One of the fastest and easiest ways to cook zucchini is to steam it. Learn how to steam zucchini with these simple instructions.
This method consistently delivers vibrant green, tender-crisp zucchini slices that are packed with flavor. If you shudder at the thought of mushy veggies, you’re going to love the way these turn out!
I have to be honest–my favorite way to prepare zucchini is to roast it. Steamed zucchini is hard to beat, though, for its speed and simplicity. When steaming, keep these tips in mind:
First, high quality produce is always going to taste better. Select zucchinis that are firm and are covered in tiny bristles of hair. These are the freshest.
Second, use a timer so that you don’t oversteam them. You can tell an overcooked zucchini just by looking at it. The flesh will become more translucent, almost clear.
Third, pull the zucchini slices off the heat while they have just the slightest bit of crunch remaining. They will continue to cook from the residual heat.
How To Steam Zucchini
Here are the directions for how to steam zucchini:
Prep the zucchini: rinse and dry the zucchini. Then trim the ends and slice it into pieces that are the same size so they cook at the same rate. Smaller slices will cook faster. I slice mine to a thickness of about 1/3-inch.
Prep the pot: Add an inch or two of water. Insert the steamer basket. You can also use a metal strainer or colander. The water should be completely under the basket. (I use this basket all the time!) If you can see the standing water over the bottom of the basket, pour some out.
Boil the water: Set the pot over a burner and turn it to high. Cover the pot. When you hear the water boiling rapidly, lift the cover to check. If steam billows out, you’re ready to begin steaming.
Steaming zucchini: Place the zucchinis carefully into the steamer basket. Cover the pot again, and lower the heat setting to medium. Start the timer.
How Long to Steam Zucchini
Wondering how long to steam zucchini? It will depend on how thick the slices are, how tender you want them to be, etc.
Start checking your zucchini after 4 minutes of steaming. You can use the tip of a sharp knife or a fork to test for tenderness, but I prefer to taste test this vegetable.
When it is finished, the flesh should still be mostly white, and ever so slightly sweet. Zucchini can get mushy real fast if you steam it too long. So, don’t get distracted.
Remove them from the heat while there is still a tiny bit of crunch remaining; remember that they will finish cooking a bit while you get everything plated.
I can’t overstate the importance of testing with a fork and also tasting the vegetables when trying new cooking methods.
We prefer our vegetables more firm than soft, with a solid bite to them. If you prefer your vegetables to be a bit more cooked, just add a minute or two to the provided cooking times. It’s always better to err on the side of undercooked versus overdone.
Keep in mind that cooking times are estimates and adjust them to be exactly what you like best.
Zucchini can be seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper. I like it that way. But, spruce it up with butter and garlic, or give it a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
How to Steam Zucchini
- 4 zucchini, medium sized cut into ⅓-inch rounds
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper adjust to taste
- Bring two inches of water to boil in a pot.
- Place the zucchini in a steamer basket and put the basket into the pot of boiling water. Cover the pot, and lower the heat to medium. Steam for 4-5 minutes.
- Remove them from the heat when the zucchini is bright green and still slightly firm. Season with salt and pepper.