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
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.