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Baked Zucchini Casserole Recipe

You’re going to love this Easy Cheesy Zucchini Casserole. It’s low carb, gluten-free, egg-free, and super easy to make. Everyone in your family will ask you to make it, including your kids!

scooping Zucchini Cheese Casserole with a spoon

My garden is growing zucchini faster than I know what to do with it. We’ve already made a cauliflower casserole, so I thought let’s do a zucchini casserole. That’s how we came up with this zucchini casserole recipe simply by adding some cheeses, onions, and spices together. 

I whipped it up one night for my husband and my dad, and they loved it. The only thing my dad said was it needed more zucchini, so I made it again but upped the amount of zucchini and it came out perfect. 

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did!

What is Zucchini Casserole?

This is the best zucchini casserole, it is an easy and delicious vegetarian side dish that is perfect for pretty much any meal. This zucchini casserole recipe is simple, all it requires is some fresh zucchini and a homemade cheese sauce, then baked to perfection.

Best Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

What Does it Taste Like?

What exactly does a zucchini casserole taste like? Zucchini is a mild veggie, but when baked with different cheeses and some added spices it really transforms the zucchini. It not only tastes like cheesy goodness, but it also leaves your kitchen smelling amazing!

Will My Kids Like It?

As you know, I’m not a parent but I’ve been around kids my entire life. I know how to sneak veggies into their meals and this baked zucchini casserole is a great way to do that. A little tip though is to chop the zucchini into smaller pieces, that way your kiddos can’t find them among the cheese sauce.

What Ingredients are Zucchini Casserole?

Ingredients for Zucchini Casserole
  • Zucchini  – This recipe uses 3 small-medium sized zucchinis cut into bite-sized pieces. Feel free to double or triple the recipe. 
  • Onion – Sauteed onion gives a nice addition to the zucchini. But you can omit them if you are allergic or dislike onions. 
  • Butter – Sauté the onion in a little bit of butter. 
  • Cream Cheese and Heavy Cream – The combo of both of these make the base for the cheese sauce. 
  • Sour Cream – Small amounts of sour cream is keto-friendly. 
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan – The strong parmesan cheese flavor goes great with zucchini, and the stringiness of the mozzarella is what you want in a cheese sauce. 
  • Spices – I use a combo of black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.

What is the Best Zucchini for this Recipe?

So use whatever zucchini you have, whether it’s from your garden, the local farmers market or the grocery store. I prefer using small-medium zucchinis because they are more tender and have smaller seeds. When zucchinis get too big they become flavorless or even at times bitter. The larger the zucchini the larger the seeds, which will result in higher water content. 

But like I said, use whatever zucchinis you have. Sometimes I let my zucchini grow too big in my garden, but I still always use them. I never let them go to waste. So either size will do just fine for this zucchini casserole recipe.

Best Cheeses to Use

Cheese is always such a personal preference in my mind. I chose to use a combo of cream cheese, grated parmesan, and mozzarella. The cream cheese helps to make the base for the cheese sauce, the parmesan gives it a nice strong and salty flavor, and the mozzarella while it’s mild in flavor, it gives you some good stinginess. 

Other cheeses that work well are:

  • Cheddar
  • Gruyere
  • Pecorino Romano 
  • Pepper Jack

Different Variations of Zucchini Casserole

How to make zucchini casserole

Casseroles are great because you can throw anything you want into them. 

  • Cauliflower Rice A lot of casseroles have rice in them, but if you are eating low carb then regular rice isn’t an option. But thankfully we have cauliflower rice in our lives. It will add more volume and taste to the zucchini casserole. 
  • Tomatoes – This will add more carbs, but tomatoes would be delicious in this easy zucchini casserole. 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Bell Peppers
  • Summer Squash – Adding in summer squash to the baked zucchini casserole is delicious, plus if you have it growing in your garden…why not add it?
  • Eggplant – Another great vegetable addition. 
  • Pork Rinds – Rather than adding breadcrumbs on top, crush some pork rinds on top for a crunchy texture.

