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

Watch The Video

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe Video

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? We do the same thing when making this sautéed vegetables recipe. It’s such a great trick for tasty veggies.

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

More: For oven roasted zucchini, take a look at our Garlic Roasted Zucchini with Feta.

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

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


    1It’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.

    2Melt 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.

    3Turn 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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51 comments… Leave a Review
  • Beth Bird February 1, 2024, 10:58 pm

    I only had zucchini, garlic, oil, butter, and salt. My family said it was the best zucchini. My daughter who doesn’t like zucchini ate 5 plates of it. She usually barely eats anything. It disappeared. I can’t wait to try again when I have the rest of the ingredients. Thank you!

  • Linda December 12, 2023, 10:28 pm

    Soo delicious! Everyone loved it! And it’s quick and easy to make too. I’m going to try your other vegetable recipes.

  • Lees November 21, 2023, 7:04 am

    Easy and delicious! Love this recipe!

  • Julie November 20, 2023, 7:13 pm

    Haven’t made this yet and plan on making it for Thanksgiving. Just need a few suggestions. We will be 28 at our dinner table and would like to know how and if you get the same results if you make this in the oven and a day ahead?

    • Adam November 23, 2023, 1:01 pm

      As zucchini sits, it gives up a bit of extra moisture. That said, the dish will still be tasty!

  • Adamma October 22, 2023, 2:04 pm

    Wonderful recipe. I swapped scallions for small white onion and sautued it a little before adding zucchini and garlic cloves! So amazing! Thanks

  • Clare September 18, 2023, 6:05 pm

    Made this today and it was sooooo good. Didn’t have scallops or Parmesan, used onion powder and skipped the cheese. Thank you for a great simple recipe.

    • Adam September 18, 2023, 9:11 pm

      So happy you enjoyed it! Thank you for coming to let us know 🙂

  • Jean August 26, 2023, 4:36 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe, just finished eating a plate of it and it was easy to make, with ingredients most of us have on hand but above all delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Hans July 8, 2023, 9:41 am

    My dear wife passed away suddenly two years ago.Suddenly I had to learn to cook since that was her domain and she provided wonderful meals for decades. Well, this recipe hit the spot for simplicity and minimum number of ingredients.My first home grown zucchini begged to be utilized and by following the directions I had a wonderful meal. I’ll be having this meal more often in the future since my zucchini plants are thriving.

    • Joanne August 8, 2023, 4:00 pm

      We are so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for coming back and sharing. We are thrilled that you were able to use up some of your homegrown zucchini!

  • Deb June 11, 2023, 6:58 pm

    Absolutely delicious. Tender-crisp, full of flavor and the lemon and Parmesan are the perfect finish. Only change was I sauteed the garlic cloves in the butter and then pulled them out before adding the squash then added back in about 30secs before I turned off the heat. I have a terrible tendency to burn the garlic.

  • Chacha May 31, 2023, 6:38 pm

    Delicious recipe, I had lime so added that instead of lemon and it was fabulous!

  • Elaine April 29, 2023, 10:45 am

    I would love to try this recipe but I am allergic to all onions. What could I use as a replacement for onions?

    • Joanne May 3, 2023, 3:16 pm

      You can leave the garlic out without any other modifications.

  • Deborah Lindl March 12, 2023, 5:26 pm

    Best Zucchini recipe ever. I omitted the scallions and used the lemon.

  • Heike January 12, 2023, 3:31 pm

    Thanks for that lovely recipe. I was looking for a zucchini recipe without tomatoes and just as a side dish for the main meal and this was absolutely brilliant. Easy, fast and delicious. Will make that again…. and again (so many zucchinis in the garden…).

  • 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.

    • Yvette Owens July 29, 2023, 5:30 pm

      So my daughter Leandra now grows her own zucchini cherry tomatoes and strawberries she gave me zucchini and I just made them like you said and my husband love it I loved it we will be making this a lot at home thank you for the recipe it’s a keeper


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