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How to Make and Cook Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles (also known as “zoodles“) are the perfect gluten-free, zucchini pasta. Today, I’m showing you how to make zucchini noodles using a spiralizer, julienne peeler and mandoline.

I’ve also got several tips on how to cook zucchini noodles perfectly (so they’re not soggy) and I’m sharing my favorite “go to” zucchini noodle recipes.

How to make and cook zucchini noodles (zoodles).

Just because you’ve decided to ditch wheat-based spaghetti doesn’t mean you really have to give up pasta. How so, you ask? Well, let me introduce you to zucchini noodles. Also known as “zoodles” – zucchini noodles are the most brilliant noodle base for numerous healthy gluten-free recipes.

But if you’re new to the world of zoodles, you may be overwhelmed with all the options. You may even have questions like: What’s the best tool to make zucchini noodles? What zucchini noodle recipes should I make? How do I cook them? And should I even cook them?

I completely understand. And trust me, they’re all the same questions I had years ago. So today, I’ve put together the ultimate guide to zucchini noodles. A mini-resource guide, to help you navigate the wide world of zoodles.

The Ultimate Guide to Zucchini Noodles

Listed below are the most popular methods for making and cooking zucchini noodles. I’ve listed them in order of my favorite to least favorite. If you keep scrolling, you’ll also find a video that shows you how I use each device – so make sure to watch that!

And finally, at the very end I’ve included some of my best tips along with my favorite zucchini noodle recipes. So let’s dive in!

How to Make Zucchini Noodles

1. With a Spiralizer

How to make zucchini noodles with a spiralizer.

The Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer is far and away my favorite tool. It creates curls of your favorite vegetables, literally in seconds. It’s the fastest tool of the bunch and requires the least amount of strength or effort (with suction cup feet to keep it in place). You simply cut off the ends of a zucchini, place it next to the blade and spin. In less than 8 seconds you’ll have spiral sliced the entire zucchini.

Now, I know these reviews are for zucchini noodles, but keep in mind other vegetables you may want to slice up. Carrots, sweet potato, apples, pears…the list is endless!

With this spiralizer, you can create your favorite carrot pasta, curly sweet potato fries or apple chips with easy to swap out blades. Yes, it’s bigger than some of the other options, but considering how I often I use it the pros far outweigh the cons – so it’s still my #1 favorite.

PROS: requires little effort/strength, performs the fastest, reasonably priced, sturdy and offers different blades/slicing options.

CONS: will require more storage space than other options.

2. With a Julienne Peeler

How to make zucchini noodles with a julienne peeler.

The great thing about a julienne peeler is that you likely already have one in your kitchen. Win! A julienne peeler frequently does double duty with a vegetable peeler. One side juliennes, the other side slices. And that’s perfect for when you want thick, flat slices of zucchini pasta. The single biggest benefit of a julienne peeler is that it’s small. It takes up virtually no space in your kitchen and will most likely reside in your utensil drawer.

When it comes to the actual zucchini noodles, a julienne peeler slices the thinnest, most delicate noodles. Then, you simply pull the strands apart with your fingers. The reason this tool makes #2 on my list is that it takes longer to slice (you rotate the zucchini, creating a rectangular shape), it leaves the largest core and the potential of nicking a finger is high (yep, I’m clumsy).

PROS: cheap and easy to store.

CONS: takes longer to slice and leaves a pretty large core.

3. With a Mandoline

How to make zucchini noodles with a mandoline.

I actually hummed and hawed about making the mandoline #2 on my list (because I love it that much) – but the julienne peeler won for size. I’ve had this mandoline for several years and it gets used a ton in my kitchen.

The mandoline creates julienne noodles that are slightly thicker than a peeler, but does it in half the time. The blades are SUPER sharp on a mandoline, so please please always use the plastic holder or a cut-resistant glove. I’ve sliced a massive divot out of my thumb before – and it’s not fun.

The mandoline creates the best flat zucchini pasta and allows you to vary the thickness. Similar to the Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer, it has several blade options, giving you options for perfectly consistent noodles, slices or rounds (and easily cuts through any “harder to slice” vegetable). Alright, maybe this is actually a tie for #2.

PROS: slicing is easy/fast (due to sharp blade) and consistent sizing/width of output.