Can I Add Meat?

Adding meat to your baked zucchini casserole is also a great idea. By adding in some protein you can have a one-dish dinner. 

  • Chicken
  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken Sausage
  • Shrimp
  • Sausage 
  • Bacon
  • Ground Pork 
  • Cubed Steak

What Type of Pan is Best?

Zucchini Casserole recipe

When baking a casserole you want all the ingredients to cook at the same speed, and that applies for this zucchini cheese casserole. When using a bigger baking dish, the volume of the casserole may cook faster if it’s not filled to the top. If you are using a smaller dish but the volume is thicker it may take longer to cook. 

For this exact zucchini casserole recipe, I chose to use a round deep-dish pie plate. An 8×8, 9×9, or 1-quart baking dish would also be perfect. 

If you plan to double the recipe then go ahead and use a 9×13 or a 2-quart baking dish works best.

Do I have to Pre-Cook the Zucchini?

No need to pre-cook the zucchini in this recipe. Add it to the pan raw, then pour the cheese sauce on top of it and bake it. It will look nice and evenly in about 20-30 minutes.

Do I Have to Salt the Zucchini Before Cooking It?

I’m gonna be honest with you, I didn’t salt my zucchini before putting it in the oven, but I would recommend doing it. You’ll notice a difference.

Zucchini is a vegetable that naturally holds a lot of water, so when you cook it, it releases water. 

All you need to do is sprinkle some salt on the zucchini and let it sit for 10-20 minutes. Then drain the zucchini and pat dry with a paper towel or dish towel.

How to Make Zucchini Casserole

Follow our step by step instructions for how to make zucchini casserole.

Preparing the Ingredients

1. Cut the ends off the zucchini, and slice it in half lengthwise. Then cut into small bite-sized pieces.

They should look like little triangles. You can also cut them into round slices if you want, but this is how I like to cut it. 

2. **Optional but Recommended Step – Sprinkle salt over the zucchini and let sit for 10-20 minutes. Drain the water and pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel or dish towel. 

3. Place the zucchini in a baking dish and set aside.

Bowl of Chopped Zucchini

Making the Cheese Sauce

4. In a medium saucepan add the butter and chopped onions and saute for a minute or two.

5. Now add the cream cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to the pan.

6. Cook on medium-high heat until the cream cheese is melted while whisking constantly.

cream for Zucchini Casserole cooking on stove

7. Add in ½ cup grated parmesan and ½ cup of shredded mozzarella. Whisk until well combined and the mozzarella is melted.

Baking

Zucchini and cheese sauce

8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

9. Pour the cheese sauce over the zucchini and stir to ensure all the zucchini is covered with sauce.

Cheese sauce poured over Zucchini Casserole

10. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of parmesan and ½ cup mozzarella on top.

11. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and starts to get a little golden.

Zucchini Cheese Casserole baking in the oven

12. Serve right away! 

Now that you learned how to make zucchini casserole, I hope it will become a new family favorite recipe.

Best Tips 

These are some helpful tips for zucchini casserole we came up with. 

  • Small zucchini are more tender.
  • Salt the zucchini first, drain, then pat dry. 
  • You can add cauliflower rice.
  • To make it a full meal, add meat such as chicken, beef, or pork. 
  • To cook in a slow cooker, add the zucchini and cheese sauce and cook on low for 3-4 hours. 
  • For a crunchy topping add crushed pork rinds. If not keto – add panko or regular breadcrumbs.

The Zucchini is Too Hard

Is your zucchini a bit too hard? I found that cutting the pieces on the smaller side cook much faster than large pieces. Also, something to keep in mind is that everyone’s ovens are different. 30 minutes in my oven may be different than yours, so keep that in mind as well. 

You also can loosely place a piece of foil over the top to keep it from browning too much, while the zucchini continues to cook.

Too Runny

If you ended up with a runny casserole it’s probably due to the water that is released from the zucchini. Next time, salt the zucchini before adding it to the baking dish. By salting it, the water will be released and you can drain it.

