Zucchini cakes are a favorite family side that goes along great with any meal. This zucchini cake recipe is absolutely perfect to make for your next summer party.

Fried zucchini fritters on a teal plate with sliced lemons.

Perhaps you go by zucchini fritters; maybe you call them zucchini cakes as I do. Either way, it’s the perfect way to incorporate vegetables into any meal.

With my garden producing more zucchinis than we know what to do with, I have been making everything I can with them. I actually tried boiling zucchinis, which turned out pretty well, but these fried cakes are so much better!

This recipe uses only fresh ingredients and requires no baking. It can also be made gluten-free, as found in the ‘Tips’ section below.

Homemade zucchini cakes cooling on a plate.

How to make zucchini cakes

These little cakes are fried in oil and are served most commonly as a side dish, or they make a great snack.

1. Shred the zucchini

Begin by shredding the zucchini and pressing out the liquid, so the cakes do not get soggy. You don’t have to go overboard squeezing out the liquid; just do the best you can.

As far as shredding zucchini goes, a basic box grater works just fine. I’ve had people ask if you should peel the zucchini first, and I would say no. the peel offers great color as well as a much-appreciated texture.

Once the zucchini is shredded and drained, the rest is pretty straightforward.

2. Combine the ingredients

Add a beaten egg to a mixing bowl, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest (because you can never have enough lemon), salt, and pepper.

Stir the ingredients with the zucchini until it resembles a pancake batter with shredded zucchini.

Golden brown fried zucchini cakes with a sliced lemon for drizzling.

3. Fry the zucchini cakes

Heat a little oil up in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Shape the batter into little patties and fry for about 3 minutes per side.

I try not to flip them more than one time. As soon as it’s golden brown, flip it over and cook the other side.

Set the fried zucchini cakes on a paper towel to absorb any excess cooking oil and serve immediately.

Stack of zucchini fritters drizzled with panko breadcrumbs.

Serving the cakes

While I personally enjoy these with a side of nothing, everyone else in the world finds that zucchini cakes are great dipped in sour cream, plain yogurt, applesauce, or ranch dressing.

While they will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, they are best consumed immediately.

why you’ll love this zucchini cake recipe

You won’t find any artificial flavors or preservatives in this zucchini cake recipe. They’re also low in calories and fat but, at the same time, rather filling, making them a great light meal replacement.

Zucchini is also super easy to grow and stores very well. Fresh zucchini usually lasts around 2-3 weeks, after which the skin will start to shrivel up.

A plate of fried zucchini cakes with panko breadcrumbs.

What goes well with zucchini cakes

Tips

  • Squeeze the excess water out of the zucchini. Zucchini has a high concentration of water which will become very apparent if you don’t get it out before cooking.
  • Heat and oil are your friends. We are looking for a crispy golden crust before flipping. If you flip it too early, you miss out on that golden opportunity!
  • Make these fried zucchini cakes gluten-free by substituting breadcrumbs for arrowroot powder.
  • Use plenty of salt. Without any scientific evidence to back this up, I believe the salt actually helps the crust to develop into a thick, crispy crust. Or maybe it just helps pull out any extra moisture? Either way, don’t forget the salt!
Tall stack of zucchini pancakes.

Vegetable based sides

The best way I’ve found to enjoy vegetables is to cook them into a side dish. Here are some of my favorites.

Wrapping up

Zucchini cakes (or zucchini pancakes or zucchini fritters) make a tasty snack, appetizer, side dish, or possibly a light lunch, depending on your appetite.

After you try this zucchini cake recipe, I would love for you to leave a review below!

Golden brown fried zucchini cakes with a sliced lemon for drizzling.

Fried Zucchini Cakes

Laura Ascher
Fried zucchini cakes are the absolutely ideal snack, side dish, or appetizer for your next summer meal.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Course Appetizers
Servings 6
Calories 76 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • The juice from half a lemon about 1 tbsp
  • The zest of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Shred zucchini using a box grater.
  • Squeeze out as much liquid as possible using your hands. Alternatively, you can ring out the water using a clean towel.
  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil.
  • Form the zucchini mixture into small patties before adding to the skillet—Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Notes

  • Squeeze the excess water out of the zucchini. Zucchini has a high concentration of water which will become very apparent if you don't get it out before cooking.
  • Heat and oil are your friends. We are looking for a crispy golden crust before flipping. If you flip it too early, you miss out on that golden opportunity!
  • Make these fried zucchini cakes gluten-free by substituting breadcrumbs for arrowroot powder.
  • Use plenty of salt. Without any scientific evidence to back this up, I believe the salt actually helps the crust to develop into a thick, crispy crust. Or maybe it just helps pull out any extra moisture? Either way, don't forget the salt!
  • Nutrition

    Serving: 1ozCalories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 176mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6g
    Tried this recipe?Mention @castironskilletcooking on Instagram
    This website provides approximate nutrition information based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands, measuring methods and portion sizes per household. We recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer.

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