Zucchini is one of the most prolific veggies you can grow! Zucchini and other summer squash plants just never seem to stop producing. If you’ve run out of ideas for using up your fresh zucchini, do what I do—freeze it!
Frozen zucchini is a great way to add a boost of veggies to dishes all year long. Let us show you three ways to freeze zucchini—in shreds, zucchini noodles, and slices—to help you add some summer flavor to your kitchen.
Can you freeze zucchini?
You sure can! You won’t get the same crisp texture that you have from fresh zucchini, but frozen zucchini is a great addition to soups, stews, sauces, muffins, and quick breads.
Can you freeze zucchini without blanching it first?
Sure can, and in fact, that’s what we recommend you do! For some veggies (like corn or green beans), blanching before freezing helps seal in the texture and color of the veggie. But we’ve found that blanching doesn’t have much of an impact on the final result of zucchini. Thawed zucchini is soft and watery—whether you blanch it or not.
How do I blanch zucchini for freezing?
If you really want to blanch your zucchini first, it’s up to you! We estimate that blanching zucchini might increase the quality by 5-10%. Here’s how you do it:
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by combining ice and water together in a large bowl.
- Plunge the zucchini into the boiling water and cook for 60 seconds.
- Using a mesh strainer or slotted spoon, fish out the zucchini and plunge into the ice bath to stop cooking.
- Dry off the zucchini before freezing.
How do I prepare zucchini for freezing?
Before freezing, prep your zucchini in the form you plan to eventually use it in. We tend to do a little of each so we can have flexibility throughout the year.
- Zucchini Noodles (AKA: Zoodles)—for soups and stews: Spiralize your zucchini noodles as you usually do. Cut into smaller pieces if desired. Frozen zucchini noodles don’t work well as a substitute for spaghetti or other pasta dishes because they do come out quite soft and watery, but they are great in soups!
- Slices or chunks—for anything! Cut into slices or chunks the size of what you’d typically use. Throw some in a smoothie, mix them into spaghetti sauce, or add some to your favorite soup!
- Shredded—for muffins and zucchini bread. Shred the zucchini on a box grater, then place the shredded zucchini in the middle of a clean tea towel. Bunch it up and then squeeze out as much of the extra moisture as you can.
Okay, teach me how to freeze zucchini!
- Wash the zucchini well and remove both the stem and the blossom ends. Prepare the zucchini as you wish in either noodles, slices, or shredded.
- For noodles and slices, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, about two horus.
- For shredded, measure out an even amount (I like 1 cup) into a storage container and freeze.
- Transfer the frozen noodles and slices into a long-term storage container in the freezer.
Can I freeze zucchini noodles?
You sure can! They don’t have the same texture as fresh zoodles, so I don’t recommend them for salads or to substitute for spaghetti in a pasta bowl, but they are great to add to soups (like our Chicken Soup) and stews.
What are the best containers for storing frozen zucchini?
Here are my four favorite storage solutions for frozen veggies:
- Glass Food Storage Containers—These admittedly take up the most space of all the options, but they are reusable, glass, and stack nicely.
- Glass Canning Jars—I have a giant stash of jars, so it only makes sense to use some of them for freezing! You’ll want to choose jars with straight sides, because they are safest for freezing.
- Zip-top Freezer Bags—If you’re new to freezing and are okay with utilizing single-use plastics, zip-top freezer bags are a great place to start. They are affordable, and you can find them at most grocery stores.
- Vacuum Sealing Bags—I love our vacuum sealer, and it is great for packaging up just the right amount of zucchini for a meal. You will need to buy a vacuum sealer first, though.
How do I cook frozen zucchini?
The beauty of freezing zucchini is that the freezing process pretty much “cooks” the zucchini enough so you just need to warm it through before enjoying! Toss it in (no need to thaw) at the end of your cooking time in soups, stews, and sauces. For casseroles or other places where extra liquid might be problematic, thaw the zucchini first, and then toss in the solid pieces without the juice from defrosting.
How do I bake with frozen shredded zucchini?
When you go to make your favorite zucchini bread or muffin recipe, just swap out the fresh shredded zucchini for your frozen shredded zucchini—no need to thaw. Since you squeezed out the majority of the moisture before freezing, this frozen zucchini is perfect for adding moisture to your favorite quick breads.
What can I do with frozen zucchini?
- Chicken Zoodle Soup. Drop your frozen zucchini noodles into our fan favorite chicken soup recipe!
- Healthy Chicken Stir Fry. Mix some frozen chunks or slices into our healthy chicken stir fry.
- Vegetable Beef Soup. One of the vegetables in this classic soup could be your frozen zucchini! Just drop them in toward the end of cooking.
- Pad Thai. Swap out the noodles in our pad Thai recipe for zucchini noodles from your freezer.
- Smoothies. Drop some frozen zucchini into any of our well-loved smoothie recipes! You can barely taste zucchini when blended in.