Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki

zucchini fritters

I think I’m the last person on the planet to make zucchini fritters. Why it has taken me so long to give them a go I do not know. Maybe it’s that I have a general pancake-making phobia? Or that the amount of zucchini-fritter recipes I have collected over the years in addition to the blog posts I have bookmarked and the cookbook pages I have dog-eared is a wee overwhelming?

In any case, I got over it earlier this week, spurred by a revelation that helped me breeze through my zucchini-fritter recipe collection and locate a few promising recipes. My revelation, you ask? I realized I wasn’t interested in making a pancake — I wasn’t looking to make a floury, bread-crumb bound, cheese-laden pancake. I wanted something resembling a latke but composed of zucchini, which would be crisped quickly in a pan and served with something cool like sour cream or tzatziki.

The recipe here fits that description. A combination of grated zucchini and potato with a little diced onion bound by a single egg gives these fritters that lovely latke texture. But the addition of lemon zest and lots of herbs give them a freshness and lightness that’s irresistible. I served this batch with tzatziki, which accompanied them well, but which truthfully is unnecessary — they’re so good on their own. Give them a whirl! I know you’ll like them.

Batter made with zucchini from our Olin-Fox Farm CSA:
Fritter Batter

fritters in pan

cooked zucchini fritters

Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki

Serves 2, Yield=6

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1/2 cup coarsely grated potato
kosher salt
pinch of flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon chopped chives (or whatever herb you like)
1 tablespoon chopped mint (or whatever herb you like)
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Tzatziki:
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 T. finely diced red onion
1 T. chopped mint
kosher salt
squeeze of lemon juice

1. Place the grated zucchini and potato in a colander. Spread the veggies out to allow for maximum surface area exposure and sprinkle all over with kosher salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to drain.

2. Meanwhile, make the tzatziki, if desired: Stir together yogurt, onion, mint, salt and lemon juice. Taste. Add more salt if necessary. Chill until ready to use.

3. After the 30 minutes, squeeze veggies out and wrap in paper towels. Squeeze again. [Note: The veggies will not drain out enough liquid on their own in the collander, so squeezing them with a paper towel is a critical step to mopping up that moisture.] Open up the paper towel and spread out your veggies. Sprinkle with a pinch of flour to soak up leftover moisture.

4. In a bowl, whisk together egg, herbs and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add onion and grated zucchini-potato mixture. Stir well.

5. Preheat over to 200˚F. Place a foil-lined cookie sheet in the oven. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. When foam subsides, drop a spoonful of your fritter batter in. Gently pat with a spatula to flatten out the fritters, which will help make them crispy.

6. Cook about 3 fritters at a time until golden brown on each side. Place fritters in the oven while you make additional pancakes. Serve as soon as possible with tzatziki on the side.

fritters with tzatziki

102 Comments

  1. Dumb question, but what sort of pan do you use to fry these up? We gave up on zucchini pancakes a couple of years ago after a series of total disasters – but these photos make me want to try again.

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  2. your timing ia amazing…we are just back from greece…loved zucchini in various fried formats and tzatziki on everything…then back home to a garden full of zucchini…i know what i am going to fix tonight! thanks.

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  3. Hi Matt,

    You might be surprised to find Greek yogurt in your regular grocery store. There are a few brands out there — Faye and Chobani — that seem to be everywhere. Greek yogurt is thicker, but you can definitely use plain yogurt. If you want that thick texture, however, I would recommend draining the yogurt in a cheese cloth for a few hours, which will thicken it right up.

    Good luck!

    Ali

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  4. Hi Elizabeth,

    I used a large nonstick skillet. I think the key is to not have the pan too hot — get it hot at first, but turn it down to medium high once the batter hits the pan. They took about 2 to 3 minutes a side, but I basically gauged their doneness by their color. I did add some olive oil to the pan at some point, too — I think during the second batch. If the pan looks as though it’s getting too dry, definitely add more butter or oil. Good luck!

