How to Make Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)

4.76 from 66 votes
↓ Jump to Recipe 21

This post may contain affiliate links | disclosure policy

Learn how to make healthy zucchini noodles with this easy 15-minute recipe! A step-by-step guide to the process of spiralizing and cooking zoodles to create a tasty gluten-free pasta.

Top down photo of a bowl filled with zucchini noodles and a fork

Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are packed with nutrients and is a great way to make healthy all-vegetable pasta. With only 5 ingredients, the recipe is easy to prepare, and the result is also gluten-free for those with specific dietary restrictions.

There are multiple ways to cut the zucchini, no matter if you have a chef’s knife or a fancy spiralizer. There should be no excuse for why you can’t enjoy a big bowl of zucchini noodles! Just a quick saute in olive oil, garlic, and a sprinkling of salt & pepper adds the perfect pop of flavor to make each bite irresistible and satisfying.

Bowls of spiraled zucchini noodles cut into different sizes

How to make zucchini noodles

Zucchini is an incredibly versatile ingredient with its tender flesh and neutral and subtly sweet flavor. Not only does it taste good, but the nutritional benefits of zucchini are also impressive. There’s no need to peel the zucchini before cooking, as the dark green skin is very thin and helps it hold its shape.

The right way to select zucchini

  • Make sure that the flesh is firm and the surface is free from significant defects like large indents.
  • Select large-sized zucchini for maximum yield, but not too much flesh. Zucchini is high in moisture content, so overly large zucchini has a lot of flesh and can become soggier after cooking when not connected to the skin. This is more of an issue with homegrown zucchini.
  • Don’t limit yourself, yellow summer squash and Mexican squash work well too!

Person making zucchini noodles using an Inspiralizer

Different ways to create zucchini noodles

  • Chefs Knife: Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut long thin strips of zucchini noodles. About 1/4-inch wide or smaller is recommended.
  • Vegetable Peeler: Run a vegetable peeler down the length of the zucchini to create thin ribbons. A Y-peeler works great!
  • Julienne Peeler: Particular julienne peelers that have smaller teeth to create thin strips of vegetables, about 1/8-inch thick, and work well for zucchini noodles.
  • Handheld Spiralizer: Cut both ends off the zucchini and use a twisting motion to create zucchini noodles, just like a big pencil sharpener.
  • Countertop Spiralizer: These handy larger units give more noodle size and shape options. Cut off both ends, position in the spiralizer, select the cut type and turn the crank. It’s easy to learn how to use a spiralizer, for fast, and curly noodles!

Not only do I use these methods for zucchini, but they are also great for sweet potato noodles too! Now that the noodles are ready, it’s time to get cooking!

Skillet cooking zucchini noodles over a flame

How to cook zucchini noodles

When zucchini is cut into thin strips, it makes cooking the vegetable very quick! However, cooking time will increase slightly if more extensive pieces or larger shapes are used, especially in the spiralizer.

To infuse more flavor into the recipe, garlic is cooked briefly in olive oil to enhance the aromatics and taste. All you need is 30 seconds in the pan, and you can instantly smell the wonderful savory aromas.

The zoodles are then added to the skillet and cooked over medium heat, and sauteed until tender. Just like pasta, the zucchini noodles should be al dente. Take a bite to check for doneness.

I like to keep the recipe simple, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and minced parsley. However, you can add ripe tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, plant-based proteins, or toss them in a pesto sauce for variety.

Closeup photo of zucchini noodles with parmesan cheese and seasonings

I’d love to hear your experience in making zucchini noodles and what other ingredients you add to jazz them up!

More vegetarian recipes

Do not salt raw zucchini

The moment the zucchini is cut, the cell walls of the plant open, exposing the water contained inside the flesh. Over time, the cut vegetable will release moisture, especially the smaller it’s cut because more surface area is created. This is often seen with the pool of water collected from grated zucchini when making zucchini bread. Adding salt draws out even more water, so do not season with salt until the end of cooking to prevent a mushy texture.

