This easy recipe for zucchini fritters is a perfect low calorie side. They are quick and easy, plus they are great for making ahead. Veggie cakes of any kind make a tasty light lunch and it is a delicious way to get more vegetables into your diet.
Top with an egg for a nutritious and filling breakfast, serve as a side with your favorite chicken recipe or these Baked Chicken Meatballs. They are just the right size for little hands and for tucking into lunchboxes.
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Easy zucchini fritter recipe
Have you made fritters out of vegetables before? Any kind of fritter or veggie cake is really easy if you follow a few simple rules.
I wrote an entire post on How to Make Veggie Cakes to give you simple tricks and helpful tips so you can make your own vegetable fritters from scratch. Watch the video to see how easy it is!
Anything that has “fritter” in its name, sign me up. I mean honestly, how bad can it be? I feel justified in making these because they are green, which as we all know, means they’re healthy. Well, they are made from zucchini and that should count for something, shouldn’t it?
The simplicity of this recipe should also count for something. We normally refer to these as zucchini cakes or zucchini pancakes, but lots of folks call them fritters.
If you live across the pond, they are courgette fritters. Whatever you call them, they’re delicious.
When most people think of zucchini, they don’t exactly jump up and down with glee. Truth be told, I do. I love it. It is without a doubt one of my favorite vegetables.
I like it in soups, battered and fried, shaved into ribbons for a zucchini salad or on the grill with it’s smoky char marks beckoning me to eat more.
How to make zucchini fritters
The most important part of this recipe is starting out with well-drained zucchini.
To do this, place your grated zucchini in a colander over a bowl. Set a small plate on top of the shredded zucchini and weigh it down (I usually use a large can of crushed tomatoes). Drain for at least 20 minutes, longer if you are able.
This is a good task to do ahead of time. Sometimes I’ll do this is the morning and let it hang out in the fridge for a few hours.
Once your zucchini is drained, I suggest wrapping it up in a clean kitchen towel and squeezing every last bit of liquid out of it. This may seem like overkill, but trust me.
Then, it is simply a matter of mixing all of the ingredients together and dropping them into a hot pan with a bit of olive oil.
I like parmesan cheese in zucchini cakes, but feel free to swap out parm for ricotta or feta.
Both of these cheeses will work nicely with lemon and shallots. Consider adding in a pinch of dill if you use feta cheese. You can swap out herbs and/or cheeses to give them an entirely different flavor.
Why are my fritters soggy?
Remember earlier when I asked you to trust me? This is why.
If your zucchini pancakes are a bit soggy, odds are the zucchini was too wet when you started. This is the number one culprit.
I cannot stress enough the importance of removing as much liquid as possible from the zucchini before you mix up the batter.
If you’ve squeezed out as much as you can and it’s still too wet, add in an extra tablespoon of flour to help bind the mixture.
Here’s another helpful tip: Put the zucchini cake mixture in the fine mesh strainer you used to drain it while you’re working. As you have a batch cooking, the mixture won’t sit in liquid, so your cakes won’t be soggy.
How to freeze zucchini fritters
They freeze like a dream. I put parchment paper in between each fritter before I wrap them up tightly in plastic wrap.
I store little bundles of them in freezer zip-top bags, which makes it really easy to pull out a few and heat them up for a quick dinner side or a healthy lunchbox addition.
If you have a machine for sealing foods, you can use that too!
keto zucchini fritters
Need a variation for a special diet? To make them keto, use almond flour in place of regular flour.
To make them gluten-free, simply swap out regular flour for gluten-free flour.
Depending on the brand you use, you may have to adjust by a tablespoon or two. Not all almond flours are the same, so if it is too wet or too dry, you may need to make a slight adjustment.
What to serve with fritters for dinner
- Rosemary lemon chicken thighs
- Grilled lemon herb shrimp
- Grilled lamb loin chops
- Cajun potato wedges
- Peach pound cake
Used in this recipe:
- Food Saver – This gadget really does protect food better in the freezer than just wrapping it in plastic, no matter how tightly and well wrapped it is. It gets a lot of use in my house.
- Cast iron skillet – the best pan to use when cooking zucchini cakes. They get super crispy and cook evenly. A properly cared for cast iron skillet will last you a lifetime, it’s a solid investment.
- Box Grater – If you don’t feel like pulling out the food processor, this box grater will make quick work of grating the zucchini for the fritters.
- Fine mesh strainer – This is what you’ll need to drain the zucchini. I use these strainers for so many things in the kitchen, it’s nice to have a few different sizes.
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- 1 lb zucchini, grated (about 2 large)
- 2 eggs
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/3 c flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Grate zucchini on large side of box grater or put in food processor and shred.
- Mix the shredded zucchini with a teaspoon of kosher salt and set inside a fine mesh colander over a bowl to drain. Place a small plate on top to weigh it down. Let zucchini drain for at least 20 minutes.
- Wrap zucchini in a clean dish towel, or cheesecloth and squeeze excess water out (there will be alot of it) This will prevent your fritters from being mushy and what you want is that super crisp crust on the outside!
- Heat olive oil in a medium heavy bottomed pan over medium to medium-high heat.
- In a medium bowl, combine eggs, shallot, lemon zest, salt, pepper and cheese. Whisk together, then add zucchini and lemon juice. Stir in flour and mix until combined.
- Carefully drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil, about 2 inches in diameter.
- Cook for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Serve with sour cream, if desired.
* When I make potato pancakes, I always add about a 1/4 tsp of baking powder. I didn’t add it here, but if you want a lighter, fluffier fritter add baking powder with the flour.
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Serving Size:2 - 3 fritters
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183Saturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 723mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
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Recipe originally published 7/31/2012, most recent update 7/30/2020.