    Ali

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  5. Made the fritters yesterday. The grated zuchini and potatoes did not drain in the colander, as instructed. After I did the paper towel press and mixed everything up in a bowl, THEN it separated and I could drain off some liquid. So maybe first the colander, then the paper towel press, then put in a bowl and let it sit before mixing, and drain?

    But in the end they were really good, and looked just like the pictures

    Reply
  6. Hi Matt,

    I’ll make a note that during the 30 minutes in the colander, the veggies might release a little bit of liquid but that the majority of the moisture should be soaked up with the paper towels. The colander is used because it is the most appropriate vessel for salting — some of the liquid will drain out, but not all.

    I found that some of the liquid separated out while I was mixing, too, but I didn’t drain it because I figured part of that was the egg, which I didn’t want to lose. Glad you gave them a go.

    Ali

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  7. Oh my – these were good. And really easy. I have made variations on this theme but the tzatziki was always more complicated…loved the clean flavors here. Many of these ingredients were in my CSA share tonight…I used basil and garlic scapes in the fritters and dill and dried mint in the sauce. Came out great. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Dee — That makes me so happy! I bet the garlic scapes added a wonderful flavor. I pick up my CSA today. So excited. We’ve been getting these unbelievable potatoes. I’ve never been excited about potatoes in my life.

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  9. A suggestion for the Tzaziki (taratur). Add some chopped garlic instead of onion. Some black pepper, roasted crumbs of walnuts, some dill instead of mint, olive oil and a drop of balsamico. Of course you need some cucumbers too, chopped in very small cubes. It really makes the difference. :) Love your recipe.

    Reply
  10. I made these for dinner last night, following your recipe to the last letter, and they were just fabulous! The lemon zest pushed it over the edge from very good to excellent. I used basil and mint, because that’s what I had on hand. The only issue I had was that the potatoes started to discolor pretty rapidly – they oxidized and turned brownish – so maybe next time I’ll toss them in a little lemon juice to prevent that.
    Thanks for another yummy recipe!

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  11. Zoran — Thanks for the tzatziki recipe. It sounds wonderful. Will definitely try that next time around.

    Kamini — potatoes are tough. I think certain varieties oxidize faster than others. I think tossing them in lemon juice is a great idea.

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  12. Hol-eee wow! I agree that the lemon really pushes this recipe towards the wonderful. The tzatziki with them is an awesome touch too. I got my zucchini-hating husband and 9 yo to admit love for these! The only problem now is the 4 yo who doesn’t even like potato latkes!

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  13. These look incredibly good. What would you do for a substitute (if even possible) for potatoes? I have an allergy to nightshade so that rules out potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and some other things that are really essentials. Most of these ingredients can be left out of the bulk of recipes, but the lack of potato in this recipe is going to intrinsically change the outcome. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Hi Adelle,

      I think you could actually make the recipe with solely zucchini. The potatoes help crisp up the fritters, but honestly, the flavor of the fritters without the potatoes will still be delicious. I think they will still be pretty crisp, too, just not as crisp as with the potatoes. I wish I had another suggestion for you. Report back if you make any discoveries!

      Reply
  14. Made these with broiled fish for dinner last night. Recipe was easy to follow and delicious. My daughter asked to bring the leftovers for lunch today to school! Thank YOU!

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  15. This recipe is a keeper (!) and the site’s photography propelled me into action. I took considerable liberties with the ingredients using roughly grated cauliflower to replace potatoes (as several posters requested). My methods may need a little adjustment but this is a very versatile dish and just works! I also enjoyed the inclusion of directions for the preheated oven. DO IT and you’re efforts will be rewarded … take your time! Five Stars!

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  16. These were yummy. I used a cheese cloth to drain the excess water and added about a tbs of bread crumbs to make sure everything held together.

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  17. These look yummy. I’ve made similar without the egg. Add a little more flour, just enough to bind. I also add some rice flour if I have in on hand … it makes them more crispy.

