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Fried Zucchini

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This crispy fried zucchini recipe is made with fresh zucchini slices coated with a light flour and panko crumb breading and pan fried to perfection. This restaurant-style appetizer is easy to prepare and addictively delicious served with creamy ranch dressing or marinara!

Check out Zucchini and Summer Squash Recipes for more delicious recipes, and to learn about the different types of squash!

Fried zucchini on a square white plate with an orange ramekin of ranch dressing.

Do you ever get weird cravings? I have been craving Fried Zucchini for weeks now! I used to LOVE the ones that we got from Carl’s Jr in Fresno, California. I don’t know if all of the Carl’s Jr restaurants serve them, but they were awesome! So was the Mexican food…like I said, I’m not sure if all of the restaurants sell them or not. Fresno was a test market for new products, so we always got to try out fun new things.

While my Fried Zucchini is not an exact copy, they are actually better than the original.

How to make Fried Zucchini

I used panko crumbs instead of bread crumbs, so they were really light and crispy! I also tried to keep all of my zucchini at a 1/2-inch, so they would not be too thick.

Fresh zucchini slices on a wooden cutting board.

I prefer my zucchini to be cooked and not raw at all in the center. I used my favorite breading trick, I used brown rice flour to coat the zucchini and seasoned it with some garlic and onion powder, as well as some paprika.

rice flour, garlic and onion powders, and paprika on a large plate.

My onion and garlic powder has parsley mixed in, so ignore the green flecks.  It adds a subtle flavor, without being overpowering. Dredge the zucchini slices through the seasoned flour.

A fresh zucchini slice dredged in flour mixture.

Then dip it in the beaten egg.

Flour coated zucchini slice in a bowl with beaten egg.

and the panko breadcrumbs.

Egg dipped zucchini slice on a plate of panko breadcrumbs.

A plate full of coated zucchini slices ready to be fried.

Or if you are like me, you don’t want to make a bigger mess than you have to. 😉  Heat about 0.5-inch of oil in a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven to 350 degrees.

Oil and glass thermometer in a large Dutch oven.

Once you reach 350, carefully drop several zucchini slices into the oil.

Six coated zucchini slices simmering in hot oil.

You don’t want to overcrowd the pan, or drop the temperature too much. You want it to stay as close to 350 as you can. If the oil is not hot enough, the zucchini will be oily because they are sitting in the oil longer. If the oil is too hot, the outside will cook too quickly, and the inside will not be cooked at all.

Cook the zucchini for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Ten golden Fried Zucchini in a pot of hot oil.

Remove zucchini with a wire strainer or tongs, and place on paper towels to drain.

Fried Zucchini draining on paper towels.

Serve immediately with Homemade Ranch Dressing or Marinara.

Fried zucchini and a bowl of ranch dressing on a square white plate.

and try to share with others! I  know, it’s hard…they are so delicious!

A woman's hand holding fried zucchini that has been dipped in ranch dressing.

I never seem to remember to make my Homemade Ranch Dressing ahead of time, so it always looks very thin in photographs. I promise, it really does thicken up when it’s cold. As you can see, I did not let that stop me!

A square white plate sitting on a red plaid napkin holding fried zucchini and an orange ramekin of ranch dressing with a bottle of Corona in the background.

Recipe variations

  • Add finely-grated parmesan cheese to the panko mixture.
  • Substitute breadcrumbs for the panko.
  • Add crushed chili flakes or cayenne pepper to the flour mixture for added zing
  • You can use all-purpose flour in place of the rice flour, just make sure to shake off the excess or your coating may get soggy as it cooks.

Got leftovers?

  • Fried zucchini tastes best fresh, but you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If longer storage is needed, freeze completely cooled zucchini in a zipper-topped bag for up to one month.
  • Reheat in a 375 degree oven until crispy and heated through, or reheat in an air fryer at 380 degrees for 5 minutes.

Tools used to create this recipe

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more delicious zucchini recipes

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Enjoy!!

A pile of Fried zucchini on a square white plate with an orange ramekin of ranch dressing.

Fried Zucchini

Fried Zucchini is one of my favorite appetizers! Fresh zucchini dredged in seasoned flour and panko crumbs, deep fried till golden brown and served with Creamy Ranch Dressing!
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crispy fried zucchini served with creamy ranch dressing
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 205kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 0.5 cup brown or white rice flour
  • 0.5 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon onion powder
  • .25 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1.25 cups panko crumbs
  • 0.5+ inch oil for frying I used peanut oil
  • ranch dressing or marinara for serving

Instructions

  • Season flour with garlic, onion, and paprika and place on a large plate.
  • Place eggs in a bowl and beat to combine.
  • Place panko crumbs on a separate large plate.
  • Dredge zucchini slices through the flour, dip in the egg, and coat with panko crumbs.
  • It is best to coat all of the zucchini before you start frying. Place on a large plate as you go along.
  • Heat about 0.5- inch of oil in the bottom of a heavy bottom pot, to 350 degrees.
  • Place several zucchini in the pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove from pan, and place on paper towels to drain.
  • Serve with ranch dressing or marinara.

Notes

  • Add finely-grated parmesan cheese to the panko mixture.
  • Substitute breadcrumbs for the panko.
  • Add crushed chili flakes or cayenne pepper to the flour mixture for added zing
  • You can use all-purpose flour in place of the rice flour, just make sure to shake off the excess or your coating may get soggy as it cooks.
Got leftovers?
  • Fried zucchini tastes best fresh, but you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If longer storage is needed, freeze completely cooled zucchini in a zipper-topped bag for up to one month.
  • Reheat in a 375 degree oven until crispy and heated through, or reheat in an air fryer at 380 degrees for 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 388mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 410IU | Vitamin C: 17.6mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2.2mg

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23 Comments

  1. Lisa, these are a great little snack and love that you used panko. Sounds like a perfect snack while watching a game – which we’ll be doing a lot of around here, between baseball and football! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and pinning! Have a happy Monday!

  2. I could make a meal out of just this!! Yum!! On a side note, I grew up on the East coast and I have always called it Hardee’s …… even though I have lived in AZ for over a year now, I still cannot call it Carl’s Jr LOL!! Btw, I think it must be a Fresno thing, I don’t think our “Carl’s Jr” here in Phoenix carries fried zucchini?!

    1. I did make a meal out of them Jamie, shhh;) I was so confused when we moved to Iowa, and the Carl’s Jr sign had Hardee’s name printed on it! It’s not the same, they taste different…and we still call it Carl’s Jr after 15 years!!

  3. Oh. Freaking. Yum. Zucchini is in my top 3 veggies of all time, along with asparagus and I can’t remember what the other one might be. I must try this magical recipe….

    -andi

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