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Fried Zucchini

Fried zucchini, also known as zucchini fries, are crispy, tender, and downright addicting! This recipe transforms simple zucchinis into an irresistibly crunchy appetizer. Once you taste the perfectly seasoned flavors and lightly breaded textures, I promise it will become a regular feature on your dining table. Make sure you pair with Cajun Fish, Fried Chicken and Smothered Pork Chops.

Spears of fried zucchini on a black plate with a bowl of marinara sauce

Fried zucchini, with its golden exterior and soft, juicy interior, is an absolute crowd-pleaser! This dish perfectly balances the tender texture and mild flavor of fresh zucchini with a crispy, seasoned breadcrumb coating. It’s great for using up the season’s harvest!

Despite the rich, complex taste, it’s a surprisingly easy snack or appetizer to prepare, whether you’re air frying for a healthier twist or deep frying for that classic crunch. The versatility of fried zucchini also makes it a great side dish to a range of dishes, like our gumbo or baked spaghetti.

Why you’ll love fried zucchini

  • Effortless preparation: Just cut the zucchini, dredge it, and fry it! This recipe couldn’t be more straightforward, even for novice cooks.
  • Perfect for any occasion: Fried zucchini makes a great appetizer for parties, a snack for movie nights, or a side dish for your main course.
  • Versatile cooking methods: Whether you’re looking for a healthier air-fried option or a traditional deep-fried treat, this recipe has you covered.
  • Customizable: Along with the classic seasonings, this recipe includes two bonus flavor variations — zesty ranch and cheesy Italian. Try them all to see what you prefer!
Two zucchini, bread crumbs, eggs and milk in separate bowls

Ingredients for fried zucchini

  • Zucchini: Provides a mild, slightly sweet taste and tender texture. Choose firm, small to medium-sized zucchinis for best results. If they’re unavailable, try yellow squash.
  • All-purpose flour: Creates a perfectly crispy and satisfying crunch. For a gluten-free option, use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend or almond flour. Just note that almond flour doesn’t stick as well as all-purpose flour.
  • Baking soda: Reacts with the buttermilk and eggs, ensuring a light, crispy coating on the zucchini.
  • Eggs & buttermilk: These ingredients bind the breadcrumbs to the zucchini. If you’re out of buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for every cup of regular milk.
  • Italian breadcrumbs: Add texture to the breading and an extra flavor dimension. You can use regular breadcrumbs with a pinch of Italian seasoning as a substitute.
  • Vegetable oil: Use any vegetable oil with a high smoke point for deep frying or cooking spray for air frying. Other options include canola, soybean, peanut, or sunflower oil.

How to make fried zucchini

Cut zucchini on a cutting board
  1. Prepare the zucchini: Cut your zucchini into batons and season them with salt. Let them sit for 10 minutes before patting them dry. This process helps draw out excess moisture for a better fry, so don’t skip it!
Spears of zucchini in bread crumbs, then in eggs and flour for dredging
  1. Set up the dredging station: Set up three bowls for a systematic coating process — one with a mix of flour and baking soda, the second with whisked eggs and buttermilk, and the third with breadcrumbs. Coat the zucchini batons one by one, shaking off the excess each time.
Dredged zucchini on parchment in an air fryer
Spears of zucchini coming out of hot oil after being fried
  1. Fry the zucchini: Choose between air frying for a healthier option or deep frying for a comforting classic. If you are air frying, cook it at 380F for 7 minutes. If you’re deep frying, cook it in 375F oil until crispy. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to season with salt after cooking and serve immediately for the best experience!

