Crispy Zucchini-Walnut Fritters filled with summer squash and warm spices, and served with creamy Garlic-Herb Sauce. The most delicious way to sneak in an extra serving of veggies, these zucchini fritters will become a summertime staple.
This recipe post is sponsored by California Walnuts. I was compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.
Why You’ll Love these Zucchini-Walnut Fritters
Delightfully crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and with bursts of crunchy walnuts, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy peak season squash.
While developing these fritters, the most important recipe feature I wanted to focus on was texture. Many vegetable fritters lack the quintessential crisp + crunch that keeps you coming back for more. It’s easy to achieve glass-shattering crispiness when you toss a fritter in the deep fryer, however cooking them stove-top required a little more creativity.
What truly sets these zucchini fritters apart is their textural appeal on the outside AND inside. A mix of flour and baking powder yields a crispy outer crust, while tiny bits of walnuts ensures proper crunch in each and every bite.
Incorporating walnuts into meals and snacks is a simple, tasty, and convenient way to add satisfying nutrients to your diet such as fiber, protein, and good fats.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Zucchini: You need 1 1/2 lbs of fresh zucchini for these fritters, which amounts to roughly 3 or 4 medium zucchinis. The key is to SALT the zucchini in advance, which helps pull moisture from the vegetable.
- Walnuts: A key for achieving rich flavor and textural contrast, walnuts are a simple and powerful ingredient to elevate these fritters. Walnuts offer plant-based omega-3 alpha linolenic acid, ALA (2.5 g/oz), plus 4g of protein, 2g of fiber and 45mg of magnesium per ounce. You can find shelled walnuts sold in bags or random weight containers in the produce department, baking aisles and sometimes snack aisle of your local supermarket. They’re available year-round as halves, halves and pieces, pieces and chopped, among other forms.
- Flour: All-purpose or chickpea flour works great in these fritters. The latter will yield a gluten-free fritter that’s higher in protein than it’s all-purpose alternative.
- Baking Powder: This may seem like a wildcard ingredient, however baking powder helps crisp up the outer crust. Alternatively, you can use cornstarch, however they won’t turn out quite as crispy.
- Spices: The mild flavor of zucchini lends itself well to bold spices. I love using a mix of coriander and cumin for earthy, floral notes. You can also add a pinch of chili powder, sumac, or za’atar.
- Egg: The egg serves as the binder for these zucchini fritters.
- Sauce: Every crispy fritter needs a creamy dipping sauce! This one includes a mix of Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon. It’s bright, herbaceous, and definitely warrants some double-dipping.
Step 1: Salt and Strain Zucchini
Place shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl, and mix with 1/2 tsp salt. Allow to drain for 15 minutes. Wrap zucchini in a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze to extract as much moisture as possible. (The volume should shrink to about half the original.) Transfer zucchini to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Prepare Creamy Garlic-Herb Sauce
Meanwhile, combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
Step 3: Combine Zucchini Fritter Ingredients
To the bowl with zucchini, add egg, flour, walnuts, baking powder, coriander, cumin, lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp. salt; mix to well combine.
Step 4: Saute Fritters
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering, place heaping 2-Tbsp amounts of zucchini batter in pan, spacing several inches apart. Use the back side of a spatula to flatten fritters until they’re about 1/4 inch thick.
Fry until golden-brown on one side, about 2 minutes, then gently flip and fry again until golden on the other side. Transfer to a wire rack and season with remaining salt. Continue frying remaining batter, adding more oil to pan as needed.
Serve zucchini-walnut fritters warm with Creamy Garlic-Herb Sauce.
Tips to Making Zucchini Fritters:
- Don’t skip the salting of the zucchini: Salting helps draw out excess moisture, which yields a crispier fritter. If you skip this step, you run the risk of soggy, water-logged fritters.
- Use a stainless steel spatula to flatten: A plastic or silicone spatula tends to stick to the fritters, making them harder to flatten and flip.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying the fritters: If you try to squeeze too many in the pan, they’ll lower the temperature of the oil and take longer to cook. This also makes it harder to flatten and flip the fritters.
- Add a sprinkle of salt after cooking: Finishing the fritters with a sprinkle of salt really helps enhance their flavor. The salt will soak right into the residual hot oil.
What to Serve with Zucchini-Walnut Fritters:
The beauty of these fritters lies in their versatility. Serve them for breakfast with a fried egg, turn them into a vegetarian dinner, or enjoy them as a simple side. Here are some of my favorite summer dishes to serve them with:
- Fiesta Avocado Corn Salad: Name a more iconic summer duo than zucchini and corn.
- Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup: For a light, yet wildly flavorful lunch, you can’t beat a soup + fritter combo.
- Quinoa Southwest Salad: For a vegetarian, protein-rich meal, this quinoa salad checks all the boxes.
- To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 days. Store sauce separately for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat: Fritters are best reheated in a skillet or the air fryer. To reheat in a skillet, add 1 to 2 tsp of oil to a nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in the air fryer at 350ºF until warm.
A note on storing walnuts:
- The best place to store walnuts is in the refrigerator if you’re planning to use them right away, or in the freezer if you’ll be storing them for a month or longer. Walnuts can absorb flavors of other foods so keep them away from foods with strong odors.
More Zucchini Recipes to Try:
If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.
Zucchini-Walnut Fritters with Creamy Garlic-Herb Sauce
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowls
- 1 1/2 lbs. zucchini, grated
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (sub chickpea flour if making gluten free)
- 3 Tbsp. very finely chopped walnuts (measured after chopping)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Zest of 1 lemon (reserve juice for sauce)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking
Creamy Garlic-Herb Sauce
- 1/3 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I use avocado oil mayo)
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives or dill
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 grated garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
- Place shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl, and mix with 1/2 tsp salt. Allow to drain for 15 minutes.Wrap zucchini in a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze over sink to extract as much moisture as possible. (The volume should shrink to about half the original.) Transfer zucchini to a large mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Garlic-Herb Sauce by combining yogurt, mayonnaise, chives (or dill), lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
- To the bowl with zucchini, add remainder of fritter ingredients (egg, flour, walnuts, baking powder, coriander, cumin, black pepper, lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp. salt); mix to well combine.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering, place heaping 2-Tbsp amounts of zucchini batter in pan, spacing several inches apart. Use the back side of a spatula to flatten fritters until they're about 1/4 inch thick.Fry until golden-brown on one side, about 2 minutes, then gently flip and fry again until golden on the other side. Transfer to a wire rack. Continue frying remaining batter, adding more oil to pan as needed. Sprinkle fritters with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Serve warm with Creamy Garlic-Herb Sauce.