Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

Sautéed zucchini is a quick, easy, and healthy side dish. It’s delicious, too. I love this version with zucchini cooked with garlic and butter. You only need five minutes of cooking time, and it’s time to eat! Jump to the Garlic Butter Sautéed Zucchini Recipe

Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

How to Cook Zucchini on the Stove

We love zucchini around here. Have you seen our Guilt-Free Zucchini Noodles or these stuffed zucchini boats, yet? We’ve even made a free-form lasagna using zucchini. This time, we are sharing how to cook zucchini on the stovetop. You only need five minutes of cooking time. Let me show you how.

There are lots of ways to cook zucchini, but the quickest is to pan-fry or sauté it in a pan on the stove. By cooking zucchini this way, the zucchini browns on the outside and becomes tender on the inside.

We pan fry zucchini often and especially love it when the zucchini is cooked in a little butter. The butter adds a nutty flavor and helps the zucchini to brown.

We also love adding a tablespoon of minced garlic to the pan, because butter and garlic are just meant to be, right?

The trick to sautéing zucchini is not to overcook it. Overcooked zucchini turns mushy.

Golden brown zucchini that's been cooked on the stove

My Best Tips For Pan-Fried Zucchini

Use a wide skillet. By using a large skillet, the zucchini has the chance to spread out and brown. This applies to cooking most vegetables on the stovetop. We use the same tip when cooking mushrooms — by spreading the veggies out in a single layer, they brown instead of steam.

Don’t peel the zucchini. Peeled zucchini turns mushy and has no crunch.

Don’t salt zucchini ahead of time or at the beginning of cooking. Salt draws out water from the zucchini. This will make it less crunchy when it’s cooked. Since salt does make things taste good, we use it, but prefer to salt towards the end.

Cook the zucchini until crisp-tender, which means it will look wilted, but still have a crunch.

Possible Zucchini Recipe Variations

Sautéed zucchini has lots of possible recipe variations. Here are a few of our favorites:

Make it cheesy and stir in a little bit of grated parmesan or another type of cheese just before serving.

We love the combination of garlic and butter, but you can use other spices. Try Italian seasoning, Za’atar spice blend, Cajun seasoning, an Indian spice blend like curry powder, or chili powder (here’s our homemade chili powder blend).

Add in some extra crunch with toasted sliced almonds or buttery pine nuts.

Throw in chopped tomatoes with the zucchini and cook until the zucchini is crisp-tender and the tomatoes collapse a little and release some of their juices.

Add more protein by adding cooked or canned beans — white beans, chickpeas, and black beans would be excellent.

A bowl of Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

More Easy Zucchini Recipes

  • These meatless Stuffed Zucchini Boats are packed with flavor. We stuff them with three kinds of cheese as well as one of our favorite ingredients: roasted red peppers.
  • Our easy, Cheesy Baked Zucchini Chips are addictive. They are perfect to serve with dinner or just as an afternoon snack.
  • How to make the Best Zucchini Bread with a lightly spiced, perfectly sweetened batter and a whole pound of grated zucchini mixed in.
  • This Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles Salad has zucchini noodles, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and a spicy yogurt dressing.
  • Zucchini stars in this Vegetable Lasagna with tender vegetables, a light tomato sauce, and lots of cheese.

Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

  • PREP
  • COOK

Sauteed zucchini is a quick, easy, and healthy side. We love simply sauteed zucchini with a bit of minced garlic, salt, and pepper. That said, we have shared quite a few variations in the article above.

Makes 4 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 ¼ pounds chopped zucchini (2 medium)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar, optional

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


    It’s up to you as to how you cut the zucchini. You can slice the zucchini into rounds, cut into half moons or chop into bitesize pieces.

    Melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is browned in places and tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Turn off the heat, and then stir in the scallions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and cheese (if using). Taste, and then season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Vegan modification: Substitute the butter with olive oil and either leave out the cheese or replace the parmesan with a bit of nutritional yeast.
  • Alternatives to parmesan cheese include feta cheese, goat cheese, or a sharp cheddar.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We did not include cheese or nuts in the calculations.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe (just over a cup) / Calories 32 / Total Fat 2.9g / Saturated Fat 1.8g / Cholesterol 7.6mg / Sodium 292.2mg / Carbohydrate 1.5g / Dietary Fiber 0.3g / Total Sugars 0.2g / Protein 0.4g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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31 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Lara M September 11, 2022, 7:39 pm

    Unfortunately I didn’t have any parm. I think that would’ve been so good. They were still tasty using powdered parm though. I’ll definitely make this again.

