How to Grate Zucchini 4 Ways

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Turn this abundant vegetable into shredded zucchini, and you can use it in dozens of sweet and savory recipes. We'll show you how to grate zucchini four different ways.

Zucchini season always sneaks up on us quickly. Before we know it, those gorgeous zucchini flowers bloom and turn into more zucchini than we know what to do with! Luckily, zucchini is extremely versatile and can be baked, grilled or sauteed, but I recommend grating it.

Your grated zucchini melts into whatever it’s cooked with, so it’s great for sneaking into pasta or creamy risotto. It’s also ideal for making baked goods like zucchini bread and other zucchini dessert recipes. If you’re looking to freeze your excess zucchini, grated is the way to go, too.

Whether you’re a first-time gardener or a seasoned zucchini pro, here’s a quick lesson on how best to shred zucchini.

How to Grate Zucchini 4 Ways

Before you get started, wash the zucchini under cold, running water. You don’t need to peel the zucchini, but some grocery stores sell zucchini coated in wax to preserve the exterior. In these cases, scrub the skin with a soft brush or rub with a little lemon juice to remove the waxy exterior. Then, trim off both ends of the zucchini about a quarter-inch from the end.

If the zucchini is really large, you may want to remove the seeds. The seeds are small and unnoticeable when the fruit is small (like tomatoes, zucchini are a fruit, not a vegetable). When zucchini grow larger than two inches in diameter, the seeds become big, bulky and bitter. Removing them is as easy as slicing the zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon to gently scoop out the seeds.

Method 1: Use a Box Grater

Grated Zucchini With GraterQwart/Getty Images

This old-fashioned technique is our go-to method when we only need to grate one or two zucchinis. More than that, and you may want to look to a method that’s less hands-on. You can use any box grater like this with a large-holed side. We don’t recommend using a microplane here; it will take forever to get through the whole squash, and the shreds will be too small and mushy.

Hold the box grater in one hand and the zucchini in the other. Position the grater over a bowl or a clean kitchen towel. Using the coarse side of the box grater, run the zucchini down against the grater while pushing down firmly. Be careful as the zucchini gets smaller and the grater gets close to your fingers.

Method 2: Use the Food Processor

The fastest way to grate zucchini is using a food processor with a grating attachment. This method won’t always create the most consistent shreds, but that won’t matter if you’re baking the zucchini. It will melt into the other ingredients as it bakes, making the shred size less important.

Depending on the size of your zucchini, you may need to cut it into smaller pieces to get it to fit through the opening. Then, with the machine running, feed the zucchini lengthwise into the chute.

Method 3: Use a Spiralizer

how to grate zucchini Spiral zucchini noodles called zoodles prepared in spiralizer kitchen gadgetlittleny/Getty Images

Spiralizing zucchini won’t create small, tiny shreds like the other methods described here, but it definitely works in a pinch. A hand-crank or electric spiralizer will create long, noodle-like threads that are perfect for making gluten-free pasta dishes. We also love using it instead of shredded zucchini to make zucchini fritters that fry up like beautiful little nests.

Insert the cut end of the zucchini into the spiralizer. Using the directions that came with your specific model, crank the spiralizer until the zucchini turns into a bowl full of threads.

Method 4: Use a Peeler

how to grate zucchini Strands of a julienned courgette are lying at the front of a wooden chopping board. The Julienne utensil and the rest of the courgette are lying behind it. The peeler is made from stainless steel and has a black handle. The selective focus is on the courgette in the foreground.AnthiaCumming/Getty Images

My favorite vegetable peeler has two sides: one that creates traditional wide peels and a second that juliennes, resulting in tiny matchstick pieces. This second side is perfect for creating shredded zucchini if you don’t have any of the tools above.

Hold the zucchini in one hand while holding the peeler in the other. Pressing down firmly, run the peeler along the side of the zucchini, pulling it up from time to time so you create one-inch sections of julienned zucchini.

Tips for Grating Zucchini

What is the best way to grate zucchini?

The best way to grate zucchini is whatever is fastest. If you’re grating a lot of zucchini (more than two at a time), we recommend grabbing a food processor with a grating attachment. For smaller amounts, a box grater usually does the trick.

Do you peel a zucchini before grating?

Zucchini skin is thin and edible, so there’s no need to peel it before grating. That said, the peels will retain their green color, even after they’re cooked. If you’re feeding picky eaters or you’re trying to hide a healthy portion of vegetables in your recipe, peel the zucchini first to hide the evidence.

Do you need to squeeze shredded zucchini before baking it?

Yes—because zucchini contains a lot of water! Each one-cup serving is about 90% water. That water releases as it cooks, which could spell soggy disaster for your baked goods. Before cooking with grated zucchini, squeeze out all the excess moisture.

Place the zucchini in a large piece of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Wring the towel with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. You can also squeeze the zucchini in between clean hands, place the zucchini in a sieve and press it firmly with the back of a spoon or use this nifty zucchini hack and use a French press instead.

How to store grated zucchini

You can store zucchini in the fridge for up to four days or as long as six months in the freezer. In the fridge, the grated zucchini will continue to release water as it sits, so it’s best to drain liquid out of the container every day. We like using airtight containers or freezer bags, as exposure to oxygen can cause the grated zucchini to brown.

How to freeze shredded zucchini

If you have more zucchini than you know what to do with, pop it into a freezer-safe bag and toss it in the freezer. We recommend freezing the amount called for in your favorite recipes (i.e. one cup). After scooping the shredded zucchini into the bag, form it into a single layer to make it freeze (and thaw) more quickly.

When you’re ready to bake, thaw the zucchini in the fridge overnight. Be sure to drain frozen zucchini well, as it will release more water than freshly shredded zucchini.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.