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When zucchini supply runs high and zucchini motivation runs low, make a pan of this comforting Zucchini Casserole! A baked casserole of thinly sliced zucchini tossed in a creamy garlic sauce, then baked beneath a crown of golden, crispy breadcrumbs, it gives humble zucchini squash the star treatment!

A wooden spoon serving a piece of zucchini casserole

An Easy, Cheesy Zucchini Casserole Recipe

While you might think of zucchini most often as a straight-forward side dish (like Easy Sautéed Zucchini or Roasted Zucchini) this recipe proves that when you give it the cheesy holiday treatment usually reserved for Healthy Green Bean Casserole, delicious things happen.

Could it be that Healthy Zucchini Muffins (or, gasp! Zucchini Brownies) might not be summer squash’s highest calling after all?

This old fashioned zucchini casserole recipe certainly stands to argue.

  • The sauce is herby and creamy, but light enough to where it doesn’t feel heavy on a hot summer night.
  • The buttery panko topping adds pleasing textural contrast. For an extra crispy zucchini casserole, place it under the broiler for an additional minute.
  • It uses a full two pounds of zucchini, making zucchini casserole an excellent thing to do with the extra zucchini you will inevitably have around this summer.
The best zucchini casserole with panko topping

How to Make Zucchini Casserole

This simple zucchini casserole took me several tries to get right.

Zucchini has a high water content, and if you don’t find a way to remove the excess before baking it, you’ll end up with a soupy mess.

  • Many zucchini casserole recipes I found solved this issue by roasting the zucchini first.
  • While I love Roasted Zucchini, I was eager to skip the extra step and come up with the easiest zucchini casserole method possible (outside of Bisquick zucchini casserole that is. Homemade is the move here!).
  • I turned to the method I used for my Zucchini Ravioli: slice the zucchini thinly, sprinkle it with salt to draw out the extra water, then blot dry.

I’ve laid out the process in detail below to guarantee you easy zucchini casserole recipe success.

Healthy zucchini casserole in a white baking dish

The Ingredients

  • Zucchini. Often overlooked for the starring role, zucchini makes a fantastic base for this casserole. It becomes tender, soaks up the other flavors, and adds oodles of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, antioxidants, and fiber.
  • Salt. The key to achieving a non-soggy casserole.
  • Flour. Helps create a perfectly luscious and thick casserole.
  • Broth. Adds liquid and flavor to the casserole filling. You can use chicken or vegetable broth here.
  • Milk. I used 1% milk, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
  • Plain Greek Yogurt. Whole milk Greek yogurt is the right choice here rather than heavy cream. It adds richness and a subtle tanginess and won’t curdle when heated.
  • Cheese. I used both sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan for the ultimate cheesy combo. The sharp cheddar is bold and deliciously melty, and the Parmesan adds an addictive salty, nutty flavor to the filling and topping.
  • Fresh Thyme. A delicious, fresh, herby complement to the creamy casserole filling.

Substitution Tip

You can also swap 1/3 the amount of dried thyme for fresh thyme.

  • Panko. Combined with Parmesan cheese and melted butter, panko bread crumbs create an exceptionally crispy and scrumptious casserole topping.

Zucchini Casserole with Meat

To make this an all-in-one meal with protein, stir in 1 pound of seasoned and sautéed ground chicken, turkey, or Italian sausage after adding the zucchini slices. Bake the casserole in a 9×13 inch pan and double the breadcrumb topping.

The Directions

Cut vegetables in a colander
  1. Slice the zucchini, then place it in a colander. Toss the zucchini with salt and let it drain.
Cut onions in a pot
  1. Sauté the onion in a Dutch oven or high-rimmed skillet.
Flour being added to onions in a pot
  1. Stir in the flour.
The creamy zucchini casserole sauce in a pot
  1. Pour in the broth and milk. Let cook until the sauce thickens, then remove it from the heat.
Cut pieces of zucchini on a paper towel
  1. Dry the zucchini.
Greek yogurt being added to zucchini casserole filling
  1. Stir the yogurt into the onion mixture.
Cheese being added to a creamy sauce
  1. Add the cheddar.
A creamy sauce in a pot
  1. Stir in the Parmesan and thyme.
Creamy zucchini casserole filling in a pot
  1. Add the zucchini in small amounts, stirring frequently.
Zucchini being stirred in a pot with a creamy sauce
  1. Stir in part of the panko, then transfer the mixture to a baking dish.
Panko topping being stirred in a pan
  1. Melt the remaining butter, then stir in the remaining panko and Parmesan. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole.
Unbaked vegetable casserole with panko topping
  1. Bake zucchini casserole at 400 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes, then DIG IN!
Easy zucchini casserole in a baking dish

Recipe Variations

  • Zucchini and Yellow Squash Casserole. Take note from this Squash Casserole, and add some yellow summer squash in place of part of the zucchini.
  • Zucchini Casserole with Ground Beef. Saute 1 pound of lean ground beef (or ground chicken or turkey). Stir into the sauce with the zucchini slices.
  • Zucchini Casserole with Sausage. Saute loose regular sausage or turkey sausage. Stir into the sauce with the zucchini slices. You can also thinly slice cooked sausage links, then add these with the zucchini.
  • Zucchini Casserole With Bacon. Add cooked, crumbled Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon to your sauce and on top.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place zucchini casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze. Unfortunately, this zucchini recipe does not freeze well. The zucchini will become too mushy and watery.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.