CONS: sharp blade (be careful with your fingers) and medium size for storage.

4. With the KitchenAid Spiralizer

How to make zucchini noodles with the KitchenAid spiralizer.

If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer then you’re likely aware of the numerous attachments available. While these attachments aren’t cheap, they’re automated by connecting to the power hub on the front of the mixer. And yes, as you guessed it, KitchenAid has a spiralizer attachment.

The Kitchenaid spiralizer comes in a nice storage box (though it’s quite large) and provides the most blade options, with 7 blades (including a peeler). But even with all these blade options I found that I still gravitated toward the 3 basic blades – the same ones which are included with the Paderno Spiralizer.

Another consideration is that because this tool is automated, it also has a fixed width. That means large zucchini need to be cut in half, with each half spiralized separately.

If you already have a KitchenAid and love using attachments, this is a great option. But for everyone else, the cost alone will probably be the biggest deterrent.

PROS: the only automated spiralizer, has the most blade options and comes with a peeler.

CONS: fixed width, requires the most storage space and I found that I could still spiralize a zucchini faster, by hand, with the Paderno Spiralizer.

5. With a Handheld Spiralizer

How to make zucchini noodles with a handheld spiralizer.

The handheld spiralizer is the newest kid on the block and the solution for curly noodles in a small contraption. It produces zucchini noodles most similar to the Paderno Spiralizer, though they tend to be flatter and not as consistently sized. I was really hoping to love this little device, but with all the other options on the market, I had to rank it last.

If you’re spiralizing several zucchini your wrist can become sore from all the twisting and it’s hard to keep the zucchini slicing straight. Also, if you plan to spiralize other vegetables (like carrots and sweet potatoes), this tool will be the most difficult as it requires the most strength and effort. Sure, it’s cheap, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

PROS: cheap and takes up little space.

CONS: inconsistent noodles, requires strength/wrist power and lacks the versatility of the other options.

Learn How to Make Zucchini Noodles

In the video below I’ll show you several ways to make zucchini noodles. While I love to use my spiralizer, you can choose your favorite method!

How to Cook Zucchini Noodles

Congratulations – you’ve made zucchini noodles! Now the big question is what to do with them, right? And you might be thinking, how do I cook them? But the question you should be asking is, “how do I heat them up?” Because you don’t really want to cook zucchini noodles. At least not too much.

Zucchini are comprised of 95 percent water (yes, 95%). So when you cook them, you may end up with a soggy, mushy mess of watery noodles – just by cooking one minute too long. The exact opposite of al dente. So when you’re cooking zoodles, remind yourself that your intention is simply to heat them up and not really to “cook.” I failed miserably at this in the beginning.

Today, I end up with perfectly crisp, al dente noodles every time. Here’s how…

1. Eat Zucchini Noodles Raw

Zucchini noodles on a white plate with a fork.

The best way to get the crispiest, most al dente noodles? Keep them raw. Yep, that means no cooking whatsoever. Spiralize, mix with your favorite ingredients and serve. Not only is raw the easiest and fastest method, but the noodles are just as delicious cold as they are warm. Think of raw cucumber – you don’t need to cook that to eat it do you? Cold zucchini noodles are no different. And mixed with a cold avocado cucumber sauce or pesto sauce for zucchini pasta caprese….they’re delish!

If your zucchini is room temperature, simply mixing the noodles with a hot sauce, like a bolognese, also warms the noodles. So you’ve cooked without cooking! Isn’t that the best? And that’s why raw always wins as my favorite “cooking” method.

2. How to Microwave Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles in a glass dish.

For the speediest cooking of your zucchini noodles, a microwave can’t be beat – which is why it’s my second favorite cooking method. Just pile all your noodles in a microwave-safe dish and cook for one minute. Depending on the amount of noodles you have you may need to cook longer, though I would recommend 30-second increments to prevent over-cooking. Then, divide your noodles between serving plates and top with your favorite sauce.

3. How to Sauté Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles sautéed in a pan.

If you’re already cooking on the stovetop, sautéing your noodles may be the easiest. Just add one tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil to a pan and sauté for 1-2 minutes. This is a perfect cooking method if you’re making zucchini pasta with lemon garlic shrimp – or something similar. But I find that if I’m adding a bolognese or other sauce to the noodles, I’d prefer not to have the extra oil on the noodles.

