This Sauteed Zucchini recipe is healthy, tasty and so simple! All you need is just 5 ingredients and 10 minutes to prepare this summer side dish.

Got a bounty of garden zucchini? You might also love grilled zucchini and zucchini tomato bake.

Sauteed zucchini in a skillet garnished with dill and Parmesan cheese.

During summer, along with healthy zucchini casserole and Parmesan zucchini sticks, simple side dishes like this sautéed zucchini are a must.

Learning how to sauté zucchini to perfection couldn’t be easier! The high heat softens the zucchini with a light sear so that it’s tender without being mushy.

Even better, the combination of garlic, dill, and a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese makes for a veggie side dish that even your kids will be coming back for seconds.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to make: It takes only 10 minutes. Just slice, season and sauté!
  • Simple ingredients: All you need is 5 ingredients plus salt and pepper.
  • Year round side dish: Locally sourced, from the garden, or at the grocery store this vegetable is easy to find and budget friendly.
  • Versatile: This zucchini recipe is low carb, gluten free, and adaptable to suite many diets.

Ingredients for Sauteed Zucchini

If you currently have zucchini in your kitchen, then chances are you could make this recipe right now!

Zucchini, garlic, parmesan cheese, avocado oil, dill, salt and pepper.
  • Zucchini: You can use smaller or larger zucchini and simply adjust the way they’re chopped. This recipe will also work with summer squash.  
  • Garlic: Feel free to adjust the amount of grated or minced garlic to personal preference. But I don’t recommend omitting it as it really helps to pack in flavor.
  • Herbs: As a Ukrainian, my favorite is dill. However, you can use basil or Italian parsley too. I recommend flat leaf parsley for the best flavor.
  • Oil: Use a neutral flavored cooking oil like avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil.
  • Salt and pepper: To season and taste.

How to Saute Zucchini

Step by step process how to saute zucchini.
  • Chop the zucchini: First, chop the zucchini. If it’s a large one, then you can chop them into 1/2 inch thick cubes or quarter moons. For smaller ones, half moons will work. And with baby zucchini, even whole rounds will be fine.
  • Heat the skillet: Make sure your skillet is hot and add the oil, wait for it to get hot as well. I do this more towards the end of chopping the zucchini, so it’s ready to go when the squash is ready.
  • Sauté zucchini: Add zucchini slices to the heated pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring just a couple of times. This will help the outside of some pieces sear and brown a little.
  • Season them: Meanwhile, as it sautés, quickly grate the garlic, chop the herbs, and add them to the pan, stirring in. Finally, add in the grated Parmesan cheese, stir, and serve!

Tips for Best Results

  • Avoid “dry” ingredients: Fresh is the key to this sautéed zucchini recipe. Fresh herbs, fresh garlic and not garlic powder, and fresh Parmesan cheese and not from a shaker, will yield the best results.
  • Don’t slice zucchini too thin: The thinner you slice the zucchini, the more likely that you’ll end up with results that are mushy. I recommend 1/2 inch in thickness for the best results.
  • Make sure slices are uniform: Cut zucchini in same size pieces for even cooking.
  • Allow zucchini to sear: Make sure to allow zucchini to touch the hot skillet surface for some time without stirring too often. This way crispy and browned sides and edges will develop.
  • Remove from the heat: Remember that your zucchini will continue to cook slightly from residual heat, so it’s best to transfer it from he skillet onto plates or a platter immediately after cooking.
  • Cook in batches: If you want to make a large amount, it’s best to cook zucchini in batches, so it can brown properly.


