Zucchini is so delicious when cooked in the air fryer. It comes out nice and browned in places without being too mushy in the middle, and it only takes 8 minutes.
I really don’t like it when zucchini is so soft that it’s mushy in the middle. I therefore prefer methods of cooking it that use high heat for a short time.
My usual method for cooking zucchini is where I actually leave the zucchinis whole, rub them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then broil them or grill them. I slice them after they’re cooked. They get nice and brown on the outside but are still slightly firm in the middle. If you haven’t tried that, you’ve got to.
Video – Air Fryer Vegetables:
However, now that I’m air fryer obsessed (I really really am! If you don’t have one yet, hurry up! I promise you’ll love it! Here’s the air fryer that I have) I have to try making everything in there. For instance, I’m on an air fryer veggie kick right now and I’m in love with these Air Fryer Green Bean Fries and these Air Fryer Roasted Carrots with Honey Glaze.
Anyhow, since I’m putting everything in the air fryer, I moved onto zucchini. I tried them whole the first time and then tried slicing them before cooking. I found that even if sliced, they don’t get as mushy in the air fryer. I think it’s because they don’t need very much time to start browning. So in the air fryer, I slice them first and then cook them.
The sliced zucchini in the air fryer turn out nice and brown in places, a bit salty (in a good way), and with just the right amount of softness.
Preheat the Air Fryer
Get the air fryer preheating to 400°F. It doesn’t take long to preheat, but note you’ll likely be ready to add your zucchini to the air fryer before it’s done preheating. That’s totally fine. Get that veg in there as quickly as you can so you can move onto something else.
How to Cut Zucchini
I get small-to-medium sized zucchini. Once they’re sliced, I can fit 2 of them in my air fryer. If you’re not going to slice them first, you can fit up to 4 whole zucchini in there. But 2-3 will be better because they brown better when they’re less crowded.
To cut the zucchini, cut off the two ends. Then slice it lengthwise, end to end, right down the middle. Finally, cut each halved zucchini into 3/4-inch slices.
Season the Zucchini
Put the zucchini slices into a bowl and toss them with 2 teaspoons of cooking oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
Note that you could do this right in the air fryer basket instead of dirtying a bowl. However, I find that some of the oil and seasoning drops straight through the holes in the basket when I add it directly to the basket. Using a bowl ensures more of it sticks to the zucchini. But this is really not a huge deal. I’m just a perfectionist sometimes.
Transfer the zucchini to the basket of your air fryer. Toss it around a bit to get it into a single layer, or as much of a single layer as you can.
How Long To Cook Zucchini In The Air Fryer
Slide the basket with the prepped zucchini into the fryer which you pre-heated to 400F. If you didn’t preheat it, it’s not going to matter much. Cook for 5 minutes. No need to toss them or anything during this time. Let them be!
After 5 minutes give them a peek. They will likely need a bit more time. Toss the basket a bit and cook them for another 2-3 minutes, until they look like this:
Transfer the zucchini from the basket of the air fryer to a serving plate. Eat!
Podcast Episode About Making Air Fryer Zucchini
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this recipe, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
- 2 small to medium zucchini
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
- Trim the two ends off of each zucchini. Slice the zucchinis in half lengthwise, end to end. Slice into ¾-inch slices.
- Put zucchini slices in a medium bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Transfer to the air fryer basket and toss, arranging them in a single layer.*
- Cook for 5 minutes. Check and see if they’re browned and slightly softened in the middle. If not, toss and then cook another 2-3 minutes.
Love this recipe? I’d appreciate it if you could scroll down and add a *5 star rating* to help others know they’ll love it as well!
*Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might not be able to fit them all in a single layer. You have two choices. One, cook them in two batches. Two, allow them to have some overlap – they won’t brown as well but will still be delicious. This is the air fryer that I have, and I do love it for its size (compact on the outside, large capacity inside), price, and functionality.
This post originally appeared in August 2021 and was revised and republished in June 2023.