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Air Fryer Zucchini Fries

Zucchini takes on a whole new appeal when it’s transformed into crispy, golden fries in the air fryer. In this Air Fryer Zucchini Fries recipe, we introduce a healthier alternative to traditional fried food. Coated in a delectable crust of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning, these zucchini fries are crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and packed full of flavor.

Moreover, they’re quick and easy to make, perfect for a busy weeknight, a fun weekend snack, or a unique appetizer for guests. And yes, even the pickiest of eaters in your family will find themselves reaching for more.

Air Fryer Zucchini Fries with horseradish sauce.

why you will love this air fryer zucchini recipe

  • Healthier Alternative: These zucchini fries are a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional French fries. They’re low in calories, rich in vitamins, and cooked in the air fryer with minimal oil, making them a healthier choice. It’s a great addition to your healthy recipes file.
  • Crispy and Flavorful: Despite being a healthier option, there’s no compromise on the taste or texture. They’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and packed with flavor from the Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
  • Quick and Easy: This recipe is straightforward and takes just a few steps to prepare. From start to finish, you’ll have a delicious snack or side dish ready in under 45 minutes (which includes 30 minutes for the zucchini to sit on a paper towel to release their moisture).
  • Versatile: These zucchini fries are a perfect side dish for any meal, a fun addition to a party menu, or a tasty snack on their own. serve with a variety of dips, like our horseradish sauce, marinara sauce or ranch dressing, to suit different tastes.
  • Family-Friendly: Kids can be notoriously fussy eaters, especially when it comes to vegetables. But the fun shape and delicious taste of these zucchini fries are sure to win them over. It’s a sneaky way to get more vegetables into your family’s diet.
  • Customizable: This recipe is very adaptable. You can easily switch up the seasonings or the type of cheese to match your preference or dietary needs. Plus, it’s easy to make gluten-free or vegan adaptations if needed.
Zucchini Fries Ingredients.

what ingredients are in these air fryer zucchini fries

  • Zucchini: Choose firm, vibrant, dark green zucchinis, free from any cuts or blemishes. Larger zucchinis can sometimes be more fibrous and bitter, so if possible, choose two medium-sized ones to get to one pound as opposed to one very large zucchini. The zucchini will be cut into strips resembling fries.
  • Bread crumbs or panko: These are used to give the zucchini fries a crispy, golden crust. Panko breadcrumbs are larger, flakier and create a crisper, airier texture than traditional breadcrumbs, but you can use regular ones if that’s what you have on hand. For a healthier or gluten free version, you could use whole wheat bread crumbs or almond flour. Unless your breadcrumbs are already fine, we will process the breadcrumbs/panko and parmesan cheese to make them a fine cut, which will adhere to the zucchini better.
  • Eggs: You’ll need eggs to act as a binder between the zucchini and the dry ingredients (breadcrumbs, flour, and seasoning). Whisk the eggs in a bowl until the yolks and whites are completely combined.
  • Flour: The flour helps the egg wash adhere better to the zucchini. All-purpose flour should do the trick. For a gluten-free option, you can use gluten-free flour or almond flour.
  • Parmesan cheese: This adds a nice, savory flavor to the coating. Freshly grated parmesan is best for flavor and melt, but pre-grated parmesan can also be used in a pinch. For a dairy-free option, nutritional yeast can add a similar cheesy flavor. We will process the parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs to make them a fine cut, which will adhere to the zucchini better.
  • Italian seasoning: This blend of herbs adds a great flavor to the zucchini fries. Typically, it includes herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary. If you don’t have a premade mix, you can make your own with equal parts of the aforementioned dried herbs. If you want to add some heat, you can add a little bit of red pepper flakes.

for the horseradish sauce

  • Sour cream: The base of this dipping sauce, sour cream provides a creamy texture and tangy flavor that pairs well with the heat of the horseradish. You could use light or regular sour cream based on your preference. For a dairy-free or vegan option, a plant-based sour cream substitute could be used.
  • Horseradish: This is the main flavor component of the sauce. Horseradish is known for its strong, pungent, and spicy flavor. You can adjust the amount based on how spicy you want your sauce to be. Be sure to use prepared horseradish (which is grated horseradish in vinegar) rather than horseradish sauce, which is milder and has other ingredients added. If you have fresh horseradish, you can grate it yourself, but be careful as the fumes can be quite strong!
  • Lemon juice: A bit of fresh lemon juice can help brighten up the flavor of the sauce and balance the richness of the sour cream and the heat of the horseradish.
  • Salt and Pepper: These will help to season the sauce and bring out its flavors. Adjust the amount to taste.
  • Dill or chives: These are optional, but a bit of finely chopped fresh dill or chives can add a nice hint of freshness and color to your horseradish dipping sauce.

Remember, the key to a great sauce is balance, so taste as you go and adjust the flavors as needed!

draw moisture from your zucchini first

Moisture drawing from zucchini.

Zucchini is a very water-rich vegetable. It consists of about 95% water by weight. This high water content makes zucchini a low-calorie food, but it also means that it can release a lot of moisture when cooked, which is something to be mindful of in certain recipes, such as fries.

  • After you’ve cut your zucchini into the desired shape, sprinkle it with salt. The salt draws out the moisture through a process called osmosis. Spread the zucchini pieces in a single layer on a paper towel, baking sheet, or large plate and lightly sprinkle them with salt.
  • Allow the salted zucchini to rest for about 30 minutes. You’ll begin to see beads of moisture drawn out to the surface.
  • After 30 minutes, use a clean kitchen towel or paper towel to pat the zucchini dry. This removes the moisture that’s been drawn out to the surface.

This recipe avoids adding salt for various reasons, not the least of which is this ‘pre-salting’ procedure. Wiping the zucchini well with a paper towel or kitchen towel will remove most of the salt.

step-by-step air fryer zucchini fries

  1. Cut zucchini into spears, lay cut zucchini on paper towel or kitchen towel and sprinkle salt over. Let sit for 30 minutes to draw moisture out. These will help your zucchini fries get and stay crispy.
  2. While the zucchini is sitting, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a small food processor. Pulse until combined and the approximate size of large grains of sand.
  3. Whip eggs.
  4. Place 3 plates on the counter and add 1/3 of the breadcrumb mixture to one plate, all of the flour to one plate, and the whipped eggs to the third plate.
  5. Using a dry paper towel, dab all the zucchini spears to dry them.
  6. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200° C).
  7. Working in batches, dip several zucchini slices in the flour, then the egg, and finally, the breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs will get gummy after a few rounds, so add some of the reserved, dry breadcrumbs to the plate as needed.
  8. Place the coated zucchini spears on your air fryer basket or sheet which has been sprayed with oil.
  9. Space them apart to ensure airflow between the zucchini fries.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 until all zucchini spears have been coated.
  11. Bake in the preheated air fryer for 8-12 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Serve them warm with the Horseradish Sauce or your preferred sauce.
Air Fryer Zucchini Fries.

tips for success

  • Dry the Zucchini: After you’ve cut the zucchini into fry shapes, follow the directions above for drawing moisture from the zucchini. This will help them crisp up in the air fryer.
  • Don’t Skip the Breading: The combination of flour, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture not only provides flavor but also contributes to the crisping process. Make sure each zucchini piece is well-coated for the best results.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Air Fryer: Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food. If the zucchini pieces are too close together, the air can’t circulate properly, and the fries won’t become crispy. Cook in batches if necessary.
  • Shake or Turn Regularly: To ensure even cooking and crispiness, it’s a good idea to shake the basket or turn the fries halfway through the cooking time.
  • Cook at the Right Temperature: Too low, and the zucchini fries may become soggy before they can crisp up. Too high, and the outside might burn before the inside is done. A temperature of about 400°F (200°C) is usually ideal.
  • Serve Immediately: Zucchini fries are at their best when served right after cooking while they’re still warm and crispy.
  • Experiment with Spices: While the recipe calls for Italian seasoning, don’t be afraid to experiment with other seasonings to suit your taste.

Remember, every air fryer can be a bit different, so adjust the cooking time or temperature as needed.

Air Fryer Zucchini Fries with horseradish sauce.

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making ahead and storing zucchini fries

prep ahead of time

Like so many food items (maybe except for soup, stew and chili), these air fryer zucchini fries are best right out of the oven.

That being said, you can do a little prep work ahead of time by slicing your zucchini into fry shapes. You could go ahead and measure out the flour, blend the flour, spices and cheese and whip the eggs (which may need another whip before you dip the zucchini fries in them).

storing and enjoying leftovers

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

Leftovers Air Fryer Zucchini Fries can be heated up using a few different methods, but I would avoid the microwave if you want them to retain any crispiness.

