Quick Easy Sauteed Zucchini

Sautéed zucchini is a quick, easy, and healthy side dish. Thanks to a delicious garlic butter, this is one of our favorite zucchini recipes. You only need five minutes of cooking time, and it’s time to eat!

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe Video

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.

Golden brown zucchini that's been cooked on the stove (sautéed zucchini)

Key Ingredients

  • Zucchini: I like medium zucchini best. Any larger and the middle turns a bit too mushy and squashy for me. When buying zucchini, look for them to be dark green and firm.
  • Butter: Adds a nutty flavor and helps the zucchini to brown. You can substitute it with olive oil.
  • Garlic: I love the garlic butter in this zucchini recipe. It’s so delicious.
  • Green onion, lemon juice, and parmesan: These are optional but make the zucchini extra delicious. I love stirring in sliced green onions, a splash of lemon juice, and some parmesan just before serving.

How to Sauté Zucchini

Use a wide skillet when sautéing zucchini. This way, the zucchini can spread and brown instead of steaming on top of each other. (I use the same trick when cooking mushrooms.)

You’ll heat your skillet over medium-high heat, add some butter, and then, when it’s melted, toss in the garlic and zucchini. Spread them out in the skillet and let them brown in places. I don’t stir too much so that the zucchini has more chance to brown.

When you start seeing some brown spots, stir and cook until the zucchini is tender. At this point, season with salt, pepper, and optional ingredients like scallions, lemon juice, and parmesan. Adding the salt towards the end prevents the zucchini from turning mushy and soggy.

A bowl of Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

Recipe Variations

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

  • Make it cheesy and stir in more grated parmesan or other cheese before serving. I love feta!
  • We love the combination of garlic and butter, but you can use other spices. Try Italian seasoning, Za’atar spice blend, Cajun seasoning, or an Indian spice blend like curry or chili powder.
  • Add extra crunch with toasted sliced almonds or buttery pine nuts.
  • Stir in chopped tomatoes and cook until the zucchini is crisp-tender and the tomatoes collapse a little and release some of their juices.
  • Stir in cooked or canned beans, such as white beans, chickpeas, and black beans.

More Zucchini Recipes

Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

Quick Easy Sauteed Zucchini

  • PREP
  • COOK

Sautéed zucchini is quick, easy, and healthy. We love cooking the zucchini with butter, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. That said, we have shared several 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, optional

1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, optional

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


    1How you cut the zucchini is up to you. You can slice it into rounds, cut it into half moons, or chop it into bite-size 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, stir in the scallions and cheese (if using), and squeeze in lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Vegan modification: Substitute the butter with olive oil or plant-based butter, 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.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
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
Inspired Taste Newsletter Signup
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


Leave a Reply

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe!


All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our comment guidelines. You must be at least 16 years old to post a comment. All comments are governed by our Privacy Policy & Terms.

Previous Post: Next Post: