Top view of sauteed zucchini and garlic in an enameled cast iron skillet.

If you’ve ever perused a farmers’ market or grown your own vegetables, you know how abundant zucchini can be in late summer. While we have lots of ways to enjoy this summer veggie, the simplest preparations can sometimes be the best. We are quick to sauté zucchini and summer squash on any given weeknight for a fast and easy side dish. Let’s get sautéing!

How do you cut zucchini and squash for sautéing?

Using a sharp knife, slice the zucchini into 1/4″-thick coins. For particularly fat zucchini, you may want to cut those coins into halves or quarters to help them cook quickly. But as long as the zucchini pieces are all approximately the same size and thickness, they should cook evenly!

Protip: Any squash will work!

You aren’t limited to zucchini here—yellow squash and other summer squashes will work as well!

A fork holds a slice of cooked summer squash with garlic above the pan with the rest of the cooked veggies.

What else do I need to make this zucchini recipe?

In addition to the zucchini itself, you’ll need:

  • Avocado oil or another cooking oil with a high smoke point
  • Fresh garlic
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • A large skillet

There’s a good chance you already have all of these things in your kitchen!

How do I make easy sautéed zucchini?

Collage of four easy steps to make sauteed zucchini. A text overlay reads, "How to Make Sauteed Zucchini."
  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat and warm the oil.
  2. Add the zucchini slices to the pan in a single layer. (You may need to do this in batches—it is very important that the zucchini pieces don’t overlap with each other!) Saute the zucchini for 3-4 minutes, then flip the pieces and cook for another 2-3 minutes. At this point, the squash should be tender but not mushy.
  3. Remove the zucchini from the pan and add the garlic to the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Combine the garlic and zucchini, and season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Protip: Batches make it better!

If you have too much zucchini to fit in a single layer in your skillet, you’ll want to do the cooking in batches. Make sure there is enough oil left in the skillet to coat the zucchini on the second batch—if not, add a little more to the skillet.

How long does sautéed zucchini take?

If you are cooking a small amount of zucchini and not working in batches, this side dish can be ready for the table in 15 minutes or less.

Slices of summer squash cooked in a cast iron skillet with garlic until tender and golden.

How do you keep zucchini from getting soggy when sauteed? 

When cooking zucchini, you want to make sure that you aren’t overcooking it! That’s the number one culprit behind mushy zucchini.

How do I store the leftovers? 

Leftover sauteed zucchini can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Close view of sauteed zucchini with garlic in a cast iron skillet.

Can I freeze sautéed zucchini?

You absolutely can, but know that the defrosted zucchini will be much softer than it was going in. We recommend using frozen zucchini in things like soups or pasta sauces, where you won’t notice the squash’s texture as much.

Want more easy veggie side dishes like this one?

Top view of sauteed zucchini and garlic in an enameled cast iron skillet.

Sauteed Zucchini Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Zucchini makes a great side dish that goes well with almost any meal. Learn how to make sauteed zucchini in no time!


  • 2 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick coins
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced zucchini in a single layer (you may have to do this in batches), and saute for 3-4 minutes. Flip the zucchini, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the pan and set aside. 
  2. Add the garlic to the skillet, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the zucchini back to the skillet and stir. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and serve!


  • If you do have to cook your zucchini in batches, check your skillet before starting the second batch. Is there enough oil left to cover the bottom of the skillet? If not, add a little more oil!
  • Store leftovers for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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