Creamy Parmesan Zucchini

published Aug 9, 2023
Creamy Parmesan Zucchini Recipe

A simple zucchini casserole with a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce.


Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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zucchini, parmesan, skillet, round zucchini slices, browned cheese, crispy top, creamy base, metal spoon
Credit: Kelli Foster

If you ask anyone with a summer kitchen garden how theirs is doing, they’ll tell you that zucchini is comically abundant this time of year. Luckily, there’s no limit to the recipes that you can make with zucchini, from lemony zucchini muffins to crispy baked fries and even brownies

The recipe that I’ve made every week this summer is a skillet of sliced zucchini dressed in a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce. This casserole is the perfect summer side dish — it’s a breeze to prepare, and is out of the oven in less than 30 minutes. 

Ingredients You Need for Creamy Parmesan Zucchini

  • Zucchini: Smaller, more narrow zucchini are best here for uniformly sized slices that are easy to eat. 
  • Kosher salt: Use one teaspoon of salt to draw excess moisture from the zucchini slices. The remaining 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt will season the creamy sauce. 
  • Seasonings: Garlic, dried Italian seasoning, and black pepper add flavor and depth to the sauce. 
  • Parmesan cheese: Parmesan cheese is the star here, so make sure to grate your own or pick up a container from the deli. Save the green shaker can of Parm for another night. 
  • Mozzarella cheese: Grate your own low-moisture mozzarella cheese from a block for superior meltability. Pre-grated mozzarella can be substituted in a pinch. 
  • Heavy cream and sour cream: The combination of heavy cream and sour cream gives the Parmesan cheese sauce richness, body, and a tangy flavor that brightens the dish.

Do You Leave the Skin on Zucchini When You Cook It?

The skin of summer squash like zucchini is tender and edible so there is no need to peel before cooking

Credit: Kelli Foster

How Do You Keep Zucchini from Getting Soggy When Cooking?

Because zucchini has a high moisture content, the best way to avoid serving a watered-down dish is to salt the zucchini first. Slice the zucchini into rounds, then sprinkle evenly with kosher salt. In about 10 minutes, the salt draws out the extra moisture, while seasoning the zucchini at the same time. Pat the zucchini dry before continuing with the recipe. 

Creamy Parmesan Zucchini Recipe

A simple zucchini casserole with a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 2 pounds

    zucchini (about 4 medium or 8 small)

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4 cloves


  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup firmly packed freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated)

  • 4 ounces

    low-moisture mozzarella cheese

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup

    sour cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    salt-free Italian seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  1. Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Trim 2 pounds zucchini and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and toss to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, mince 4 garlic cloves. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup lightly packed) if needed, or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated. Grate 4 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese on the large holes of a box grater, or measure out 1 cup store-bought shredded.

  4. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large ovenproof or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and half of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Stir until the cheeses are melted, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

  5. Arrange the zucchini in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels or kitchen towel. Pat dry with more paper towels or another kitchen towel. Wipe out any accumulated liquid or remaining salt with a paper towel from the bowl.

  6. Return the zucchini to the bowl, add the cheese sauce, and stir to coat the zucchini. Return to the skillet and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

  7. Bake until the top is golden brown and the zucchini are tender, 20 to 22 minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.