Zucchini Sticks are lightly breaded and fried zucchini that are perfect for dipping in marinara sauce for an appetizer or snack. For another zucchini appetizer, be sure to check out my Roasted Zucchini Spears.
At first glance, you might think this appetizer is a plateful of cheese sticks! But, don’t be fooled; they are actually fried zucchini sticks that can be dipped in a side of marinara sauce, just like the popular fried cheese sticks, but filled with zucchini. This is a perfect snack, appetizer, or side dish that will get even the pickiest eaters to eat their veggies!
How to Quarter Zucchini
For this recipe, I love the idea of zucchini spears or sticks. To cut zucchini into spears, first wash the zucchini in cold or lukewarm water. Next, cut off the two ends of the zucchini. Then, cut lengthwise in half. Cut in half again and you will have four zucchini spears per zucchini. If your zucchini is extra small, just cut them each in half. Depending on the size of the zucchini, you will get about 16 spears.
Heating up the Oil
Heat up the oil over medium heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F. Use a candy thermometer or deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, it usually takes 12-15 minutes for the oil to reach a temperature of 350°F. You can always try a few testing methods as well:
- One method to test the oil temperature is to put the handle of a wooden spoon into the hot oil. The oil will start to bubble steadily when it’s good to go. If you are seeing the oil bubbling like crazy, it’s too hot and needs to cool down a bit. If there are only a few to no bubbles, it’s not hot enough.
- Another method is using a 1-inch square of bread. Carefully put the bread into the oil and if it browns in 60 seconds, the oil is ready.
- My favorite method is the popcorn test. Put a kernel of popcorn into the pan of oil as soon as you begin heating up the oil. As soon as that kernel pops, the oil is ready!
Don’t throw out the used oil; check out How to Clean Used Cooking Oil so it won’t go to waste.
How to Fry Zucchini Sticks
Once the oil is up to temperature, dredge the zucchini sticks first in the flour mixture, followed by the egg, and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure to press the breadcrumbs into the zucchini to set the final coat.
Place 5-6 zucchini sticks into the hot oil and leave them in the oil for about 3 minutes. Remove the zucchini with a slotted spoon and let them rest on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Finish frying the rest of the zucchini, but make sure the oil is still the right temperature. Each time you fry a group of the zucchini, the oil will cool down a bit, so just be aware of that. Serve warm, dipped in heated marinara sauce.
Can I Bake Zucchini Sticks?
Yes, if you don’t want to fry the zucchini, you can bake them in the oven. Prepare a baking sheet with nonstick spray and preheat the oven to 425°F. Place each one of the breaded zucchini sticks on the baking sheet in a single layer. After they are all placed on the sheet, lightly spray them with some of the cooking spray. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown. This will not taste the same as deep-fried but is a healthier option.
Air Fryer Zucchini Sticks
Follow the directions up to Step 5. Then, place zucchini spears into the air fryer basket or tray. They shouldn’t be touching. Spray with non-stick spray or oil.
Air Fry for 10 minutes at 350°F. Flip the spears and then air fry for an additional 5 minutes. (Times may vary depending on the size of your zucchini sticks.)
- 4 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup marinara sauce, heated for dipping (optional)
- Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 350°F. (You should have about 2 inches of oil.)
- On a wide deep plate, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper.
- On a second plate, whisk together the egg and the water.
- On a third plate, whisk together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Dredge the zucchini sticks first in the flour mixture, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumb mixture.
- Working in batches, add the 5-6 zucchini sticks to the heated oil and cook for 3 minutes (or until golden brown). Set on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve warm, dipped in marinara sauce.
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