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 air fryer 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.
- Be it Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, Air Fryer Cauliflower, or Air Fryer Broccoli, the intense heat of the air fryer does a good job mimicking the delicious, deep-fried veggie experience.
- If you add a breading (like these Air Fryer Pickles), it does an even better 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.
To continue the easy zucchini trajectory, rather than make air fryer zucchini chips—which, while yummy, take longer to make zucchini slices and cook 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 for a faster, low carb side dish.
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 vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants (and even a little calcium).
- 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 seasoning blend of salt, onion powder, and black pepper are all these zucchini pieces need for flavor.
- Trim and cut the medium size zucchini, then add it to a mixing bowl.
- Toss the zucchini with oil.
- Stir in the panko bread crumbs, Parmesan, flour, and spices. Toss to coat.
- Add half of the zucchini to an air fryer in a single layer.
- 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 air-tight 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 air-tight, 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 air-tight 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
- Air Fryer. Perfect for making this air fryer zucchini recipe!
- Non-Slip Cutting Board. When chopping vegetables, I prefer to use a sturdy cutting board like this one.
- Cheese Grater. Because grating your own cheese is worth it.
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.
Air Fryer Zucchini
- 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 cooking 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.
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