The Cheese Gets Burnt

A cheesy casserole is done when the cheese is bubbling and has a nice broiled look. You don’t want the cheese completely burnt, but you want it to be broiled on top as a lasagna would look. 

A simple way of preventing the cheese from burning is to place a piece of foil loosely over the casserole towards the end of the baking time. This will ensure the zucchini gets cooked, but the cheese doesn’t burn.

Can I Make Zucchini in a Slow Cooker?

Best Baked Zucchini Casserole

Yes, you absolutely can make this easy zucchini casserole in a slow cooker. 

Slow Cooker Instructions: 

  1. Follow the instructions above to cut the zucchini.
  2. Add the chopped zucchini to the slow cooker. On the stove make the cheese sauce according to the recipe’s instructions above. 
  3. Pour the cheese sauce over the zucchini and stir. 
  4. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Diets This Recipe is Good For

  • Low Carb and Keto – This easy baked zucchini casserole is a fabulous keto and low carb recipe. For 1 cup of zucchini cheese casserole, it’s only 5 NET CARBS. 
  • Gluten-Free – Baked zucchini cheese casserole is a gluten-free recipe, and we all know that a lot of casseroles have some sort of flour or gluten in them. But I’m happy to report this is completely gluten-free.   
  • Nut-Free – A lot of keto and low carb recipes use almond flour as a thickener or flour replacement, but this zucchini bake is nut-free. So if you have a nut allergy this recipe is perfect for you.

What to Serve with Zucchini Casserole

Easy Baked Zucchini Casserole Recipe in a bowl

Seeing that this zucchini casserole recipe is a veggie side dish it really can go with so many different things. Here are a few ideas: 

Can I Make This Recipe Ahead?

Don’t you love recipes that can be done ahead of time? I know I certainly do! Zucchini bake can be prepped ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.

How to Store 

Store the leftover zucchini casserole in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator. Leftovers will last for up to 3 days.

How to Reheat

Here are 3 different ways to reheat baked zucchini casserole. 

  1. Place in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. 
  2. Put leftovers in an oven-safe dish and bake at 350 until it starts bubbling. 
  3. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove until hot.

Can You Freeze Zucchini Casserole

Two bowls of Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

I don’t recommend you freezing the leftover baked zucchini casserole. The water that the zucchini holds will leave it watery when thawed out. You’re much better off making the zucchini casserole fresh. 

I have not frozen this zucchini bake recipe before baking it, so I can’t say for sure how it will come out. But if any of you have tried it, please add your comments below.

More Zucchini Recipes

If you’re in the mood for some other Zucchini Recipes to go with your meal, then try our:

They all are Keto-friendly and low carb, and will be a hit for your family or friends.

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Baked Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

Baked Zucchini Casserole Recipe


  • Author: Stephanie Parlegreco
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings (1 Cup per Serving) 1x
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Description

You’re going to love this Easy Cheesy Zucchini Casserole. It’s low carb, gluten-free, egg-free, and super easy to make. Everyone in your family will ask you to make it, including your kids!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 small-medium zucchini
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup onion
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella (divided ½ + ½ )
  • 1 cup grated parmesan (divided ½ +½)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika

Instructions

Notes

5 NET CARBS PER SERVING 

Small zucchini are more tender.

Salt the zucchini first, drain, then pat dry. 

You can add cauliflower rice.

To make it a full meal, add meat such as chicken, beef, or pork. 

To cook in a slow cooker, add the zucchini and cheese sauce and cook on low for 3-4 hours. 

For a crunchy topping add crushed pork rinds. If not keto – add panko or regular breadcrumbs.

  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Zucchini Casserole, Zucchini Casserole Recipe, Baked Zucchini Casserole, Zucchini Bake, Best Zucchini Casserole, Zucchini Cheese Casserole, Easy Zucchini Casserole, How to make zucchini casserole, Easy Zucchini Bake, Best Zucchini Bake, Zucchini Bake Recipe

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