Crispy Parmesan Air Fryer Zucchini

Air Fryer Zucchini made extra crispy with seasoned breadcrumbs and lots of parmesan cheese is about to become your new favorite easy side dish! It’s ready in less than 15 minutes and made with only 5 budget friendly ingredients.

Quick and Easy Air Fryer Zucchini

What did we ever do before the invention of the air fryer? Oh, that’s right – we burned ourselves with hot oil or sweat over a hot oven! Plugging in the air fryer as often as we do has become more than habitual, it’s become part of our everyday routines. In these hot summer months, why not try to stay away from heat as much as we can?!

This easy-peasy Air Fryer Zucchini is the definition of a summer side dish. It really highlights everything we love about zucchini! When breaded and air fried, the zucchini remains crisp, fresh, and perfectly juicy. It’s also made savory by the addition of parmesan cheese and garlic powder that get mixed with the panko breadcrumbs.

This recipe is perfect for anyone looking to add veggies to their dinner plate without sacrificing flavor! While it’s got quite a few more nutrients than your usual french fries or tater tots, Air Fryer Zucchini still lends quite a satisfying fried crunch with plenty of flavor and none of the grease. You can also serve it as an appetizer at your next pool party or backyard barbecue with some ranch or Cilantro Lime Crema as a dip!

Sliced zucchini on a marble cutting board with bowls of oil and seasonings.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Zucchini

Most of these ingredients are kitchen stables, making this a budget friendly side dish:

  • Zucchini – Make sure your zucchini is fresh by inspecting it for any soft spots. If your zucchini is soft in any areas, it’s likely past ripe. 
  • Olive Oil – This can be swapped for avocado oil if preferred. 
  • Garlic Powder – Add more or less of this seasoning depending on how garlicky you want your zucchini to taste. 
  • Salt – Be careful not to add too much salt! If you overdo it, the salt will overpower the other ingredients. 
  • Pepper – Freshly cracked black pepper gives the best flavor.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – We like to use panko as opposed to plain breadcrumbs because panko gives a better crunch after being air fried. 
  • Parmesan Cheese – If at all possible, try to use freshly grated parmesan cheese. It will give the breading the best flavor and consistency. 

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.

  1. Preheat. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. 
  2. Slice the zucchini into chunks. 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. 
  3. Toss the zucchini in oil. Place zucchini pieces in a medium size bowl. Pour olive oil on top of the zucchini and toss to coat. 
  4. Add the remaining ingredients. Then add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Toss everything together one last time. 
  5. Cook the zucchini. 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). 
  6. Enjoy! If desired, give the zucchini a fresh squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.

Tips for the Best Air Fryer Zucchini

  • 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 it a shake or stir. 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. 

Recipe Variations

These air fryer zucchini are perfect just as they are in our opinion, but here are a few fun twists:

  • Spice Them 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!

How To Store Leftover Zucchini

  • 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.

Serving Suggestions 

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 it pairs perfectly with! 

Yield: 4

Crispy Parmesan Air Fryer Zucchini

A fork picking up a bite of zucchini off a plate of zucchini.

This quick and easy Air Fryer Zucchini is made extra crispy with seasoned breadcrumbs and lots of parmesan cheese. It's ready in less than 15 minutes and made with only 5 budget friendly ingredients.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Place zucchini pieces in a medium size bowl. Pour olive oil on top of the zucchini and toss to coat. 
  4. Then add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and parmesans cheese. Toss everything together one last time. 
  5. 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). 
  6. Serve immediately. 

Notes

Storage:

  • 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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 84Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 369mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

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