Air fried zucchini is tender, flavorful, and comes together in minutes. You are going to love the cheesy, oniony, garlicky coating! Meet your new favorite side dish.
This vegan spin on parmesan air fryer zucchini is easy to make and totally addictive! You're going to be obsessed with this air fried zucchini.
How to cut the zucchini pieces
Cutting your zucchini to the right size is critical. You want them to be a pretty uniform size and shape, so they will cook evenly.
This is very easy to do. Start by removing the ends of your zucchini, and toss them into the compost. Then, dice them into ½" pieces
I like to do this by slicing the zucchini in half lengthwise. You start with two zucchini, so now you have four half moon-shaped pieces.
Next, slice each of those half moons in half lengthwise again. You'll now have eight long spears. If your zucchini is large, cut the wide end of the half-moon pieces into thirds instead of halves.
Now, cut those spears into ½" pieces, and you'll end up with nice, uniform chunks of zucchini.
Seasoning your zucchini
The coating technique for this air fried zucchini recipe is based on my air fryer tofu. It uses corn starch to bind the flavorful coating to the zucchini.
The resulting zucchini isn't meant to be crunchy. It is tender, lightly crisp, and thoroughly coated in addictively cheesy, garlicky, oniony goodness.
For this recipe, you'll season your corn starch with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Then, toss the zucchini pieces in that mixture.
Next, add nutritional yeast, salt, and olive oil to the bowl. This is going to bring the cheesy flavor. The oil also helps the nutritional yeast stick to the pieces. If you don't want to use oil, aquafaba will help the coating stick to the pieces instead.
Stir the mixture until the zucchini is well coated in the nutritional yeast. It's fine if some of the nutritional yeast doesn't stick -- just do your best.
Air fry or bake
You can cook your zucchini in the air fryer or in the oven. I like to air fry them, because it's faster and crispier, but feel free to do what feels best to you!
To air fry, just transfer the coated zucchini to the air fryer basket. It's ok if some pieces are touching or even overlapping a little bit, but try to spread them out as much as possible. Air fry for 10-15 minutes, and eat!
If you want to bake these, just line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, arrange the zucchini fries in a single layer on the paper. Bake for 20-28 minutes. There is no need to flip these, so don't worry about that!
How to serve, store, & reheat
You can eat these plain, but I love them with a good dipping sauce, too! Here are some suggestions to try:
- garlic cashew cream sauce
- vegan ranch
- vegan sriracha mayo (whisk sriracha sauce, to taste, into vegan mayo)
- tomato sauce
These will keep for about three days in an airtight container.
To reheat, air fry at 350° F for five to seven minutes or bake at 350° F for 10-15 minutes. I do not recommend reheating these in the microwave, because they will be soggy.
Frequently asked questions
Air frying is a great way to cook zucchini without it getting soggy! Because your air fryer basket has holes in the bottom, it allows the moisture that zucchini releases during cooking to drain away, which prevents sogginess.
You can use the cooking time for air fried zucchini to cook other summer squash, as well. If you cut your squash to a ½" dice, you can air fry it at 360° F for 10-15 minutes.
Winter squash is a harder veggie, so it needs a bit longer and a higher temperature. Check out my recipe for air fryer butternut squash for the details on how to prepare and cook winter squash in the air fryer.
You can do this, if you like, but I prefer to skip this step, since it adds a lot of time and sodium to the recipe.
Salting zucchini helps it release some of the moisture and can help breading stick. Air fried zucchini isn't soggy, though, even without salting, and the corn starch does a great job of making the coating stick without having to salt it.
No need, unless you are using a full-sized air fryer oven.
Countertop air fryers preheat so quickly that it doesn't make a difference in recipes like this. It's much easier to just tack a few minutes onto the end of cooking, if needed, to get that crisp coating you want.
Vegan air fried zucchini recipe
- 2 small zucchini diced into ½" pieces
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or aquafaba, see note
- If you're baking, preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Transfer the diced zucchini to a large bowl
- In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Pour the cornstarch mixture into the large bowl of zucchini. Toss to coat well.
- Add the nutritional yeast, salt, and olive oil to the bowl. Use a spoon toss the zucchini pieces until they're well coated in the nutritional yeast. It's fine if some of the nutritional yeast is still at the bottom of the bowl, just do your best.
- To air fry: Transfer the zucchini to your air fryer basket. Spread it out as much as possible, though overlap is okay. Air fry at 370F for 10-15 minutes, shaking every 3-4 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but not mushy. Serve immediately.
- To bake: Arrange the breaded zucchini in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-28 minutes, checking in a few times during the last 8 minutes. Your zucchini is done when the pieces are tender but not mushy. Serve immediately.
- Remove the ends of your zucchini.
- Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise. You start with two zucchini, so now you have four half moon-shaped pieces.
- Slice each of those half moons in half lengthwise again. You'll now have eight long spears. If your zucchini is large, cut the wide end of the half-moon pieces into thirds instead of halves.
- Cut those spears into ½" pieces, and you'll end up with nice, uniform chunks of zucchini.