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Air fryer zucchini is a quick, easy, and healthy side dish to complement almost any meal. If you have a garden or live near a Farmer’s Market, serve this fresh, flavorful, and budget-friendly recipe with dinner tonight!
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❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
Air fryer zucchini is one of our go-to snacks or sides for a wide variety of reasons:
Good for all diets — This recipe is gluten-free, keto, and vegan, making it suitable for just about every dietary preference.
Simple — With only 4 ingredients and 12 minutes of actual cook time, virtually anyone can make it.
Kid-friendly — An easy way to get your kids to eat their greens! This air fryer zucchini recipe is kid-approved.
Customizable — Try different seasonings, shapes, and cooking lengths to make it your own (find more ideas below).
Healthy — Zucchini is low in calories, but rich in many nutrients like vitamin A, C, K, and manganese.
If you enjoy zucchini, you will love our squash blossom quesadillas, Mexican meatball soup, sopa de coditos, and calabacitas recipe.
🤔 Which type of zucchini should I use?
With over 100 varieties of squash, it may be confusing to know which one to use for air frying.
Short answer — Any zucchini or summer squash will work for this recipe. Whichever type you use, remember to cut them evenly.
Long answer — Each squash or zucchini carries its own unique flavor and texture characteristics. The most common type you’re probably familiar with is Black Beauty. Other delicious options include grey zucchini, crookneck or yellow squash, pattypan, or zephyr.
👀 How to choose the right zucchini
- Look for a zucchini that’s 6-8 inches in size.
- It should feel heavy for its size.
- The skin should be dark, firm, and free of blemishes or nicks.
- Avoid soft, mushy, or shriveled zucchinis.
🔥 Air fryer vs oven
Zucchini definitely cooks nicely in the oven, but we prefer our air fryer for a few reasons:
Time-saving — On average, air frying takes about 25% less cook time compared to an oven.
Better texture — In the air fryer, zucchini becomes much crispier than baking it in the oven.
More efficient — Air fryers have proven to use less power and are more energy efficient than standard electric or gas ovens.
🛒 Ingredients & substitutions
Zucchini — We’re using grey zucchini in this recipe, but you can use any summer squash you want. Just make sure they are relatively small (6-8 inches) and even in size.
Oil — We prefer either extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Impart different flavors by using infused olive oil (think chile, garlic, lemon, rosemary, basil, etc)!
Garlic powder — Just a pinch is all you need. If you’re not feeling garlic, try other herbs like oregano or basil and spices like red pepper flakes, cumin, or cayenne.
Salt & pepper — Use sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for the best taste.
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Step 1 — Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F for 4-5 minutes. In the meantime, wash and slice the zucchini thinly, either in half-moons or coins.
Step 2 — Transfer the zucchini to a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then stir gently to combine.
Step 3 — Add the zucchini slices to your air fryer basket in a single layer, being careful not to overlap them (you may need to work in batches).
Step 4 — Air fry the zucchini at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes, removing the lid halfway to flip them. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, then serve while warm. Happy eating!
If you have questions about how to cook zucchini in an air fryer, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!
🫕 Dips for air-fried zucchini
Air fryer zucchini is delicious as-is, but what’s life without some sauce? Elevate your dish with any of these options:
Ranch dressing — Made with egg-free mayo, herbs, and lemon juice.
Vegan tartar sauce — A tangy, creamy, and zesty dip that pairs well with vegetables.
Marinara — Who doesn’t love a fresh, zesty tomato sauce with zucchini?
Pesto — The perfect accompaniment for summer squash is some fresh basil pesto.
Jalapeño cheese sauce — Made from a base of cashews, nutritional yeast, and pickled jalapeños.
🍽️ Main dish pairings
We love eating air fryer zucchini as a snack, but this recipe makes a great side dish with larger meals like:
Espagueti blanco — Spaghetti with a creamy white sauce made of cashews.
Espagueti rojo — Paired with a smoky and slightly spicy chipotle sauce.
Espagueti verde — Poblano-based cream sauce served with pasta.
Squash blossom quesadillas — Fresh corn tortillas filled with squash blossoms and dairy-free cheese melted together.
Vegan chicken — Tender, savory, and shreddable meat-free chicken.
