Recipes » Vegetables » Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan

Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan

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5 from 2 votes
Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan - Fresh, tender pan fried zucchini sprinkled with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan arranged on a serving plate.

Fresh, tender pan fried zucchini sprinkled with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Great side dish for any time of year.

Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan arranged on a serving plate.

Zucchini is just one of those ubiquitous vegetables that seem to always be present. It’s always in the grocery store’s produce department and always in my fridge’s crisper drawer.

It’s also very easy to grow. I used to plant it every year but it grew so fast and took over so much space in the garden that I stopped growing it myself. Besides, it’s dirt cheap to purchase, right?

I pretty much keep zucchini on hand year round. We enjoy it in every season, but particularly in the winter. Right after the holidays, I always crave fresh, light, bright foods. I’m sure it’s a bodily reaction to all the rich, indulgent eating that goes on around Christmas.

I mean, really, we just spent way over a month eating turkey, dressing, homemade cakes, pies, candies, prime rib, roasted buttery vegetables, and loaded mashed potatoes. I can’t imagine why I’d crave something fresh, can you?

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When I want something fresh, light, and easy, this Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan is one of the recipes that I often turn to.

How to Make Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Zucchini slices on a cutting board.

All you need to do is slice your zucchini into about 1/4″ rounds, then salt and pepper it on both sides.

Closeup of browned zucchini slices in a heavy skillet.

Heat a good, heavy skillet over medium heat and add some olive oil to the pan. Then cook the zucchini until it’s golden brown on one side, flip it over and cook the other side.

Be sure to add the zucchini in a single layer to the pan so the slices don’t overlap and make good contact with the pan. Work in batches and keep the finished slices warm in a low oven.

When you’re finished, arrange the zucchini in a serving plate, squeeze a little lemon juice over the slices and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


Will this recipe work with other types of squash?

Sure will. You can use yellow squash just as well in this recipe. Try the yellow squash topped with cheddar cheese.

I’m out of olive oil. What can I substitute?

Oh, pretty much any fat. Try butter (make sure to keep the heat lower), or canola oil, or even corn oil. Confession: I’ve done this with bacon fat :-)

No Parmesan in fridge. What shall I do?

Substitute most any semi-firm cheese like asiago, grana padano or romano cheese. The zucchini won’t care :-)

Pan Fried Zucchini with Parmesan and Lemon arranged on a serving plate.

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Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan arranged on a serving plate.

Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan

Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan – Fresh, tender pan fried zucchini sprinkled with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Vegetables
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 172kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • 4 small zucchini washed and cut in 1/4-inch rounds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  • Generously sprinkle both sides of the zucchini slices with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add half the olive oil.
  • Place the zucchini in the pan, making sure that the slices don’t overlap. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the bottom of the slices is nicely browned. Turn and cook the other side until browned.
  • Transfer finished zucchini slices to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200° oven while you finish cooking the remaining slices.
  • Transfer the cooked zucchini slices to a serving plate. Squeeze lemon juice over and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.


Yellow squash can be substituted for the zucchini in this recipe. Try it with grated Cheddar cheese on top.
If you need a substitute for the olive oil, you can use just about any fat. Butter is good but be sure to keep the heat on the lower side, also canola, or even corn oil. I’ve even made this with bacon fat.
If you need a substitute for the Parmesan, most any semi-firm cheese like asiago, grana padano or romano cheese will work.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 533mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 417IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on January 11, 2013.

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  1. I realize this post is a few years old…………but I cannot believe that I never thought of adding fresh lemon juice! I love zucchini and I love lemon on anything! I am actually going to make it right now as a side with our dinner! Thank you!

  2. hmmmm… I wonder if you could then take the completed zucchini and dehydrate it for a lovely snack food….hmmmm

  3. Oh my gosh, I make something so similar and it’s divine! They taste like little zucchini chips. LOVE.

  4. This looks like a perfect side dish! I’m trying to pack more veggies into my diet and this looks like a wonderful way :)

  5. Hi Lana, I’ve been looking at your recipes
    and see that you cook alot like I do. I am
    a descendant of Irish Billy also. I was so
    happy to find your website and delicious recipes.
    Bon Appetit’.

    1. Hi Patty. I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the blog. It’s always nice to “meet” another Dunn relative. If you’d like to email me privately, I’d love to know how we’re related. You can reach me at [email protected]

  6. Zucchini is always a go-to veggie side dish in our house, too. And, I’m with you on craving simple and fresh after the holidays! Happy new year, Lana :)

  7. My mom always made pan fried zucchini, it was our favorite. The only problem, we slathered ours in butter. Well you have to admit, butter pretty much rocks right? :-) Hugs, Terra

    1. Thank you so much for this comment, Joycelyn. When a blogger receives so few comments as I do, it’s really hard sometimes to know whether anyone out there is actually “listening.” Thanks for letting me know that someone is tuned in :-)

  8. I love the versatility of zucchini, and like you, use it year round. I make a dish similar to yours with the exception I cut my zucchini into smallish cubes, mix them with fresh asparagus cut roughly the same size, then saute the lot in a mixture of olive oil & avocado lemon oil, adding as I go, lemon juice, lemon zest, a handful of chiffonade basil, kosher salt & freshly ground white pepper. I quite often use grated asiago to top instead of parmesan, but that’s only because I love asiago more.
    It is the only vegetable dish my oldest grandson will eat & the only vegetable he will scoop right from the pan if there is any left over! lol