Meal Prep Tip

Cut the zucchini up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate it in an airtight container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

A baking dish of healthy zucchini casserole

What to Serve with Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini casserole with a piece missing

Zucchini Casserole

4.84 from 49 votes
Easy cheesy zucchini casserole with crispy breadcrumbs. Tender zucchini in a creamy sauce with a golden topping, it's a yummy, simple side.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds small/medium zucchini about 4 or 5 zucchini
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt about 1, 5-ounce container
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan divided
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs divided
  • fresh herbs for serving like fresh parsley or basil, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 ½-quart baking dish (such as an 8×10-inch casserole dish) with nonstick spray.
  • Slice the zucchini crosswise into ¼-inch thick rounds (I find this quickest with a mandoline). Place in a large colander. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Toss to coat the zucchini with the salt, making sure to separate the slices if needed. Place the colander over a large bowl (or in the sink, but don't forget about it and accidentally turn on the water). Let drain at least 20 minutes.
  • Cut the onion in half through the stem ends, peel, and cut each half into thin, long strips.
  • In a Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onion is beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and let cook 30 seconds.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, until all of the flour turns golden and no white bits remain.
  • Slowly add the broth and milk a few splashes at a time, stirring between each addition to prevent lumps from forming. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook and stir, allowing the sauce to bubble, running a wooden spoon or spatula along the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce reduces and thickens to resemble a very thick, creamy gravy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Shake the colander to remove as much water as possible, then spread the zucchini onto paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Blot dry, gently pressing out as much moisture as possible.
  • Stir the Greek yogurt into the sauce.
  • Add the cheddar cheese a few handfuls at a time, stirring between each addition to ensure it melts smoothly.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan and the thyme.
  • Add the zucchini by handfuls, stirring as you go to coat the slices evenly.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup panko, then transfer the mixture to the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the remaining 1/4 cup panko and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, stirring to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole.
  • Bake the zucchini casserole until the filling is hot and bubbly and the zucchini is tender but not mushy, 30 to 35 minutes. If desired, switch the oven to broil to brown the top (watch carefully! You will only need a minute or so). Let rest at least 5 minutes, then enjoy.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate casserole in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
  • Unfortunately, I don’t recommend freezing this casserole, as it will turn mushy and watery when thawed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 10)Calories: 131kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 20mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 422IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 134mgIron: 1mg

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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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20 Comments

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  1. Hi Erin,made this dish for my wife and I for dinner last night,absolutely loved it,tailored it for two and added thin slices of roasted butternut squash to base of the casserole dish,will definitely making it again!😀5 stars

  2. Made this but downsized it for 2 as there is only one of me. I also added 4 ounces of Mild Italian Sausage. Yum!!!!!!!! This is a keeper. Thanks for posting this casserole.5 stars

    1. Hi Kathi! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback on downsizing it!

  3. We have zucchini coming out of our ears and I was happy to find this recipe. We made last night with some ground turkey and it was delicious! I know I’ll like it w/o the meat also but Cajun hubby has to have meat! LOL.5 stars

  4. Do you think this would work with dairy free yogurt and vegan cheese? My husband can’t eat dairy but I think this would be a great dinner item. Thanks! Thank

    1. Hi Jenn, maybe? I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so I can be sure how well the cheese and yogurt would work out. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  5. I tried this recipe, b it made it into a main dish by adding cut up chicken, and sautéing it with the onions etc.
    We really enjoyed this recipe a lot! Very delicious way to use zucchini!!!!
    Thanks for another great recipe!5 stars

  6. Outstanding, well written and wonderful suggestions. Shared it with a large family group and they begged for more! I did not have Greek yogurt, subed sour cream with a squeeze of lemon on the second making, tasted the same, so very forgiving.5 stars

  7. Very soupy,bland needs more substance. The casserole needs spice and something that helps all the water from the zucchini that needs absorbing this might work if the zucchini was coated with something that could capture the moisture from the dish.

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Debra. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  8. My wife has injured her hand and thus is unable to do the cooking and other kitchen opportunities thus the husband has taking over the duties and is grateful for the many ideas you offer to change up the routine meals.5 stars

  9. We loved this casserole! We made ourselves stop at one serving so that we could have it for a second meal — just as good leftover. Now, I’m making it again: for the second time in one week. I added beef to make it a one-dish meal for non-vegetarians. Thanks!5 stars