Skillet Zucchini and Yellow Squash Sauté

Considering this is the side dish we eat four out of five times during the late summer months, I feel like it’s time to share my feelings about the gloriousness of sautéed zucchini and squash and then leave you to get on with your day and life.

Basically, it’s easy (10-15 minutes max). It literally can be served with anything (and I mean anything). And it’s so yummy, I can’t be trusted alone with the skillet (no really, I’ll eat the whole thing). It’s my favorite summer side dish and I love that there aren’t any frills or secret ingredients or squash pretending to be gourmet here.

Skillet Zucchini and Yellow Squash Sauté

For those of you that have already been doing this for, like, 100 years already, I’m happy we’ve been on the same page for so long. You know, great minds and all that. But if you haven’t, you should definitely be hopping on board while the squash lasts. Whatever you do, remember to let the skillet get piping hot before adding that squash. The delicious brown caramelization on the tender outsides of the squash is exactly what you are going for. Flavor, flavor, flavor.

Skillet Zucchini and Yellow Squash Sauté

Simple Skillet Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Simple Skillet Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Infinitely adaptable, this dish can be dressed up with chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a million other tasty ingredients so feel free to experiment and add-on wherever your heart leads. 99% of the time, I make it just like it's written and keep it quick and simple.

I prefer using the little zucchini but if you have some the size of baseball bats, they work fine, too. Halve them the long way and scoop out all the seeds/innards before dicing. Try to cut all the squash into similar-sized pieces for more even cooking. All in all, I usually use about 4-6 cups diced squash (combination of zucchini and yellow squash).


  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, ends trimmed and diced
  • 2 small to medium yellow crookneck squash, ends trimmed and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional but yummy)


  1. In a 10- or 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling.
  2. Add the zucchini and yellow squash in as even a layer as possible (it should sizzle as it hits the skillet) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let it sit without stirring or moving for 2-3 minutes so it can get nice and golden. Give it a good stir, add a touch more salt and pepper to taste if needed, and let it continue to cook, stirring only every now and then, until the squash is browning here and there and tender to your liking, about 5-7 more minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

37 Responses to Skillet Zucchini and Yellow Squash {My Fave Summer Side}

  1. Sheila says:

    I roasted some yellow squash last night in the oven for supper. This recipe is simple and delicious and our second favorite way to have zucchini and squash. I usually thrown in some minced garlic too. The brown caramelization really does up the flavor. Thank you, Mel.

  2. This is a summer time fave of mine, too! 🙂

  3. lauren says:

    can’t wait to add this colorful side to a meal this week. ty, mel~ I also want to thank you for the e-cookbook. it’s been my go to place for recipes this summer…sweet & sour chix & broc salad for supper last night & lemon bars for a farewell party last week were all so incredibly delicious!

  4. Teresa R. says:

    I fix zucchini the same way with the addition of onions. Last night I fixed your green chili enchiladas, and this morning I’m making your baked oatmeal. Your recipes have been a staple in my house! Thanks!

  5. Kim in MD says:

    Classic sautéed summer zucchini and squash can’t be beat- yum!

  6. Hcoxmom1 says:

    Summer favorite for sure… like we eat it multiple times a week when these veggies are plentiful !! Sometimes we mix up the spices and the cheeses… it’s been knows to be a meal and lunch too!! Glad to know my mind works like yours (patting myself on the back) 🙂

  7. Barb says:

    we love things like this- great minds do think alike. I think the yellow goosenecks are kind of overlooked in the squash world, but they sure add color and nutrients to all kinds of things.

  8. Jojo says:

    This looks so tasty. And I appreciate that you don’t have garlic as an ingredient. I’m not really a fan of garlic and when I see that included, I’m afraid to make the dish without it, thinking it wouldn’t be as good as the cook intended.

    Thanks for all of your incredible recipes!

  9. Jennifer says:

    I make this exact side several times a week because everyone in my family loves it.

  10. Paige says:

    We make a very similar side to this during the summer, but we also throw in a few different colors of bell peppers! It’s so delicious!


  11. Jennifer says:

    We make this too, but in the oven at a high temp for just a few min, sprinkling parmesan at the end. Parmesan makes it out of this world yummy!

  12. I love recipes like this, the simple kind you don’t even think about. They’re the ones that no one ever shares, even though you get the most mileage out of them! I’ll definitely give this a try. Thanks!

