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Air Fried Zucchini Fries

Air Fried Zucchini Fries are a deliciously healthy twist on your everyday potato fries! Wedges of fresh zucchini, coated in a light crispy crunchy breading flavored with a Parmesan and Garlic seasoning. They come together in minutes then ‘fried’ until golden brown. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce or as a side dish to any meal. Who says comfort food can’t be healthy?!

If you’re thinking about making them as an appetizer, they’d pair well on a platter with BBQ Chicken Potato Skins and these cheesy bacon jalapeno poppers. This sounds like an appetizing array of finger foods to me!

stacked fries on a plate next to sauces

More and more people are trying to find ways of creating healthier alternatives to their favorite comfort food. These zucchini fries do exactly what they’ve set out to do which results in a breaded crispy exterior, with a deep-fried feel. This fried zucchini does not miss a beat!

They’re a low-carb alternative to french fries, with almost a deep-fried pickle feel because they still give you the crunchy texture we all crave on occasion! Fried zucchini can be made to suit different dietary needs. They can become Keto friendly by using almond flour with a parmesan-only crust. You can also make them gluten-free also by using almond flour but then using pork rinds, or gluten-free bread crumbs instead of Panko.

There’s a reason they’re so popular, there is something for everyone!

When Zucchini is in season the Farmer’s Markets will have tons of them! This recipe is the final installment in my contribution to Farmer’s Market Week. Be sure and scroll down to the bottom to see all the other food writers’ ideas for using the fresh bounty available!

air fryer zucchini next to an air fryer

If you’ve got leftover zucchinis and you’re looking for different ways to use them up, or you’re looking to feed a crowd with something quick and easy, whip up a batch of these and watch how quickly they disappear. They work just as well as a side dish to the main course.

Have a tray of air fryer zucchini fries ready after school for the kids. Have a few dips ready on the side like ketchup, ranch, or garlic aioli! They’ll love the crunchy coating and the parmesan seasoning and dunking before every bite. They might not even remember they’re eating a zucchini!

Panko bread crumbs are the go to choice for these fries, because of how much lighter and crispier they were over the regular bread crumbs when testing them out. Not to worry, if regular is what you have in a pinch, they’ll be fine. If you’re heading out to the grocery store though, pick up some Panko. It’s worth it!

With all the variations of zucchini squash available you can make zucchini sticks, zucchini fries, or zucchini chips depending on what kind you buy. All of them end up with a nice breaded exterior that comes out crispy while having a firm, but flavorful and moist inside.

All about zucchini

Zucchini is a summer squash and believe it or not, it’s technically a fruit since it has seeds. Because it’s used as a vegetable, this might come as a surprise to you.

It’s often referred to in the grocery stores as Italian squash, courgette, or summer squash. Looking at it on the inside, depending on the type, they’re sometimes mistaken for cucumbers. Although, you don’t usually cook a cucumber, nor do you usually eat zucchini raw!

Zucchini contains a lot of water and has a mild flavor that is slightly sweet. Air frying highlights its natural sweetness.

Why air fried zucchini is the best

Air fried zucchini is the easiest and less messy way to “fry” them. While you do need a little oil to help them get to the golden brown color, it’s way less oily than deep frying. This means no grease splatter which makes clean up a breeze. Just use a paper towel to remove the crumbs and place the air fryer into the dishwasher. 

Zucchini options at the grocery store:

When at the market you will find all sorts of sizes and shapes available. 

  • Italian Squash – Probably the most commonly used in home kitchens, they are long, green, and wide enough to make fries and sticks with (what is pictured in this post).
  • Crookneck – Use this one for grating and making like hash browns
  • Patapan– Works for chips. Another healthy snack idea!
  • Yellow squash – This one has varying looks so you’ll have to make chips, grate it or cut to fries depending on what its shape is.
ingredients for air fryer zucchini

Ingredients

  • Zucchini Squash – For this recipe, you’ll want to look for Italian squash specifically. It’s the right shape for cutting wedges for fries. If you don’t find any, you may just need to slice them into chips.
  • Eggs – Used to help the bread crumbs and Parmesan stick to the zucchini.
  • Flour – This is what helps the egg stick to the flour. It’s a system!
  • Garlic Salt – Gives a lovely garlicky flavor to a generally mild zucchini. (you can sub italian seasoning too!)
  • Parmesan Cheese – Adds texture, flavor, and a little added saltiness.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs – Light, crispy, and the perfect crunchy coating. Again, if you can only get your hands on regular breadcrumbs, go ahead and use them.
  • Oil Spray – Always a good idea to use with an air fryer to avoid sticking.

