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Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan

This fresh, tender Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan is a quick, delicious side dish or vegetarian main dish for any time of year. It’s ready to serve in only 20 minutes!

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

Finished pan fried zucchini on a white serving plate.

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 keep a few zucchini on hand almost year round. We enjoy it in every season, but particularly in the summer when I seem to always crave fresh, light, bright foods.

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.

🛒 Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for this recipe.
  • Fresh Zucchini (Choose zucchini that are free of blemishes and firm, but not hard, to the touch.)
  • Olive Oil (I use a standard olive oil for this. No need for expensive extra virgin for frying.)
  • Lemon (Fresh is best.)
  • Parmesan Cheese (For the best flavor, purchase a good quality parmigiano reggiano and grate it yourself.)

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Pan Fried Zucchini

  1. Start by washing and drying the zucchini. Cut it crosswise into about 1/4″ rounds
  2. Generously sprinkle both sides of the zucchini slices with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil to the pan.
  2. Add the slices and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on one side; flip the slices over and cook the other side. Continue with remaining zucchini slices, adding olive oil as needed.

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

  1. When all the zucchini slices are cooked, arrange them on a serving plate, squeeze a little lemon juice over the slices and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25
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  • Lightest weight cast iron by quart on the market
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  • Safe for dishwasher and metal utensils
This post contains affiliate links. Lana's Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.

🍚 Storage Information

  • May be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Reheat in a skillet over low heat.
  • This recipe is not recommended for freezing.

❓ Questions About Pan Fried Zucchini

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 the fridge. What shall I do?

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

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Finished pan fried zucchini on a white serving plate.

Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan

Fresh, tender Pan Fried Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan is a quick, delicious side dish ready to serve in only 20 minutes!
5 from 6 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 medium zucchini washed and cut in 1/4-inch rounds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  • Wash and dry the zucchini. Slice crosswise into about 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • Generously sprinkle both sides of the zucchini slices with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high 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 2-3 minutes or until the bottom of the slices is nicely browned. Turn and cook the other side until browned.
  • Continue with remaining zucchini slices, adding olive oil as needed.
  • 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.


  • Storage for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Reheat over low heat in a skillet.
  • 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. 
  • If you need a substitute for the Parmesan, try another 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 healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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

— This post was originally published on January 11, 2013. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

5 from 6 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Kay Alina says:

    5 stars
    Easy, quick and yummy!

  2. 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!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      The lemon on the zucchini is so, so good Mia! My favorite way to serve zucchini.

  3. Tessa Reeve says:

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

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      That’s an interesting idea, Tessa. If you try it, please let me know how it works out.

  4. Love this recipe! Will be linking back to this in my upcoming post :)

    1. Thank you, Marla. It’s a recipe that’s good for any time of year. And quite tasty, too!

  5. Feast on the Cheap says:

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

    1. Arent’t they great? One of the easiest and tastiest side dishes in my collection.

  6. I loooove zucchini like this. It’s seriously so easy, but soooo yummy!

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

  8. 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]

  9. Priscilla - She's Cookin' says:

    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 :)

    1. Happy New Year to you as well, Priscilla!

  10. 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. Yeah, butter pretty much makes anything better :-)

  11. I forgot to add.. I love the array of recipes you send our way. Thank you!

    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 :-)

  12. 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

    1. Wow, Jocelyn, that sounds so delicious! I’ll have to try that soon.