti “noodles” to replace pasta, and it can be made into delicious Lemon Chicken and Zucchini Foil Packs or baked into a savory Tomato and Zucchini Casserole. And it doesn’t even stop there. Ever heard of Zucchini Tots?

This squash can be used in so many dishes that we thought we’d pull together a guide for anyone who's not sure how to cook zucchini. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about this tasty vegetable, and maybe we'll convince you to eat it for breakfast or dessert!

How to Store Zucchini

Once you've made a selection of firm zucchinis that are small to medium-sized and free of any blemishes, you'll have to consider how you'd like to store them. If you plan to cook your zucchinis in the coming days, you'll want to keep them unwashed in a plastic bag for up to five days. You can also freeze your zucchini if you want to save them for another time. To do this, slice your squash into rounds, boil for two minutes, plunge steaming zucchini in to cold water, drain, then store in an airtight container for up to one year.

What to Make with Zucchini

Zucchini is great because it can be used in so many different flavor profiles. It’s fairly bland on its own, so it lends itself to strong complementary flavors such as garlic and fresh herbs (oregano, basil, dill, rosemary). Its relative blandness is also perfect for sneaking vegetables into desserts like zucchini bread, muffins, or cookies. Zucchini’s high water content helps keep baked goods moist.

Zucchini is also a lovely addition to breakfast tacos or egg dishes such as frittatas and quiches. It works well in mixed vegetable dishes, soups, as a topping on flatbread or pizza—in fact, it’s hard to find recipes this vegetable doesn’t work well in.

Grilling zucchini is a nice way to cook it during the warmer months and the vegetable benefits from that smoky char that comes from the grill. We love to serve grilled zucchini at room temperature, topped with a yummy sauce like chimichurri or pesto. Grilled zucchini also makes a great addition to a sandwich.

A fun way to eat this veggie is by spiralizing it into spaghetti-like zucchini noodles. In order to do this, you’ll need a spiralizer, a tool that comes in many different styles and sizes. Once you have the tool, it’s incredibly easy to make spiralized zucchini noodles and top them with your favorite pasta sauces and seasonings. They can be eaten raw, or briefly sautéed or steamed, which only takes about five minutes.

Our favorite way to cook zucchini is a very simple recipe, requiring just four ingredients you probably already have on hand: olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Here’s how to do it.

How to Sauté Zucchini

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, salt, and pepper. Cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until zucchini is golden brown and tender.

That’s it! Once the zucchini is golden brown and tender, serve it up with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if your heart so desires. It’s an incredibly easy side dish the whole family will love.

But if they don’t and you still want to squeeze in some extra vegetables, there are all kinds of other delicious ways to use zucchini.