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Baked Zucchini Tots are picky-eater approved, as well as a great way to cook with an abundance of fresh garden zucchini.
A delicious recipe for your garden zucchini
We love the versatility of zucchini – both as a standalone vegetable, as well as an ingredient to add to recipes to make them a little healthier.
The mild flavor and soft texture of zucchini when it is cooked incorporates so easily into sweet baked goods, or savory recipes like these Baked Zucchini Tots.
These tots are a light and crispy with a cheesy flavor that goes well with some marinara sauce on the side for dipping, or with any other favorite dipping sauce you might like. Both kids and grown-ups will enjoy these little bites!
Why you’ll love Baked Zucchini Tots
- Both kids and grownups will enjoy these little bites – and you’ll love knowing that the kids are eating some vegetables!
- They bake in the oven, so no frying is necessary.
- You can easily adapt this recipe to include yellow summer squash, different cheeses, and different seasonings if you’d prefer.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Zucchini – Two full pounds of zucchini to start are used in this recipe. (After shredding the squash and squeezing out the liquid, one pound of zucchini is left to mix with the rest of the ingredients.)
- Potato Flakes – Boxed potato flakes (instant potatoes) add great potato flavor, plus they serve as a binder to form the little tot shapes. The flakes are also used as a coating on the outside of each bite, giving the zucchini tots a nice, light crunch.
- Panko – Japanese bread crumbs also add a nice delicate crunch to the coating.
- Cheese – We chose a white sharp cheddar for our zucchini tots, but any cheese will work.
- Seasonings – Dried parsley, garlic powder, kosher salt, and white pepper flavor the mixture.
- Non-Stick cooking spray
This recipe will work just as well made with yellow summer squash in place of the zucchini.
Special Supplies Needed
- Box grater with fine holes, to finely shred the zucchini and cheese
- Large dish towel or cheesecloth, to squeeze the zucchini to remove excess liquids
- Large bowl, to mix the ingredients
- Plate or pie dish, to roll the tots in potato-crumb coating
- Parchment-lined sheet tray, to bake the tots
Tips & Tricks
If your garden zucchini are small to medium, no need to seed the zucchini before shredding. If you are making this with larger zucchini, you will want to remove the seeds by cutting the squash in half the long way and scooping out the seeds with a melon baller or a tablespoon before shredding.
How do I make Baked Zucchini Tots?
- Shred the zucchini using the small holes of a box grater and pour out onto a large kitchen towel or cheesecloth. Sprinkle on some salt and let sit for ten minutes. After ten minutes, wring out and discard the water.
- Mix drained zucchini in a bowl, with the potato flakes, eggs, seasonings, and shredded cheese.
- Use a spoon or just your fingers and measure out half-ounce portions. You should have about 48 tots.
- Form each into the traditional tots barrel shape (or roll them into balls).
- Mix panko and potato flakes together on a plate, then roll each tot in that mixture.
- Spray a parchment-lined sheet tray with non-stick spray, then line up the zucchini tots on the tray, spacing them so they do not touch each other. Lightly spray the tots, then bake for ten minutes. Turn each tot over, then bake ten more minutes.
- Serve with marinara sauce or other favorite condiment.
Tips & Tricks
Turning each tot over after baking for ten minutes sounds tedious, but it really isn’t. We just nudged them over with a finger to turn each one, but you could easily flip them over with chop sticks, two forks or a small pair of tongs. They are delicate though, which is why we used our fingers. It took less than a minute to turn them all over.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Zucchini Tots ahead of time? Yes, you can make them ahead of time – but wait to roll them in the potato-crumb coating until ready to bake so they don’t get soggy.
- How do I store leftovers? Store baked zucchini tots in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Reheat in the oven on a baking sheet. (We also liked them cold, right out of the refrigerator!)
- Can I freeze? We haven’t tested freezing these so I can’t say for sure. We think they will get soggy after freezing and thawing.
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Baked Zucchini Tots
2 pounds zucchini (3–4 medium zucchini)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups dry potato flakes, divided
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, grated on small holes of grater
2 teaspoons dry parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs), for rolling tots in
Marinara sauce, for dipping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and lightly spray with kitchen pan spray.
- Place oven rack in top third of your oven.
- Lay out a large thin kitchen dish towel or a large double piece of cheese cloth.
- Using the small holes of a box grater, grate the whole zucchini and lay out over the towel.
- Sprinkle on the salt and let sit for ten minutes.
- After ten minutes, gather up the four corners and twist over the sink as hard as you can to squeeze out all liquid. I weighed my zucchini after squeezing out the water and had just over a pound left after trimming and squeezing out the water.
- Place the squeezed zucchini in a medium bowl and add one cup of the dry potato flakes, eggs, finely grated cheddar, parsley, garlic powder and white pepper and stir to combine.
- Using a tablespoon or just your fingers, measure out 48 half-ounce portions. I kept checking using a kitchen scale. As long as they are uniform, it does not need to be exact.
- In a small pan or platter, mix ¾ cup of potato flakes with ¾ cup of the panko.
- Roll each tot in your hands to the traditional barrel shape, then roll and cover with the potato flake and panko mixture. Place each one standing up onto the prepared sheet tray.
- Lightly spray the tops and sides of the tots with kitchen pan spray and bake for ten minutes.
- Remove pan and turn each tot over and bake for ten more minutes.
- Serve immediately with marinara sauce on the side.
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