I love this recipe as is but here are a few optional additions when seasoning your sauteed summer squash:

  • Spices: If you want something a little more complex than the salt and pepper combo, you can use seasonings like cajun seasoning, DIY seasoning salt, Italian seasoning, or taco seasoning for more flavor. Smoked paprika, onion powder, or red pepper flakes are spices that also work great!
  • Other cheese: While I love the salty, savory, tangy flavors of fresh Parmesan cheese, feel free to swap it out with another sharp cheese like cheddar or even crumbled feta or goat cheese.
  • Tomatoes: Cook them first before adding zucchini. Grape or cherry tomatoes will keep their shape better than larger sliced tomatoes.
  • Mushrooms: Make sure to fry them on high heat with a bit of salt first before adding zucchini. Whole mushrooms would be better as they will keep their water inside. 
  • Butter: Add a small amount 30 seconds before removing zucchini from the pan, so it doesn’t get the chance to burn but will coat the slices in delicious buttery flavor.

What to Serve Sauteed Zucchini with?

Simple zucchini sauté goes with pretty much everything! That’s why I love it so much! Here are a few suggestions:

You could even let it cool down, toss with simple balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy as a salad.

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Once cooked, you can store the zucchini in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It may be good for 3 days but I’ve found 2 days is better as squash will continue to get more soggy as it sits.

Reheat: For the best results, reheat zucchini in a hot skillet until warm. They’ll be slightly more tender than before but will still taste fantastic! You can also enjoy them cold or reheat in a microwave.

Make ahead: You can chop zucchini, place it in a bowl and cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. You can also grate the cheese and chop the dill and refrigerate in separate containers. Then you are ready to cook it in no time.

Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing previously sauteed zucchini as its high water content means it becomes very limp upon thawing.


How do you make zucchini not soggy?

Don’t overcook! You literally need just 3-4 minutes to pan fry them to perfection. Or else you’ll end up with mushy results. Also remove the skillet from the heat immediately to stop the cooking process.

Do I need to peel zucchini?

No, definitely not. Zucchini skin is thin and easy to eat through practically without noticing. Plus it helps hold the pieces together while cooking.

More Zucchini Recipes to Try

You might also enjoy browsing through my favorite healthy zucchini recipes!

Sauteed zucchini in black skillet garnished with dill.
Sauteed zucchini in skillet garnished with dill.

Sautéed Zucchini

This easy Sautéed Zucchini recipe is healthy, tasty and so simple! All you need is just 5 ingredients and 10 minutes for the perfect summer side dish.
4.80 from 5 votes
Servings 6 servings (as a side)
Calories 47
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes



  • Chop garden or farmer’s market large zucchini into 1/2 inch thick cubes or quarter moons. If zucchini is medium size, half moons are perfect. And baby zucchini could be sliced into rounds.
  • Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet with tall sides on high heat and then swirl oil. Add zucchini, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 3 minutes, stirring maximum 2 times. Let zucchini touch the hot skillet surface for at least a minute to really get that sear. Don’t stir constantly to avoid pale “steamed” zucchini. And don’t stir cooked zucchini to make it mushy too much.
  • After zucchini is cooked, sprinkle with herbs and freshly grated garlic. Stir and grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top. Serve warm or cold.


  • Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 2 days. Do not freeze.
  • Avoid dry ingredients: Fresh herbs, fresh garlic (not garlic powder), and fresh parmesan (not from a shaker) will have the best results!
  • Don’t slice them too thin: The thinner you slice the zucchini, the more likely that they will be soggy.
  • Remove from heat: Remember that your zucchini will continue to cook slightly from residual heat.
  • Cook in batches: If you want to make a large amount, it’s best to cook the zucchini in batches so it can properly brown.


Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 206mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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  1. 5 stars
    Have you used summer squash instead of zucchini? My zucchini is done for the year but looking for summer squash ideas. 😊

  2. 4 stars
    This was delicious. I finished up my garden zucchini and it came out perfect. I used parsley and like the fresh kick it gave it.

  3. 5 stars
    Yes! Super easy. My 13 year old daughter gobbled it up! I changed it a bit by adding fresh minced garlic to the zucchini while cooking. I had fresh oregano in the garden so grabbed some of it to add to the dish as my herb.

4.80 from 5 votes (1 rating without comment)

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