Zucchini is an often misunderstood vegetable. From those who think it's a soggy mess to cooks who just don't like the look of it, zucchini has a pretty woeful reputation. But by knowing how long it takes to bake zucchini at 350°F, you'll unlock the secrets to perfection every single time.
Provided you cut the zucchini into long spears or ½-inch slices, it'll take between 15 and 18 minutes to bake at 350°F. We suggest turning the oven to broil and cooking for 3 minutes before removing them from the oven. You'll know it's cooked when a fork or paring knife slips into the flesh easily but isn't mushy.
There's more to delicious zucchini than just knowing the bake time, though. In the following sections, we'll go over everything from choosing the best zucchini at the grocery store to the reasons behind the all-too-common sogginess and how to avoid it.
Choosing the Best Zucchini for Baking
Whether you're purchasing zucchini from your local farmers' market or heading to the store, you need to remember three simple things to ensure you pick the best of the bunch — size, stem, and color.
Consider the Size
If zucchinis can teach you anything, it's that bigger isn't always better. Larger varieties tend to be flavorless and watery, filled with pulpy mush and huge seeds. As you can probably tell, this isn't what you want.
Choose the smaller ones instead. They're packed with flavor and have much more manageable seeds. When buying green zucchinis, aim for those no larger than a standard-sized flashlight.
Look at the Stems
Once you've found the perfect size, look at the stem. You want the ones with a decent chunk on the end. Why? Because they'll last much longer than those with smaller (or near-non-existent) stems.
Color Means Flavor
Green, white, and yellow zucchinis can be flavorful. However, you must choose ones with a vibrant, rich hue, no matter the particular color you prefer.
The Trick to Storing Zucchini Before Baking
Naturally, purchasing zucchini is only part of the battle. You now need to store it before you cook it unless you plan to put it straight in the oven when you get home!
For those who aren't so quick off the mark, store the vegetable in a paper bag and place it inside your fridge's vegetable drawer. You'll want to use it within a week. Any longer and they'll start erring on the side of not-so-tasty.
Top tip: Never store zucchinis in plastic bags! They lock too much moisture around the vegetable, resulting in a slimy zucchini.
Suffered from Soggy Baked Zucchinis? Here's Why
If you're here because you've tried to cook zucchini and failed, don't worry; you certainly aren't the only one. While theoretically easy to cook, this vegetable is known to be very fickle — one minute, it's perfectly tender; the next, it's a skin full of mush.
Nine times out of ten, your zucchini is soggy for one of two reasons: overcrowding or overbaking. Thankfully, both culprits are easy to eradicate.
You've Overcrowded the Pan
Crowding the veggies too closely on the pan, the heat can't circulate around them properly, causing them to steam rather than roast. While this doesn't seem so terrible on paper, the reality is rather mushy.
Perhaps the easiest fix is baking the zucchini on an elevated baking rack. Raising it allows the air to better circulate, ensuring tenderness over sogginess. However, this won't work if you're cooking more zucchini than fits comfortably on the pan.
To remedy this common issue, divide your slices onto two separate baking sheets. Then, place one in the upper section of your oven, and the other in the lower segment. Halfway through baking, switch their positions to ensure even baking.
You've Overbaked the Veg
If overcrowding isn't the problem, it's a simple matter of overbaking.
While harder vegetables (squash, for example), zucchini contain a load of water. So, if you overbake it, the water oozes out, turning the vegetable soggy.
Give yourself a safety net by cutting the zucchini into bigger pieces. They're harder to overcook, ensuring each section is tender and delicious.
Spears are the best shape to avoid overcooking (in our opinion). However, you can cut them into bite-sized pieces or thin rounds if spears don't appeal. Just make sure you adjust the cooking time accordingly — bite-sized chunks may only need 7 to 10 minutes in the oven at 350°F.
Storing and Reheating Baked Zucchini
As we mentioned earlier, zucchini's water content is extremely high. As such, we don't typically recommend freezing it. It’ll only turn into mush when it’s thawed.
That said, baked zucchini is wonderfully easy to store in the refrigerator. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Let the baked zucchinis cool completely.
- Put them in an airtight container.
- Place the airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to four days.
When it’s time to reheat them, you need to:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Arrange the zucchini in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Put the zucchini in the oven.
- Reheat until it’s hot. If you overbake them, they’ll become soggy, so it’s best to be cautious and check them often throughout cooking. It won’t take very long at all!
The Cheesiest (But Easiest) Baked Zucchini Recipe
- 3 pounds fresh zucchini
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon oregano
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Slice the zucchini into 3 ½-4-inch spears.
- Place the zucchini spears onto the lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- Put salt, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, and onion powder into a bowl.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil to the bowl.
- Mix until everything is combined. It should have a loose paste-like consistency.
- Using a pastry brush, spread the oil mixture onto the zucchini spears.
- Sprinkle the zucchini spears with ¾ of the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Turn the oven to broil.
- Cook for three minutes.
- Remove the zucchini spears from the oven.
- Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately with your favorite accompaniments!
- You can swap dried herbs for fresh if you'd rather. To do this, substitute one tablespoon of fresh herbs for one teaspoon of dried herbs.
- If you don't want to use Parmesan cheese, try Romano or Asiago instead.
- If you don't have a pastry brush, mix the spices in the bowl but don't add the oil. Instead, drizzle the oil on the spears and sprinkle the seasoning on afterward.
- Add some lemon juice and/or zest after cooking for an extra layer of flavor.
- Don't know what to serve with your baked zucchini? Try some of these options (you may even find your next favorite) — grilled lemon salmon, grilled chicken with lemon and thyme, tomato salsa, burgers, grilled shrimp, chicken sandwiches, garlic shrimp, turkey pasta, garlic yogurt sauce, jalapeno dip, guacamole, or tzatziki sauce. Feel free to tell us about your go-to zucchini accompaniments!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 248Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 991mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 11g