American/ Appetizers and Snacks/ Vegetarian

Zucchini Cakes

Zucchini Cakes

These zucchini cakes make an elegant appetizer fit for those upcoming Oscar parties. Shredded fresh zucchini, is mixed with a little Parmesan, panko, paprika, garlic and a hint of ground nutmeg. The mixture is then pressed into patties and pan fried in olive oil until they are golden brown.

Zucchini Cakes

Print Recipe
Makes: 8 Cakes Cook Time:


  • 1 large zucchni grated, excess water removed (Note: To do this, after you grate the zucchini, put the grated zucchini into paper towels and squeeze to release the water)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • sprinkle of ground nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon (Note: If you add too much it can quickly take over the taste, less is more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil



Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a heaping tablespoon form the mixture into 8 patties.


Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once heated, add patties and cook until golden brown. About 3-4 minutes per side. Serve.


These are great when served with a dollop of ranch dressing. Enjoy!

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  • finsmom

    My goodness these sound good! I bet they really are great with a little ranch :) What a perfect party appy :)

  • Those look good! I like to serve them with tzatziki.

  • Thanks finsmom!

    Thanks Kevin! I bet tzatziki would be good with these :)

  • Ooh, I can’t wait to try these! I think my kids might even eat them!

  • Sounds delicious. I have a similar recipe for zucchini patties, but we use a dab of sour cream for dipping. So tasty!

  • These look fantastic–and surprisingly easy! I bet they’d be great with some mariana sauce, too.

  • Those look delicious and relative low carb! Need to get some zucchini to try these. Thanks for sharing them on tastespotting.!

  • Karly, I hope your kids like them! :)

    Michelle, I bet sour cream would be good with these too! I have heard of people doing that, I’ll have to give that a try.

    Annie, I never thought of marinara sauce, I bet that would be really good too. Maybe I’ll just have to make a platter of these and try all of the different sauce suggestions :)

    Thanks Lauren! And You’re welcome!

  • These look great! A nice spin on a veggie burger. Thanks for sharing!

  • My dad makes these quite often, and we eat them with sourcream.
    I like your addition of cheese!

  • Hayley, I didn’t even think about the veggie burger option! That is a great idea!

    Thanks Olga, doesn’t cheese make everything better? :)

  • Those look delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Oh, these look delicious. And sound so simple, maybe even easy enough for me to try :)

  • Rebecca: Thank you! You’re welcome!
    Aubrey: Thank you, they are super simple and that is one of the great things about them! :)

  • Lizzie

    These look fabulous!! Plan to make ’em tonight for company. Just a little suggestion for these tough times — I have a cotton kitchen towel that’s used exclusively for drying things like zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, herbs, etc. I sewed a piece of green ribbon to it, and just toss it in the washer … beats paper towels at least for me …

  • That is a good tip. I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks Lizzie!

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  • Barr

    Des, These look amazing. I’m going to make them very soon. Love your site!

  • Thanks Barr! Hope you think they are as delicious as I do!

  • Diane

    These look really lovely. I have some vegetarian friends visiting next weekend and serving these will make them and the carnivores happy!

  • Jules

    Hi! How large a zucchini? I have some monsters in my garden to get rid of but don’t know which one to use–maybe how many cups approximately of lightly packed grated zuke? Thanks!

  • Hi Jules! How lucky that you have a garden with big zucchini! I’m jealous. :) I would say about a pound zucchini would be good.

  • I made these yesterday and I LOVED them! You should’ve heard me moaning with bliss! ;) Had to post abt these right away on my blog, so come check it out. The final pic isn’t as pretty as yours, but that doesn’t take away from how awesome these were! Thks for a great recipe :)

  • You’re welcome Muneeba! I am glad you enjoyed them :)

  • Rudi

    Panko? obviously some form of bread? Never heard of it? What’s wrong with just “breadcrumbs”

  • Rudi- Panko are Japanese bread crumbs. They are lighter and crunchier than regular bread crumbs. You can substitute regular bread crumbs but the results will be slightly different. Hope this helps!

  • Rudi

    Thanks Deseree, will try them soon…

  • Punkinatrix

    These look just like my boyfriend’s leftover Salmon fritters. Just add some leftover cold flaked salmon to the mix and viola! Perfect for a light lunch or super savory breakfast.

  • Nancy

    I’ve made these three times just in the past week. They have a wonderful flavor. I’ve sent this link to several of my friends. Thanks for a great recipe!