The Air Fryer is a great option to reheat your zucchini fries and maintain their crispy texture. Just preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and heat the fries for 3-5 minutes or until they’re hot and crispy again. This is how we warmed up our leftover zucchini fries.

Preheat your Oven to 350°F (175°C), spread the zucchini fries in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they’re heated through and crispy.

A Toaster Oven is a handy way to reheat smaller portions of food. Just preheat to 350°F (175°C) and heat the fries for about 10 minutes or until warmed through.

We love and regularly use our Breville Smart Oven for its Air Frying, Baking, Dehydrating, Toasting, etc… In fact, it is a rare day when we turn our regular oven on.

Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator and enjoy within a few days for the best quality and safety. Ensure that leftovers are heated to at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential bacteria.

our primary oven

  • Versatile countertop oven allowing you to roast, air fry and dehydrate; Use super convection to reduce cooking time by up to 30% and choose from 13 cooking functions; Includes an interior oven light.Temperature : 80-480 °F

frequently asked questions

Can I make these zucchini fries gluten-free?

You can make these gluten-free by substituting regular flour and breadcrumbs with gluten-free versions. Almond flour and gluten-free panko crumbs are great alternatives.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

Absolutely! Replace the egg wash with a mixture of plant-based milk and a tablespoon of cornstarch or flaxseed meal to help the breadcrumbs stick. Use a vegan cheese substitute or nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan.

Do I need to peel the zucchini first?

No, in fact you should not peel the zucchini. The skin provides extra fiber and nutrients, and it also helps the fries hold their shape better during cooking.

How do I prevent the zucchini fries from getting soggy?

First and foremost, don’t skip the step of drawing the moisture out of the zucchini. Also, don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket; the fries need space for the hot air to circulate around them and crisp them up.

What should I serve with these zucchini fries?

They’re great on their own or with dips like our horseradish sauce, marinara sauce, ranch dressing, or aioli. Serve as a side dish with burgers, sandwiches, or grilled meats.

How should I store leftover zucchini fries, and how can I reheat them?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, place them back in the air fryer at 350°F for a few minutes until warmed and crispy. Avoid using the microwave to reheat, as it can make the fries soggy.

Can I use yellow squash instead of zucchini?

Technically, yes. However, zucchini has a slightly richer flavor and firmer texture when cooked, while yellow squash is slightly sweeter and has a tender, almost creamy texture when cooked. The creamy texture of yellow squash does not always make the best fries. If you want to use yellow squash, I recommend cutting it into thin rounds instead of sticks or fries.

Can I prepare the zucchini fries in advance?

Yes, you can prepare them ahead of time up to the point of cooking and then refrigerate them. Be aware that if left too long, they may become soggy due to the moisture in the zucchini. For the best results, air fry them just before serving.

Can you use a conventional oven or a convection oven instead of an air fryer to make air fryer zucchini fries?

Yes, the notes on the recipe card provide detailed instructions for making these zucchini fries in both a conventional and convection oven.

Can I make Air Fried Zucchini Chips instead?

Sure! To make air fryer zucchini chips, slice your zucchini into 1/8″ thick rounds. A mandoline makes it easy to keep your zucchini chips at a consistent thickness…just watch those fingers. I use a Cut-Resistant Glove whenever I use the Mandoline.
Then follow the rest of the directions for the Zucchini fries, including drawing out the moisture. Air Fry your Zucchini Chips for 5-6 minutes at 400 degrees.

How can you make these Zucchini Fries low carb?

Both almond flour and crushed pork rinds are low-carb alternatives to traditional bread crumbs. Almond flour has a mild, nutty taste, while crushed pork rinds will give you a flavor more similar to traditional bread crumbs. Use coconut or almond flour in place of regular flour for the initial coating. They’re both low in carbs and higher in fiber than regular flour.

Air Fryer Zucchini Fries with Horseradish Sauce.

