Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (2024)

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (1)

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Table Of Contents hide

  • Can You Saute Zucchini?
  • Why You’ll Love This Sauteed Zucchini Recipe
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How To Saute Zucchini
  • How Long To Saute Zucchini?
  • Can You Scale This Sauteed Zucchini Recipe?
  • Storage Instructions
  • What To Serve With Sauteed Zucchini
  • More Healthy Zucchini Recipes
  • Tools For Cooking Zucchini In A Pan
  • Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!)

Sauteed zucchini is one of the most versatile healthy side dishes you can make. This version is seasoned simply with garlic and butter (yum!), but I’m also sharing a few seasoning ideas below. Feel free to switch it up depending on what you’re serving it with. Let me show you how to cook zucchini saute in just 10 minutes!

This is definitely the best sauteed zucchini recipe I’ve ever made, thanks to the garlic butter (the secret ingredient!). That being said, there’s a special method to do this.

The thing is, butter has a low smoke point, so it actually can’t withstand the temperature of sauteing. Some sauteed zucchini recipes (or other sauteed dishes) combine butter and oil together in attempt to solve this issue, but that does not actually raise the smoke point of the butter.

Instead, in this easy sautéed zucchini recipe, I used a different method to achieve that buttery flavor. Simply add the butter, as well as garlic that also burns easily, toward the end, with the heat reduced and cook for only a short time after that. Delish butter flavor, without burning it! (I use a similar method for making garlic butter sauteed mushrooms as well.)

Can You Saute Zucchini?

Yes, you can absolutely cook zucchini in a pan! There are so many ways to cook zucchini — baked, roasted, grilled, served raw, or fried, to name a few — and sauteed is one of the best ways to cook it, as it gets a little caramelized. The versatility just one of the reasons I love this vegetable. And once you see how to saute zucchini, I bet it’ll be on regular rotation at your house.

Why You’ll Love This Sauteed Zucchini Recipe

  • Garlicky, buttery flavor
  • Tender texture with caramelization
  • Super easy to make
  • Just 4 simple ingredients
  • Ready in just 10 minutes!
  • Naturally low carb and gluten-free
  • Perfect healthy side dish for summer (get more summer recipes here to pair with it!)
Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (2)

Ingredients You’ll Need

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for cooking zucchini on the stove top, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Zucchini – Obviously you need this veggie to make a zucchini saute, though technically yellow squash or patty pan squash would work the same way. I prefer to slice it slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. The important part is to make sure the slices are uniform in thickness, so that they cook evenly. You could also cut into cubes if you prefer. If you want to make your zucchini into noodles instead, learn how to cook zucchini noodles here.
  • Olive Oil – For sauteing. Other neutral oils, such as avocado oil, are also fine to use.
  • Unsalted Butter – Added toward the end for flavor — it’s my “secret” ingredient for a rich flavor when cooking zucchini in a pan.
    • For even more flavor, try swapping the butter and garlic with a compound butter!
    • If you only have salted butter on hand, you’ll need to reduce the amount of salt you add at the end.
    • For a dairy-free version, use a butter-flavored coconut oil or your favorite dairy-free butter substitute.
  • Garlic – I love the flavor of fresh minced garlic in this dish, but you can also buy jarred for convenience. If you don’t have garlic on hand, you can substitute 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
  • Salt – I use sea salt for all my recipes, but kosher salt is fine as well.
  • Pepper – I kept it simple with black pepper, but if you want more heat, red pepper flakes make a nice addition.
Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (3)

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (4)

Other Things You Can Add To Sauteed Zucchini:

This recipe is basic and is seasoned with garlic, sea salt, and pepper, but zucchini is a blank slate! Try these additions if you like:

  • Spices – You can add other seasonings depending on what you’re serving it with. Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or lemon pepper would all be delicious.
  • Cheese – Try dredging the zucchini in grated parmesan cheese, or simply sprinkle on your favorite shredded cheese at the end.
  • Onion– Cook sliced or diced onions in olive oil, in the same pan, before adding the zucchini. and proceeding with the recipe as written. The onions may be almost caramelized by the time you’re done sauteing the zucchini, which is delicious!
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Add them after the zucchini starts to brown, before adding the butter and garlic. They will pop and get sweeter — so good!
  • Fresh Herbs – Add them on top at the end. Fresh basil is the classic choice for this summery dish, but others, such as dill or thyme, can also work.

How To Saute Zucchini

This section shows how to cook zucchini in a pan, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

  1. Cook zucchini. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add zucchini slices in a single layer (some overlapping is fine, but not multiple layers). Cook for about 5 minutes, until zucchini is starting to brown.

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (5)

TIP: Stir just once, not constantly.

This will allow the zucchini to brown nicely.

  1. Cook butter and garlic. Push the zucchini slices to the sides of the pan, making an open space in the center. Add the butter and wait for it to melt. Add minced garlic to butter and saute briefly, until fragrant.
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Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (7)
  1. Mix zucchini with garlic butter. Stir everything together and season with salt and pepper. Mix gently until butter is absorbed into the zucchini.
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How Long To Saute Zucchini?

