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 healthy zucchini recipes on this site, I don’t have a single one that lets zucchini be the true star. Today is the day! This Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan celebrates summer’s most ubiquitous squash in all its green glory.

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

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 tossing zucchini on the grill 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, Easiest Sautéed 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.
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 parmesan recipe is that deep frying is not needed for a rich and satisfying result.

I added a little bit of olive oil to the pan for its higher burning temperature which helps the outsides of the zucchini brown, then the butter 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 Sauteed Zucchini with Onions and Parmesan. Golden, delicious zucchini and squash, cooked with butter, garlic, and your favorite seasonings. Healthy and simple, it's the perfect summer side dish!

Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan

4.94 from 66 votes
Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Onions and Parmesan. Healthy and simple, it’s the perfect quick summer side dish recipe!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins

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

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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164 Comments

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  1. Delicious and fast. I can’t usually get my entire family to eat Zucchini but they all devoured this recipe!4 stars

  2. Delicious!! Although, I substituted land o lakes w/ canola oil and used unsalted butter.. I’m curious as to why you use that? It’s absolutely dreadful for people’s health!!5 stars

  3. A friend gave me a huge Zucchini and I didn’t really know what to do with it. This recipe was a quick and delicious solution. Thanks.5 stars

  4. If it’s sauteed longer, will thr zucchini be softer? Im asking because I’m thinking of serving this to my one year old.

    1. Hi Christy! Yes if you cook it a little longer it will soften up more. You could also try adding a few drops of water and cook it over lower heat. This will draw some of the water out of the zucchini and soften it up more. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you for the tip! My sons loved this! I’ve made this twice already and for the second time, my eldest couldn’t wait to get it on his plate.5 stars

  5. This dish took ordinary ingredients and turned them into a ‘star quality’ attraction. The vegetables turn mellow and sweet, and the seasoning was a perfect compliment. I’d strongly encourage anyone to try it. It goes into a ‘do this again’ folder for me.5 stars

    1. Hi Lance, I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster plus a print button so you can have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Kari! Honestly I haven’t tried it. It’s just so much easier not to. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  6. I cooked it just as you said and it’s an amazing zucchini recipe!! So easy. Can’t wait to try the Brussel sprouts!! Thank you!!5 stars

  7. The time is way off! It only takes 5-7 minutes MAX to cook this unless you like mushy, overcooked veggies or do NOT use a pan that is big enough!!!3 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with this recipe. The timing worked well for me (and many other readers), so I wish it would’ve worked for you too. I hope you still enjoyed it!

  8. My husband has a hard time eating veggies ever but after making your recipe its his favorite and he even asked for seconds. I’m so happy! Thank you! Also I’m wondering if any other vegetable would taste good this way?5 stars

    1. Hi Amy! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! I have several different versions of sautéed vegetables on the site, you can find them here: https://www.wellplated.com/?s=sauteed If you are wanting to make this exact recipe with other vegetables, I don’t see why you couldn’t. The cook time might vary depending on the type of vegetable.

  9. Tired of the traditional sides like broccoli or green beans, I decided to make this recipe tonight. It was super simple and very delicious. I’ve had really good results with well plated recipes. If I’m looking up a recipe I always choose the one from this website if they have it. Thanks Erin!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Carol! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

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