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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21 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Paul S June 13, 2021, 2:40 am

    Great recipe! I just cooked it as part of Sunday breakfast for my boyfriend and we enjoyed it immensely! Many thanks 🙂

  • Yuri June 11, 2021, 8:02 pm

    I just made this for dinner. It was so simple but tasty !! Butter and Garlic combination are never failed . This time I was slicing zucchini like round. But I think much easier to cut like you did chopped. When it cooking , it is annoying flip and flip LOL. Thank you so much . Definitely this one my repeat side dish !!

  • Mrs Badali December 13, 2020, 5:32 pm

    I love this, it’s so delicious. I’ve made this 3 times in 4 days! I added beyond sausages to mine. The second time Tuscan kale and broccoli. Delicious🤗. Thank you.

  • Sandy October 14, 2020, 7:42 pm

    One thing I would suggest that if you are using a large zucchini is to peel it. The skin can be very tough. Only leave the peel on if it is tender. I made mine with a larger one that I peeled.

  • Debra August 8, 2020, 7:54 pm

    My neighbor is growing zucchini and pots on his picnic table and they are great looking and he gave me a very large one that I plan on making this recipe and the rest making zucchini muffins that I will share with him. This recipe looks totally awesome I will cut mine into bite-sized pieces and I have freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add. Thank you so much for all these recipes. ?

  • Anu July 13, 2020, 6:43 am

    This is gorgeous, and so simple! I think I did end up overcooking the zucchini a bit, but it still tasted wonderful, and the lemon juice takes it to the next level. I didn’t have any scallions so I used chives instead, and that seemed to do the trick. I will definitely make this often, thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  • msV2uboo May 5, 2020, 7:15 pm


  • Jamie April 25, 2020, 10:07 pm

    Delicious! Will make it again.

  • Gayle March 23, 2020, 5:56 pm

    Made this last week and added bacon pieces. Amazing. Making it again tonight. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Esther Eigege January 29, 2020, 3:38 am

    This is awesome and sweet. I enjoyed it very much.

  • minnie quilloy January 15, 2020, 9:47 am

    Thank you..

    I will follow your your recipe

  • Micki July 10, 2019, 2:31 pm

    Wow. Really good! I overcooked the zucchini (quick which gave it just a hint of blackened flavor) in a cast iron skillet and added a little Italian seasoning, parmesan and lemon juice Delicious

    • Geoff January 13, 2021, 5:56 am

      Great recipe, I added 1 medium sized rough cut tomato for a bit of sweetness.
      Will be making this again very soon

  • Sylvia July 1, 2019, 11:02 am

    I’m excited to try it. It looks really good.

  • Deb January 30, 2019, 4:08 pm

    Loved it

  • Margaret December 18, 2018, 8:58 pm

    This is just the zucchini recipe I have been looking for. I made it tonight for dinner, and it was delicious! All your recipes are winners. Thank you.


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