Garlic Grilled Zucchini (How to Grill Zucchini)

Garlic Grilled Zucchini (How to Grill Zucchini)

Grilled Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies to cook in the summer. It comes out tender and delicious in less than 10 minutes.


Grilled Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies to cook in the summer! It comes out tender, smoky, and delicious in just 10 minutes on the grill. Use it as a side dish, in a summer salad, tossed in grain bowls, and so much more! Once you taste zucchini fresh off the grill, you’ll never look back. 

Once the warm weather hits, I am all about cooking vegetables on the grill, and one of our favorites is zucchini. It’s a healthy green veggie that tastes extra special with the addition of some smoke and flavor from the grill. If you love roasting vegetables, grilled veggies will be your new favorite thing to make when it’s hot. They have all the same great caramelized edges and delicious flavor without the hot oven!

Trust me, once you start making grilled zucchini, you’ll find yourself throwing some every time you grill. This garlic version is the one we make the most often, but there are so many different ways you can season zucchini for grilling.

Use this recipe to learn to grill zucchini and then experiment with different seasonings to find your favorite combination. Check out some of our favorite seasoning ideas below. We also love making Garlic Grilled Broccoli and Grilled Cauliflower for a quick and healthy side dish!

Why You’ll Love Grilled Zucchini

  • Simple ingredients: No need for a grocery store trip since you probably already have all the ingredients in your fridge or even garden! It’s the perfect ay to use all that extra zucchini from your garden!
  • 15-minute easy side dish: Did you forget to make a side for dinner? You can make this grilled zucchini in as little as 15 minutes, including prep time! Just throw it on the grill with whatever protein you are cooking. 
  • Versatile and easy to customize: Season it up however you like! Garlic is our favorite, but there are so many options to match any main dish. Plus, you can use extra grilled zucchini in salads, wraps, scrambles, tacos, and more. 
  • Works for any dietary needs: Grilled zucchini is naturally low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, and more. It works for any diet, just choose toppings accordingly.

Looking for more zucchini recipes? Check out these Zucchini Taco Boats, Chicken and Zucchini Burgers, and Oven Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries.

Ingredients for grilled zucchini including zucchini, olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make this easy grilled zucchini recipe:

  • Zucchini: Pick firm and fresh medium-sized zucchini that are not too big and bulky. You want them to be about the same size so they all cook evenly. Use all zucchini or add in some summer squash (yellow zucchini ) as well.
  • Olive oil: Tossing the zucchini in olive oil helps it stay moist while grilling. Feel free to use another oil like avocado, grapeseed, or sunflower oil. 
  • Garlic powder: I recommend using garlic powder instead of fresh minced garlic to avoid burning it on the grill. The powder will still give you great flavors, and it will also get evenly distributed over the zucchini.
  • Italian seasoning: I’m keeping it simple with just salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Italian seasoning is a great shortcut since it contains dried basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, and sometimes a touch of red pepper flakes.
  • Other seasonings: Zucchini works with almost any dried herbs and spices. Favorites include dried basil, thyme, rosemary, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and curry powder.

How to Grill Zucchini

Most people may think of grilling meats when they fire up the grill, but vegetables like zucchini are just as delicious and easy to cook on the grill. Here’s how to make garlic grilled zucchini in just a few simple steps:

  1. Preheat the grill (or grill pan) over medium heat. You want it hot enough to cook the zucchini evenly while achieving those beautiful grill marks. If your grill tends to stick, clean the grates and lightly oil them. 
  2. Prep the zucchini. Most of the time, I grill zucchini in spears since it’s one of the easiest options. Start by cutting the zucchini in half and then in half again so you have four quarters. For large zucchini, you may need to cut them into eighths. I find that this will give you the perfect size for grilling.
  3. Season the zucchini. Add the zucchini to a large bowl and toss it with olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, ensuring it is well seasoned.
  4. Grill zucchini. Place the zucchini spears directly on the grill. Cook for 3-5 minutes and then flip over carefully using tongs. Cook for 3-5 minutes on the other side or until tender with dark grill marks. If your zucchini is not as tender as you would like, cook for a few more minutes at a lower heat.

Grilled spears of zucchini on a plate with fresh herbs and spices.

Grilling Zucchini in Foil

Another option is to put zucchini on the grill in foil. You have two options for cooking grilled zucchini in foil, and they will result in different textures:

  • Foil packets: The first is to wrap the zucchini in a foil packet and seal the foil around it. Simply lay out some sliced zucchini on a heavy piece of foil. Add some olive oil or butter along with any herbs, spices, or seasonings. Then seal the foil, place the packets right on the grill, and cook for 12-15 minutes. The resulting zucchini will be steamed in the foil so it will have a softer texture. Add more veggies like cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, mushrooms, or asparagus. 
  • Cooked on foil: The second option is to cook the zucchini on a piece of foil on the grill. This is a workaround if you don’t have a grill basket. Grab heavy-duty foil, create a small basket, and add the zucchini. Toss with your oil of choice and any seasonings. Grill for 8-10 minutes, shaking the foil 1-2 times during cooking.

Seasoning Ideas for Grilled Zucchini

While garlic is a classic seasoning for grilled zucchini, there are plenty of other ways to add flavor to this green veggie. Here are the ones we use the most often:

  • Balsamic marinade: Marinate the zucchini in olive oil, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, and thyme for 30 minutes. Finish it on the grill and drizzle some extra balsamic vinegar on top before serving. If you’re feeling fancy, top it with fresh ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, or crumbled feta cheese. Add some sliced almonds or pine nuts for crunch. 
  • Parmesan: Unless you cook the zucchini in a sealed foil pack, Parmesan cheese is best saved for topping the grilled veggies. My favorite combination is grilling the zucchini with olive, salt, and pepper and then topping it with fresh Parmesan and lemon zest right before serving.
  • Cajun seasoning: For something spicy, toss the zucchini with olive oil and Cajun seasoning before adding it to the grill. This is one of our favorites, especially when adding lemon juice and parsley before serving.
  • Mediterranean: If you love Mediterranean flavors, try grilling the zucchini with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then top it with feta cheese, kalamata olives, and fresh herbs like parsley or oregano.
  • Garlic butter sauce: Since fresh garlic can burn on the grill, I usually save garlic butter to drizzle on the zucchini after cooking. Mince some garlic and mix it with melted butter in a saucepan or the microwave.
  • Lemon herb: Zucchini pairs well with citrus and herbs, so add some lemon juice, lemon zest, and chopped fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil to the already grilled zucchini.
  • Lemon pepper: For a tangy and slightly spicy kick, consider finishing the zucchini with lemon pepper seasoning. Look for one that comes in a grinder with dried lemon peels for the best flavor.
  • Steak seasoning: For something savory, I love tossing the zucchini in steak seasoning before putting it on the grill. The flavor is out of this world!
  • Sweet and spicy: If you love this combination, consider drizzling your zucchini with balsamic vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes. Trust me – it’s so good!

Tender grilled zucchini with charred grill marks served on a plate with dried herbs and garlic.

What’s the Best Way to Cut Zucchini for Grilling?

There isn’t a wrong way to cut zucchini for grilling, but how you slice it will affect how you grill it and how long it takes. Here are the main options and considerations:

  • Zucchini Spears: Cut the zucchini in half and then cut in half again to make quarters. For the easiest option, leave the spears long to ensure they don’t fall through the grill grates. If you use a basket or foil (or have very large zucchini), you can cut them in half lengthwise for a smaller spear.
  • Zucchini Planks: Cut both ends off the zucchini. Hold the zucchini lengthwise and cut into 1/2-3/4 inch thick planks. This is a great option for grilling directly on the grates since it won’t fall through. It tends to cook faster, so keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn or get mushy.
  • Zucchini Halves: You can cut smaller zucchini in half lengthwise. This only works with small zucchini. Larger zucchini must be cut into quarters, or the outside will burn before the inside becomes tender. An extra large zucchini may need to be cut into eights or even sixteenths.
  • Zucchini Coins: Coins can be a great option for larger zucchini. Cut the zucchini at a slight diagonal into large coins or slices. This option can also work for smaller zucchini, but you will need to cook it in a grill basket or on foil so it doesn’t fall through the grates.
  • Crosshatch zucchini: Another delicious option is to crosshatch them if you have small to medium zucchini. It also makes a gorgeous presentation. Cut the zucchini in half and then make a crosshatch pattern about 1/2 inch deep. This helps the zucchini release more liquid, meaning it will not be mushy.

Should I Salt Zucchini Before Grilling?

Although it isn’t necessary to salt zucchini before grilling, it can make it even more delicious. Salting zucchini helps pull out some moisture, resulting in a firmer texture that holds up better on the grill.

To salt zucchini, sprinkle the sliced zucchini with salt and place in a colander. Let sit for ten minutes, then wipe dry with a paper towel before grilling.

Serving Ideas

There are so many ways to serve this tasty grilled veggie. Here are some favorites.

  • Main dish ideas: As a side dish with your favorite grilled proteins. We love ours with Grilled Salmon, Grilled Pesto Chicken, or Grilled Pork Chops.
  • Meal prep: Use it for meal prep to add to salads, rice bowls, quesadillas, sandwiches, and more.
  • Eggs: After taking them off the grill, chop them up and use them to make delicious omelets and scrambles.
  • Snack: Serve it as a snack or appetizer with hummus, light dressing, or salsa served with pita chips or crackers.
  • Tacos: Make delicious vegetarian tacos with black beans and corn.

Storage and Reheating

Making extra grilled zucchini is always a good idea because leftovers are great in salads, wraps, sandwiches, and rice bowls. Here’s how to keep them fresh for days:

  • To store: Let the grilled zucchini cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container. It will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat: Place the grilled zucchini on a baking sheet and reheat in the oven at 400 degrees F until it is just heated through. You don’t want to cook it again because it will get mushy. If you’re in a hurry, you can also pop it in the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making zucchini on the grill or in a grill pan.

Zucchini will take about 7-10 minutes to grill on medium-high heat, around 400-450 degrees F, flipping halfway to get those beautiful grill marks on both sides. This is the ideal temperature for grilling zucchini so that it doesn’t burn on the outside before it is cooked through. For thinner slices coins, they may cook more quickly, so you may need 2-3 minutes per side.

If your grilled zucchini is mushy, it may be because you overcooked it. Zucchini cooks quickly on the grill, especially when sliced thin. Another reason could be that the heat was too low, causing the zucchini to steam instead of grill.

Absolutely! Zucchini and summer squash both grill in the same amount of time so they are great to grill together. Just make sure to cut the vegetables in the same size and thickness so they cook in the same amount of time.

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