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.

Five plates of zucchini noodles made by different methods.

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

Making 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

Making 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

Making 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

Making zucchini noodles with a 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

Making 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

Raw zucchini noodles on a plate with 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 microwave safe glass bowl.

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 in a saute 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 in a pot with 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 next to a container of salt.

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

Five plates of zucchini noodles made different ways.

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.

Easy Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)

4.99 from 74 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 2 mins
Total Time: 7 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
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!


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


  • 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!


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

  1. Thanks for the great info. Will make some today. And FYI, it’s ‘composed of’ rather than ‘comprised of’ – regarding the amount of water in zucchini.5 stars

  2. Can we use fat zucchini too spiralizer l have the kitchen aide first time to spiral5 stars

  3. Hi,
    I got the Padermo but can’t figure out which blade makes zucchini noodles, can you help me? Also what other blades do you use a lot? 

  4. An instant love affair with your YT channel! I am now diabetic II, have high cholesterol, and had a heart attack last year and these recipes are yummy looking. I have been gifted an air fryer and I am loving it but I just purchased the spiralizer so I am excited to try these zoodles right now. Thank you for your valuable information. <35 stars

    • So glad you discovered Downshiftology! Can’t wait for you to start whipping up all my recipes to get back on track to a healthy lifestyle :)

  5. Can you freeze zucchini noodles? 

  6. I’ve owned the Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer for a couple years and it works great, but a warning: there is storage for only 2 of the 3 blades, so one blade must be stored mounted on the machine. I cut myself getting the spiralizer out of a cabinet and touching the very sharp blade. So a made a guard out of corrugated cardboard doubled over and held in place by a rubber band.

  7. You forgot steaming! I steamed mine and they turned out perfectly!

  8. I really like the zoodles. I use a spiralizerr and there are always bits left over, I didn’t want to throw them out and I dont have a compost so I make a snack for myself to have while cooking. I have small garlic butter cubes in my freezer so I throw one into a small pan, I take the cores and chop them into bite size pieces and the ends and throw them into the melted garlic butter and cook for a couple minutes. They get lightly browned when they are ready. I just wanted people to knoww they dont have to throw out the bits when using the spiralizer.5 stars

  9. Easy and healthy5 stars

  10. I am going to get the three slicer. Video was most helpful. Thank you.

  11. Your tips and review is wonderful. Thank you for doing it. You did a beautiful job and I really appreciate the info. I noticed on Amazon that there was the 3 blade vs 6 blade. The main thing I will use it for is for zucchini noodles and I am thinking about space in our kitchen. The price difference is so minimal.5 stars

    • Thanks so much Stephanie! I’m glad you found the information helpful. I have both the 3 and 6 blade, so it’s really up to you on the blades you’ll think you’ll use most often.

  12. Lisa! Found your appetizing site with a world of tempting recipes! I’m immediately ordering the spiralizer which is your favorite & cannot wait to try your zucchini noodle recipe & all others. Thanks for your videos I stumbled upon, you now have a new follower & I’m looking forward to my new spiralizer!5 stars

    • Hi Carmie- Welcome to the Downshiftology community! I’m so excited to have you here and can’t wait for you to get your spiralizer in :)

  13. I am so glad I watched this video before I tried using my spiralizer, which has been sitting in a box for 2 years!  Just diagnosed as having celiac disease but not wanting to end my Italian pasta dinners, zoodles is the way to go.
    Excellent and practical tips.  Thanks!5 stars

    • Hi Maria – I’m glad this video helped you create the perfect zoodles! Now, you can enjoy Italian dinners – plus you get an extra serving of veggies into your meals. Its a win-win situation.