Zucchini Noodles

Learn how to make healthy zucchini noodles with this easy 15-minute recipe! A step-by-step guide to the process of spiralizing and cooking zoodles to create a tasty gluten-free pasta.
4.76 from 66 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time11 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American


  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
  • black pepper, as needed for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley


  • Wash the zucchini and cut off the ends.
  • Place zucchini in the handheld or countertop spiralizer unit. Select the cut size on the unit and cut noodles.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add one teaspoon garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the zucchini noodles and saute for 5 minutes, until just tender and al dente.
  • Taste the noodles and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Garnish zucchini noodles with parmesan cheese and parsley.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • The noodles can also be cut into thin 1/4-inch wide strips using a chef's knife if a spiralizer is not available.
  • Double the recipe if you're making more of an entree-sized serving 4 people, instead of as a side dish of zucchini noodles.
  • MAKE IT WHOLE30, VEGAN and DAIRY FREE: Omit the parmesan cheese and use sea salt.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 67kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 6g (2%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 1mgSodium 48mg (2%)Potassium 428mg (12%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 350IU (7%)Vitamin C 38.8mg (47%)Calcium 50mg (5%)Iron 0.5mg (3%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tag @jessica_gavin

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
Get 25 simple meals your whole family will love.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

4.76 from 66 votes (52 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

21 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. MM says

    Dont put salt on it at any point you risk getting them soggy and watery, sauce will be salty enough.

    After having them on pan between 0-120 seconds(on e.v. olive oil) put them on plate, put sauce on it and serve them right away.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I wouldn’t keep the spiralized zucchini noodles longer than 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator before cooking.

  2. Renee says

    Silly question I’m sure but when using a handheld spiralizer is it possible to use a extra large zucchini? I’m not sure if I should cut it to fit or not.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      If it feels safer to cut the zucchini in half I would advise that. But the longer the zucchini the longer the noodles will be.

      • Priscilla says

        This was excellent!
        Flavorful and not overdone. I made them as a side dish with steelhead fish instead of rice. Important tip about NOT salting the zucchini before cooking it. I’m so used to throwing a dash of salt in recipes while cooking. I really enjoyed this recipe. Thank you Jessica!! Yum!!

  3. Leslie says

    I made them as well with a Creamy Garlic Shrimp Sauce last week. Slightly undercooked the noodles then tossed them with homemade Basil Pesto. It is definately a repeat.

  4. Pat Iannelli says

    Jessica I’m new to all this. I bought zoodles at the grocery store as I don’t have the tools yet. Any concerns about using bought zoodles?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      No concern on using store-bought noodles! Just don’t overcook them or they start to get soggy. Shoot for crisp-tender, and then soften up a little once you add salt and seasonings.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Unfortunately the spiralized zucchini noodles won’t taste very good once frozen. They will be very soggy in texture once defrosted.

  5. Mimi Rogers says

    I am so happy to have found you on-line Jessica. You give me so many great ideas with your recipes 🙂
    I ordered my spiral veggie slicer today to cook zucchini noodles (want to get away from dairy (pasta!) And zucchini sounds delicious! I am going to make the zucchini & parmesan cheese. Yum!

  6. D says

    Great recipe! My daughter and I had this fixed in 15 minutes. Zoodles were perfect. After putting on our plates, we added fresh parmigiana and topped with shrimp. EXCELLENT

  7. Judy says

    I like my spiralizer so much. It increases the appearance of quantity and brings in that fun factor in cooking.

  8. Nicole says

    Thank you for this informational post! I actually just made zoodles and meatballs last night for dinner, but everytime I make them, they emit so much water, I find they are in a pool of water by the end of the cooking time. I always cut them and then let them sit out for a while on paper towels to remove some of the excess moisture. Then I saute them as you said in a pan with garlic and olive oil. Maybe I cook them for too long? I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but yours look beautiful! Any tips would be appreciated!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You are so welcome Nicole! Are you using a spiralizer? I always cut the zucchini in the “fettuccine” sized shape right before cooking so that it’s not sitting very long, because the zucchini has so much water that starts to release soon after cutting. I like your idea of drying them in paper towels! I slightly undercook the zucchini noodles to hold their shape better, until crisp tender. I’ve found after I take them off the heat they will soften. The longer you cook, the more water that emits and mushier it becomes.