This breaded Zucchini Parmesan is fried until crispy and baked in a casserole dish with layers of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. What a way to enjoy fresh garlic zucchini!
Have more zucchini in your garden? Try my creamy zucchini soup recipe next!
So you will go through different phases as you make this recipe. You’ll be excited at first. Then you’ll realize you’ve committed yourself to a project that does take a bit of prep time. After that, you’ll wonder if your zucchini will actually be crispy enough for this to work. Then you’ll assemble the casserole and your hopes will go back up. Finally, you’ll eat it, and wonder where this deliciously cheesy Zucchini Parmesan recipe has been your whole life.
There’s even a decent chance that your kids will eat this too. And that, will be an amazing thing.
Are you ready to start the excited phase? WOO! Be sure to read my PRO tips for this recipe:
The bottom of this post also contains recipe card with ingredients and full instructions.
- 2 medium Zucchini
- 2-3 Egg Whites, beaten until frothy
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 ½ cups Marinara Sauce
- 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
- 20 oz. Vegetable Oil, for frying
- ¾ cup Flour
- ½ cup Italian Breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
How to Make It
Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch slices, no thicker. Salt each side and place in between paper towels for up to an hour to extract water. Pat each one dry before dredging.
Dip each slice into beaten egg whites & garlic powder. Transfer to breading mixture and coat generously.
Fry until golden brown on each side. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Spoon marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add a layer of fried zucchini and top with marinara and mozzarella.
Add additional layers of zucchini, marinara, and mozzarella until you’ve used all of the zucchini. You can do this in clean stacks or overlap them within the casserole dish.
Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and begins to brown slightly. Serve!
Picking, Slicing & Peeling the Zucchini
- The ideal size for a ripe zucchini is about 6 inches.
- There is no need to peel the zucchini unless it’s jumbo sized, in which case the skins could be tough/bitter.
- I like to slice these into thin, 1/4 inch slices for a nice crispy consistency. Otherwise it’s harder to get the middle to cook through.
More Pro Tips For This Recipe
- Zucchini is 95% water, so let them sit after salting as long as you can. You’ll extract more water and will have a firmer consistency.
- Give them another dip in the breading mix if any moisture starts to creep through before they’re fried. I don’t let them sit too long before frying.
- Watch them carefully as they fry, once they start to turn brown it happens quickly.
The Dredging Process
Traditionally, Chicken Parmesan or Eggplant Parmesan is dredged in seasoned flour, then eggs, then in a breadcrumb mixture. I tried this method with the zucchini as well, but felt like the zucchini got lost in the breading this way, the balance was off.
So instead, I like to dip these in egg whites because it allows the zucchini to hold on to the breading, but isn’t heavy enough where the egg will bleed through. From there it goes into a seasoned breadcrumb/flour mixture with a bit of Parmesan cheese mixed in.
This is a nice, light breading which compliments the thin slices of zucchini well.
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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- 2 medium zucchini
- 2-3 egg whites, beaten until frothy
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 20 oz. vegetable oil, for frying
- ¾ cup flour
- ¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Note: There is no need to peel the zucchini unless they are jumbo sized, in which case the skins could be tough/bitter.
- Clean the zucchini and pat dry. Slice into ¼ inch slices, try not to cut thicker than that, or they won’t be as crispy. Place over paper towels and sprinkle evenly with salt. Flip each slice over, sprinkle with more salt. Top with more paper towels. Let is for 30+ minutes, preferably up to an hour. Pat them each completely dry prior to dredging.
- Beat the egg whites until frothy. Whisk in the garlic powder.
- Combine the breading ingredients in a small bowl.
- Dip each zucchini into the egg whites, then coat generously in breading mix. Use the back of a spoon to pat the breading onto the zucchini. Flip, and repeat.
- Heat vegetable oil over medium heat, preferably in a cast iron skillet. Use enough to cover them about halfway. Add more oil while they cook as needed.
- Carefully fry 4-5 slices at a time for a few minutes on each side. Leave room around each one so they will crisp on the outside. Watch carefully as they fry.
- Set aside on a cooling rack, this allows air to circulate around them while they cool.
Assemble the Casserole
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spoon marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish, just enough to coat it lightly. Top with a layer of fried zucchini. Spoon marinara sauce over each one, then sprinkle with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat until you’ve used all of the zucchini. You can make clean stacks or overlap them around each other.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and begins to brown. Serve and enjoy!