This sauteed zucchini squash cooks in just about 5 minutes, but the time to saute zucchini will of course depend on the thickness of your zucchini slices.

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (9)

TIP: You can adjust the heat and cook time for your desired texture.

Use higher heat and less time for crisp-tender sauteed zucchini, or medium heat for a bit longer for softer zucchini.

Can You Scale This Sauteed Zucchini Recipe?

Yes, you can. Simply increase the number of servings on the recipe card below. However, if you increase it to more than 3 servings, it’s best to cook the zucchini in batches, so that it can brown adequately.

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (10)

Storage Instructions

  • Meal prep: Because this zucchini side dish takes just 5 minutes to cook, I recommend making it right before eating. If you’d like to save a few minutes of prep time, feel free to slice the zucchini a day or two in advance.
  • Store leftovers: While sauteed zucchini recipes are best fresh, you can keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • Reheat: Reheat sauteed zucchini in the microwave or in a hot skillet, until heated through. It does tend to get softer when reheated, but is still delicious.
  • Freeze: Sauteed zucchini can be frozen, but the texture might change a bit when you reheat it. Freeze the zucchini slices in a single layer on a baking sheet until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. Do not freeze uncooked zucchini, though.
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What To Serve With Sauteed Zucchini

Sauteed zucchini recipes can pair with all kinds of proteins for an easy and healthy dinner. Try some of these reader favorites:

  • Chicken – Try chicken Caprese or Mediterranean chicken for a summer themed meal, or keep it basic with baked chicken legs, chicken leg quarters, or air fryer chicken breast.
  • FishAir fried tilapia makes a super quick meal. But, choices like baked salmon, baked trout, or cod are also great pairings, and quick to make.
  • Beef – Sauteed zucchini recipes go great with steak, such as grilled sirloin (or top sirloin steak in the oven if the weather doesn’t cooperate), filet mignon, or even New York strip. But more cost effective juicy burgers are just as delicious!
  • Pork – Try pan seared pork chops or for a fancy, but still easy, meal, stuffed pork chops.
  • Seafood – For a more special meal, try grilled or broiled lobster tail, seared scallops (bonus: you can use the same pan, as the flavors are similar!), or crab legs. Or just keep it simple with baked shrimp or grilled shrimp skewers.

More Healthy Zucchini Recipes

If you love zucchini as much as I do (zucchini season is the best season, don’t you agree?), you might like some of these other healthy zucchini recipes:

Zucchini Roll Ups


Air Fryer Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Lasagna

  • Mandoline Slicer – You can cut the zucchini slices with a knife but a mandoline is faster and ensures that the slices are uniform in thickness.
  • Large Nonstick Skillet – This skillet is a kitchen staple, I use it daily.

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Recipe Card

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!) - Wholesome Yum (17)

4.89 from 68 votes☝️ Click stars to rate or click here to leave a review!

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe (Easy, 10 Min!)

This EASY sauteed zucchini recipe takes just 10 minutes! This simple technique for how to saute zucchini has a secret ingredient to make it turn out perfectly every time.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Total: 10 minutes

Author: Maya Krampf from

Servings: 2 (adjust to scale recipe)

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Recipe Video

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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Heat olive oil in a large 10-12 inch skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering.

  2. Add the zucchini slices in a single layer (some overlapping is fine, but not multiple layers). Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring just once or twice but not constantly (stirring too often will prevent browning), until zucchini is starting to brown.

  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Push the zucchini to the sides of the pan, making an open space in the center. Add the butter and wait for it to melt. Add the minced garlic to the butter and saute for about 1 minute, until fragrant.

  4. Once garlic is aromatic and just starting to brown, stir everything together. Season with salt and pepper. Stir gently until the butter is absorbed into the zucchini.

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Related Easy Recipes

  • Low Carb Chicken Zucchini Casserole Recipe with Gruyere Cheese Sauce

  • Zucchini Noodle Salad

  • Zucchini Fries

  • Baked Chicken Caprese Recipe

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 cup

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.




Total Carbs8.6g

Net Carbs6.3g



Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

Course:Side Dish


Keywords:how to cook zucchini, how to saute zucchini, sauteed zucchini, sauteed zucchini recipes, zucchini saute

Calories: 158 kcal

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂

How To Saute Zucchini

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How do you keep zucchini from getting soggy when sauteed? ›

Salt and drain zucchini

If you've got the time, try salting and draining your zucchini. This method involves liberally salting your sliced zucchini and allowing it to set in a colander (over a bowl) for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour, before patting dry with paper towels or a tea towel.

How do you cook zucchini so it doesn't get mushy? ›

Don't overcrowd the pan, which can cause the zucchini to steam instead of roast. Unless you have time to salt and drain the zucchini, wait to salt it until after they're cooked so the salt doesn't draw out the moisture in the oven—this can lead to sogginess.