🌡️ Storage & reheating
Although air fryer zucchini is best eaten right away, it can be kept for leftovers later on.
Fridge — Keep any leftover zucchini coins in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
Freezer — Since the texture will become mushy, we don’t recommend freezing already air-fried zucchini.
Reheating — Add them to a preheated air fryer and cook for 4-5 minutes at 380 degrees F. You can also heat them in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time.
Breaded — For a crispy exterior, try breading the zucchini in a batter similar to our mushroom milanesa or air fryer eggplant.
Oil-free — Replace the oil with a squeeze of lemon juice for a lower calorie version.
Different seasonings — Italian, cayenne, paprika, red pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, or garam masala all work well in this recipe.
Other shapes — Try slicing your zucchini in fry shapes or paper-thin coins to make zucchini chips. Note: Cook times may vary.
Cheesy — Serve your air fryer zucchini with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan.
🧑🍳 Top tips
Flip halfway — To ensure even airflow and a consistent cook, flip your zucchini coins at the halfway point.
Preheat the air fryer — It’s important to heat up your air fryer for a few minutes, especially for shorter recipes like this one. Just turn your air fryer to 400 degrees F and wait about 4-5 minutes before cooking the zucchini.
Don’t overcrowd — Make sure the zucchini isn’t overlapping in the air fryer basket. This will help them evenly crisp up.
Use little oil — The best part about air fryers is that you can reduce the amount of oil you need to cook with. Go easy at first, and work your way up from there.
Serve immediately — Cooked zucchini tastes the best when it’s warm, crispy, and tender!
Cut evenly — Slice the zucchini as consistently as you can to make sure it cooks at the same rate.
If you end up with soggy zucchini, it’s likely due to overcrowding the air fryer. In order for the air to circulate properly, it’s important to only place the zucchini in a single layer.
Although you can, it’s not at all necessary to peel zucchini before cooking it in the air fryer. Many of the important vitamins and minerals are contained in the skin.
12 minutes is the most optimal time to cook zucchini in a preheated air fryer. However, this time will depend on the thickness of the zucchini and your preferred doneness.
While they are from the same family, squash and zucchini are not the same. Zucchini is a subspecies of squash. Squash has been cultivated in Central and South America since the 16th century, and zucchini was later modernized in Italy.
🍴 More air fryer recipes
If you enjoyed this air fryer zucchini recipe, be sure to check out some other foods to make in this handy appliance:
- Air fryer green beans: Crispy green beans that are great as a side dish or on their own.
- Air fryer pizza rolls: Freshly made dough wrapped around dairy-free cheese and marinara sauce.
- Air fryer sweet potatoes: Crispy sweet potato cubes seasoned with cumin, paprika, and garlic.
- Air fryer baby potatoes: Seasoned with a blend of savory, aromatic spices.
- Air fryer onion rings: Crunchy breadcrumb coating with a sweet onion filling.
- Air fryer frozen cauliflower: A quick and convenient side dish for busy weeknights.
Easy Air Fryer Zucchini
- Air fryer
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil ($0.11)
- 3 medium (6-8") zucchini or summer squash ($0.72)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder ($0.03)
- Salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F for 4-5 minutes. In the meantime, wash and slice the zucchini thinly, either in half-moons or coins.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then stir gently to combine.
- Add the zucchini slices to the air fryer basket in a single layer, being careful not to overlap them.
- Air fry the zucchini at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes, removing the lid halfway to flip them. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, then serve immediately. Happy eating!
- Flip halfway — To ensure even airflow and a consistent cook, flip your zucchini coins at the halfway point.
- Preheat the air fryer — It’s important to heat up your air fryer for a few minutes, especially for shorter recipes like this one. Just turn your air fryer to 400 degrees F and wait about 4-5 minutes before cooking the zucchini.
- Don’t overcrowd — Make sure the zucchini isn’t overlapping in the air fryer basket. This will help them evenly crisp up.
- Use little oil — The best part about air fryers is that you can reduce the amount of oil you need to cook with. Go easy at first, and work your way up from there.
- Serve immediately — Cooked zucchini tastes the best when it’s warm, crispy, and tender!
- Cut evenly — Slice the zucchini as consistently as you can to make sure it cooks at the same rate.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe to recipe. All prices are in USD.