How To Grate Zucchini For Baking & Cooking

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Learn how to grate zucchini for baking zucchini bread & cake, making meatballs, and more with this easy tutorial. (+10 zucchini recipes to try!)

glass bowl of shredded zucchini

Summer is zucchini season, and by July & August, it seems like gardens, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and farm stands are all overflowing with extra zucchini!

This is the time of year where I start putting zucchini in everything! From fudgy Chocolate Zucchini Cake to classic zucchini bread, muffins, meatballs, and more, we can’t get enough!

If you, too, find yourself with an abundance of zucchini (or a craving for zucchini cake!), you’ll need to know how to prepare it.

From how to choose good zucchini at the store to 2 ways to grate zucchini for baking, to what, exactly, it means when a recipe asks you to squeeze out the excess liquid, we’ve got everything you need to know about how to shred zucchini.

Let’s get started!

4 clean zucchini on a black cutting board

Here’s What You Need To Shred Zucchini

  • Fresh Zucchini. These methods work with fresh zucchini (not frozen). See below for tips on picking the best zucchini!
  • A Knife & Cutting Board. You’ll use these to trim off the ends of the zucchini and the cutting board can also help hold a grater steady.
  • A Food Processor OR Grater. Then, to grate the zucchini, you’ll need a food processor fitted with a grating blade, or a handheld or box grater.
  • Paper Towels or Cloth, If Needed. If your recipe calls for the extra liquid to be squeezed out of the zucchini, you’ll need some paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth/cheesecloth.

How To Choose Good Zucchini.

  • Weight. Look for zucchini that feels heavy for its size. This is a sign that it’s “juicy” and not dried out.
  • Smooth, Firm Skin. Then, look for zucchini that has firm skin. (It shouldn’t be tough, just not wrinkly or saggy in spots).
  • No Big Blemishes Or Soft Spots. Small blemishes aren’t a problem–just choose zucchini that doesn’t have dips, divots, or soft spots. These can be signs of damage or decay.
  • What About Size? The other factors are more important. Size only matters to make sure you have enough for your recipe! Small zucchini can be ripe and delicious, and large ones can sometimes get tough, dry, or have overly large seeds inside. If you have your choice of all sizes, a medium zucchini can usually do the job!
grating zucchini in a food processor, step by step

How To Grate Zucchini With A Food Processor

Grating zucchini with a food processor is by far the fastest way to grate zucchini! It does mean washing the food processor, but for me, the trade-off is worth it!

  1. Set Up The Food Processor. Start by fitting your food processor with the grating blade or grating attachment.
  2. Wash & Prep The Zucchini. Start by washing the zucchini well. Shake off any extra water (or pat dry if desired).
  3. Trim off both ends–the stem end and base end–with a sharp knife.
  4. Cut Into Small Sections. Then, cut the zucchini into a few small sections (I aim for 2-3 inches each) and add a few sections at a time to the chute of your food processor. Push down with the food pusher/tamper and pulse or grate until all of the zucchini is shredded. (There may be a few very thin slices that don’t quite grate all the way. You can discard these or chop them up by hand)
  5. Repeat this process until all the zucchini is grated.
grating zucchini with a box grater, step by step

How To Grate Zucchini With A box Grater

So how do you grate zucchini without a food processor? You can use a box grater! Any kind of cheese grater or box grater should work well. I love this one because it snaps onto a container that catches everything you grate, but a standard box grater or hand-held grater works perfectly!

  1. Wash & Prep The Zucchini. Start by washing the zucchini well. Shake off any extra water (or pat dry if desired).
  2. Trim off both ends–the stem end and base end–with a sharp knife.
  3. Grate The Zucchini. Brace a grater against a steady surface so it doesn’t slip. (I like to use a cutting board or plate.) Hold the grater still with one hand then use the other hand to hold the zucchini. Move the zucchini up and down against the grating blades on the side of the box grater with the largest hole to grate the zucchini. (I hold the zucchini at a 45-degree angle to get the best leverage). Adjust your grip as you go so that your fingers don’t get too close to the grating blades.
showing how to squeeze excess liquid from grated zucchini for baking

How To Squeeze Extra Liquid Out Of Zucchini

Many recipes that use shredded zucchini call for excess moisture to be squeezed out of it before adding it to the recipe. Zucchini is a very water-heavy vegetable, so squeezing the extra liquid out before using helps keep the balance of wet and dry ingredients in place. Taking the time to do this step helps with the taste and texture of all your favorite zucchini recipes!

If your recipe calls for extra water to be squeezed out of the zucchini, here’s what that means:

  1. Gather Some Of The Grated Zucchini. Working in batches, take sections of your grated zucchini and wrap in paper towels, cheesecloth, or a thin, clean kitchen towel.
  2. Squeeze tightly to let the paper towel absorb extra liquid. Some may even drip out!
  3. Make Sure You’ve Got It All. If you’ve soaked through what you’ve got, get fresh paper towels or move to another section of your cheesecloth/kitchen towel until there’s no more dripping happening.
  4. Repeat With Remaining Zucchini. Set this section of zucchini aside in a bowl or on a plate, and repeat until all the zucchini has been squeezed.
recipes that use grated zucchini: gluten free chocolate zucchini cake, mango smoothie, buffalo chicken burgers, and gluten-free zucchini bread

10+ Yummy Ways To Use Grated Zucchini:

Now that you know how to grate zucchini, it’s time to talk about all the delicious ways to use grated zucchini! I love that zucchini can be used for sweet treats or savory dishes. Some of our favorites are:

  1. Chocolate Zucchini Cake. There are 3 FULL CUPS of grated zucchini in this super moist gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake, but you’d never know it! (You’ll come for the frosting & stay for the cake!)
  2. Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread. Grated zucchini helps keep this spiced quick bread extra moist & delicious. I love the blend of spices!
  3. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins. These easy gluten-free zucchini muffins are so yummy! I love the notes from the brown butter.
  4. Smoothies. Did you know you can add zucchini to smoothies? A little bit adds extra veg without impacting the flavor. REALLY!
  5. Omelets Or Eggs. I often add shredded zucchini to my eggs in the morning! It cooks super quickly and gives me some extra veggies to start my day.
  6. Mini Quiche. Add some grated zucchini to these mini quiche along with other goodies like red peppers, bacon or sausage, cheese, etc.
  7. Salads. I usually prefer cucumber in my salads, but grated zucchini easily “melts” into a big chopped salad recipe, like Italian Chopped Salad! You won’t even notice it!
  8. Spaghetti Sauce. If you’ve got just a little grated zucchini left, you can easily mix it into your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe. It’ll cook down and add an extra layer of veggie goodness to your pasta night!
  9. Chicken Zucchini Poppers. Adding shredded zucchini to the meatballs keeps them light & tender without any need for breadcrumbs! Perfect for grain-free, paleo, and whole30 recipes!
  10. Buffalo Chicken Burgers. We use this same trick when we make Buffalo Chicken Burgers. So light & delicious!
  11. Side Dishes. Mix grated zucchini into rice, tuck it into casseroles, or make zucchini fritters!
grating zucchini in a food processor

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Grated Zucchini

Do You Peel Zucchini Before Grating? No. Zucchini skin is thin and softens easily during cooking or baking. Unless your recipe specifically calls for it, you do not need to peel zucchini before shredding or grating.

Can You Use A Food Processor To Grate Zucchini? YES! It’s the fastest, easiest way to grate zucchini squash!

How Long Is Grated Zucchini Good In The Fridge? Before it’s been cut or grated, whole zucchini keeps fresh in the fridge 1-2 weeks. Once it’s been cut or cooked, however, zucchini will only keep about 3-4 days in the fridge.

How To Freeze Grated Zucchini. Frozen zucchini tends to seep a lot of its liquid when thawed, so it works. best in recipes like soups and sauces. That said, you can help with this excess water by squeezing the liquid out of the zucchini (see above for how!), then lightly salting the zucchini, waiting 10-20 minutes and squeezing it again. The salt will help pull extra liquid to the surface so you can get every last bit. Once you’ve grated and squeezed it, you can transfer it to freezer bags or airtight containers and freeze up to 2 months.

Can I Use A Blender To Grate Zucchini? No. This will puree or blend your zucchini too finely.

🌟 Did you try our tutorial? Leave a star review below and tell us what recipe you made with your grated zucchini!

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glass bowl of shredded zucchini

How To Grate Zucchini For Baking & Cooking


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 batch
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

2 easy ways to grate zucchini for baking & cooking! Perfect for prepping zucchini for zucchini cake, zucchini bread, meatballs, muffins, and more!


Ingredients

  • Fresh zucchini
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • A food processor with grating blade OR a box grater/hand grater

Instructions

To Grate Zucchini With A Food Processor:

  1. Set Up The Food Processor. Start by fitting your food processor with the grating blade/disc. (Do not use the S-blade that you use for blending)

  2. Wash & Prep The Zucchini. Start by washing the zucchini well. Shake off any extra water (or pat dry if desired).

  3. Trim off both ends–the stem end and base end–with a sharp knife.

  4. Cut Into Small Sections. Then, cut the zucchini into a few small sections (I aim for 2-3 inches each) and add a few sections at a time to the chute of your food processor. Push down with the tamper and pulse or grate until all of the zucchini is shredded. 

  5. Repeat this process until all the zucchini is grated.

To Grate Zucchini With A Box Grater or Hand Grater:

  1. Wash & Prep The Zucchini. Start by washing the zucchini well. Shake off any extra water (or pat dry if desired).

  2. Trim off both ends–the stem end and base end–with a sharp knife.

  3. Grate The Zucchini. Brace a grater against a steady surface so it doesn’t slip. (I like to use a cutting board or plate.) Hold the grater still with one hand then use the other hand to hold the zucchini. Move the zucchini up and down against the grating blades to grate the zucchini. (I hold the zucchini at a 45-degree angle to get the best leverage). Adjust your grip as you go so that your fingers don’t get too close to the grating blades. 

Don’t Forget To Squeeze!

If your recipe calls for it, make sure you squeeze the extra liquid out of the grated zucchini before adding it to your recipe. This will help you get the ratio of wet & dry ingredients just right. Here’s how: 

  1. Gather Some Of The Grated Zucchini. Working in batches, take sections of your grated zucchini and wrap in paper towels, cheesecloth, or a thin, clean kitchen towel.

  2. Squeeze tightly to let the paper towel absorb extra liquid. Some may even drip out!

  3. Make Sure You’ve Got It All. If you’ve soaked through what you’ve got, get fresh paper towels or move to another section of your cheesecloth/kitchen towel until there’s no more dripping happening.

  4. Repeat With Remaining Zucchini. Set this section of zucchini aside, and repeat until all the zucchini has been squeezed. 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Tutorial
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: American
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One Comment

  1. I found your site while looking for how to shred zucchini with a food processor. You also answered my question about whether I needed to peel the zucchini first. I plan to make zucchini bread. I see some other great-looking recipes on your site I will try and I also plan to check out your tips & tricks page. Thanks!






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