Tips for making the best fried zucchini

  • Choose the right zucchini: Opt for small to medium-sized zucchini. They’re less watery and have fewer seeds.
  • Uniformity matters: When cutting zucchini, ensure all batons are of the same size for even cooking.
  • Shake off excess: After each dredge, shake off the excess flour, egg, or breadcrumbs for an even coating and to prevent a mess.
  • Monitor the oil: For deep frying, ensure the oil reaches the right temperature (375F) before each batch. If it’s too hot, the zucchini will burn. Too cold, and it’ll be soggy.
  • Don’t overcrowd: Whether you’re air frying or deep frying, work in batches. Crowding the pot or air fryer reduces the temperature, leading to steamed, limp zucchini.
  • Season while hot: Always season your fried zucchini with salt right after cooking. This helps the salt stick better and gives any fried food more dimension.
Wedges of breaded zucchini against parchment paper

Popular substitutions & additions

  • Breadcrumbs: Swap Italian breadcrumbs with panko for a lighter crunch.
  • Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free flour blend and breadcrumbs for a gluten-free version.
  • Seasonings: Experiment with seasonings in your breadcrumbs, like garlic powder, paprika, or even some Parmesan.
  • Spicy: For a spicy kick, add some cayenne pepper or chili flakes to the breadcrumb mixture.
Fried zucchini wedges on a white plate with marinara sauce to serve

What to serve with fried zucchini

Try pairing your fried zucchini with some of these dips and main dishes:

  • Marinara sauce: The tanginess of marinara pairs perfectly with the mild-flavored fried zucchini.
  • Ranch dressing: Cool and creamy ranch is a classic choice that’s great with just about anything breaded and fried.
  • Grilled meats: Serve them as a side dish with grilled chicken or steak.
  • Pasta: Fried zucchini also pairs well with a pasta dish like spaghetti or Cajun shrimp linguine.

How to store & reheat fried zucchini

How long will fried zucchini last in the fridge?

Fried zucchini can last up to 3-4 days in the fridge. Once cooled, just transfer them to an airtight container before placing them in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze fried zucchini?

Yes, you can freeze already fried zucchini. First, transfer them to a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet and freeze them for a few hours until frozen. Once they’re solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make fried zucchini ahead of time?

Fried zucchini is best served fresh, so I don’t recommend making them ahead of time.

Can I use other types of squash for this recipe?

Of course! I recommend using yellow squash as a suitable substitute if zucchini isn’t available.

Can I bake the zucchini instead of frying it?

Baking zucchini won’t offer you the same level of crunch as deep frying or even air frying. However, you can bake them at 425°F for about 20 minutes, flipping at the halfway point.

More zucchini or squash recipes

Fried zucchini wedges on a white plate with marinara sauce to serve
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4 from 1 vote

Fried Zucchini

Fried zucchini, also known as zucchini fries, are crispy, tender, and downright addicting! This recipe transforms simple zucchinis into an irresistibly crunchy appetizer.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 232kcal
Author Jocelyn Delk Adams


  • 2 large zucchini or 3 medium
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt plus more, divided
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • vegetable oil


  • Slice the zucchini in half crosswise, then into 3 ½ x ½ inch batons. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and let them rest for 10 minutes before drying them with a paper towel.
  • Prepare three bowls for dredging: in the first, mix flour and baking soda; in the second, combine eggs, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and buttermilk; in the third, place the breadcrumbs.
  • Dredge the zucchini in batches through each bowl, shaking off any excess.

For Air-frying

  • Coat the zucchini with cooking spray and arrange them in the air fryer.
  • Air fry at 380F for 7 minutes, then remove and season with salt.
  • Continue this process with the remaining zucchini in 2-3 batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Serve while hot.

For Deep-Frying

  • Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil to 375F in a heavy 2-quart pot.
  • Carefully lower the zucchini into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until they turn deep golden brown.
  • Drain the fried zucchini on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  • Allow the oil to reach 375F again before repeating the process with the remaining zucchini.
  • Serve while hot.


Flavor variations
  • For zesty ranch, add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper and one-1 ounce packet of ranch seasoning to the breadcrumbs.
  • For cheesy Italian, add 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs.


Calories: 232kcal
Recipe Rating