How to Make and Cook Zucchini Noodles

How to Make and Cook Zucchini Noodles

 The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 bowl
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
76 Calories
2g Fat
12g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 76
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 387mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 30mg 149%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 852mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Zucchini noodles—also known as "zoodles"—are a healthy, grain-free, and gluten-free alternative to pasta. They're a great option if you're on a low-carb or keto diet. Zoodles are simply thin-cut zucchini that's either served raw or gently cooked.

Zucchini noodles are typically prepared by using a spiralizer tool. These range from stand-alone appliances and handheld tools to stand mixer attachments. Spiralizers are a great tool if you're interested in making vegetable noodles often, but don't worry if you don't own one. This recipe also includes an option for making ribbon-shaped zucchini noodles using a standard vegetable peeler as well.

The noodles can be quickly cooked and tossed with your favorite pasta sauce, used in a casserole, or even added to a bowl of soup. They're also great raw as the base of a fun salad. Zucchini noodles are great to make during the summer months when you crave lighter, healthier meals and there is an abundance of zucchini in grocery stores, at farmers markets, and even in your own backyard garden.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

Using a Spiralizer

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fresh zucchini on a marble counter

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. For spiral-shaped zucchini noodles, use a spiralizer tool. If you plan to cook the noodles, use a thicker blade. This results in larger zucchini noodles that, when cooked, maintain their shape better and have more of an al dente texture.

    Spiralizer attachment and peeler

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Wash and dry the zucchini. Budget approximately one medium sized zucchini per serving of zucchini noodles.

    Zucchini in a colander

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. If you plan to make spiralized zucchini noodles, trim the top of the zucchini.

    Zucchini on a cutting board with the top cut off

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Secure the zucchini into your spiralizer appliance. Our spiralizer uses a long metal skewer pushed through the center of the zucchini on one end to hold it steady. The other end is held in place with a plate covered in sharp spikes.

    Zucchini secured in a spiralizer

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Turn the crank handle to push the zucchini through the spiralizer blades. Place a bowl on the other end to catch the zucchini noodles as they come out through the spiralizer.

    Making Zucchini Noodles with a Spiralizer

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Continue to rotate the crank until you hit the end of the zucchini.

    Zucchini Noodles next to a spiralizer

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. In a large saucepan, gently heat your favorite pasta sauce. Prepared pesto sauce with a touch of cream or a fresh marinara sauce both work well with zucchini noodles.

    Pesto sauce in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  9. Add the spiralized zucchini noodles to the pan with the warm sauce. Carefully toss the noodles with the sauce and cook for about 2 minutes, or until just softened. Do not overcook or the zucchini noodles will become soggy and lose their shape.

    Zucchini Noodles in a saucepan with pesto

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  10. If desired, additional fresh vegetables or fresh herbs can be added to the zucchini noodles. Once the noodles are cooked al dente, remove from the heat to prevent overcooking.

    Zucchini Noodles with sauce and tomatoes in a pan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Using a Vegetable Peeler

  1. If you do not have a spiralizer, zucchini noodles can also be made using a vegetable peeler. Using this method the zucchini will be cut into long, very thin ribbon-like noodles.

    Zucchini with some flat noodles peeled with a vegetable peeler

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Noodles made with a vegetable peeler tend to be quite thin and are best suited for raw preparations. For a fresh zucchini noodle salad, simply toss the zucchini ribbons with a light dressing of olive oil and vinegar. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Additional fresh vegetables or herbs can be added as well.

    Zucchini Noodle salad on a plate

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

How to Store

  • If you're pulling out the spiralizer, why not make extra for a future meal? Zucchini noodles will stay fresh for up to three days.
  • Store the raw noodles in an airtight container or zip-top bag lined with dry paper towels.
  • We don't recommend freezing zucchini noodles since they tend to release tons of water and lose their shape once cooked.
  • Store cooked noodles for up to two days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat gently to keep them al dente.

Spiralizer Options

There are several gadget options available for making zucchini noodles at home:

  • Countertop spiralizer: A tool like the spiralizer seen here can be used to turn a variety of veggies into noodles (or even curly fries) and allows you to adjust the width. Tabletop models are manual, requiring you to turn a crank, but they're easy to use and don't require much strength. They do, however, take up some room in your cabinets.
  • Handheld spiralizer: These all-manual spiralizers allow you to insert the zucchini and turn, similar to a fat pencil sharpener. These take up the least amount of space but require the most brute strength and don't usually offer different noodle size options.
  • Spiralizer attachment: You can purchase an attachment for your Kitchen Aid mixer that's powdered by the motor. It's a nice option if you already have the mixer and plan to use it often.
  • Vegetable peeler: A peeler is the cheapest and easiest option to store, especially since you probably already own one. A julienne peeler will make thin, stick noodles, while a standard peeler will make ribbons. The process is a bit awkward and you'll be left with quite a bit of zucchini leftover. Be careful not to knick your fingers.
  • Mandoline: Most mandolines offer a blade option that juliennes. You can use this to make stick noodles, a good option if you're already storing a mandoline in your kitchen.

How to Use Zucchini Noodles

How Do You Keep Zucchini Noodles From Getting Soggy?

To make sure zucchini noodles keep their shape and don't become mushy, don't overcook them. They will only need a few short minutes in the pan and they're done. Also avoid freezing zucchini noodles since they will become soggy once thawed.

Can You Eat Zucchini Raw?

Although zucchini is often served cooked, it is safe to eat raw. Try serving it thinly sliced or finely cubed in a salad.