How To Grill the Absolute Best Zucchini

updated Aug 29, 2023

Easy step-by-step to grilling summer's most abundant vegetable.

Serves2 to 4

Prep3 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook3 minutes to 8 minutes

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Zucchini certainly isn’t shy about making an entrance. At the first signs of summer, the versatile veggie graces our vegetable gardens, our farmers markets, and our grocery stores with its abundance, begging us to load up and get cooking. And cook we will! We’ll toss it into pastas and salads and even cake all summer long, but the first thing we’re doing is throwing it on the grill.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Grilling gives the mild-mannered squash a spunky, smoky attitude, and grilled zucchini pairs well with just about anything else you’re serving — be it grilled chicken breast, flaky salmon, steaks, burgers, or even more grilled veggies. Here’s how to grill perfect zucchini every time.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

How to Choose the Best Zucchini for Grilling

Zucchini is available year-round, but it tastes best and is most abundant during the summer months. Opt for smaller zucchini (about 6 inches or under in length), which tend to be sweeter and less bitter. The green outer skin is edible, so there’s no need to peel before cooking.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

How to Slice Zucchini for Grilling

When it comes to slicing zucchini for the grill, you have two options: Cut the zucchini lengthwise into thick steaks, or thinly shave zucchini into ribbons. Avoid slicing zucchini into rounds, which require constant flipping and can easily fall between the grates.

Thick zucchini steaks have a large surface area for grill marks, and therefore pick up a lot of smoky flavor. They’re easy to maneuver, too. Serve these veggie steaks as-is, or chop them into 1-inch pieces and toss with herbs and salty cheese.

Zucchini ribbons are much more delicate and cook more quickly. Thinly shave zucchini into ribbons with a Y-peeler or mandoline, then weave them accordion-style onto skewers. Toss the grilled ribbons with other grilled veggies for a summery salad, pile them high atop tender shrimp or planks of grill-marked halloumi, or swirl them into grilled gnocchi.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

How to Tell When Your Zucchini Is Done

Zucchini planks are done when grill marks appear and the zucchini is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Zucchini ribbons are done when the edges are charred, 4 to 5 minutes total.

Grilled Zucchini Recipe

Easy step-by-step to grilling summer's most abundant vegetable.

Prep time 3 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 3 minutes to 8 minutes

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 16

    skewers, soaked in water at least 30 minutes if wooden (optional, if grilling ribbons)

  • 1 pound

    zucchini (about 3 medium)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  • Chef's knife and cutting board

  • Y-shaped peeler or mandoline (optional)

  • Outdoor grill

  • Tongs

  • Baking sheet


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  1. Heat the grill to medium-high, direct heat. Heat an outdoor grill for medium-high, direct heat. Scrape the grill grates clean if needed.

  2. Cut the zucchini into planks or ribbons. Trim the ends from 1 pound zucchini. Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick planks. Alternatively, thinly shave the zucchini with Y-shaped peeler or mandoline, and discard the core.

  3. Thread the zucchini ribbons onto skewers. If grilling ribbons, fold each zucchini ribbon back onto itself like an accordion, and thread about 5 ribbons onto each skewer. Place on a baking sheet.

  4. Season the zucchini. Drizzle the zucchini with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

  5. Grill the zucchini. For zucchini planks, arrange in a single layer on the grill grates. Cover and grill without disturbing until grill marks appear and the zucchini is tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side. For zucchini ribbons, place the skewers on the grill grates (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your grill). Grill, turning occasionally, until the ends of the squash are charred, 4 to 5 minutes total.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Zucchini can be cut up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated before seasoning and grilling.

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

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