5 Ingredients or Fewer

Jennie Cook's Zucchini Butter

July 23, 2013
21 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes about 2 cups
Author Notes

Whenever you come home with a bundle of squash, this is the best, purest way you can distill it. (And 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

What You'll Need
  • 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 cloves, 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • whym
  • Cindy Choi
    Cindy Choi
  • Allison Taylor
    Allison Taylor
  • Agate Vanuška
    Agate Vanuška
  • Shel
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

87 Reviews

whym March 8, 2022
I made this recipe and found it worked really well in turkey wraps, with some slices of tomato, mayo, and shredded provolone! It's a fantastic way to use up a LOT of zucchini and feel good about eating your veg. However, just in case anyone has the same expectations I did, you should know that this recipe is more akin to a lightly sweet zucchini jam than a savory butter. Still goes quite well with savory things (hence the wraps) but I found it a bit too sweet to eat on its own.
FlipFlopContessa July 12, 2020
This zucchini butter is fabulous, enough said. My husband's plant, yes singular, is prolific, as are the other varieties of squash he planted. I'm going to try to tweak this recipe for use with patty pan, something along the lines of "garlic knots". Also, I'm enjoying the other additions mentioned. The perfect way to have squash for breakfast on whole grain toast. Wish me luck with the abundance of winter squash I have now too.
Cindy C. July 11, 2020
This was fabulous. I pulsed the zucchini in the food processor so it was really like zucchini duxelles. I used shallots, baby onions, and garlic and added green chilies. I cooked it down to a paste. Fab alternative to avocado toast.
Allison T. November 4, 2018
We started calling this the summer miracle butter. I made a huge batch every week when the zucchini were overflowing the markets. Things we used it for: omelette filling, pasta sauce, sandwich spread, english muffin topper. My favorite use is split english muffin, z-butter, big fat slice of tomato, salt and a thin slice of comte or gruyere cheese......yum
Ttrockwood July 6, 2018
I have made this recipe more times than i can count and passed it along to countless friends and family- basically anyone who tastes it wants to know how to make their own too.
I love to use coconut oil and a smaller shred when grating so it breaks down easily.
Excellent as a quesadilla filling, mixed into pasta, on toast with some lemon juice, as a pizza topping or stirred into savory oatmeal.
Agate V. August 27, 2017
Mine didn't break apart in 15 minutes, it took me about 30 minutes and at the end I just lowered my immersion blender in there a couple of times, besides that, the recipe is great cause I just love zucchini!
P.S. It makes a great sauce to toss in hot penne al dente!
stony August 22, 2016
Oh darn, those #$$@ deer ate all my zucchini this year, didn't put them in the fenced in area. This is great on toasted English muffin , then big heirloom tomato slice, salt + pepper, always had so many and did the same thing as Jacqueline. I put it in my food processor, real butter now; Stony
Shel August 21, 2016
This is also really nice on a chicken taco or burrito with avocado and fresh tomato!
jennifer P. August 21, 2016
I had leeks and red onion, so I swapped those in for the shallot. WOWSA... had it on a slice of multigrain toast with sliced roasted yellow beets and a bit of swiss cheese... just delicious!. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Antonia A. August 6, 2016
I wish food52 would rename this recipe: It's a Julia Child recipe.
Shel August 21, 2016
Yes- it's slightly different, but too similar not to credit.
Ceege August 6, 2016
@ Maura - if you scroll down and read the reply from amater sammich
it explains how to freeze this wonderful recipe.
Maura August 6, 2016
A great recipe I've now made several times, would love to freeze some with the abundance of squash now. Does anyone know if it gets watery when frozen?
JenVP July 12, 2019
I realize that you asked this 3 years ago, but I've been freezing mine in ziplock bags and it's just fine when I defrost it. A little bit of summer in the winter!
Anna W. October 13, 2019
I was about to ask this question, so thank you!
Stephanie July 27, 2016
I'm clearly late to the zucchini butter train, but I love it! This is my go-to way to use all the zucchini and summer squash I'm getting in my CSA. My first batch was a bit too strong on the shallots, making it hard to eat plain. No problem: I used it in place of onion in a spinach/chard/feta pie, threw it into pasta preparations, and mixed it with tahini and chipotle as a sandwich sauce. Second batch was perfect for me, and I use it on everything!
Bob December 12, 2015
I made this recipe and it is gorgeous. I love zucchini very much. And the flavours are great.
Zozo November 27, 2015
Just made this with some celery salt. OMG. Normally pretty ambivalent towards zucchini, but this I would eat with glee. Genius indeed :)
Jeff A. September 21, 2015
I've made this a lot over the past two summers and it's delicious. Recently I started using coconut oil instead of olive oil and well...let's just say I understand how accidentally stumbling upon The Venus de Milo must have felt. Yowza.
Shay September 18, 2015
If you add some fresh thyme, and then cook it down until its soft and you can smoosh it up, ( or use a stick blender) it makes a great sandwich spread, plus you can freeze it up in small batches for the long winter!! ( i live in the upper peninsula of michigan so winters are long and lacking in veggies)!!
Molly August 30, 2015
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!
Luigi August 26, 2015
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.???
cbforesman August 10, 2015
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.