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  • Sheryl

    Any suggestions for baking instead of frying??? They sound delicious, but I’m trying to cut down on fats, fried foods. Thanks!! :)

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  • Jessica

    I just discovered your site today and these looked super-easy to make. And oh my GOD!!! They were divine!!! My mom and I gobbled them up in no time at all! Thank you soooo much for sharing this recipe! =)

  • msdee1970

    I just made these for a snack , and wow I love them!!!!! Im glade I had all the ingredients in the pantry!

  • Nik

    Those look delicious! Thanks for sharing

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  • Diana

    They look sooooooo yummy!! I will definitely try this soon! Will use regular bread crumbs though since Panko does not exist where I live LOL thanks for sharing! :)

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  • Caroline

    One of the few dishes that I can make easily without an oven! They were phenomenal and I dipped them in aole, the perfect accompaniment.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe

  • Michelle Sarabia

    I try to eat paleo style (caveman diet). I substituted almond flour for the panko but let myself have the cheese. They are so good. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I just made these for dinner and they tasted incredible! So easy to make too. Thanks for the recipe

  • Teri

    My 10 year-old son requests these on a weekly basis! And now I am sharing this recipe with friends who are overrun with zucchini from their gardens. So, so yummy!

  • Kayla


  • YEAYY!! This sound delish!! Pinning this asap!

  • Wanted to let you know I made these last week and linked back to you in my post! They were fantastic! Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  • Candice Allouch

    THese look absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try them out!! :)

  • I loved this recipe! I posted about it here:

    thank you so much, I will be making it often!

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  • MeganV

    I loved these. My husband added Old Bay seasoning to them and we felt as if we were eating a crabcake. :)

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  • erin

    my mom made these for years but instead of nutmeg we use old bay….gives that crab cake taste to it… good! you can also freeze them just put wax paper in between each patty

  • Mrs. RUgie

    These were excellent. Adding corn would give them a nice sweetness, like a crab cake.

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  • These look amazingly good! I will give them a try!

  • Noelia Martinez

    Idiotic question perhaps, but is the zucchini supposed to be cooked? and will using regular breadcrumbs make it a completely different dish? no such thing as panko on this side of the world.


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  • julez

    Looks good but I wonder how well it would hold up without the carbs of the breadcrumbs added in.

  • My hubby and I made these for dinner on Sat night and LOVED them..and the kids loved them too..sooo yummy! So happy I found your blog!

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  • Rachee

    Very good! I loved the hint of nutmeg. I added a little flour before I put them in because I was worried they wouldn’t hold together but they did fine. I tried them with ranch, ricotta, greek plain yogurt, ketchup and mustard. But I think I liked them best with the marinara I tried last. I think I’ll have to make a spicy version of these!

  • Nicole

    try adding some old bay seasoning and serving with a sauce made of mayo, old bay, and fresh squeezed lemon juice! so delicious!

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  • Elaina

    These were amazing! They were good plain but even better with light caesar dressing! I will be making these many, many more times!

  • Amy

    These are delicious….can you freeze them after they are cooked?

  • Thanks Amy! I have never frozen them after they were cooked so I’m not sure. I would think that you could though. Just cook them, freeze them and then thaw and warm them up again.

  • Alex

    I just made these, and my whole family loved them! The texture was great, and i never knew a zucchini could taste soo good :D

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  • Donna Polk

    I just made these for dinner and we loved them! Thanks so much for a great recipe! I’m a horrible cook, but these turned out perfectly. Even I could make them ;-)

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  • Cyn

    If you use 3 medium size zucchini would the measurement amounts be the same or increase for each zucchini used ??

  • Cyn- I would increase the other ingredients by half if using 3 medium zucchini

  • Made these for lunch today. I used zucchini from our garden and Italian bread crumbs. My family loved them.

  • Stephanie

    These are amazing! For you carb and frying folks, use Ezekiel sprouted grain bread for breadcrumbs (it is fourless and delicious!) and fry in sunflower oil, you will never know you are not frying in regular oil (and it is delicious!)

  • channy

    We call these Zucchini Fritters and I use flour instead of bread crumbs, but that’s a really good idea. They ARE delicious to anyone that is wondering. I can’t wait until our zucchini in our garden comes in!!!! Oh, how I miss my fritters’! lol

  • Meredith

    We like things pretty spicy, so I added red pepper flakes and chili powder and omitted the nutmeg. They were great! I mixed sriracha will a little greek yogurt and used that rather than ranch. An option for those who like a little (or big!) kick!