4. How to Boil Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles boiled in a pot of water.

When I first started making zucchini noodles, this was the method I used the most. It’s quite simple to boil a pot of water, toss in your zucchini noodles and cook for one minute. It’s similar to cooking frozen veggies on the stovetop. And once your noodles have cooked, drain the noodles in a colander and serve. If you’d like them super dry, blot them with a paper towel before serving.

5. How to Bake Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles on a baking sheet.

Baking zucchini noodles is the method I use the least as it’s the most time-consuming and labor-intensive. At first, I thought the noodles would be crispier and more spaghetti-like, but the difference is negligible. For the added time and energy, I much prefer any of the other methods.

But if you want to give it a go, preheat your oven to 200 degrees fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a paper towel and evenly distribute your noodles on top. Then, sprinkle with sea salt. The sea salt helps to draw out the moisture while the paper towel soaks it up. And no, the paper towel won’t catch fire at such a low temperature. Cook for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the oven and gently squeeze the noodles in the paper towel to wring out any additional water.

The Best Zucchini Noodles Recipes

How to make and cook zucchini noodles (zoodles).

Zucchini Noodles Tips & Tricks

After making, eating and cooking zucchini noodles for several years I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • If you’re using my favorite spiralizer to make your noodles, you’ll end up with super long strands. In order to more easily serve your guests, just use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip through some of the strands.
  • Make your zoodles ahead of time! This is the best time-saving tip. After you’ve spiralized several zucchini, line a large plastic or glass storage container with a paper towel, add your noodles and place in the refrigerator. They’ll stay fresh for 2-3 days.
  • Larger zucchini are easier to spiralize and will yield more noodles. For serving sizes, plan on one medium zucchini per person.
  • To peel or not to peel the zucchini? I don’t peel the zucchini before spiralizing as I love the added green color in my dish and extra nutrients it provides, like dietary fiber.
  • Don’t forget to make zucchini ribbons and spiralize lots of other veggies, such as carrots, squash, eggplant, potato, beets and parsnips. Get creative!
  • And lastly, remember that there’s so many more vegetables that you can spiralize, in addition to zucchini noodles. Check out my Spiralizer Beginner’s Guide with the 10 vegetables I spiralize most frequently. And expand your veggie recipe repertoire with the new Vegetable Sheet Cutter. It’s seriously amazing.

Lisa in her kitchen with several plates of zucchini noodles.

Zucchini noodles on a white plate.
5 from 16 votes

Easy Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 2 mins
Total Time: 7 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Learn how to make and cook zucchini noodles "zoodles" - the best way! This garlic parmesan zucchini noodles recipe is easy and delicious. It's also low-carb and keto friendly and has just 4 ingredients. Make sure to watch my video above for the complete step-by-step zucchini noodle tutorial!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 tbsp parmesan, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Slice the ends off the zucchini and place it on your spiralizer. Turn the spiralizer and create zucchini noodles.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. 
  • Add the zucchini noodles and toss them for one minute, just to warm through, then turn off the heat. 
  • Sprinkle on the grated parmesan along with salt and pepper, give them another toss in the pan, then serve them up. 

Lisa's Tips

  • Don't forget to read all the notes and tips in the blog post above. You'll soon be an expert at zucchini noodles as well!

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 96mg, Potassium: 511mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 430IU, Vitamin C: 36.1mg, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 0.7mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Cook Zucchini Noodles, How to Make Zucchini Noodles, zucchini noodles, zucchini noodles recipe
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @downshiftology and hashtag it #downshiftology.

This post was originally published December 2015 and updated June 2017 and today, to include new content, photographs and a video. 

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151 comments on “How to Make and Cook Zucchini Noodles”

  1. Very, very helpful tips here, thank you!  Lots to try out.

    I’ll leave you with a tip from me…when using the julienne peeler…stick a skewer through the middle of your zucchini, and hold that instead, and you’ll (probably) never nick your fingers again.  

  2. Thank you for this post and, specially, for the amazing recipes :)

    I was wondering if you freeze your zucchini noddles and, if so, how? It would be helpfull for those days when we fell like we don’t have time or energy to spirilize.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ana – you can definitely freeze your zucchini noodles :) After spiralizing, let them drain in a colander, blot them dry with a paper towel, and then store them away in a freezer safe container or bag.

