The term "summer squash" is thrown around quite a lot this time of year. It encompasses both zucchini and yellow squash, so it's understandable why so many assume that the two are exactly the same except for the shade of their skin. That's actually not true. Here's what you need to know about how they differ.
The Difference Between Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Besides the color, the main difference between the two vegetables is the shape. Zucchini is straight, while yellow squash has a fat bottom and tapers towards the neck. Yellow squash can also have more seeds in its flesh. Flavor-wise, both are mild-tasting with a hint of vegetable sweetness.
Also known as courgette, zucchini classically has a deep green skin and soft white flesh. Other varieties of zucchini exist, however, that make the matter a little more confusing — there's a golden zucchini variety that has a yellow skin and is a bit sweeter than green zucchini.
The easiest way to distinguish yellow squash, even beyond its color, is its shape. Yellow squash has a fat bottom and tapers towards the neck; unlike zucchini, which is straight throughout. Some yellow squash can even curve at the neck. It has the same creamy white flesh as zucchini and is often larger with more seeds. Smaller, and therefore younger, yellow squash tend to have less seeds, so it's best to choose those when possible.
Both zucchini and yellow squash can be used interchangeably in recipes and in combination with each other. Try swapping in yellow squash in your favorite zucchini bread recipe or spiralizing both for a colorful bowl of vegetable noodles.