Tips for making these air fried zucchini sticks:

  • Whatever zucchini you decide to use, make sure to cut them in similar sizes so they cook evenly.
  • In this recipe I cut them to 1/2 inch sticks in thickness, if you cut them smaller or use smaller zucchini, the time will be different.
  • You don’t have to peel the zucchini. The skin cooks up well and in the case of the french fry shape actually helps keep it more firm to hold its shape. 
  • Spray the bottom of the air fryer before placing the fries into the air fryer to avoid sticking. 
  • Also, if you are cooking in multiple batches you’ll want to spray again in between batches. 
  • Be sure and leave a little room between the fries so the air can circulate all around. If they are too close, the breading will “steam “ more and not be as crunchy. 
  • You can prepare the dipping station and make all of them ahead of time to save time at mealtime or for your party. Store them in the fridge on a tray until it’s time to use them.
  • Season the Panko with the seasoning salts so it has even more flavor than just the parmesan cheese. 
  • All air fryers are slightly different, do a quick test with a few pieces to verify the cook time is optimal for the size and shape you have.

How to air fry zucchini

Air frying zucchini is as easy as coating them in flour, dipping in the egg wash, and then dredging them into the crumb coating. Don’t skip the flour step as it will help the egg wash to stick to the zucchini so you have an even crunchy coating.

Preheat the oven to 390° or 400° depending on your machine. Then spray with cooking spray to avoid sticking.

Place the zucchini in an even layer with space in between. Air fry for 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

I’ve tested this recipe on the Nuwave Air Fryer, NuWave Air Fryer, and a Phillips Air Fryer because all Air Fryers are a little different. You may need to adjust the time settings slightly depending on your Air Fryer brand and the size of the vegetable you are cooking. 

serving tray of stacked zucchini fries next to dipping sauces

Common Questions:

How do I adapt these to Keto-friendly?

Instead of using regular all-purpose flour sub in almond flour. You’ll also want to eliminate the Panko and just dip them into the Parmesan cheese. (Tip: you’ll need a little extra Parmesan).

How do I make gluten-free zucchini chips for guests that are GF?

You can purchase pork rinds and crumble them to create a fine crumb. Use those in place of the panko bread crumbs.

You could also try gluten-free bread crumbs, however, the texture may be similar to using regular breadcrumbs. You can also use pork rinds, they are quite popular for a GF option.

Do I have to use an oil spray on the zucchini for it to be crispy? 

While I do recommend an amount of oil for potatoes this recipe does not need oil except to coat the bottom of your air fryer. The parmesan cheese and Panko brown and get crispy at the high temperature no problem.

More Zucchini Recipes to make with your bounty!

More air fryer side dish and appetizer recipes you might enjoy

Hashtag any recipes you make from West Via Midwest #westviamidwestrecipes or tag me @michele_westviamidwest on Instagram to be featured on our stories!  

horizonal tray of zucchini fries
Yield: 6

Air Fried Zucchini Fries

tray with stacked parmesan zucchini sticks

These Air Fryer Zucchini sticks are crispy and crunchy with no oil whatsoever. Made in about 30 minutes for a whole batch, great for appetizers for game day or as a burger side dish.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Zucchini Squash
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Instructions

  1. Cut off the ends of the zucchini squash. You do not need to peel them. You need the zucchini to be about 1/2 inch in diameter, if they are smaller they will still work, but the cook time and amount would be different
  2. Then Cut the long zucchini piece in half the long way, then cut those pieces down to shorter looking fries. Then cut each of those in half again lengthwise. You will now have 8 pieces. Cut those pieces in half again. Giving you 16 pieces from each squash. (See the final look in the recipe photo)
  3. Place the eggs in one bowl. Use a fork to mix them well.
  4. Add the flour to a second bowl.
  5. Into a 3rd bowl add the parmesan, garlic salt, and panko bread crumbs and mix well.
  6. Preheat the air fryer to 390°
  7. Dredge the zucchini first into the flour, then the egg, then the panko- parmesan. Place all the dipped zucchini on a plate until the air fryer is hot.
  8. Once the air fryer is hot spray the bottom of the fryer with olive oil spray then place the zucchini with space in between. If you have a shelf, you can have them in two layers, but make sure there is one inch in between so there is room for the air to circulate and help brown.
  9. Close the lid and cook for 6 - 8 minutes until they are golden brown and hot throughout. Serve immediately. Great with ketchup, ranch dressing on their own!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 571mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure and tag us on Instagram (@michele_westviamidwest) to be featured in our stories or our weekly newsletter! We love it when you make our recipes and share the love!

Here’s more Farmer’s Market Week Recipes

Breakfast Recipes

Starters and Sauce Recipes

Side Dishes Recipes

Main Dish Recipes

Dessert Recipes

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Jeff

Monday 9th of August 2021

I really like this air fryer recipe, so much easier than deep frying.

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