13 Best Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini is one of those foods that we collectively regard as a vegetable, though technically it's a squash, and, extra-technically, it's a fruit. Luckily, it's not all too important to get into the nitty-gritty semantics of zucchini, because regardless of what type of food it is, it's one of the tastiest and most abundant around. You can enjoy zucchini as-is, simply grilled, and finished off with some flaky salt. Or, you can grate the squash down and incorporate it into a plethora of baked goods, from cakes to muffins to bread, providing a clever way to get greens in without having to try very hard.

While you can buy zucchini from most grocery stores year-round, many people find themselves (or rather, their gardens) overrun by the green gourd by August's end. If you happen to be in such a pickle, or if you picked up too many zucchini during an over-zealous trip to the grocery store, then these zucchini recipes will surely come in handy as you figure out what to do with your harvest. The beauty of zucchini is that it's quite easy to get creative with it; at the surface, a zucchini may just look like a knock-off cucumber, but once you dig a little deeper, you'll find a bright and juicy squash that is just begging to liven up your dinners and even desserts. 

1. Zucchini Apple Pie

This zucchini apple pie doesn't actually involve apples at all, but you may be easily deceived by it at first glance, as moon-shaped zucchini slices put on their best apple impression and succeed. While many zucchini-infused baked goods tend to feature the squash in a more subdued way (often grated or shredded), this recipe highlights zucchini in a more obvious way, showcasing it as the focal point of this pie, which isn't an apple pie, but sure tastes a lot like one.

Perfect for those nights when you want to whip up a dessert but don't have many ingredients on hand, this pie requires minimal ingredients, and perhaps best of all, you don't need to make the crust from scratch — a pre-made, frozen one will work just fine. You will need quite a bit of zucchini to make the magic happen — two or three whole ones in total — but if you have an abundance growing in your backyard then that shouldn't be a problem at all.

Thanks to the warming inclusions of brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this pie cleverly tastes like an apple, looks like an apple, but is actually zucchini. Because zucchini has a naturally neutral flavor and doesn't really lean more towards savory or sweet, it's perfect in a dessert context as it takes on the warm, sweet flavors naturally. 

Recipe: Zucchini Apple Pie

2. Classic Zucchini Bread

We know that bananas reign supreme when it comes to fruits commonly infused into bread, but we'd like to argue that zucchini is a close second. There is perhaps no sweet-leaning, zucchini-infused recipe more classic than good old bread, and in case you've never been so fortunate to enjoy a slice of zucchini bread, it is something much more similar to banana bread than say a sourdough or whole wheat slice.

The interesting thing about zucchini bread is that it really doesn't taste much like zucchini, and that's largely because the fruit is pretty mild-tasting on its own. Zucchini shines in bread recipes not necessarily for its flavor but for the moisture it provides, and boy oh boy can you count on rich, moist decadence with this recipe. You'll use grated zucchini for this bread, and if you've ever worked with the squash in such a context, then you'll know that it's pretty wet in grated form. But, no, you won't drain it or try to absorb any excess moisture, because you'd be doing yourself and your bread quite the disservice by doing so. All of that moisture will sop up into the bread, resulting in a surprisingly dense and delightfully moist treat that also features hints of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

Recipe: Classic Zucchini Bread

3. Stuffed Zucchini Boats

There's something undeniably fun about using the base of food as a boat for stuffing and loading — we do it with pineapple, apples, and butternut squash, and thanks to this recipe, we can do it with zucchini, too. This recipe is ideal for those who actually prefer the firmer, outer peel of the zucchini and aren't huge fans of the soft inner flesh, as you'll scoop out those innards to make room for the zesty chickpea stuffing.

Speaking of that stuffing, it has much more to offer than just chickpeas; you'll also find feta cheese, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, and quinoa in the mix, all tossed with plenty of herbs and fresh lemon juice for plenty of brightness. Once these zucchini boats are stuffed, it's up to you how to eat them. You could make a utensil-free meal out of them and chomp away, or use a fork to make sure you don't lose any of that stuffing as you go in for each bite. Perfect for a light lunch or dinnertime side dish, these stuffed zucchini boats will put your green gourds to good use and help you clear out your pantry and produce drawer while you're at it.

Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini Boats

4. Zucchini Brownies

Not every meal or snack has to be veggie-infused or particularly balanced, though it is convenient when you can effortlessly get a serving of vegetables in via sweet treat. That's exactly the case with these zucchini brownies — all you'll taste is sweet, chocolatey goodness, but you'll also be getting in a hearty dose of zucchini with each and every bite.

