I’m not a big fan of deep-frying; in fact, I seldom deep-fry anything if I can use the oven instead.
I’m usually not too keen on getting oil splatters all over my kitchen, or having my apartment smell like the latest burger joint on the block.
However, I do allow exceptions every now and then…
Very rarely, when I’m in the mood for that kind of food – such as homemade French fries – I give in. Since meals like this are hardly ever cooked in my kitchen, it feels like a luxury on the occasions that I do.
And this time, I’m going to teach you how to make deep-fried zucchini fries, an appetizer that is totally worth the oil splatters and burger-joint smell… though we do have some natural remedies to freshen the air!
Crispy and beautifully golden on the outside, yet tender and juicy on the inside, these make an amazing appetizer to serve to guests when they are over.
They’re healthier than French fries – because zucchini is lower in carbohydrates and has more fiber than potatoes – yet they taste just as good, and feel just as luxurious.
They’re also fairly simple to make.
Start off by cutting this summery squash into slices, then dip them in beaten egg, and coat them in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and salt.
All that’s left to do is to deep-fry them until they turn a gorgeous golden color on the outside. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce. It’s best with a homemade garlic aioli, or a spicy hot Sriracha sauce, my personal favorite!
Hungry now? Let’s head right to the recipe!
- 3 medium zucchini
- 1 3/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- vegetable oil for frying
- Cut the zucchini into 3-inch by 1/2-inch strips.
- In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the cheese, breadcrumbs, and salt.
- Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
- Working in batches of around 4 to 5 zucchini sticks, dip them in the beaten eggs and coat them completely, letting any excess egg drip back into the bowl.
- Roll the egg-coated sticks in the Panko mixture, patting well to ensure they are completely covered.
- Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
- Pour enough oil into a large frying pan so that the oil is at least 2-inches deep. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot.
- Add the zucchini sticks to the hot oil in batches, making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Fry them until they turn golden, approximately 3 minutes.
- Transfer the zucchini fries to a large plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels to get rid of any excess oil. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Get Your Mise en Place Ready
Set out the vegetables, eggs, and oil. Measure the amount of grated Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs, and salt.
Step 2 – Cut the Veggies
Wash and cut the squash into strips that measure 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide. Use a sharp chef’s knife and sturdy cutting board to get the best results!
Step 3 – Set up the Dredging Stations
Combine the grated Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix the ingredients well until they are evenly distributed.
In another bowl, beat the eggs well.
Step 4 – Dip and Coat
Working in batches of 4 or 5 sticks each, coat the sticks well in the beaten eggs. Allow any excess egg to drip back into the bowl. The goal is simply to coat the sticks – too much egg is not necessary.
Once the sticks are dipped, coat them in the panko mixture. Pat them very well on all sides until they are completely covered in breadcrumbs. Arrange them in a single layer on a large plate or baking sheet pan.
Step 5 – Fry
Pour enough vegetable oil in a large frying pan so it reaches at least 2 inches deep. Heat using a medium-high setting.
To test if the oil is hot enough, throw in one stick. If it starts sizzling, the temperature is perfect. If not, wait a little longer, and repeat the test until it is hot enough.
Deep-fry the vegetable sticks in batches until they are golden, for around 3 minutes.
Using a frying pan is a great method, but you might also want to consider purchasing your own deep fryer! What a good excuse for making hot, crispy food – all the time!
Remove, and let them sit on a large plate or baking sheet pan lined with paper towels until they are fully drained of any excess oil.
Serve and enjoy.
A Crispy and Delicious Vegetarian Appetizer
If you’re a fan of crispy appetizers, I know you’ll definitely enjoy these deep-fried zucchini.
They are cooked to a golden, crispy perfection on the outside, while still retaining their tenderness on the inside.
Super simple to make, these are great for serving when you have guests over.
And you might want to try even more crunchy recipes:
- Green Bean Fries
- Zucchini Chips with Citrus Sauce
- Batter-Dipped Avocado Fries
- Oven Fries with Green Dressing and Gruyere
- Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
What else are you doing to eat up all that summer zucchini bounty? Let us know in the comments below!
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Photos by Felicia Lim, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Felicia Lim
Felicia Lim is a Singaporean who moved to Argentina for love. Based in Buenos Aires, also known as “the Paris of South America,” she fills her days with freelance writing, recipe development, and food photography – three passions that give her endless joy. When she isn’t typing away at her computer, cooking in the kitchen, or shooting in her balcony-studio, you can probably find her curled up on the couch, lost in the pages of a good book.
6 thoughts on “Crispy and Delicious Deep-Fried Zucchini Fries”
Why do people have to read and read? That is so annoying. I hate it. And everyone does. And they probably won’t anymore. Show the recipe first. It isn’t even any good because everyone doesn’t use panko. Can’t afford it.
Thanks for your feedback, Connie. We like to provide detailed instructions and background in our articles – feel free to skip ahead if you want to get straight to the recipe! We used to include a button to jump directly to the recipe box, and may consider doing this again in the future.
As for the panko, I hear ya. The last time I bought it, I purchased mine in bulk for an affordable price at Costco, and you can store the extra packages in the freezer to extend their shelf life. Feel free to use regular store bought or homemade breadcrumbs instead to make this recipe, just keep in mind that the texture won’t be exactly the same. You might also enjoy this recipe for zucchini fries.
What a lovely manner of replying. And, to be fair, your title did state “The Best zuccini fries.” Nice photos. I will try it. Thank you ????
Make your own “Panko” by grating dried bread over the large side of your food grater. It may not be PANKO, but it’s a great economical substitute.
I love fried zucchini. It’s summer time and I have a lot of zucchini – can I prepare and then freeze? Hope you can help with this.
Freezing isn’t recommended, Patti. After frying, they will lose their texture.
Instead, some of my favorite freezer-friendly things to do with extra zucchini are to make a soup or quick bread, let it cool, and then freeze in individual portions. See our collection of zucchini recipes for more suggestions.