  14. Super helpful I’ve had zucchini noodles in restaurants and love them. So I was ready to try it at home but was not sure how to cook them   This has given me so many options. Thank you and I hope to try the noodles and garlic shrimp recipe soon one of my favorites in restaurants but with this Coronavirus I’m looking forward to fixing it at home 5 stars

    • Hi Suzanne – I’m glad this post helped you cook up one of our favorite restaurant dishes! Be sure to take a peek at the rest of my zucchini noodle recipes as well. I have a feeling you’re going to love them :)

  15. Hi, being a newcomer in the land of Vegan and RAW, this is an excellent and above expectation recipe. Please have more of these easy to make recipes. Please remember, newcomers taste buds have not adopted the Vegan/RAW way of food appreciation yet, we need time.5 stars

    • Hi Robert- I’m glad this post was helpful! I have quite a few healthy basics on my site, so do feel free to look through those :)

  16. Looks like my earlier comment was deleted. Not sure why, because my comment was not disrespectful. I wanted to go ahead and comment again – this recipe did not work for me. I followed it to the T and it turned out really bland. I would not recommend. 

    Hopefully for the sake of integrity, you’re not deleting respectful but critical comments. Hopefully you have more integrity than that. 

    • Hi Naya – your comment wasn’t deleted, all comments go through moderation before appearing on the website. But given that it’s now a duplicate to this comment I’ve removed it. I’m sorry you didn’t love this recipe. Zucchini noodles with garlic and parmesan is a very mild recipe. If you’d like something spicier I’d recommend checking out my Mexican Zucchini noodles recipe.

    • Salt and pepper *to taste*

      So add more, to your own taste, to make it less bland for you. Not sure if you believe everyone’s tastebuds are the same, but they’re definitely not.

  17. I love the spiralizer- and then microwaving for a few minutes, quick and easy. Added a little Himalayan salt. Good to go. 5 stars

  18. Loved your video on spiralizing zucchini! I just bought a spiralizer and can’t wait to get started.  Im on Weight Watchers and I think spiralizing might be super helpful! I’d love to see some WW recipes using the spiralizer! Oh, gosh…we all would! Everybody on WW would be so tickled to learn more! Thanks for your wonderful ideas! And for the record, your videos are just wonderful… you’re cute as a bug!
    Vicki Ford

  19. Is there anyway your affiliate links to amazon will still work when i switch to the Australian Store? There are a few things I want to buy that you use such as this spiralizer, the measure spoons and the weck jars.

  20. My fav keto way to get pasta…

    -Don5 stars

  21. Love your info5 stars

  22. Excellent and informative article! SO, can I just make my keto spaghetti sauce with hamburger, mushrooms, etc., and put over zoodles?5 stars

    • Hi Marci – Glad to hear you found this post helpful :) As for your meal, you can definitely do that! I even have a zucchini noodle bolognese recipe on my website as well – which is a similar idea.

  23. Hello Lisa and thank you for these wonderful recipes! I made Saute Zucchini Noodles a few days ago and all my family (even my pickiest eater) loved this recipe! I’ll definitely make this again soon! Pinned.5 stars

  24. Wow I love zoodles but never tried making my own! Thanks for all the tips, its time to break out my new spiralizer.

  25. I keep coming back again and again to this recipe – thanks! I love how easy this dish is, and because I’m a ketoer, it’s a regular dish in my house!5 stars

  26. Thanks for the super detailed info on how to make zucchini noodles in so many different ways! Now there’s no excuse not to make these. :)5 stars

  27. Thanks for all these creative tips!5 stars

  28. 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.  

  29. 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!5 stars

    • 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.

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


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

  31. 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. 

  32. 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.5 stars

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

  34. Can you freeze fresh zucchini noodles?5 stars

  35. 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!5 stars

  36. 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.5 stars

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

  37. 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!5 stars

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

  38. 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!5 stars

  39. Finally we have a perfect explanation how to properly make zucchini. Nice!5 stars

  40. 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!5 stars

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

  41. 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.5 stars

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

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

  44. 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!5 stars

  45. 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. 

  46. 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…..

  47. 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!

  48. 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!5 stars

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

  50. Super informative! Ty so much for your advice. You have a wonderful way of explaining steps. 5 stars