How to Cook Summer Squash

Sweetly mild summer squash is a nutritious and tasty addition to many dishes. Learn how to cook it in just a few easy steps.

Summer squash have thin, edible skin, soft seeds, and mild, tender flesh. They are low in calories, high in fiber and vitamins A and C, and require a short cooking time. Popular varieties include yellow squash, crookneck, zucchini, and pattypan squash.

Note: Zucchini and yellow squash may be used interchangeably in recipes.

Try yellow squash in our Lemony Ricotta Summer Squash Galette recipe

Selecting and Storing Summer Squash

  • Summer squash hit their peak from early to late summer.
  • Look for small- to medium-size squash with brightly colored skin. Avoid squash with soft spots, dents in the skin, or bruises.
  • Because summer squash is highly perishable, store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days.

How To Boil Summer Squash

Boiling summer squash is a quick way to cook it to add to recipes. Just a few minutes in, boiled summer squash is tender and ready to eat!

  • Slice the squash into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices.
  • In a saucepan, bring lightly salted water to boiling.
  • Add the sliced squash to the boiling water.
  • Cover and cook for 3 to 6 minutes or until the squash is just tender. Drain well.

Try it in our recipe for Coconut Summer Squash Soup

How To Steam Summer Squash on the Stove

Steaming summer squash can be just as quick as boiling, but it might be a little more flavorful once it's finished. Just remember to season your squash once it's finished steaming.

  • Slice the squash into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices.
  • Insert a steamer basket into a saucepan.
  • Add enough water to the saucepan so the water level is just below the bottom of the basket.
  • Bring water to boiling.
  • Add the sliced squash to the steamer basket.
  • Cover and steam for 3 to 5 minutes or until the squash is just tender.

If you don't have time to wait for water to boil, try steaming your summer squash in the microwave. This cooking method may take a little longer, but it'll be quicker overall than boiling or steaming because you don't have to start with a pot of boiling water.

  • Cut the squash into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices.
  • Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Cover and microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 4 to 6 minutes or until the squash is just tender, stirring once after 2 minutes of cooking.

Try this method in our Chicken and Asparagus Skillet Supper recipe

How To Grill Summer Squash

When summertime arrives, there's only one way to cook yellow squash: On the grill! For a super-delish veggie side, toss skewers or slices of squash onto the grill at the your summer cookout for serving alongside burgers, chicken, and barbecue.

  • Preheat grill and adjust for medium heat.
  • Cut summer squash into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick slices and thread them onto skewers. Or cut the squash in half lengthwise.
  • Brush the squash lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Or brush it with a marinade.
  • Place the squash on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 10 minutes or until the squash is just tender, turning once.

Get the recipe for our Grilled Summer Squash Caprese

How To Bake Summer Squash for Breads, Cakes, or Bars

The addition of shredded summer squash to baked goods helps to ensure moist, tender results. Using the coarse side of a box grater, shred zucchini or yellow squash for use in baked goods.

Try our Choco-Zucchini Cupcakes recipe

It might take a little extra time to roast summer squash, but the delicious caramelization roasting adds to the veggies is oh-so worth it. Add any seasoning you like before roasting, but try not to use too much olive oil, or your squash can get a little soggy.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Cut squash into bite-size chunks.
  • Place squash in a large shallow roasting pan.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper or other seasoning mixture.
  • Roast, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until the squash is just tender, stirring once.

Get the recipe for our Roasted Squash and Pepper Tart

How To Broil Summer Squash

If you don't have time to roast your squash and the weather isn't nice enough for grilling, broiling summer squash is another great cooking method. Prep your veggies just like you do before roasting, but let your broiler make quick work of the squash instead.

  • Preheat broiler.
  • Cut squash into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices.
  • Arrange squash slices in a single layer in a large shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
  • Broil the squash about 5 inches from the heat about 3 to 5 minutes or until the squash is just tender.

Check out our Zucchini Chips recipe

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