  • Gail July 8, 2022, 1:32 am

    I’ve made this before using 2 Tbsp. butter & no garlic & no scallion nor lemon juice. Instead, I sautéed the zucchini in the 2 Tbsp. butter & added some fresh corn cut off the cobb. Sautéed till tender & somewhat browned & in no time, it was delish. Added it to some cooked Tri-colored PEARL Israeli couscous (cooked per directions on back of pkg) & it was to die for! Make sure it’s PEARL even if all one color or tri-colored (which is pretty) as we totally dislike the non-pearl version (tastes like mush). Found at Kroger or Harris Teeter. Copied the recipe from a local restaurant & love it! Adding some parm cheese & garlic might be a plus. Maybe adding the lemon juice might be too. So good we can all share ideas & recipes. Thanks for all your recipes/videos. They are all winners!

  • Pauline June 24, 2022, 6:21 am

    Made this tonight with one small tender zucchini which served two of us. I didn’t have any fresh garlic, so used minced garlic from a jar, which tasted fine. Only problem was the minced garlic was rather “wet” and so it “spat” everywhere, covering the cooktop, kitchen counter and floor, and me with bits of hot greasy garlic! Not good! Lots of mess to clean up. Fortunately for me, my husband does the nightly dishes, and he didn’t complain. As for the zucchini itself it looked good and tasted good too. I added some parmesan cheese and lemon juice to mine which made it taste even better! YUM!! I’ll be making it again tomorrow (hope my husband won’t mind his now clean kitchen getting spattered all over again!!!)

  • Jay May 13, 2022, 4:58 pm

    I just made this and it was great! I used one green zuc and one yellow summer squash, half light olive oil and half butter. I didn’t have the lemon or RW vinegar so I used balsamic, and also used sharp cheddar instead of parm. Next time, I think lemon and parm will make it better, but it was still delicious. I added Trader Joe’s lemon pepper seasoning as well. Thank you!

  • Shari March 19, 2022, 8:54 pm

    This was great! I didn’t use cheese as I didn’t have any, but still loved it. Even my 2 year old ate it and neither of us typically like zucchini! Will definitely be making again.

  • Jojo March 14, 2022, 7:28 pm

    I literally just made this zucchini recipe and my family and I love it. Easy and healthy! We have added it to our dinner menus. Thank you so much!

  • Paul March 8, 2022, 4:42 pm

    I have to say I love your all recipes.

  • Pea Jae November 15, 2021, 4:29 pm

    This was good and quick I didn’t had the cheese but it was good with just the shallots, garlic and lemon.

  • Thelma Ackerman November 15, 2021, 4:28 pm

    It was delicious,so much better than my plain version. Thanks

  • Cat October 26, 2021, 2:30 pm

    This was delicious, and I don’t even like zuccini!! We all ate every bite, and I will be making this again!! Thank you so much!!

  • Megan October 8, 2021, 4:53 am

    One word: yum! Made this as a side for chicken parmesan for dinner tonight (to use up some sad-looking zuccs in the crisper), and it was so delicious! I added a little bit of grated parmesan in at the end as per your suggestion, and it was awesome. Will definitely cook zucchini like this again into he future.

  • Gavin October 6, 2021, 4:49 pm

    Hello! Has anyone tried pineapple juice or pineapples when sautéing zucchini for extra flavor? I was thinking about trying that but was wanting to see if anyone has tried it yet,Thank you!

  • Linda August 30, 2021, 6:52 pm

    Hello Adam and Joanne, Thank you for your recipes. I made zucchini today. I fried up some brown sugar bacon added onions, fresh zucchini yellow and green. Fresh garlic fresh tomatoes. I let that fry up a little bit then I added salt and pepper. Delicious! Thank you for all your ideas. I’m looking forward to more recipes thank thank you both. Linda

  • Daniel Ford July 23, 2021, 9:26 pm

    One of the best zucchini side dish that you can make it as the dinner. Also, it was easy and quick to make the dish. Chop, chop, chop, slice, slice, slice and toss together. LA LA LA! All done in less than 15 minutes! Plus this recipe is very helpful to use up the glut of zucchini that my wife and I grew in our garden. Wink!

  • Stacie Holliday June 19, 2021, 10:37 am

    This recipe is so good!!!!


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