The best way to use up zucchini! These Fried Zucchini Planks are so crispy, delicious, and addictive! Step-by-step instructions with pictures! (Plus a vegan, gluten-free option!)
Zucchini is one of the most versatile fruits around! (Yes, it’s actually a fruit!) It lends such glorious moisture to things like Zucchini Orange Bread, Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread, and Zucchini Carrot Cupcakes.
But I must say that my family’s favorite way to eat it is fried and covered in marinara sauce! You just can’t beat the amazing symphony of textures with the crispy exterior and soft interior.
And believe me–if you want to get your kids to eat zucchini, this is the way to do it!
Let’s get started!
Equipment needed for Fried Zucchini Planks
Mandoline slicer (I love my OXO slicer. You can click on the picture, which is an affiliate link that will take you to Amazon so you can order one for yourself).
If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, or don’t want to get one, you can use a sharp knife. However, if you want “planks,” you really do need a mandoline slicer. Otherwise, I suggest you cut your zucchini into rounds.
Large skillet or pan for frying
Three large plastic containers (for dipping the zucchini slices)
Ingredients needed for Fried Zucchini Planks
One zucchini (ideally 6-8 inches long and about 2-3 inches in diameter). These are the typical size of zucchini you buy at the store. If you’ve grown your own zucchini and they’ve gotten as big as baseball bats, you’ll need to make zucchini rounds instead of zucchini planks.
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs. You can buy these at any supermarket. They’re usually in the Asian section.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying
How to make Fried Zucchini Planks
First, you need to slice your zucchini. If you are using a mandoline, use the widest setting. (And be careful! I’ve cut myself several times with a mandoline!)
If not using a mandoline, slice your zucchini into rounds using a sharp knife. You want them to be about 1/8″ thick. (No more than 1/4″ thick).
Now lay your zucchini out on a cutting board and sprinkle with a mixture of the spices. Be more liberal then you see in my picture below. You may not use all the seasoning. Save any leftovers for after frying.
(Once you’ve reached this step, you can probably start heating your oil on the stove. Add at least 1/2-inch of vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat on medium-high heat).
Now you’ll need to prep your dipping stations.
Put your flour into one container (I just used a large dinner plate).
Put your eggs into another container, and whisk them with a fork.
Put your panko into another container.
Now you’re going to take each piece of zucchini and dip it into each container, starting with the flour, then the egg, then the panko. Completely cover each side in each station.
After dipping in the panko, set the zucchini slices aside. You want to get all the pieces dipped and ready to fry before you start frying anything. Your hands get messy from the dipping, and you’ll probably need to rinse off your fingers several times during the process.
When your oil it hot (it should look a little shimmery), try dropping a few pieces of panko in the oil. If it sizzles right away and turns brown fairly quickly, the oil is ready. If the panko doesn’t bubble or turn brown, your oil isn’t hot enough yet.
When ready, fry one small piece of zucchini as a tester. Add to the oil and fry on one side, then flip to the other side. Each side should get golden brown. If your panko is browning too quickly, or getting too dark, your oil is too hot and you should turn it down.
Once you’ve fried your tester piece and set it on a napkin-lined plate or cutting board, allow it to cool for a little bit. Then take a bite to see how it tastes. If you can’t taste any spices, or it’s not salty enough, you’ll know you need to sprinkle the remaining zucchini with more spices and/or salt as soon as they are fried.
Now add no more than two planks to the oil at a time and fry.
Use tongs to flip the zucchini over. If the bottom side doesn’t look brown enough, you can flip it back over to brown some more. If the zucchini is browning too quickly, turn your heat down. (I usually have to turn my heat down once or twice).
Once both sides are fried, carefully pick up each plank and allow excess oil to drip back into the pan. Then set it down on a paper towel-lined plate or cutting board. If needed, sprinkle with salt and/or spices like garlic powder and Italian seasoning while still hot.
When all your zucchini is fried, it’s time to eat! You can either plate it all together and pour some marinara sauce on it (not too much, though, because we don’t want the zucchini to get soggy) or just allow people to add their own sauce to their individual plates.
This is best eaten while hot and crispy.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, put on a tray in a toaster oven or air-fryer and heat until sizzling and crispy. If you reheat this in the microwave, the coating will not be crispy.
You can use bottled marinara, or make your own Perfect Pasta Sauce.
Vegan, Gluten-Free Instructions for Fried Zucchini Planks
Follow all directions above, but make the following substitutions:
In place of the all-purpose flour, use corn starch.
In place of the eggs, us aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
In place of panko, use gluten-free panko. Pulse it a few times in a blender or food processor to break it up so it will stick better to your zucchini.
- One zucchini (about 6-8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter)
- 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs found in the Asian section of any supermarket)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
Slice your zucchini into thin planks using a mandoline slicer. Use the widest setting (or a setting between 1/8 and 1/4-inch). If you don't have a mandoline, use a knife to make zucchini rounds instead.
Lay your sliced zucchini out on a large cutting board. In a small bowl, mix together the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Sprinkle liberally over the top of your zucchini. (No need to sprinkle it on both sides).
Fill a large skillet with about 1/2-inch of vegetable oil. Place on the stove and heat on medium-high heat.
Get three large plastic containers. Add your flour to one. Add your eggs to another and whisk with a fork. Add your panko to the third. Line up in a row.
Dip each zucchini slice on both sides in each container. Start with the flour, then the egg, then the panko.
Dip all the zucchini before beginning to fry.
Prepare a large plate or cutting board with paper towels or napkins. Set to the side of the stove.
Once the oil is hot (a small piece of panko dropped into the oil should sizzle and begin to turn brown) add a small "tester" piece of zucchini. This will help you know how fast the zucchini is frying. Fry on each size until golden brown, flipping carefully with tongs.
Remove the "tester" zucchini and allow to cool slightly. Then taste it and see if it needs more spices or salt.
Fry the rest of the zucchini, two slices at a time. Once transferred from the oil to your plate or cutting board with paper towels/napkins, sprinkle with more salt and/or spices if desired. Do this while the zucchini is still hot.
Serve immediately with a side of marinara sauce.
(For more detailed instructions with pictures, be sure to scroll up and read the post).
To make vegan, gluten-free Fried Zucchini Planks, make the following substitutions:
In place of all-purpose flour, use corn starch.
In place of eggs, use aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas).
In place of panko, use gluten-free panko. Pulse it a few times in a blender or food processor to break it up so it will adhere better to your zucchini.