Fried Zucchini Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 25 min.
Fried zucchini is a quick crowd-pleaser: crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and totally dippable. It just might be the perfect way to cook summer squash.

Updated: Jun. 06, 2024

Zucchini plants are famously prolific. A single vine can feed a whole block! When you’re looking for simple zucchini recipes, it’s tough to beat classic fried zucchini.

Pan-fried zucchini are easy to make: slice, coat in cornmeal, and fry. The resulting zucchini coins are lightly crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Shallow-frying is quicker than deep-frying and won’t heat up the kitchen with a bubbling vat of oil, so you can add it to your list of summer recipes. The simple seasoning lets the mild, slightly sweet flavor of the summer squash shine, but you can certainly play with the recipe to add a bit of spice or a sprinkle of cheese.

Fried Zucchini Ingredients

  • Zucchini: The hero ingredient is the humble zucchini. Look for firm zucchini that don’t bend or feel rubbery. We suggest medium-sized zucchini. The larger zucchini can have large seeds or taste a bit watery, so they won’t turn as crispy. If you prefer, you can cut the zucchini into matchsticks rather than rounds. The skinny sticks are especially appealing as veggie sides.
  • Eggs: Wetting the zucchini with eggs sticks the crispy coating to the slippery vegetables. The protein in eggs also encourages browning.
  • Cornmeal: Look for fine- or medium-grind cornmeal. Coarse cornmeal would be too hard. If you find certified gluten-free cornmeal, this makes an easy gluten-free summer side.
  • Olive oil: Since these zucchini are shallow-fried rather than deep-fried, you can cook them in flavorful, omega-rich olive oil, though you may use vegetable oil if you prefer. Our guide to cooking oils walks you through which to use and when.
  • Salt and pepper: This recipe calls for just salt and pepper as seasoning to let the zucchini flavor shine through. (Of course, you can always play with spices. Find some ideas in the Variations section below!)

Directions

Step 1: Prep the zucchini

Cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch-thick coins. Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk until blended. Pour the cornmeal into another bowl or flat plate. Dip the zucchini coins into the egg, and coat them with cornmeal.

Step 2: Fry

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the zucchini in the pan without crowding them together. You’ll probably need to fry them in a few batches. Fry over medium heat until the zucchini are lightly browned, one to two minutes. Flip each piece and fry until the other side is golden brown, another one to two minutes.

Editor’s Tip: If you overfill the pan, the zucchini will steam rather than fry, meaning they’ll be soft and juicy instead of browned and crispy.

Step 3: Season and serve

Sprinkle the hot zucchini with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Overhead shot of Fried Zucchini served on a round plate on a dark backgroundTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Try air-fryer zucchini: If you love easy air-fryer recipes, try making air-fried zucchini. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. Arrange the zucchini coins in a single layer in a greased air-fryer basket, spritz with cooking spray, and cook until lightly browned, six to eight minutes. Turn each piece, then cook three to five minutes longer.
  • Make baked zucchini: You can also make crispy zucchini in the oven, aka oven-fried zucchini. Arrange the prepared zucchini coins on a greased baking sheet, and bake in the oven at 400° until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.
  • Play with seasonings: There are a lot of ways to cook with zucchini and many ways to season it, too. It tastes great with almost any spice, from a dash of cayenne, paprika or seasoned salt to your favorite spice blends. You can also sprinkle the zucchini with minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, dill, marjoram or basil.
  • Add cheese: Stir a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese into the cornmeal for an extra-savory coating.
  • Go with a crumb coating: For extra crunch, swap the cornmeal out for bread crumbs. Homemade bread crumbs, store-bought or panko will work. Or, try a substitute for bread crumbs, such as crushed crackers.

How to Store Fried Zucchini

Most fried foods taste best shortly after frying, and fried zucchini is no exception. However, you can store leftover zucchini in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Enjoy them cold or at room temperature for an easy, casual side dish, or reheat the zucchini in the toaster oven or on a skillet to re-crisp the cornmeal coating.

Can you freeze fried zucchini?

Fried zucchini doesn’t freeze well. The crispy exterior will be lost, and the zucchini itself will get a bit soggy and sad. Luckily, the recipe for fried zucchini is flexible. If you don’t think you can eat the suggested quantity, simply fry less zucchini.

Fried Zucchini Tips

Overhead shot of Fried Zucchini served on round plates on a dark backgroundTMB Studio

How do you avoid soggy fried zucchini?

The best way to avoid soggy fried zucchini is to ensure that the zucchini slices are spread across the pan without being crowded. Crowding causes the high-moisture vegetables to steam rather than fry, which results in soft zucchini.

You should also make sure to put the zucchini in the pan only when the oil is hot. Test it by shaking a few drops of water into the warming oil. The drops should hiss and evaporate quickly.

What do you serve with fried zucchini?

Serve fried zucchini with your favorite dipping sauce like marinara, aioli, salsa or homemade ranch dressing. It also tastes delicious with healthy dips, such as hummus or vegetable dip. O, serve them alongside a quick summer dinner, like pasta, grilled buttermilk chicken or chili-stuffed poblano peppers.

Can you fry other summer squash?

Many other types of summer squash can be fried the same way as zucchini. Try pattypan or crookneck squash, or even a mix of all of them!

Fried Zucchini

Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 15 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Cut zucchini into 1/8-in.-thick coins. Place eggs in a shallow bowl and cornmeal in another; dip zucchini into the egg and then coat with cornmeal.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. In batches, place zucchini in oil. Fry over medium heat until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Flip each piece, fry until golden brown, 1-2 minutes longer.
  3. Sprinkle hot zucchini with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 6 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 2mg cholesterol, 8mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.