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  18. Adelle, are you also allergic to sweet potato – I don’t believe that’s a nightshade. I’m thinking of trying this recipe using sweet potato or yam.

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    • Hi Erin — I’m not so great with these substituions, but I think your “flax” egg probably will work. I’ve used a vegan an egg replacer (“enerG” I think?) in other recipes that has worked amazingly well. Hope you find something that will work for you!

      Reply
  19. I made these using sweet potato and almond flour, to make them primal-diet friendly (and a few other slight modifications). I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve posted my version of the recipe on my site, and I’ve linked to you as the original source.

    These were so delicious – and very easy too!

    Reply
    • Katie — of course I don’t mind! Your substitutions sound fantastic. Love the idea of using almond flour in a savory dish. I never think to use it for more than baking. I’m going to check out your post right now!

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  20. Am I the only one that had problems keeping them together? I even added extra egg to the second half of the batch and they still fell completely apart into a mushy mess.

    But, the flavor was still delicious! The zest and the mint were wonderful, and the tziki was amazing! I could’ve eaten it by itself, I was only very dissapointed with it staying together, any recommendations?

    Reply
  21. I used a sieve instead of a colander, and the grated veges drained nicely. I also added a grated fresh Beetroot. It overpowers the green of the Zucchini, but gives it a lovely pink colour. Wed had them with tzatziki and humus and a little flat bread on the side. A lovely vegetarian dish!

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  22. I have never herd of these. I am always looking for ways to cook zucchini. And I will be making these this week. Looks good

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  23. Yum had them for dinner with the sauce…I did have to add additional flour and one extra egg . They kept falling apart. Will definitely make again.
    Thanks for the recipe.
    The sauce was so refreshing.
    Karen

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  24. Try using ground oats and flaxseed meal and oat flour . It will help absorb the moisture while adding nutritional value as well.

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  25. Try using ground oats and flaxseed meal and oat flour . It will help absorb the moisture while adding nutritional value as well. Also use a cast iron frying pan coated with virgin olive oil then place in the oven and bake at 450. Or place them under the broiler while watching closely. Foil is not such a healthy way to cook food!

    Reply
  26. Love, love, love these!

    Threw in a little bit of cornstarch to keep them together a little better, but oh my, they were DELICIOUS! Can’t wait to make them again!

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  27. Loved these!!!

    My 15 year old daughter thought they were great as well!!! Had to add and extra egg but initially I added two egg whites instead of 1 whole egg…so I will add one lg whole egg next time ;D great recipe!!

    Reply
  28. Hi! I loved the look of these so much I pinned them a while back and am sorry I forgot to let you know. Thank you! Made them tonight as the bottom layer or “bun” for kebab spiced meatballs and avocado for dinner. Sounds weird but was great!!!

    Nice blog, btw! Lots of different ideas! Keep on posting!

    Reply
    • BP — Love the idea of using the fritter as a “bun.” Not weird at all. I’m going to try that this summer for sure. I think topping it all off with a poached or fried egg sounds kind of amazing, too. Thanks for your nice comment.

      Reply
  29. At the tzatziki is a MUST to put some crushed garlic and not onion!
    And next time try some feta cheese in your fritters!i guarantee u will love it

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  30. I eat very low carb, are the potatoes a must or can I just use extra zucchini? these sound amazing and I really want to try them.

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    • Darlene — I don’t think these fritters will be delicious with only zucchini, but they just might not be as crisp. That’s really the main purpose of the potatoes — to add a bit of crispness to the texture. I don’t think you can go wrong, however, but using only zucchini. Good luck with it!

      Reply
  31. I know I finally jumped on the train this week as well……………………and zucchini fritters are CERTAINLY all they’re cracked up to be!!!!! Love your post, and love the photos!

