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This Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan celebrates summer’s most ubiquitous squash in all its green glory. My gut reaction to zucchini is to gussy it up. While this impulse leads me on many delicious paths, the other week I realized that of the 30 and counting zucchini recipes on this site, I don’t have a single one that lets zucchini be the true star. Today is the day!

Easy sautéed zucchini and onions in a skillet with Parmesan

Whether you are a) seeking fresh ideas for easy, better-for-you side dishes, b) are in desperate need of an efficient way to use up your zucchini supply, or secret answer c) all of the above, this easy sautéed zucchini with Parmesan delivers.

It’s simple, tasty, and even better re-crisped lightly on the stove the next day, so you can make a big batch tonight and enjoy the leftovers as the week goes on.

One of the best sautéed zucchini recipes in a skillet with Parmesan and onions

A Simple Zucchini Recipe

I knew I liked zucchini as a component of other dishes ranging from Cheesy Potato Fritters with Zucchini, Healthy Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles, and Zucchini Boats, to a cache of baked treats (Healthy Zucchini Muffins with Chocolate Chips, Vegan Zucchini Bread, Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Zucchini Brownies…).

Aside from making Grilled Zucchini or Air Fryer Zucchini every now and then, however, prior to making this recipe I didn’t put much thought into ways to enjoy zucchini on its own.

As I discovered, zucchini doesn’t need much to be marvelous.

This recipe contains only a few easy ingredients.

Don’t be tempted to fuss with it further.

Set the baking aside for a night and let’s let zucchini be zucchini!

Zucchini, Parmesan, and butter on a countertop

How to Make the Best Easy Sauteed Zucchini

Here’s what we have:

  • Zucchini. You have a lot of it. I have a lot of it. You can also turn this into sautéed zucchini and yellow squash by using a mix of the two.
  • Onion. Not mandatory, but I do love the additional note of savoriness it provides. Bonus: if you reheat the leftovers in a skillet the way I suggest in the recipe notes, the sliced onion becomes extra crispy. I burned my fingers picking it right out of the pan to munch!
  • Butter. A few tablespoons are all you need to make this sautéed zucchini taste like a treat.
  • Parmesan. The creamy, nutty, salty somethin’ somethin’ that sends this sautéed zucchini into second-helpings territory. I also love it on my Roasted Zucchini.
A skillet with sliced vegetables, butter, and cheese

What is a Good Herb for Zucchini?

Really, you have the pick of the garden. Since I don’t have a garden myself, I used a pinch of dried thyme, which is both tasty and convenient, but if you prefer you can use fresh thyme.

Fresh basil and/or a handful of fresh chives would be fabulous too.

How Do You Fry Zucchini?

One of the many beautiful things about this sautéed zucchini recipe is that deep frying is not needed for a rich and satisfying result.

  • Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan for its higher burning temperature which helps the outsides of the zucchini brown, then add butter to boost the sauté and provide mega flavor and the right amount of indulgence.
  • Give the zucchini slices a light pan fry, stopping as soon as the outsides begin to turn golden. You’ll be left with a nice, lightly crisp exterior, without the interior becoming soggy.
  • Be patient as you sauté. These lip-smackin’ slices are worth the wait.

How Do You Cook Zucchini Ribbons?

I stuck to zucchini slices for this recipe for the sake of speed (I wasn’t feeling patient enough to cut ribbons), but you can slice the zucchini into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler or use a spiralizer like this one to make sautéed zucchini noodles if you like.

For sautéed zucchini ribbons or noodles:

  • Follow the recipe as directed through Step 1.
  • In Step 2, add the ribbons or noodles to the pan, then lightly sauté, using tongs to toss them with the butter and seasoning for a few short minutes, just until the zucchini is warmed through.
Easy sautéed zucchini and onions in a skillet with Parmesan

May the forks fly and your zucchini shine!

Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan

4.74 from 248 votes
Easy sauteed zucchini with Parmesan is healthy, simple and a great way to cook zucchini! One of the best zucchini recipes for quick sides.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 4 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, or a mix (about 2 pounds), ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil, onion and 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook gently until the onions begin to brown, about 10 to 11 minutes. Add the zucchini, salt, pepper, thyme, and remaining Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil.
  • Increase heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is just cooked through and beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Enjoy immediately

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat in a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat, spreading the slices in a single layer and crisping them up on both sides.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6), about 3/4 cupCalories: 94kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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Recipe Rating




242 Comments

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  1. SO GOOD and pretty fool proof. Great way to make a delicious side out of a zucchini you need to make in the fridge 😅5 stars

  2. Delicious, I made it several times. You can also add mushrooms, bell peppers or jalapeno to spice it up!5 stars

  3. Delicious!
    I typically make my zucchini in the oven with the parm cheese, but this is way easier and you get better flavor & color.5 stars

  4. Well worth the effort. I really liked the addition of the onions. The butter with the oil made it taste even better. I used Italian seasoning since I couldn’t find my thyme.5 stars

  5. Thank you Erin. It was a delicious dish — what a great way to use the bounty of zucchinis coming from my garden. I replaced the Parmesan with aged Gouda (really very similar), but otherwise followed the recipe to a T. Thank you posting.5 stars

    1. Hi John! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and love the sound of Gouda! Yum!

  6. In the last couple weeks, I have made this nearly daily with either yellow squash or zucchini…it tastes like summer!

    Thanks for an easy way to enjoy summer veggies.5 stars

  7. This is one of my favorite ‘Go-To’ vegetarian sides. With locally grown zucchinis from the Farmers Market, and the few other ingredients I already have on hand (an onion, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, thyme, and Parmesan cheese), it’s a real pleasure to just dive in and whip these yummy and wholesome morsels up. Thanks for a surprisingly easy and tasty treat. Even die-hard carnivores like my wife, Kathi, enjoy this. Thanks!5 stars

  8. This is my go-to recipe for zucchini all summer. It’s easy, I always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s delicious. My boyfriend loves it too!5 stars

  9. I was very pleased with this recipe. Because of excessive weight gain due to a heart condition, I have to change my eating habits. This recipe was so delish. I did make a few minor changes by adding garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and a little Sweet-N-Low. Yes, I love my vegetables a little sweet. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is now officially part of my new meal rotation.5 stars

  10. Very delicious! I added mushrooms to this dish (only because I was trying to use them up before they went bad), and loved it. I’m definitely keeping this recipe for future use. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  11. I’ve been married for 52 years and mostly enjoy cooking something new. My husband does not like zucchini, calling it slimy tasting. I thought that I would try this recipe. Maybe I just don’t know how to follow these instructions, but I tried to go step by step. I am on a low FODMAP diet, so can only use the green parts of green onions – and not the white part., or traditional onions. I sauteed the green tops for only 3 1/2 minutes on low heat because they started to brown too fast. Then I added the zucchini, and they got soggy even though the heat was up to medium. They took forever to brown and were oily and soggy. Even the Parmesan cheese couldn’t help them. My husband ate them, but I won’t cook zucchini again. I’ve also tried oven roasting them , but with similar results. Too watery. Whatever I did wrong, they were not a pretty sight.

    1. Hi Eileen, I’m sorry to hear this. It sounds like you might need to turn the heat up just a little more on your pan. Hope this helps!

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