How to Cook Pattypan Squash

updated Sep 10, 2022
summer
How to Cook Patty Pan Squash, 3 Ways

Grill, sauté, or roast darling little pattypan summer squashes into crisp-tender perfection.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook6 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Roasted patty pan squash on baking sheet.
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

When summer heat floods the farmers markets and groceries stores with green and yellow zucchini, it also brings pattypans, the darling of the summer squash family. These small, adorable, disk-shaped squashes with their sometimes scalloped edges come in all shades of green and yellow, and are just as delicious as their bigger counterparts. They’re also up for pretty much any kind of cooking method you want to use, from roasting or sautéeing to grilling if you want to keep the kitchen cool. Here are three easy ways to quickly cook pattypan squash this summer.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Choose Pattypan Squash

Unlike large zucchinis that tend to be watery and have large seeds, pattypans are a smaller variety of summer squash and generally more flavorful. If you plan to sauté or roast them, look for medium-sized squash (about the size of a fist) that are firm, blemish-free, and have shiny skin. If you plan to grill them, pick larger ones, as they’re less likely to fall through the grill grates.

I like to pick a variety of colors and shapes to make the final dish look prettier and for a mixture of textures and flavors. Once you get them home, make sure the pattypans are dry on the outside, then store in the refrigerator for a few days if not cooking right away.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Cut Pattypans

I’ve found that cutting the squash into wedges is the easiest way to get uniform shapes and sizes, especially if you start with a variety of pattypans. Here’s how to cut them:

  • Trim a little off the top and bottom to remove any bits of stem and to give the squash a flat edge to sit on.
  • Halve each pattypan straight down the middle.
  • Cut each half into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. 
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Cook Pattypans

Next comes the actual cooking, and here are three ways depending on what cooking method you’d like to use. The goal for all of them is crisp-tender squash, with flavor coming from char from the grill or from some caramelization of the outside.

  1. Sautéeing: This is the fastest way but requires the most hands-on attention. Heat a large frying pan with a generous amount of olive oil, then cook the squashes over medium-high heat until the cut sides are browned in spots, which takes about 3 minutes per side. Resist the urge to stir or move the squashes around until they’re browned.
  2. Roasted: The easiest cooking method starts with tossing the cut squashes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. They’re then roasted on a pre-heated baking sheet in a hot oven until the bottoms are browned, which takes 15 to 20 minutes. They’re only browned on one side because flipping them over and browning the second side results in soggy, overcooked squashes.
  3. Grilled: The most summer-y approach is to grill oiled and seasoned pattypans on a hot, covered grill until they get nice grill marks, which takes about 3 minutes per side.
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Serve Pattypans

Cooked pattypans have a mild, sweet flavor and are great on their own, especially when served next to something highly spiced or seasoned, but they are also super-versatile since they soak up flavor like little sponges once they’re cooked. My favorite way is to dress the hot pattypans with a little lemon juice and olive oil, then sprinkle on some crumbled feta cheese and fresh herbs like parsley or mint for a more robust side that’s good warm or at room temperature.

Leftover squash is also great in:

Cook more than you need and enjoy using up the extras!

How to Cook Patty Pan Squash, 3 Ways

Grill, sauté, or roast darling little pattypan summer squashes into crisp-tender perfection.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 6 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    patty pan squash (about 6 small or 4 medium)

  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Equipment

  • Outdoor grill, baking sheet, or large frying pan

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Measuring spoons

  • Medium bowl

  • Tongs

Instructions

Show Images

Prep the Squash:

  1. Trim and cut the squash into wedges. Trim the tops and bottoms from 1 pound patty pan squash, then halve each squash. Cut each half into 3/4-inch-wide wedges.

Cooking Method #1: Sautéed

  1. Heat the oil. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan (at least 12 inches) over medium-high heat until shimmering.

  2. Add the squash and season. Add the squash and arrange cut-side down in a single layer (it will be a tight fit). Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

  3. Sear until golden brown. Let the squash sear undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the squash onto the other cut side and sear until crisp tender and golden brown on the other side, about 3 minutes more.

Cooking Method #2: Roasted

  1. Heat the oven and a baking sheet. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and place a baking sheet on the rack. Heat the oven to 450ºF.

  2. Season the squash. Place the squash wedges in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with 1/2 kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper, and toss to combine.

  3. Roast on a baking sheet. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the squash to the baking sheet and arrange cut-side down in a single layer. Roast until crisp-tender and browned on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cooking Method #3: Grilled

  1. Heat the grill. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to high (450°F to 550°F). Scrape the grill grates clean if needed.

  2. Season the squash. Place the squash wedges in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with 1/2 kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper, and toss to combine.

  3. Grill until browned. Place the squash wedges cut-side down on the grill grates. Cover and grill until grill marks form on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the squash and grill until the squash is crisp-tender and grill marks form on the second side, about 3 minutes more.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The squash can be cut and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

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