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Zucchini Casserole has tender zucchini, a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, and a crunchy panko breadcrumb topping. This Cheesy Zucchini Casserole recipe is a delicious side dish that goes with just about any meal!
Zucchini season is my favorite time of year because zucchini is super versatile. It’s used in sweet recipes, like Zucchini Bread and Zucchini Carrot Oatmeal Muffins, and it’s just as delicious in savory dishes like Baked Parmesan Zucchini or this zucchini casserole.
On its own it’s delicious grilled, sauteed or even baked. I could eat zucchini every day of the week!
Zucchini Casserole Ingredients and Variations
- Zucchini – Since it’s in season most of the summer, it’s a great time to pick up some extra. Look for medium-sized zucchini. Too large and they won’t have as much flavor.
- Cheese sauce – This is made with a roux of butter and flour, then milk and cheese. I like white cheddar but any melty cheese will do. Cheese is always best shredded right off the block.
- Breadcrumb topping – I prefer Panko crumbs because they have a better crunch.
How to remove water from zucchini
Zucchini has a naturally high water content, so it’s important to dry it out before making the zucchini casserole.
Wash zucchini and slice into 1/8-1/4-inch thin coins. Lay the coins flat on a paper towel, then lightly salt both sides and let them sit for 15 minutes. The salt will draw out the moisture. Pat zucchini dry with paper towels.
This method works the same with shredded zucchini. Shred, salt, sit, then wring out after 15 minutes.
How to make Zucchini Casserole
Prep. Preheat your oven and slice the zucchini. Lay out the veggies on a flat surface and sprinkle with salt to help remove the water as described above.
Make the cheese sauce. First, make a roux with melted butter and flour, then add milk, letting it bubble until thickened. Remove from the heat and then stir in cream cheese, Parmesan, and white cheddar until melted. My secret ingredient in this recipe is a pinch of nutmeg. While it may seem odd, nutmeg goes beautifully in white sauces.
Layer the zucchini casserole. In a round casserole dish, add 2 layers of zucchini slices then a layer of cheese sauce. Repeat until you’ve used up all the zucchini.
Add breadcrumbs. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of the zucchini casserole. For more color and flavor, you can enhance the topping by combining with a little melted butter and parsley. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden and the cheese sauce is bubbly.
Cheesy Zucchini Casserole pairs well with a variety of main dishes. Some of our favorites:
- Roasted Chicken Drumsticks
- Baked Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Roast Turkey Breast with Herb Butter
- Garlic Butter Steak Bites
- Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
If you happen to have leftover zucchini casserole, cover it tightly or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave at 50% power to prevent the cheese sauce from breaking. Or, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until warm.
Freezing can be done but is not recommended as the liquid in the zucchini would affect the taste and texture upon reheating.
- Use any favorite cheese you like. I chose Parmesan and white cheddar so my sauce would stay white, but you could use regular sharp cheddar, Mozzarella, Gruyere, or even Fontina.
- Add yellow squash to the mix, or check your local farmers market to see what types of zucchini they have.
- Swap the topping. Instead of breadcrumbs, crushed butter crackers to put on top of the casserole.
- To double the recipe, use a larger 13×9-inch baking dish.
- Make ahead and cover and refrigerate just before baking. When you’re ready to cook, remove from the fridge while the oven is preheating.
More zucchini recipes you’ll love
- Smoked Sausage and Zucchini Skillet
- Grilled Zucchini Recipe
- Sauteed Zucchini with Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Parmesan Zucchini and Corn
- Zucchini Bread
- 3 large zucchini sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups half and half
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 3 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cups freshly shredded white cheddar cheese about 4 ounces
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice zucchini and then lay in a single layer on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
- While zucchini releases water, make cheese sauce. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan. Once melted, add flour and whisk until a roux forms. Add half and half and stir consistently until a thick white sauce forms.
- Once sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a pinch of nutmeg. Turn off the heat. Add cream cheese and parmesan cheese and whisk until melted. Add shredded white cheddar cheese and whisk until melted.
- Using paper towels, pat the zucchini dry. Stack the zucchini in a circular pattern in a round casserole dish. Every 3 layers, add a ladle full of cheese sauce. Repeat with remaining zucchini. Pour any remaining cheese sauce over the top.
- Sprinkle with panko breadrumbs and bake 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Rest 5 minutes and serve warm.