Considering these brownies are made fully from scratch, the ingredients list is pretty minimal, especially for those who always have a well-stocked baking cabinet. You'll find lots of coconut-based ingredients in these brownies, including coconut sugar, oil, and flour, along with cocoa powder to make these brownies, well, brownies. And, of course, grated zucchini makes yet another appearance, providing lots of moisture without really affecting the way the brownies taste. And if you're worried that these brownies won't have enough chocolate from just the cocoa powder, fear not — you'll also incorporate chocolate chips into the mix, making for ooey-gooey brownies that just so happen to feature zucchini, as well.

Recipe: Zucchini Brownies 

5. Savory Zucchini Pie

Fans of quiche will no doubt enjoy this savory zucchini pie recipe, which highlights the summer squash alongside eggs and cheese, all baked to perfection in a from-scratch crust. This is the type of recipe that you would whip up for a homemade brunch and one where you're looking to impress. Sure, anyone could whip up a quiche, but a savory zucchini pie? That's next-level elegance.

Of course, you can also just make this zucchini pie whenever there's zucchini that needs using up, because the hardest part is making the pie crust, and even that isn't really much of a challenge. If you do want to make this pie for a Saturday or Sunday morning affair, do yourself a favor and get the crust going the night before — it will need to chill in the fridge for at least four hours, though upwards of 24 hours is ideal. With the crust ready to roll out and go, the filling comes together in a breeze, and you can easily whip that up as the crust goes into the oven for an initial par-bake. Eggy, cheesy, and zucchini-y, this savory pie puts a twist on classic brunch fare without getting so adventurous that no one would actually want to eat the finished product — in fact, we're almost certain your guests will be going back for second slices. 

Recipe: Savory Zucchini Pie

6. Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

We're not going to pretend like oatmeal cookies are everyone's favorite type, because that's a silly assertion to make when chocolate chip cookies do indeed exist. No, oatmeal cookies typically aren't one's favorite cookie, but that doesn't mean that they don't have a welcome place in the dessert world, especially when they're infused with grated zucchini. These cookies are surprisingly wholesome, so much so that you could just as easily enjoy a cookie or two for breakfast as you could for dessert.

This recipe is especially ideal for those who have vegetable-averse little ones at home. Like most zucchini-infused desserts, you can't really taste the zucchini in this recipe, so it's a good way to get greens in without the fuss. Of course, adults will also enjoy these cookies, as they're nice and sweet and soft, and after all, adults need to get those veggies (err, fruits) in too! And, above all else, these cookies just provide a nifty way to use up zucchini. Even if you're all zucchini-ed out, it's still a good idea to use up those last couple of squashes, and these cookies provide a frills-free way to do so. 

Recipe: Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

7. Zucchini Crab Cakes

Believe it or not, you don't actually need any crab to make crab cakes — at least, not if you're looking to make a vegan version of the classic seafood fare. This zucchini crab cakes recipe is crabless, and entirely meatless for that matter, but one bite of these deceptive little cakes may have you (or your guests) fooled.

While we want to give zucchini fair credit for pulling weight in this recipe, there's another plant-based ingredient that works just as hard to mimic the shredded crab "meat" in this recipe, and that ingredient is canned hearts of palm. Much like actual crab meat, hearts of palm shred easily and can mimic the texture of the popular crustacean, making them the ideal inclusion in such a recipe. Along with the zucchini and some chickpeas, you'll create a sort of base that makes up the bulk of these crab cakes and makes them quite the believable dupe; other common players like Old Bay, lemon zest, and fresh parsley help give these cakes a true seafood-like taste, and after enjoying these vegan delights, you may never go back to the real thing ever again.

Recipe: Zucchini Crab Cakes

8. Zucchini Carrot Bread

If there's one thing better than classic zucchini bread, it would have to be zucchini carrot bread. This recipe will not only help clean out your produce drawer, but it also doubles down on the vegetables that you'll infuse into bread. On its own, carrot isn't the most desirable vegetable to include in a bread recipe but paired with zucchini, it really works. And, it's not the most far-fetched idea to throw carrots into a baked good (looking at you, carrot cake), so why not? When it comes to adding vegetables to baked goods, we say the more the merrier.

This bread is warm and spiced and everything is nice, and each slice displays little specks of orange and green, just in case you forgot that you threw grated vegetables into the batter. Speaking of the batter, it's an easy one to make, and any seasoned baker will have most ingredients handy before they even consider making this recipe. The most time-consuming part (aside from baking the bread) is grating both the zucchini and carrots, but if you happen to have a food processor with a grater attachment, then that will speed things up quite nicely.