  3. This was such a helpful blog. I am trying to go Keto and i dont want to get bored with my food.

    Apprecilove

    • Hi Nardia – I’m happy you discovered Downshiftology! I hope my recipes and posts will help ease your journey into a Keto diet :)

  4. Thank you for sharing all this information! I’ve cooked zucchini before in a chicken zoodle soup, and it was soggy. The recipe wasn’t clear on when to add the noodles and it was my first time. So this makes absolute sense. Next time I’ll just add the zucchini uncooked. 

  5. This was so delicious!! My husband and I just started keto a few days ago. He doesn’t eat zucchini but he ate it today. He said this is a keeper! Thanks for a simple and delicious recipe.

  6. Is it better to spiralize and cook them from room temp or from the fridge, or does it matter?

  7. Can you freeze fresh zucchini noodles?

  8. Great review and instructions! I have never used one, so I found this review very helpful. I’m off to buy my first spiralizer gadget! (Option 1) Thank you so much!

  9. Loving the way you explained the process with all the tips and tricks in this post, so helpful. Can’t wait to get a new spiralizer now.

    • Thanks, Neha! Yes, I love my spiralizer and you won’t regret getting one, its definitely a staple in my weekly meals. :)

  10. I love raw zucchini so this post is right up my alley! So many different ways keeps it from being boring to eat these and the step by step photos are clear and easy to follow. I will have them raw every time, thanks!

    • Thanks, Adrianne! I appreciate the kind comment and our mutual love of zucchini noodles. :)

  11. These zoodles are so delicate! And the green color looks so good. Beautiful recipe and what’s even more important – healthy and easy to make – yum!

  12. Finally we have a perfect explanation how to properly make zucchini. Nice!

  13. Zucchini noodles are so easy to make and an easy way to get more veggies into the diet.  My favorite way to make them is with the julienne peeler.  Mostly because it is cheap and takes up no space in my tiny kitchen.  I have a mandolin but I don’t use it enough to be very good at it.  Great video!

    • Hi Tina – Thank you for the kind comment. And I love hearing about your zucchini noodle preferences. :)

  14. Hi Lisa,

    my name is Virginia and I live in Toronto Canada. I am soooooooo happy with your website. It never disappoints. I have tried so many of your simple, easy and awesome recipes. They always come out incredibly tasty. As I’m writing this comment, I’m making your mashed cauliflower. I am so grateful for your website. Thanks for the great food that makes me feel healthy and strong.

  15. Have you tried eggplant in the two kitchen aid attachments? Spiral and sheet?

  16. Love the way you explain food preparation… received a spiralizer for Christmas and now I’m ready to try it! Thank you!

  17. Hooray for your article! I bought the Paderno and used it for the first time tonight. My family was skeptical, didn’t want to like the zucchini noodles, but they did! This is a game changer! Thanks so much!

  18. Hi Lisa!

    Can you tell me why my zoodles are soaking wet right when I spiralize them to keep in the fridge?  In your video, yours appear more dry. 

  19. I first read up on all the spiralizer tips and such… Spiralized my first batch of zuccchini’s (3) watch that you cut them straight at both ends in order to get a good spiral cut. Might have to readjust…. Saute zoodles with a bit of olive oil and garlic in pan just enough to heat everything. Then place in bowl with favorite sauce and enjoy…. FANTASTIC…..

  20. Thanks for the great explanation! Which method do you think is best for kids who are convinced I’m trying to kill them by suggesting they eat vegetables? I’ve got them with the fun name of noodles, but I’d like to not have them be able to taste that it’s vegetable!

  21. oohh! so you DON’T cook the zoodles! my first attempt at making them with pasta sauce turned into an unpalatable bowl of mush. and i gave up. it’s now 5 years later and i’m so glad i came across your site. i’m going to buy the paderna and attempt to make a nice shrimp/zoodle dish! wish me luck! keep posting :o) your stuff is great!

  22. Hi- do you have any comments or experience using the folding models that Paderno makes ?

  23. Super informative! Ty so much for your advice. You have a wonderful way of explaining steps.