Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable, and we love to add it to all sorts of recipes. These are some of our favorite ways to prepare zucchini to share with the kids—including cookies, smoothies, muffins, pancakes, and more!
It seems like no matter how much I try to minimize the potential for this, we always wind up with a surplus of zucchini at some point in the summer. This is only a problem if you don’t know what to do with it!
To help, this post includes all of my favorite zucchini recipes to make for a family. There are sweet and savory recipes, options for baking and ones that don’t require turning on the oven. I hit the staples, including Zucchini Cake, Zucchini Cookies, and Zucchini Pasta, and add in a few new favorites.
So see below for tips on how to choose and store zucchini, and all of the recipe ideas.
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Tips for Choosing Zucchini
It’s really easy to know how to choose a fresh zucchini. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Smaller ones may have more flavor and smaller seeds.
- Look for ones without brown spots, bruises, or soft areas.
- Remember that heirloom varieties, such as ones with stripes or variegation as shown above, may have more flavor.
- Yellow summer squash is pretty interchangeable with zucchini in recipes. It sometimes has a tougher skin and larger seeds.
How to Grate Zucchini
To grate zucchini for a recipe, you’ll want to:
- Wash and dry it.
- Trim off the ends.
- Grate it on a box grater.
- Typically, you’ll want to squeeze out the liquid with your hands—or place it into a mesh produce bag and squeeze to prevent your hands from becoming a mess—until the grated zucchini is as dry as possible. (Sometimes, you may want to dry it farther by rolling it up in a clean towel.)
TIP: You can freeze grated zucchini for future use. Once you squeeze it dry, place it in 1 cup portions (or in the amount you plan to use in the future—1 cup is fairly standard for baking) into a small freezer bag. Press flat, remove as much air as possible, and freeze for up to one year.
Sweet Zucchini Recipes
Below are some of our go-to sweet recipes to make with zucchini. You’ll find cookies, muffins, pancakes, and more to try with your kids.
Easy Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips
Pack your next batch of cookies with veggies and yummy flavor with these easy Zucchini Cookies. They are low in added sugars and are allergy-friendly. They just might be your new favorite way to use up too much zucchini!
Banana Zucchini Muffins with Blueberries
Combine three types of produce in a batch of Banana Zucchini Muffins with Blueberries. It’s the best of all the baked goods in one convenient (and nutritious) package! PS: They store well for days, so they’re a great make-ahead option.
Fluffy Zucchini Pancakes
Serve up a dose of vegetables for breakfast with this Zucchini Pancake recipe. It’s a yummy breakfast for kids that you can make and share with the whole family—babies and toddlers on up! And they’re SO fluffy!
Easy Zucchini Carrot Muffins
With four kinds of produce, including two fruits and two veggies, these healthy Zucchini Carrot Muffins are a perfect kids breakfast or snack. They store well in the fridge and freezer so you can make a batch and have it on hand for easy meals!
Banana Baked Oatmeal with Zucchini
Combine the best of two favorite baked goods with this delicious take on Zucchini Banana Bread. It has whole grains, both fruits and veggies, and a super easy method that you can do even if you have a toddler underfoot!
Healthy Zucchini Muffins
We almost always have a batch of muffins in the rotation since they make such easy meal and snack components, and my kids love these Zucchini Muffins. My favorite part about them is that you don’t have to grate the zucchini and squeeze it dry like you usually do for zucchini-based baked goods.
Seriously tender, easy to stir together, and loaded with the classic flavors you expect from zucchini bread, this Zucchini Cake is the most delicious. It’s great for using up excess zucchini or to celebrate any occasion.
Blueberry Constipation Smoothie
Help keep those little digestive systems in good working order with this yummy constipation smoothie. With natural sweetness and hydration from fruits and veggies, plus healthy fats, this is a great natural remedy for constipation … or just another smoothie for kids to add to the mix!
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
These muffins are super moist, super fluffy, and a great mix of nutrients and flavors. They have a full cup of zucchini, plus whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. We love them when we have too much zucchini on hand—or when we just need a dose of chocolaty goodness.
Savory Zucchini Recipes
Zucchini in all forms is my motto—and it’s so yummy roasted, added to burgers and egg cups, and incorporated into fritters.
Here are our favorite savory zucchini recipes.
Easy Zucchini Slice Recipe
This is such a fun way to use zucchini since it slices into bars that are easy to hold and dip. That means it’s a great baby-led weaning breakfast, it is an easy lunch or snack for any age, and it’s perfect to make ahead and stash in the fridge until everyone is hungry.
Easy Roasted Zucchini
With just 5 minutes of prep and a quick cooking time, you can make perfectly Roasted Zucchini for an easy side dish for family dinner or even lunch. Bonus: The veggies are soft enough for babies and younger toddlers to enjoy as a finger food!
Easy Zucchini Burger Recipe
Here’s a new take on burger night—add some veggies and cheese right into the mix for extra flavor, nutrition, and easy eating. These Zucchini Burgers are so darn good!
Easy Egg Cups with Zucchini and Cheese
With just a few simple ingredients, you can bake up these Egg Cups packed with zucchini and cheese to make an easy breakfast or lunch option for the kids. They store well in the fridge for days, and they’re packed with nutrition!
Easy Zucchini Fritters Recipe
Whenever we wind up with a pile of zucchini from the store or the garden, it’s time for all things zucchini. And this baked Zucchini Fritters recipe is such an easy way to serve it up to the kids and the whole batch is ready in under 30 minutes.
Easy Ratatouille Pasta
This easy Ratatouille Pasta is a fuss-free recipe you can make in about 30 minutes—or make ahead and freeze for later—that serves up a mix of vegetables with comforting Italian flavor. It’s so good for the whole family and so versatile.
Favorite Zucchini Tots
They are a fun shape that are easy to dip, they rival any tot you find in the freezer aisle for flavor, and you can enhance them with even more flavor by serving them with any dip you like.
Best Tips for Cooking with Zucchini
- When roasting or pan-frying zucchini, try not to overcook it—because overcooked zucchini turns to mush.
- If grating zucchini for baking, be sure to squeeze it super dry. You can roll it up in a clean kitchen towel to dry it even more.
- You can freeze zucchini three ways for future use.
- Yellow summer squash is pretty interchangeable with standard green zucchini. (Both work in this Zucchini Pasta Sauce recipe.)
- Heirloom and variegated styles of zucchini are often more flavorful than the standard variety. Try them if you see them at your farmer’s market or grocery store!
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post and any other zucchini recipes you love!
This post was first published July 2021.