Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable and we love to add it to all sorts of recipes. These are some of our favorites way to prepare zucchini to share with the kids—including cookies, smoothies, muffins, pancakes, and more!
I am not quite sure what happened, but our latest garden has had a zucchini explosion. Which is only a problem if you don’t know what to do with it! To help—and also because zucchini can be a great veggie for kids since it’s so versatile—I have all of my best zucchini recipes in one place for you.
But first, some tips.
Tips for Choosing Zucchini
There’s really nothing too specific about choosing a zucchini, though generally speaking, smaller ones may have more flavor and smaller seeds. Look for ones without brown spots and try all sorts of varieties–traditional ones and also the varieties similar to the one shown here that has a more variegated coloring.
Also: Yellow summer squash is pretty interchangeable with zucchini in recipes.
How to Grate Zucchini
To grate zucchini for a recipe, you’ll want to:
- Wash and dry it.
- Trim off the ends.
- Grate it on a box grater.
- Typically, you’ll want to squeeze out the liquid with your hands until the grated zucchini is as dry as possible. (Sometimes, you may want to dry it farther by rolling it up in a clean towel.)
TIP: You can freeze grated zucchini for future use. Once you squeeze it dry, place it in 1 cup portions (or in the amount you plan to use in the future—1 cup is fairly standard for baking) into a small freezer bag. Press flat, remove as much air as possible, and freeze for up to one year.
Sweet Zucchini Recipes
Below are some of our go-to sweet recipes to make with zucchini. You’ll find cookies, muffins, pancakes, and more to try with your kids.
These healthy little soft-baked cookies are a yummy treat or snack to share. Rolling the shredded zucchini in a towel helps ensure that the excess moisture is absorbed—and doesn’t wind up in the batter.
These muffins make for a delicious breakfast, snack, or lunchtime component. This recipe was updated June 2019 to improve the texture and streamline the ingredients.
My youngest eater eats these pancakes plain and my girls dip them in either maple syrup or peanut butter—they are very versatile! (Recipe updated May 2021)
I prefer to grate my own carrots to ensure that the texture is finer and isn’t very noticeable in the baked muffins. See the Notes for allergy substitutions.
Texture-wise, this tastes like a cross between baked oatmeal and banana bread. We like it for breakfast or as a snack.
I like to make half of the batch with mini chocolate chips and half without so I have options. They’re still sweet enough for little ones without the chocolate though!
This is a nutritious smoothie to serve any day, though it’s a great way to get that digestive system going if needed.
Savory Zucchini Recipes
Zucchini in all forms is my motto—and it’s so yummy roasted, added to burgers and egg cups, and incorporated into fritters.
Here are our favorite savory zucchini recipes.
Try this easy side dish for family dinner, or make a batch ahead and use it to add an easy veggie to lunches throughout the week.
Stretch your ground beef and add a veggie right into moist burger patties with this simple family dinner recipe.
Feel free to double the recipe to make a full 24 mini muffins! We like to stash these in the fridge to eat all week, so having more is usually helpful in our house.
This recipe makes enough for two meals. You can cut it in half if desired, but I like to make the larger batch and keep on in the freezer for a future meal—it’s the same amount of cooking effort, so why not!
Best Tips for Cooking with Zucchini
- When roasting or sauteing zucchini, try not to overcook it—because overcooked zucchini turns to mush.
- If grating zucchini for baking, be sure to squeeze it super dry. You can roll it up in a clean kitchen towel to dry it even more.
- Yellow summer squash and zucchini are pretty interchangeable with standard green zucchini.
- Heirloom and variegated styles of zucchini are often more flavorful than the standard variety. Try them if you see them at your farmer’s market or grocery store!
- You may also like my Master List of Vegetables for Kids, my favorite Vegetarian Meals, and these Yellow Squash Muffins.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post and any other zucchini recipes you love!