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  32. Alexandra, these look as good as the ones my grandmother used to make. I haven’t had them in years, but I’m going to give your recipe a try. I remember that she used to add some dill to hers, but i think the mint may even better.

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    • Noopoor — I have not tried feta in the fritters, but I bet it would be delicious. My mother often adds feta to her Greek meatballs, and it always adds a nice saltiness as well as flavor. Tzatziki with cucumbers and dill sounds wonderful.

      Reply
  33. Yum! I finally made these :) I put Parmesan and made avocado guacamole instead of tzaziki. Would love to try dill just read in the comments. thanks it was awesome :)

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  34. We have a HUGE zucchini from our garden that I’d earmarked for zucchini bread, but maybe a bit of it should be turned into these fritters! Do you think a large zuke would work for this, or do you think the smaller would be better? I’ve heard big zucchini can be different in its taste and texture than the smaller ones you buy in the store… Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Malisams — I think a large zuke will be just fine, but I have heard the same things as you about large vs. small zukes. If you are worried, I would taste a piece raw. One of my favorite salads is a raw, thinly shaved (julienned on the mandoline) zucchini salad with olive oil, lemon and parmesan. If it tastes ok, I say just go for it in the fritters. I think the addition of the herbs and lemon zest and onion will mask any off flavor as long as it’s subtle enough. I hope that helps. The large zuke definitely will be ok for zucchini bread, so that’s always an option, too.

      Reply
    • I cut big zukes up into spears and run them through my salad shooter, baggie up the shreds and make fritters once every few weeks. I have to poke a hole in the baggie and let the water run out for a bit when I’ve thawed the frozen, and add some chia seeds to the mix to sop up the liquid. Yummy! My favorite fast breakfast.

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      • Yum! Sounds amazing. Love the idea of adding chia seeds. I have a big bag in my freezer that I tuck into here and there, but I know I could use them more. Never would have thought to add them to fritters. Fun!

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    • Bree — I am bad with these sorts of substitutions. The egg definitely helps bind/hold the fritters together. Before I suggest other ingredients, are you trying to avoid certain foods? dairy? or do you have allergies?

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  35. A great substitute for the egg is chia seed (1T chia seed mixed with 3T warm water. Let it sit a little until it thickens). I use this all the time in potato fritters because my daughter must be egg-free. Can’t wait to try it with the zuchini version!

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    • Kim — thank you for this awesome tip! I have never heard of chia seeds — I only associate chia with the chia pet my sister took care of as a child — but I think I am definitely going to have to seek this product out. What a blessing for the many people out there with egg allergies. Thank you! Where do you find yours? I imagine Whole Foods Market and places like that carry them, but I’ll have to ask at my local Wegmans.

      Reply
    • Melanie — I don’t know, but I don’t see why not. And if you try it out and have success, can you please report back? I received a boatload of sweet potatoes in my CSA. I think you can basically make a fritter out of anything, and the purpose of the potato in this recipe is to provide a little more starch and structure, and I think a sweet potato might be able to play that same role. Good luck with it!

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    • Jessica — unfortunately, I haven’t, but I feel like fritters can be made from just about anything — sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, etc. As long as the pieces re fine enough to hold together, and they enough liquid has been drained out of them, I think any veg will work…though I can’t say for sure. Do you have a specific vegetable in mind?

      Reply
  36. I made these paleo by using sweet potato, squash, and zucchini. Instead of using flour I used almond flour. I did need two eggs to bind the recipe together. I added garlic and oregano. They were delish!

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  37. Mine is maybe a bit less paleo, but so yummy: 1 lb. shredded zucchini, 1/2 cup flour, a chopped onion, and I top them with straight sour cream, and pink Himalayan salt.

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  38. i made these tonight with a few alterations. i think they need more than a pinch of flour, as mine weren’t as crispy as the potato pancakes i am used to. i also used shredded cucumber in my tzatziki with mint, some fresh chocolate basil and left out the onion as the fritters have plenty. yum!

    Reply
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