    • DeDe Connor says:

      Me, too! Couldn’t agree more! Love most of the recipes on this website for that exact reason….. Thanks, Mel!

  13. Jan C. says:

    This looks wonderful! Just received some summer squash from my Mom yesterday. Will try it tonight!

  14. Stacy says:

    Just made this and ate it all myself….

    • Jen says:

      Me too! I haven’t felt much like cooking recently but I saw this and decided I wanted it for dinner. I don’t usually go for simple but it was exactly what I needed tonight. Thanks.

  15. Helen says:

    FYI … My daughter made this tonight exactly following your recipe…. We ended up having to make a second batch because she and I ate the whole first skillet by ourselves.. It is so unassuming yet completely amazing

  16. Melanie says:

    My all-time favorite summer side too. We just had it tonight. I always stir in some Italian seasoning and top with whatever cheese I have laying around, but parm is the best. The kids love it. When they were younger, to get the squash nice and soft after the carmelization process, I added a little water to the skillet, covered it, and let them steam a few minutes. I just wish frozen squash was as good as fresh, but it loses so much texture, so this dish only comes around once a year at our house unfortunately. I have tried buying it in the grocery store during the winter, but it always tastes like chemicals to me for some reason. So the frozen squash gets saved for zucchini bread. Darn 🙂

  17. Louise E. says:

    I like to add a spoonful of pesto near the end of the cooking time. It adds so much flavour. I often saute the zucchini with some red pepper and onion and I top it with some freshly grated parmesan cheese just before serving.

  18. Shannon says:

    This is exactly how I like to make it and it always tastes good. Unfortunately we have no squash that is producing in our garden this year. Maybe next year…

  19. Katjandu says:

    Oh my Mel, hubby and I loved this recipe. Our son’s family usually cleans our garden of zucchini if we are not looking. There were three lonely smaller ones he didn’t take the other day and I had to try this recipe. I usually just use coconut oil but this was super! My chef friend said it’s the ‘Northern Italian’ way to use both butter and olive oil. Yumm!
    Thanks !

  20. Ruth says:

    The sizzling hot pan made all the difference. It took the squash from good to WONDERFUL. It is great to be able to get great flavor from the squash when it is just too, too hot to turn on the oven for roasting! There is so much to be said for quick, easy, and WONDERFUL.

  21. Victoria says:

    Thanks for posting this! It’s been a favorite of my family’s for years. I didn’t realize until I saw your pictures that I’ve been over cooking my zucchini. I’m sure they taste much better soft but not translucent 🙂

  22. KateB says:

    Basic question. We have some butter issues at our house. Would it be better to try this with melted coconut oil or all olive oil? Thanks!!

  23. Jaime says:

    I smiled when I saw this because I make this same exact side dish throughout the summer, and just made it tonight! It’s so easy, and my kids (3 and 5) love it which is always a plus.

  24. Jessica says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s just the guidance I needed.

  25. Gina O says:

    This is was so good and quick. Added some fresh thyme and a left over ear of corn, just cut if off the cob and threw it in with the zucchini, yum!

  26. Melissa says:

    We have made this at least 4 times since you posted it – awesome recipe!!

  27. Michelle says:

    This is one of our fav summer dishes too!! We usually add potatoes to it as well. On lazy summer days, I throw in some kielbasa and broil some garlic bread and call it dinner!

  28. Ellen says:

    We enjoyed this squash dish very much! Tasty, colorful and easy. I love side dishes that help us reach our veggie quota.
    I’d love to see more simple vegetable sides, perhaps carrots, eggplant, or sugar snap peas? (In the South we also love black-eyed peas and okra, but those may not be universally popular.)
    Thanks for all of the great recipes! We’ve added many delicious meals to our rotation thanks to you.

  29. Paula says:

    I’m always looking for ways to use up zucchini. This fit perfectly. I love the simple and delicious way this recipe goes together. I don’t think I’ll go back to my old way ever again. Thank you for another great recipe. We had this as a side for your BBQ pork sandwiches.

  30. Kelly says:

    My mother in law and my husband have eaten this for ages and I am finally getting on board. the last time I made it, I added thinly sliced carrots and diced onions for a little sweetness and it was so yummy. thanks for sharing this recipe, it is such a great, simple one.

  31. Barbara Fraser says:

    I have both squashes and this is the first recipe I found. I can hardly wait to try it right now!
    Thanks for sharing it. I’m anticipating more of your recipes, Mel.

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