How to Cook Summer Squash
Sweetly mild summer squash is a nutritious and tasty addition to many dishes. We'll show you how to cook it every which way and share some of our favorite summer squash recipes so you can try it for yourself! You can use these tips for yellow squash, pattypan squash, zucchini, and more!
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 quick to cook. Popular squash varieties include yellow, crookneck, zucchini, and pattypan.
Note: Zucchini and yellow squash may be used interchangeably in recipes.
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. In just a few minutes, 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.
How to Steam Summer Squash on the Stove Top
Steaming summer squash can be just as quick as boiling, and 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.
How to Steam Summer Squash in the Microwave
If you don't have time to wait for water to boil, try steaming your summer squash in the microwave. The cooking time may be a little longer, but this method is 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.
How to Roast Summer Squash
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 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.
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 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.
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.
How to Broil Summer Squash
If you don't have time to roast your squash and the weather isn't good 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 for 3 to 5 minutes or until the squash is just tender.
Bonus: Squash Casserole
If you're not adding summer squash to soup or eating it all on its own as a side dish, try making a summer squash casserole! You can easily combine multiple kinds of squash into one casserole recipe, so it can help you use up a few odds and ends. Plus, most squash casserole recipes call for adding in other veggies, like sweet peppers or tomatoes, so squash casseroles are usually a pretty healthy meal choice.