This Zucchini Fritters Recipe is naturally gluten free and amazingly healthy made using quinoa and almond flour. It’s an easy recipe, great reheated from frozen and is ready in about 30 minutes.
If you have a plethora of zucchinis taking over your backyard or picked up an abundant supply from your local farmers market, and looking for creative yet tasty recipes to use them, then this air fryer zucchini, zucchini frittata or zucchini fritters are a great way to use up up your garden fresh summer squash.
Fritters is usually a combination of fruit, vegetable or meat with a pancake batter like mixture and then deep fried or shallow fried. It can be made in both savory and sweet varieties like this air fryer apple fritters.
A simple grating and squeezing of zucchini, a swift mix along with leftover quinoa, almond flour, egg and seasonings, then pan fried and you have a dish that is delicious and nutritious, perfect for to serve as a snack, side dish for dinner or made into sandwiches.
The result is soft, delicate, tender fritter thats tasty on its own or served in plethora of ways. You're going to love these healthy zucchini fritters that's loaded with yummy goodness. If you love incorporating more quinoa in your diet, then you might love this quinoa salad or quinoa porridge too.
We swapped the regular all purpose flour with almond flour and added quinoa to the mix and the result was tender and incredibly flavorful. Let me show you how it’s done!
Here's why you'll love them
- Packed with shredded zucchini and quinoa
- Delicate, tender with a soft crusty exterior
- Only a handful of easy, healthy, good-for-you ingredients
- Naturally gluten free
- No white flour, cornstarch, cheese or bread crumbs
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Zucchini - I find that medium zucchini is best. It makes about 1 and ½ cups when grated and the seeds aren’t as big with the skin being more tender when compared to the bigger squashes. If you are using one of those huge, overgrown backyard zucchini, then scrape out the seedy part before shredding to make zucchini fritters.
- Red onion - It not only gives a beautiful contrast in color, but also adds a subtle sweetness when cooked. You can use shallots instead.
- Quinoa - I used cooled leftover quinoa made in instant pot, but feel free to use your leftover cooked quinoa that doesn't have much flavor on it's own so the zucchini can shine through.
- Almond Flour - I replaced regular all purpose flour with almond flour, which helps with the binding, bumps up the nutritive value and gives a fabulous delicate texture.
- Egg - Egg is the main binding ingredient in this gluten free zucchini fritters.
- Cilantro - Adds more green and lemony peppery flavor. Feel free to skip it, if you are not a fan.
Substitutions & Variations
- Use plain all purpose flour instead of almond flour. Mix in ¼ cup and increase by tablespoon increments, if the batter feels too wet.
- Eggs offer main binding in this gluten free recipe, so flax eggs will not work here.
- Don't have leftover quinoa? Use about ½ cup of panko bread crumbs and increase almond flour.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1 & 2. Wash one medium size zucchini and begin grating, holding the stem end, using the large holes of your box grater. There is no need to peel the zucchini.
3. Measure 1 and ½ cups into a large bowl and then toss in thinly sliced red onion and salt. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.
4. Squeeze out excess water using hands (or bundle up cheese cloth) then place zucchini in a bowl.
Tip: This method of removing excess water by shredding, salting and squeezing the zucchini, will result in a concentrated flavor and appealing texture in your zucchini fritter.
5. Add squeezed squash and onion back into the bowl, and then add cooked quinoa.
6. Add almond flour, egg, chopped cilantro, salt and cayenne.
7 & 8. Using hands or a spatula, mix until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Pro tip: How thick should zucchini fritter batter be? You want a thick scoop-able batter that will hold it's shape. If you find it's a little too thin simply add in some more almond flour.
9 & 10. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a non stick pan or a well seasoned cast iron skillet, over medium heat. Drop 3 to 4 tablespoons measure batter in the pan. I did 3 mounds per batch! Flatten lightly with a spatula to about ½ inch thick and smooth the edges for an even round.
Pro Tip: I like to use a medium size ice cream scoop to easily scoop the mixture and create equal sized fritters.
