These gorgeous golden fried zucchini are soft and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside with a subtle hint of Parmesan. It’ll be hard to just eat one!
They’re irresistible hot right off the skillet—let them cool just a little so you don’t burn your mouth! Serve them as appetizer or snack, with a little flaky sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. A glass of bubbly would also be nice. You may be transported to a terrazzo in Italy!
Medium Zucchini Are Best
While you could use any size zucchini, about 8 to 10 ounces each are best. Large zucchini have large seeds inside and tend to be bitter. Medium zucchini look pretty sliced into rounds and are the perfect two- to three-bite snacks. You’ll get 12 to 15 1/2-inch rounds from each.
I call for 2 medium zucchini in this recipe, so you’ll get 24 to 30 zucchini rounds. Of course, if you want to make more, you can! Just cut more rounds and increase the amount of flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs as needed.
All My Tips and Tricks for Frying Zucchini
- Chill the breaded zucchini: It helps the breading stay stuck, which means they won’t fall off in the fryer and they’ll be crunchier. Refrigerate the breaded zucchini for at least 15 minutes and up to 3 hours—it’s just enough time to help the breading stick.
- Use a neutral oil for frying: Vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil are great for frying, but my hands-down favorite is olive oil—it’s always handy and I like the taste.
- Adjust the heat as you fry: Start with the frying oil at 350ºF. Once you add the zucchini, the oil temperature will drop. Use an instant-read or deep-fryer thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature and turn the heat up or down to keep it around 350°F.
- Use a heavy-bottomed skillet, preferably cast iron: Cast iron holds heat admirably, which means the oil temperature will stay consistent. I find that a 10-inch skillet is the perfect size—it’s large enough to fry a few pieces of zucchini at once without having to use too much oil.
- Fry in small batches: Don’t crowd the zucchini in the oil—they’ll cook more evenly. Seven to eight rounds in a 10-inch skillet will take about 3 minutes per side.
- Keep the fried zucchini warm: To keep the zucchini warm and crispy, pop them into a warm (215°F) oven while you fry the remaining batches. Set them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
Serve it Simply or With a Dip
I’ll take mine with a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon, and a cold glass of cava or prosecco. Marinara, mustard, a creamy Parmesan dressing, or even ketchup would be great for dipping.
Plan Ahead, But Up to a Point
To help the breading stick to the zucchini, you’ll need to rest them in the fridge for at least 15 minutes, but you could extend that up to 3 hours.
Once fried, I cannot lie, they are best hot right out of the skillet—don’t burn your mouth! That said, they will still be tasty after 2 to 3 hours. After that, they won’t be quite as crunchy. Reheat them for about 10 minutes in a 400ºF oven.
Have an Abundance of Zucchini?
- Zucchini Fritters
- Easy Sautéed Zucchini
- Zucchini and Spinach Gratin
- Sautéed Zucchini with Gruyere
- Zucchini Noodle Casserole
Cut the zucchini into rounds:
Place the zucchini on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to trim the ends off. Slice the zucchini into 1/2-inch rounds.
Prepare the breading station:
In a shallow bowl or pie pan, stir together the flour, salt, and black pepper. In a separate shallow bowl or pie pan, whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are combined. In a third shallow bowl or pie pan, stir the Panko and Parmesan together. This will be your assembly line to bread the zucchini.
Bread and refrigerate the zucchini:
Working with 4 to 5 rounds at a time, use your hands or a fork to coat them in flour, shaking off the excess. Then, dip them into the egg, allowing excess to drip off. Finally, evenly dredge them in the breadcrumbs. Transfer the breaded zucchini onto a baking sheet or large plate and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. This will allow the breadcrumbs to really stick to the zucchini.
Preheat the oven to 215°F.
You can keep the fried zucchini warm in the oven as you fry them in batches. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet. You’ll place the fried zucchini on it.
Fry the zucchini:
In a large (10-inch) heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat the oil to 350ºF—use a fryer or instant read thermometer. The oil should go 1/2 inch up the side of the skillet.
Fry 6 to 8 rounds at a time, making sure they aren’t too crowded in the skillet, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. They will turn deep, golden brown. The exact cook time depends on the temperature of the oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil at an even temperature.
Transfer the fried zucchini onto the prepared wire rack and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the remaining.
Transfer the fried zucchini onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and flaky sea salt, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.
Leftovers won’t stay crispy. You can refrigerate them for a couple of days, tightly covered. Reheat them for about 10 minutes in a 400ºF oven.
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