Jennie Cook's Zucchini Butter

By • July 23, 2013 66 Comments

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Author Notes: Whenever you come home a bundle of squash, this is the best, purest way you can distill it. (And then in about a month, when we're overrun, it will still be a happy way to dispense with lots of them at once.) It turns out zucchini wants to be butter. Grated fine, it cooks down quickly, pooling into a soft, freckly green pile. Spread it on toast in place of actual butter. Cake a thick layer in a sandwich with salted tomatoes or soft cheese. Sauce a grilled pizza. Consider it a side dish. Or just eat a big heap of it, right out of the pan, like we did. Recipe from Jennie Cook via The Kitchn.Genius Recipes

Makes about 2 cups

  • 2 pounds zucchini or assorted summer squash (feel free to use less or add extra -- cooking times will vary)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or butter
  • 2 minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.
  2. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots or garlic briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15 minutes. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the butter for added flavor -- you can splash in a little water to help deglaze the pan.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.
  3. Enjoy on toast, or as a side dish all summer long!

More Great Recipes: Zucchini|Summer Squash|Olive Oil|Vegetables|Condiments

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Comments (66) Questions (3)

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3 days ago Molly

I added dried basil and parsley, a little smoked paprika and lemon juice, and topped with finely grated parmesan - so much better than I expected - wow!

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7 days ago Mario

Just made this. Well it need some work. Lacked flavor. So I added some tomato and worcestershire sauce. Good as a side or on a pizza.???

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23 days ago cbforesman

I'm late (as usual) to the zucchini butter party but I made this last night with a couple of little zucchini that were languishing in the fridge. While they were cooking I discovered a couple of ears of corn so I threw in the kernels, and then some chopped roasted bell pepper and a handful of garbanzo beans. Turns out zucchini butter also works as a base for a nice summer succotash-type-thingy which I served over red rice and which my husband actually ate and liked even though it contains zucchini, which he considers a mortal enemy. Thumbs up.

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10 months ago peggy raab

Just made this and boosted the flavor a bit with fresh grated nutmeg.....YUM!

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12 months ago ghainskom

Had this on top of steak, with potatoes sprinkled with dukkah on the side. Simple but great!

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about 1 year ago Caria

Just made it last night. Added a touch of cayenne to it to give it a bit of a kick. Loving it. Need another large zucchini to make another batch.

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about 1 year ago Dasha18

I also have several baseball bat zucchinis from my garden. (How do I miss these giants?) However my first recipe is to slice them, add a little oil and seasoning and roast at 450. Second recipe is to top the slices with ketchup or tomato sauce, herbs and cheese and roast. (zucchini pizza). It works well with nondairy cheese also. If there any left over I hope to make this butter and freeze it for our long winters. Thank you.

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about 1 year ago caarin

I think I have made this recipe 15 times since I first saw it last summer. I'm making it again tonight to serve alongside a grilled ciabatta, lobster, and an arugula blackberry salad on the beach. It's an absolute favorite of my family - and every guest I've ever served it too.

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about 1 year ago tamater sammich

Superb menu - and on the beach, wowzer!

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about 1 year ago Atlanticgull

Just served this on crostini with slow roasted cherry tomatoes. Everyone loved it! New August go-to. Thanks.

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about 1 year ago Jacqueline

I received a titan six pound zucchini from a friend which gave me the perfect opportunity to finally try this recipe. So glad I did, it is delicious! I was able to put up numerous pints to stash in the pantry for cooler weather when abundant zucchini is just a memory. I made myself an extraordinary grilled cheese and tomato sandwich using this slightly garlicky spread. Do not hesitate to raid your friend's gardens for their extra zucchini!

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about 1 year ago tamater sammich

Raid their garden, heck, we have to lock our car doors and tie the dogs to the porch gates to keep them from leaving it and running away in the night!

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about 1 year ago Jacqueline

So funny! I planted a smaller garden this year and I am kicking myself for leaving out the zucchini....and the neighbor who faithfully drops zucchini "anonymously" in our garage didn't plant a garden this year!

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about 1 year ago tamater sammich

I planted the bush (vs vine) variety this year, (only 1 yellow, 1 green) and am finding its much easier to deal with.

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about 1 year ago Rebecca Brown

Not sure if I should let this "slowly caramelize" or stop cooking while zucchini still has "its bright green color"?

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about 1 year ago lastnightsdinner

This stuff is so, so brilliant. I made a batch yesterday to spread inside cheesy quesadillas for a little house party. Four adults, three almost-3-year olds and an 8-month old all LOVED it.

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about 1 year ago Pia S

This is delicious! I added a pinch of sumac.

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about 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

My husband has made this once, and I've made it twice. It's delicious, and makes a great pizza "sauce" as well as general bread or crostini spread. I added some lemon zest, blanched chopped basil, and Aleppo pepper to the last batch -- it got rave reviews at lady's wine night.

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about 1 year ago tamater sammich

I love your additions, and made a note on my recipe file card. Thanks!

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about 1 year ago Salvegging

Made this this evening and here are my notes: I used 1 yellow squash, 1 Tb butter and garlic. The author does not indicate the salt/pepper quota, but I seasoned while it was in the pan and a bit when it cooled. We spread the entire half cup onto a few slices warm sourdough. Delicious addition to a meal of roasted pinched chicken sausage and dressed arugula. Great concept. Next time I'll be a little more adventurous with a few other seasonings and herbs perhaps.

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about 1 year ago Brian Mclaughlin

Made with garlic, olive oil, hint of dried chilli............beautiful, this will be made regularly all summer long!

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about 1 year ago tamater sammich

Wether you grow your own herbs (they grow like weeds) or buy bouquets at grocers, here's a way to use up the leftovers:
No recipe, just keep a jar or baggie in the freezer to which, on an ongoing basis, you add your fine-minced leftovers, along with a add small amount of olive oil. When you have lots, say a coup or two, enough to make a good concentration of herbs to butter, you're ready to make your brown butter, or softened butter.
Just mix, (pressed garlic can be added. Basil will blacken when frozen, but is still still ok) chill if necessary, and shape into a log which can be easily sliced when frozen.
What you'll have is something versatile to use all winter, anywhere you want an extra flavour dimension; to add at the end of soup making, or for pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, a white sauce or gravy, or shave some off for bruschetta.

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about 1 year ago Emme

I enjoyed this last year and plan to make it again this summer. Any other vegetables you'd suggest for savory butters?

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about 1 year ago tamater sammich

Emme, I wrote this herb butter thing above, for you, but neglected to add to 'Reply To Comment'. What I love about it, is how I can whip up something for pennies on short notice, that tastes like it's been fussed over. It helped me as a young cook, to learn to cook without using processed 'helpers'.
I forgot another thing I do with it, which is rubbing on potatoes roasted Greek style. We're vegetarians here, but I don't see why it couldn't be schmeared on roasts or chicken before roasting.

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11 months ago ivana

Roast red peppers, eggplant, together or separately, plus chillies or without them. :)

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4 months ago Emme

Thanks, ivana. Just went back to this thread and saw your response. I'm going to try your suggestion! And thanks, tamater sammich, for ideas for herb butters.

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about 1 year ago tamater sammich

Would you please let us know how it turns out? I'm waiting for my zuc in the garden right now, and your idea made me think that maybe zucchini could be used for the liquid in gazpacho?

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about 1 year ago Karen C

For a raw dip recipe, I'm going to try to pulse this, without cooking, in the food processor, combined with the ingredients for Raw Basil Guacamole. I'm slobbering like one of Pavlov's dogs just thinking about it.