11 & 12. Cook for 3 minutes until underside is deep golden (adjust heat if browning too quickly). Flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes.
Pro tip: Handle with a gentle hand! Flip gently because this zucchini fritter recipe has no flour, breadcrumbs or cornstarch to help it bind.
How to serve?
These zucchini fritters are best served hot off the stove, when they're still nice crispy and crusty.
- Enjoy them on their own, with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Pair them with a sauce for an extra burst of flavor. We love them with homemade yogurt sauce, tartar sauce, tzatziki, marinara, ketchup or a simple squirt of sriracha.
- Serve as a side dish for dinner along with pasta dishes or any entree.
- Make them into a sandwich.
How to store?
Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen for later use although we love these zucchini fritters hot off the skillet, when they are the best! Microwave or air fry until warmed though.
Can you freeze?
These zucchini fritters are great to make ahead and can easily be frozen. Flash freeze them once they have come to room temperature by placing them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Freeze for a few hours or until solid. Transfer to a zip lock bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
To reheat: An air fryer does a fantastic job of crisping up. Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees. When hot, place frozen zucchini fritters in the basket and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until hot and crisp.
- Do not skip draining excess water from the shredded zucchini and onion, or your fritters will get soggy and watery during cooking.
- Be gentle when cooking. This zucchini fritters recipe needs to be handled gently because there is no flour to bind the batter, making them more prone to breaking.
- Don’t cook too many fritters at once, unless you are using a large griddle. It gets difficult to flip and you have a higher chance of breaking them.
- Cook over medium heat. High heat will cause the zucchini fritters brown too quickly before it has a chance to cook on the inside.
If your fritters are falling apart during cooking, it is likely that there was not enough binding or you flipped them before they had a chance to set. You can solve this by mixing in about 2 to 4 tablespoons more almond flour into the batter to help the fritters stay together. Also, make sure to cook them at medium heat and develops a deep golden crust on both sides.
Zucchini skin is thin, edible and is a big source of nutrition. So you don't want to peel your summer squashes before cooking them.
If your zucchini fritters are turning out dry and not holding together well (this could be due to the texture of your leftover quinoa), it's possible that there isn't enough binding agent in the mixture. Try adding more beaten egg or almond flour to the mixture to help bind the ingredients together.
If your zucchini fritters are turning out too greasy, it's possible that there is too much oil in the pan or that the oil temperature is too low. You will need about 1 to 2 tablespoon of oil for each batch (just barely coat the bottom of the skillet) and try increasing the heat to medium to help the fritters cook fairly quick and not absorb too much oil.
More healthy snack ideas
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- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste, divided
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 egg, large
- ½ cup almond flour (or more if needed)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- Olive oil, as needed to fry
- Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater and measure 1 and ½ cups for the recipe.
- Add grated zucchini, sliced red onion and ¼ teaspoon salt into a bowl and toss to combine. Leave aside for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, squeeze handfuls of zucchini tightly over the sink to remove extra water (It helps to wring it out in a cheesecloth if you have one). You will be amazed how much water comes out.
- Add the squeezed zucchini back into the bowl, add all remaining ingredients (except oil) and mix well until well combined. Tip: Mix in a touch of more almond flour or 1 egg white, if the mixture is not holding together and looks too dry (it will depend on the texture of your cooked quinoa)
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a non stick pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drop 3 to 4 tablespoons measure batter in the pan (an ice cream scoop is perfect). You can cook 3 to 4 fritters at a time, depending on the size your pan.
- Flatten lightly with spatula to about ½ inch thick (I like to adjust the edges, to get a more even sized fritter). Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until underside is deep golden (adjust heat if browning too quickly). Flip and cook the other side for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining batter.Pro tip: Handle with a gentle hand! Flip gently because this zucchini fritter recipe has no flour, breadcrumbs or cornstarch to help it bind.
- Serve with marinara sauce, ketchup, sriracha, yogurt sauce, dollop of yoghurt or sour cream.
Nutritional information is based on third party calculations, should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types, brands purchased, produce, the way ingredients are processed and more change the nutritional information in any recipe.
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