What is the healthiest way to eat zucchini? ›

10 Healthy Zucchini Recipes
  1. Sautéed Julienned Summer Vegetables.
  2. Zucchini Pasta Recipe with Avocado-Cucumber Sauce.
  3. Zucchini Muffins.
  4. Baked Healthy Zucchini Chips.
  5. Garlic Roasted Zucchini.
  6. Zucchini Healthy Breakfast Scramble.
  7. Curried Zucchini Cakes.
  8. Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza.
Aug 9, 2013

Should you salt zucchini before baking? ›

Tossing the zucchini with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper before baking gives it an amazing foundation of flavor. But adding a few extra seasonings after it roasts really takes it over the top. At a minimum, toss it with a squeeze of lemon juice for bright, fresh flavor.

Why is my sauteed zucchini bitter? ›

Remove the Seeds: The seeds and surrounding flesh can sometimes contribute to bitterness. You can scoop out the seeds before cooking. Salt and Drain: Sprinkle salt on sliced zucchini and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. This draws out excess moisture and bitterness.

How do you saute vegetables without getting soggy? ›

You really want to use medium-high heat when sautéing veggies to keep them nice and crisp so that any water coming out of them will evaporate quickly and not make your vegetables soggy. Be patient with your veggies and try not to stir them TOO often in order for proper browning.

How do you keep zucchini crisp when cooking? ›

Slice and salt zucchini in advance of cooking to draw out some of the vegetable's excess moisture (while also seasoning it more thoroughly). To do this, cut up a pound of zucchini and toss it with ½ teaspoon of table salt. Let it drain in a colander for about 30 minutes before patting it dry and cooking it.

Why do you soak zucchini in salt water? ›

The salt draws the moisture from the flesh which helps ensure that the vegetable stays firm during roasting. This moisture (and excess salt) is patted off with a paper towel before cooking. Added benefit: the salt works its way into the scores of the flesh and seasons the zucchini all the way to the center.

Do you need to peel zucchini before cooking? ›

There's no need to peel zucchini. In fact, the skin is a big source of zucchini nutrition (the deep green color is a dead giveaway) so you definitely want to leave the skin on. How to cut zucchini: after giving the zucchini squash a good rinse under cold water, slice off the stem and discard it.

What happens to your body when you eat zucchini? ›

Zucchini is rich in vitamin B6. Research suggests that this vitamin can help with regulating blood glucose. The vitamin may even play a protective role against diabetes. Compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eye's cells by filtering blue light wavelengths.

What does zucchini do for your stomach? ›

As previously stated, zucchini is a fruit that is high in fiber. As well as improving digestion and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, high-fiber diets also help improve heart health. Studies have shown that diets that high fiber diets can help reduce a person's risk of developing coronary heart disease.

When can you not eat zucchini? ›

Signs Zucchini Has Gone Bad

If your zucchini does have mold, toss it. Wrinkly skin: A spoiled zucchini's skin may look wrinkly or shriveled like a prune. Discoloration: Yellowing or browning on zucchini are signs of aging and spoilage. Soft spots: Pick up your zucchini and assess it for firmness.

What brings out flavor in zucchini? ›

Garlic powder, salt, and pepper – This simple seasoning gives the veggies delicious savory flavor. Fresh parsley or basil – They make this dish look gorgeous, and they add a burst of freshness that takes it over the top. Lemon wedges – Squeeze them over the grilled zucchini for a pop of bright flavor!

How can I enhance the flavor of zucchini? ›

Whether you want to eat them raw or add them to dishes, some light seasonings for squash and zucchini will not go amiss in creating flavorful dishes.
  1. Garlic and Olive Oil. ...
  2. Basil. ...
  3. Oregano. ...
  4. Italian Seasoning. ...
  5. Rosemary. ...
  6. Dill.

How do you know when zucchini is done cooking? ›

Once the zucchini is caramelizing, you'll continue to cook it until it's until tender all the way through—a paring knife or a fork should slip in without much resistance—but not yet mushy.

Why did my zucchini turn to mush? ›

On the other hand, they may simply be waterlogging if your garden is poorly drained. Another possibility is squash bugs have damaged them and rot has set in as a result. In the meantime, keep removing the infected fruit as soon as you see signs of the problem.

Why is my zucchini turning to mush? ›

Blossom End Rot

It's occurs due to the plants inability to get calcium. This can be caused by a few things: Watering inconsistency (the most likely cause especially if you've had a lot of rain) Soil PH is either too high or too low (do a PH test to check)

How do you firm up zucchini? ›

Arrange the zucchini pieces into a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It will stick to the pan if you don't line it first!) Freeze the zucchini for about 1 hour, until it's firm to the touch, then transfer it to an airtight container to preserve the flavor as you store it.

How do you keep zucchini from getting slimy? ›

Avoid storing zucchini in plastic, which can trap moisture and make the skin slimy. Either leave zucchini loose or place it in a paper bag.


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