Recipe: Zucchini Carrot Bread

9. Smoked Trout and Zucchini Fritters

Who doesn't love a good fritter? While you may be most used to hearing about fritters in the context of corn, you can turn just about anything into a fritter — case in point, this smoked trout and zucchini fritters recipe. As expected, you will find both zucchini as well as smoked trout in this recipe, but you'll also find some fresh dill and chives in the fritters themselves, along with a tangy yogurt sauce to top the whole thing off.

Something particularly nice about these fritters is that you really could enjoy them at any time of day and for any meal. If you're a fan of savory breakfasts or brunches, the smoked trout, and herbs are somewhat reminiscent of a bagel and lox, so these fritters are an unexpectedly tasty morning or early afternoon option. They work naturally well for both lunch and dinner as well, though you could also whip them up as an appetizer or even as a midnight snack. That's the beauty of fritters — sort of like savory pancakes, there really is no wrong time to serve them.

Recipe: Smoked Trout and Zucchini Fritters

10. Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins

In a world where bananas and zucchini are bitterly pitted against each other in the race for the best baked good ingredient, this recipe is the peace treaty, ending the war and uniting the two ingredients in the form of zucchini banana bread. And, for good measure, this recipe takes things a step further and turns the bread into muffins, because there's something objectively more enjoyable about peeling open a fluffy muffin as opposed to cutting off a slice of bread. Okay, both are equally good, and we mean that both in terms of bread and muffins as well as bananas and zucchini.

The beauty of this recipe is that the bananas help provide flavor while the zucchini plays back up, providing moisture and some added density. Otherwise, these are some pretty bare-bones muffins, and we mean that as a compliment; there's no oddball ingredient or strenuous method behind them, just a classic recipe that brings two fruits together in perfect harmony. Ideal as an afternoon snack or breakfast on the go, these zucchini banana bread muffins are warm, moist, and incredibly wholesome.

Recipe: Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins

11. Baked Harissa Zucchini with Whipped Feta and Couscous

It's pretty rare to find zucchini as a main course — the squash is typically reserved for the backseat, contributing to a recipe but typically not taking on the lead role. Well, it sure is stepping into the spotlight in this baked harissa zucchini recipe, which also features a creamy whipped feta spread and herby couscous. This Mediterranean-inspired dish is what vegetarian dreams are made of, though even the staunchest meat-eaters can appreciate these beautifully cross-hatched and caramelized zucchini.

Now, this is definitely not the type of recipe one makes on a whim, as there are quite a few moving parts, and you're essentially creating three distinct elements at once: the harissa-coated zucchini itself, the whipped feta, and the couscous. Luckily, none of the steps are particularly difficult, but you'll need to prepare to be busy in the kitchen for about an hour or so as you prepare each component of the dish. We can confidently say that any elbow grease will be well worth it, however, as this is the type of dish that looks just as impressive as it tastes.

Recipe: Baked Harissa Zucchini with Whipped Feta and Couscous

12. Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Anytime zucchini and chocolate pair up in a recipe, it's almost guaranteed to be a successful one, and this chocolate zucchini cake recipe is no exception. This delightful treat is also a beautiful one, and it offers a good way to put that bundt cake pan to good use. Both cocoa powder and chocolate chips team up with shredded zucchini to create a dessert that is fit for a dinner party, especially since you'll get a minimum of 12 servings out of this treat.

While some from-scratch recipes are intimidating to amateur bakers, this one is a great option for even beginners as it requires nothing more intensive than mixing ingredients together to form a batter. You'll have to employ just a touch of patience as the cake bakes for 40 minutes, and then just a touch more as it cools down slightly, but then it's all smooth sailing and chocolatey goodness ahead.

Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

13. Herby Zucchini Ribbon Salad

There's no denying that lettuce reigns supreme in the salad game, but if you're looking to switch things up, then this herby zucchini ribbon salad offers a refreshing alternative. The base of this salad is made possible thanks to long strips of zucchini, and you can obtain such strips thanks to a simple potato peeler (a Y-peeler works best). Of course, a bowlful of zucchini ribbons isn't very exciting, but heirloom tomatoes and an abundance of herbs including basil, parsley, chives, and dill certainly help liven things up.

From the fresh vegetables to the plethora of herbs, this salad has a very summery feel, and it will be even more summery if you're using zucchini straight from the garden. Of course, any old zucchini will work here, and this salad only requires 10 minutes of prep time and no cook time at all. There are few things more summery than whipping up a light meal that requires absolutely no cooking, so kick back and enjoy the sunshine as you munch on this bright, herby zucchini salad.

Recipe: Herby Zucchini Salad