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  • JIll

    Love love love these Deseree!! I just found your site and my little boy who just turned a year old cannot get enough of these! We’re vegetarian so I’m always looking for new meat-free dishes. These are great. Thanks so much!

    (Oh I did try to freeze these and they seem to reheat just fine)

  • Suzette

    My 2cents: I have made these all my life, my grandma made them before me. One egg is enough but do not squeeze the liquid from the zucchini. that’s what my grandma taught me:) And we serve with either spaghetti sauce or applesauce, depending on the person’s mood. that way they can be served as an entree for my family, not just an appetizer. P.S. another substitute if you can’t use bread crumbs is the same amount of instant mashed potato flakes.

  • sil impio


  • Jan J

    Just had these for dinner. They were delicious! I will reduce the nutmeg a smidge and add in a bit of sweet onion next time round.

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  • Donna

    Not a huge fan. I love zucchini and cook it regularly. I taste more of the breading, rather than the squash. Not sure I will make again!

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  • Erwan

    Question: for a totally vegetarian dish, what would you recommend instead of an egg?

  • Got this from Pinterest. Tried it. Good recipe. I’m from New Orleans, so it worked with a little crab boil, lemon and roasted garlic. Topped it with a dab of tabasco hollandaise. This will become a Meatless Monday staple with Creamy Orzo with Asparagus & Parmesan from

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  • Timo

    Absolutely loved these! Made them with pepper jack cheese instead (what I had on-hand) and served them with a chipotle aioli I’d made earlier in the week! Can’t thank you enough—this vegetarian approves!

  • Sharon

    I made these for dinner tonight and they were very good. I didn’t deviate from the original recipe and my husband loved them. His stock answer to the question “Did you like it?” about any meal or dish is “It was OK.”. But he actually made a point of commenting yet again at the end of the meal that he really liked the dsh. Two big thumbs up!

  • Morgan

    I made mine slightly larger and put them on a toasted bun with fresh tomato as a veggie burger then dipped in ranch. Delish! Do you think I can freeze the uncooked patties and fry them up at a later time?

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  • These are SO good! My parents loved them. I’m 16 and I did everything myself, haha it took a while. I had never peeled or minced garlic before, had to YouTube how to :P

    Anyways I made mine with fresh zucchini from our garden! My cakes were a bit smaller and taller, but still great. I made about 15 with those sizes!

    In case you’re wondering how they turned out:

  • Gis

    I made this today and i had to leave a comment. These are so delicious and super easy to make. I will definitely make this again.

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  • Vicki

    If you freeze these, would you freeze before you fry them or after they are fried?

  • Vicki I wouldn’t cook them before you freeze them. Just lay them on a cookie sheet nd freeze thm individually then place them in freezer bags. Thaw before frying. Hope this helps!

  • Vicki

    Thank you! Making these tonight!

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  • leonora

    looks yummy will be trying them out this weekend.

  • love the pic and the recipe. featured friday five @ Feed Your Soul

  • jill

    sooo good! i ctually used oatmeal instead of panko for a extra health perk and it was great! my lil one loved it!

  • Carla

    I tried these tonight and thought they were pretty good. My 3 year old loved them. I’m more partial to regular fried zuchinni and agree with another poster that I tasted more of the breading than I did the zuchinni. These were nice for something different. Thanks!

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  • Loved these! I’ve also tried adding quinoa (reviewed here):

    I think I’ll make them again this evening :)

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  • Michelle S

    I made these for my family and guests that were staying with us. My mother is lactose intolerant so I made one batch with cheese and one without. If you plan on making this a diary-free dish, make sure to add more seasonings. Salt (and the paprika and garlic already added) were all that my mother wanted, but I thought the cheese free patties could use more flavoring. Next time I plan on trying to add onion into the mix! I absolutely recommend this dish! <3

  • Rasha

    WOOW…the best veg. i ever had in my life.

  • Rebecca

    Made these tonight with some chicken. Was a little skeptical they would taste overwhelmingly zucchini-ish but I made them anyways… They came out great! I used lemon pepper panko which really added an extra kick. No sauces needed! Thanks :)

  • Vickie

    Great – serve with salsa

  • Vickie

    Great – serve with salsa

  • Kat

    Read all the previous comments and would have to agree with the idea of the tzatziki, on the grounds that I have been itching to make tzatziki sauce and I have a very close guy friend who cannot stand ranch. He’ll go for marinara, tzatziki, BBQ…but things like ranch, salsa, ketchup, mustard, sour cream, or anything mayo-based like that? He pretty much gags, literally. That is how sensitive his sense of taste and smell is.

