Love crispy baked zucchini but loathe turning on your oven in the peak of summer heat? Make this Air Fryer Zucchini instead!
Pieces of zucchini tossed in a light Parmesan and panko breadcrumb coating, then air fried until crispy outside and tender inside, air fried zucchini is the lower maintenance cousin of Zucchini Fries.
When you’re looking to cook vegetables with maximal crunch appeal in a healthy way, the air fryer is the appliance for the job.
One of the reasons I love making zucchini (aside from the obvious—we have a boatload of it), is that it requires very little prep work compared to other vegetables.
For example, to make Roasted Zucchini or Grilled Zucchini, it’s as easy as cutting the zucchini into spears.
To continue the easy zucchini trajectory, rather than make air fried zucchini chips—which, while yummy, take longer to slice and have to be cooked in smaller batches—I opted to cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces instead.
It takes less time to prep the zucchini this way, and you can get away with adding more to the air fryer basket at a time.
Result: more crispy zucchini in less time.
I like this math.
How to Air Fry Zucchini
Zucchini is pretty bland on its own, which makes it versatile.
It also means seasoning is very important.
- For the breading, I used a combination of onion powder, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
- Since this recipe is very light and healthy, preparing it as air fryer zucchini Parmesan makes it more satisfying.
Feel free to add cayenne to make it spicy, or swap the Parmesan for nutritional yeast (or omit it) to make air fried zucchini vegan.
Air fryer zucchini time will vary based on your model. Plan on 7 to 9 minutes at 400 degrees F, and check early to be safe.
Note that the zucchini will still be al dente when it is done. If you continue cooking until the zucchini is completely soft, it will taste soggy.
- Zucchini. The green bounty of summer produce becomes addictively crispy and flavorful in the air fryer. It’s healthy, tender, and a crowd-pleaser! Zucchini is packed with fiber and antioxidants.
- Olive Oil. Helps the zucchini crisp and keeps it from burning.
- Panko. Gives the zucchini a deliciously crisp exterior.
- Flour. A coating of flour helps the breadcrumbs stick and makes the zucchini taste like it’s fried. You can use white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour.
- Parmesan. A small handful of Parmesan adds a scrumptious salty, cheesiness.
- Spices. A simple mix of salt, onion powder, and black pepper are all these zucchini pieces need.
- Trim and cut the zucchini, then add it to a mixing bowl.
- Toss the zucchini with oil.
- Stir in the panko, Parmesan, flour, and spices. Toss to coat.
- Add half of the zucchini to an air fryer.
- Air fry zucchini at 400 degrees F for 7 to 9 minutes, shaking the basket occasionally. Remove to a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining zucchini. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate zucchini in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the air fryer.
- To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing zucchini, as it becomes soggy once thawed. If you insist, you can freeze zucchini in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, trim and cut the zucchini as directed. Refrigerate it in an airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Zucchini
- Meat. Serve this dish with Baked Pork Tenderloin, Braised Short Ribs, or Chicken Piccata.
- Fish. This recipe would pair well with Broiled Salmon, Garlic Butter Shrimp, or Grilled Cod.
- Pasta. Enjoy Instant Pot Spaghetti, Pasta Primavera, or Shrimp Ravioli with zucchini.
- Casserole. Serve air fried zucchini as a side with Chicken and Rice Casserole, Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole, or Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese.
- Sandwich. Pair air fryer zucchini with a Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork sandwich, or Blue Cheese Burger.
- Stir Fry. Add zucchini to Cauliflower Fried Rice, General Tso Chicken, or Beef Lo Mein.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
Extra-Large Air Fryer
This is the air fryer model I own and love! It has an extra-large basket, meaning you can cook more at once.
With this crispy and crunch, if you have some extra zucchini, I’ll take a bunch!
Frequently Asked Questions
If your air fryer zucchini turns out soggy, it’s likely because it was overcooked or you used too much oil. Make sure to follow the cook times and oil amount listed in the recipe to ensure you end up with crisp-tender zucchini instead of soggy.
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten free. Swap the regular flour for a 1:1 gluten free flour and the panko for gluten free panko (like this one).
- 3 small/medium zucchini about 1 1/4 pounds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese for a vegan version, use nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
If you’d like to keep the zucchini warm between batches, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Trim off the ends of the zucchini and cut into quarters length-wise. Place each quarter against the cutting board, flat side down, then cut crosswise into 3/4-inch thick half-moons so that you have chunks that are about 3/4 inch in size each. Place in a large mixing bowl.
Drizzle the zucchini with the oil. Toss to coat.
In a separate bowl, stir together the panko, Parmesan, flour, salt, onion powder, and pepper. Sprinkle over the zucchini, then toss to coat the zucchini as evenly as possible.
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Place half of the zucchini in the air fryer basket in an even layer (no need to coat it with nonstick spray).
Air fry zucchini for 7 to 9 minutes, shaking a few times throughout, until the breadcrumbs are golden and the zucchini is tender but not mushy. Transfer to a serving plate or a parchment-lined baking sheet if keeping warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining zucchini.
- Recipe adapted from my Zucchini Fries.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate zucchini in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the air fryer.
- TO FREEZE: I do not recommend freezing zucchini, as it becomes soggy once thawed. If you insist, you can freeze zucchini in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 99kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 3gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgPotassium: 250mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 199IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg
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