This Air Fryer Zucchini recipe is made extra crispy, tossed with buttery seasoned breadcrumbs and plenty of parmesan cheese! It’s an easy, flavorful side dish or appetizer, ready for the table in 15 minutes or less.
Quick and Easy Air Fryer Zucchini
What did we ever do before the invention of the air fryer? Especially in the summer! This easy-peasy Air Fryer Zucchini is the definition of a summer side dish. You don’t need to turn on the oven, and this crispy, crunchy zucchini recipe highlights everything we love about this summer squash. Breaded and air fried, zucchini in the air fryer stays delectably crisp, fresh, and perfectly juicy. The addition of parmesan cheese and garlic powder mixed into the seasoning takes this easy dish over the top.
Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Zucchini Recipe
- Quick. Have the tastiest, parmesan-crusted, roasted zucchini on the table in 15 minutes or less! The air fryer makes it super easy.
- Flavor-packed. This recipe is perfect for anyone looking to add veggies to their dinner plate along with a big hit of flavor. Buttery breadcrumbs, simple seasonings, parmesan, and juicy zucchini are the best combo.
- Healthy. Air Fryer Zucchini is satisfyingly crunchy, with the added bonus of having more nutrients than your usual french fries or tater tots (plus, none of the grease).
- Versatile. This recipe is perfect with dinner, or you can serve it as an appetizer at your next pool party or backyard barbecue. It goes excellent with a side of ranch dressing or cilantro lime crema for dipping!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Zucchini
Most of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are kitchen staples! It’s a budget friendly side dish you’ll want to make over and over again. Check out the notes below, and don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts and recipe details.
- Zucchini: Make sure your zucchini is fresh by inspecting it for any soft spots or discoloration (see below).
- Olive Oil: This can be swapped for avocado oil if preferred.
- Garlic Powder: Add more or less to taste, depending on how garlicky you like your zucchini.
- Salt and Pepper
- Panko Breadcrumbs: We like to use panko as opposed to plain breadcrumbs because panko gives a better crunch after being air fried. Use what you have one hand, though.
- Parmesan Cheese: Use freshly grated parmesan cheese whenever possible. It will give the breading the best flavor and crispy consistency.
How Can You Tell if Zucchini Is Ripe?
When looking for zucchini at your local supermarket or farm stall, it’s important to spot the good ones! Ripe zucchini will be shiny and firm without any blemishes or bumps, and the color will bright green. When you slice it open, the flesh of the zucchini should be a light green, yellow, or white without any dark spots.
How to Make Zucchini in the Air Fryer
Once you have prepped your zucchini, the rest is a breeze! In only 8 minutes in the air fryer, your zucchini will be ready.
- Prepare the zucchini. While the air fryer preheats to 400ºF, chop the zucchini into 1-inch pieces. Toss the pieces in oil, then add garlic powder, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Toss everything together one last time.
- Cook. Place the seasoned zucchini into the air fryer basket. Cook for 8 minutes at 400°F. Halfway through cooking, give the air fryer basket a good shake (or stir the zucchini with a spatula).
- Enjoy! If desired, give the zucchini a fresh squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.
How Do You Crisp Zucchini in the Air Fryer?
Rule #1 for the crispiest air fryer zucchini is, don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Make sure to lay the zucchini pieces in a single layer and leave enough space for the air to circulate properly. Secondly, tossing the veggies in oil is what gives them that delicious, golden exterior when air frying, so don’t skip it! Scroll to the next section for more helpful tips for zucchini that turns out perfectly golden and crisp, every time.
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Zucchini
In addition to getting your zucchini extra crispy, there are a few other things that you can do to ensure this air fryer recipe is successful. Keep the following in mind:
- Save the crumbs. You’ll notice little crunchy pieces that fall to the bottom of your air fryer tray. Save them, and use them to sprinkle on top of your zucchini before serving. They’re so crunchy and flavorful!
- Give the air fryer basket a shake. Halfway through cooking, give your air fryer a shake or stir the zucchini chunks around with a spatula. This helps the zucchini cook evenly.
- Cut the zucchini into similar sized pieces. If all of the zucchini is cut into the same sized chunks, they’ll cook evenly in the air fryer.
- If you double it, work in batches. Doubling this recipe is easy to do! Just be sure to work in batches, that way you don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket.
- Use freshly grated parmesan. When you buy a bag of shredded parmesan, it has anti-caking powder on it that messes up the consistency of the breading. Get the best flavor and consistency by grating the parmesan cheese yourself, or see if your local deli sells containers of fresh parmesan.
These air fryer zucchini are perfect just as they are in our opinion, but here are a few fun twists:
- Spice it up. Skip the salt and pepper and use some Cajun Seasoning for a little added mild cajun twist. However, if you want them spicy, add some crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha.
- Add lemon. A good squeeze of fresh lemon juice is always delicious on zucchini. We add the lemon before cooking, but it can also be added after.
- Skip the breadcrumbs. If you need to be low carb, just skip the bread crumbs! You could also substitute the bread crumbs with some almond flour. It’s not exactly the same as bread crumbs, but it does work!
Air Fryer Zucchini makes a perfect side dish, or even an excellent appetizer, or healthy snack. If you do decide to serve it as a side dish, here are just a few entrees we can recommend:
- Chicken. This vegetable side pairs great with easy chicken dinner ideas like lemon pepper chicken and easy chicken parmesan.
- Pork. Pan fried pork chops are quick, easy, and perfect for weeknights. Plus, you can whip them together on the stovetop while your zucchini cooks in the air fryer!
- Seafood. If you love seafood in the summertime, give this grilled shrimp a try, or make crispy tuna patties.
- Appetizers. Make crispy air fryer zucchini as a healthy party snack, served with homemade ranch dip and more easy appetizers like garlic bread and savory crockpot meatballs.
- Salads. Toss these crispy zucchini bites over a fresh strawberry and spinach salad or an orzo salad with arugula. They’re like a healthy alternative to croutons!
How To Store Leftover Zucchini
- Fridge. Keep in mind that this recipe is best enjoyed immediately, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days.
- Reheat. To reheat your air fryer zucchini, pop it right back into the air fryer. Avoid the microwave, as it’ll just end up zapping the crunchy consistency right out of the leftover zucchini.
- Freeze. We don’t recommend freezing any leftovers of this zucchini. The breadcrumbs/parmesan combo will become very soggy once thawed and never crisp up again.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes
- Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Southern Green Beans with Bacon
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Skillet Fried Corn
Crispy Air Fryer Zucchini
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
- Slice the ends off of the zucchini and slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Then slice each half in half again. Slice the zucchini spears into 1 inch pieces.
- Place zucchini pieces in a medium size bowl. Pour olive oil on top of the zucchini and toss to coat.
- Then add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and parmesans cheese. Toss everything together one last time.
- Place zucchini in the air fryer basket. Cook for 8 minutes at 400°F. Halfway through cooking, give the air fryer basket a good shake (or stir the zucchini with a spatula).
- Serve immediately.
- Fridge: Keep in mind that this recipe is best enjoyed immediately, but leftovers can be stored for later. If stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge, this zucchini will stay fresh for about 3 days.
- Reheat: To reheat it, pop it right back into the air fryer. Avoid the microwave, as it’ll just end up zapping the crunchy consistency right out of the leftover zucchini.
- Freeze: We don't recommend freezing any leftovers of this zucchini. The breadcrumbs/parmesan combo will become very soggy once thawed and never crisp up again.