Do You Have to Peel Zucchini? Our Pros Settle the Debate

Updated: Jul. 25, 2024

Do you have to peel zucchini before you make bread—or kabobs or zoodles? Find out how to prep summer's most prolific veggie.

At the height of the summer squash season, we’re all looking for ways to use our bounty of zucchini. In the midst of grating zucchini for zucchini bread and slicing squash to saute, a question may come to mind: do you have to peel zucchini?

Do you need to peel zucchini?

Our Test Kitchen has good news for you: You do not need to peel zucchini before using it in a recipe.

Zucchinis have very thin, tender skin. “It cooks up well without being tough,” explains Mark Neufang in the Test Kitchen.

When cooked, particularly once shredded, the texture is very soft and you won’t be able to detect the peel at all—other than its vivid green color. That hue is part of what makes recipes like zoodles, zucchini muffins and kabobs so appealing.

Can you peel zucchini?

Yes, you can peel zucchini if you like. Catherine Ward in the Test Kitchen explains that it’s not necessary from a culinary perspective, but she does peel the squash when she makes zucchini desserts at home.

“My husband won’t eat anything with zucchini in it,” she says. “If I peel it, though, he doesn’t notice it.” This is a trick you can use in your own kitchen for picky eaters. Sorry to give away your secret, Catherine!

How should you prep zucchini?

If you don’t need to peel zucchini before including it in a recipe, you may be wondering if there are any steps you need to take to prep this veggie. There’s more good news here: You don’t have to do much!

Mark explains that all you need to do to prep this veggie for cooking is to wash it, pat it dry and slice off the stem. From there, you can go right to your cutting board, grater or spiralizer. This ease and versatility is what makes zucchini such an appealing summer veggie.

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