Air Fryer Zucchini Fries

lynn
Discover our easy and delicious Air Fryer Zucchini Fries recipe! Enjoy a healthier, crispy snack packed with flavor in just minutes.
5
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 44 minutes
Course Vegetable + Salad Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 252 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • FOR ZUCCHINI FRIES
  • 1 pound fresh zucchini
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs – see note 1
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning if not using already seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour – see note 2
  • Salt
  • Oil to spray the air fryer pan Canola or Olive Oil work fine, no need for Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • FOR HORSERADISH SAUCE
  • 1 cup of sour cream reduced fat or whole milk
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup of prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

For Zucchini Fries

  • Cut the zucchini into similarly sized spears.
  • Lay several sheets of paper towel on the counter and lay the zucchini spears on the paper towels.
  • Sprinkle approximately 1 tablespoon of salt over the cut side of the zucchini and let sit for 20-30 minutes. This will draw some of the moisture out of the zucchini.
  • In the meantime, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a small food processor bowl and process until the mix is approximately the size of large grains of sand. If you already have fine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, you can skip the processing of these ingredients but still combine the three ingredients.
  • Whip eggs.
  • Place 3 plates on the counter and add 1/3 of the breadcrumb mixture to one plate, all of the flour to one plate, and the whipped eggs to the third plate.
  • Using a dry paper towel, dab all the zucchini spears to dry them.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200° C).
  • Working in batches, dip several zucchini slices in the flour, then the egg, and finally, the breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs will get gummy after a few rounds, so add some of the reserved, dry breadcrumbs to the plate as needed.
  • Place the coated zucchini spears on your air fryer basket or sheet which has been sprayed with oil. Space them apart to ensure airflow between the zucchini fries.
  • Repeat steps 7-9 until all zucchini spears have been coated.
  • Bake in the preheated air fryer for 8-12 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve them warm with the Horseradish Sauce or your preferred sauce.

For Horseradish Sauce

  • Mix sour cream, lemon juice and horseradish.
  • Taste and adjust horseradish, salt, and pepper to your liking.

Notes

The process in a Conventional Oven will be very similar, but you might not achieve the exact same level of crispiness as with an air fryer. Here's how you can do it:
  1. Preheat your oven: Set it to a relatively high temperature, such as 425°F (220°C), to help achieve a crispy texture outside the fries.
  2. Prepare the zucchini fries: Follow the same process as in the air fryer recipe – cut the zucchini into fries, draw the moisture out, then coat in flour, dip in egg, and roll in breadcrumb and seasoning mixture.
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet: Spread the prepared zucchini fries out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place them on a wire rack on the baking sheet for best results to allow heat to circulate around the fries more effectively.
  4. Bake: Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the fries are golden brown and crispy. You may need to flip them halfway through to ensure they crisp up evenly.
  5. Serve: Just like the air fryer version, serve these oven-baked zucchini fries warm with your choice of dipping sauce.
Remember, oven times and temperatures can vary, so keep an eye on the fries to ensure they don't burn.
A Convection Oven works similarly to an air fryer, circulating hot air to cook food quickly and evenly. Here's how you can use a convection oven to make zucchini fries:
  1. Preheat the Convection Oven: Preheat your convection oven to 400°F (200°C). Convection ovens are usually more efficient at distributing heat, so you can typically set the temperature about 25 degrees lower than a conventional oven.
  2. Prepare the Zucchini Fries: Cut the zucchini into fries, draw out the moisture, then dip each piece into flour, beaten eggs, and finally into a mix of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Arrange the Zucchini Fries: Spread the coated zucchini fries in a single layer on a baking tray. You don't need to leave as much space between the fries as you do with a regular oven because a convection oven circulates hot air for more even cooking.
  4. Bake the Zucchini Fries in the preheated convection oven for : Bake in the preheated convection oven for about 10-15 minutes. Check them regularly, as cooking times can vary between different ovens.
  5. Flip and Continue Cooking: Once the bottom side is golden brown, flip each of the zucchini fries and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the other side is also golden brown and crispy.
  6. Serve: Once the zucchini fries have reached your desired level of crispiness, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving them with your preferred dipping sauce.
Always watch your food when using a convection oven for the first time, as it can cook food more quickly than a traditional oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 252kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 13gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 608mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4g
Keyword air fryer, fries, zucchini
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Air Fryer Zucchini Fries on plate with horseradish sauce.

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2 Comments

  1. I made the blueberry muffins yesterday. They were perfect and delicious. I followed all your directions and am now storing them as suggested. I might try them again with lemon juice and a bit of
    lemon shavings as I make a lemon blueberry bread that I enjoy. But maybe not….

    1. Hi Astrid! I’m so glad you made and enoyed these muffins. They are delicious, aren’t they. And they store well, too. Send several frozen ones home with my daughter last weekend. And you idea to add some lemon is a great one! Let me know how it works out.

      Hugs, Lynn

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