    I also loved reading the comments from the vegheads that are on here. I’m mostly veg, myself–but I’m stuck in the middle of Cow and Hog state (read: Iowa) where Iowa City and Ames are the only places I can go where I don’t get weird looks if I say I don’t eat meat besides seafood. (Thank heavens for college towns!)

    I will have to try the Ezekiel bread and sunflower oil option. I don’t like using regular veggie oil–I don’t like the taste or weight of it. But olive oil has too low a smoke point for deep frying. Safflower oil might be a cheaper way to go than sunflower oil–though sunflower oil sounds good. :-)

  • Kat

    Dang it–leave it to me to write something without fully reading the recipe instructions. I thought olive oil couldn’t be used for frying things like fritters and whatnot…too low a smoke point…I’m confused…:P But hey, I will try the olive oil as well as sunflower or safflower oil and test out the differences.

  • Helen Thorkelsen

    I had these for lunch from my recipe. Mine calls for 3/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. rub between you fingers to release the herb. No nutmeg. No paprika I use a dollop of sour cream or a dollop of salsa. Got this from Nordstroms many years ago when they were celebrating Italy.

  • Shannon

    Consistently delish!
    made them for Mother’s day and just made 15 more!

  • kelly

    I made these Zucchini cakes and i Couldn’t keep up with how fast they where going. My son was upset that he didn’t get any from the first batch. They are so good everybody liked them so much i would definitely make them again. Thanks for this great recipe. kelly

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  • Judy Masterson

    I added corn and cilantro….then served with sour cream and salsa

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  • Kenya

    I made this tonight, I used smoked paprika and it turned out great.

  • Glad you liked them Kenya!

  • unanyoumous

    Are they suppose to be moist inside because I think I use to put a little flour

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  • Katie

    Could you make these with yellow squash?

    I have a lot to use up but I’m not sure if it will be dense enough like zucchini is to make it into something like this. Has anyone tried? Thank you!!!

  • Hi Katie- I haven’t tried but I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to. Let me know if you try it!

  • Alicia Justice

    I LOVE these and so does my 2 year old son, thank you! This is a great way to use up the extra zucchini from the garden.

  • Ivy

    I just had to try,
    Awesome good food..

  • Marie

    Can anyone provide a guess as to how much zucchini to use – in cups? Our zucchini are ridiculously huge – I plan on using just one for multiple purposes, and I’m wondering how much to devote to this recipe – sounds yummy! Thanks!

  • Rose

    Can I use thawed frozen zucchini instead of fresh for this recipe?

  • Hi Marie- I would say about 2 cups of grated zucchini. Hope you like them! Rose- I’ve never tried. But as long as you can thaw and remove any liquid I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use it.

  • I love zucchini bread so i’m going to have to give these a try. thanks for the recipe.

  • Ashley

    A measurement for the amount of zucchini required would be better. Zucchinis can get pretty big so it would be nice to know exactly how much would be considered a “large zucchini”

  • You’re right Ashley, I developed this recipe long before I realized how big garden zucchini can get and I only used those at the store. That said, I’d use about 2 cups of shredded zucchini for this recipe.

  • Kim

    How early in advanced can I make these? Do you think I can make them almost 24 hours in advance? Thanks.

  • Hi Kim- I think almost 24 hours in advance would be fine. I’d make the patties, refrigerate them and then fry them when ready. Hope this helps!

  • Our Pinteresting Family

    We love this recipe! We make them all the time. Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you!

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  • Jenny C.

    I pinned this recipe on Pinterest almost 2 years and finally got around to trying it last night… it was great! I subbed cornmeal for the breadcrumbs because my husband is gluten intolerant and they turned out great! Even the 4 yr. old liked them :)

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  • Bella

    Made this and it tasted great except one egg is not enough; the mixture does not stick together and crumbles apart in the pan so I definitely recommend using two eggs.

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  • Dana Urbinati

    Is there nutritional information available for these?

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  • Kathy

    Made these, and used part cornmeal, and also added grated mozza cheese. Enjoyed them. (Thanks for all the comments as they help me in making a new-to-me recipe!)

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  • Paul

    would you recommend shredded or grated parmeson?

  • Des @ Life’s Ambrosia

    Hi Paul! I would use grated!

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  • Kenny Brazile

    Do you skin the squash ?

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