This cheesy tex-mex zucchini skillet is a fantastic way to use zucchini! Quick and easy, it’s packed with flavor and hearty ingredients. So yummy!

Looking for ways to use up that garden zucchini?

This one-skillet zucchini meal is the perfect solution! It’s hearty and healthful, and it comes together fast! Bonus: all.the.cheese.

Serving spoon lifting up cheesy portion of zucchini skillet.

Tex-Mex Zucchini Skillet Meal

This simple recipe starts with browning lean ground beef (or ground turkey) with onions and garlic, and then adding:

  • corn
  • beans
  • green chiles
  • diced tomatoes
  • cumin, chili powder, oregano and paprika

All those ingredients get a good, efficient little stir to mix everything together.

12-inch skillet with ground beef, canned tomatoes, beans, green chiles and corn.

And then the star of the show is added! ZUCCHINI.

And lots of it. Four cups to be exact.

The important part here is to dice the zucchini into small pieces (I use this handy food chopperaff. link). It allows the zucchini to blend in delightfully well with the other ingredients rather than large chunks of zucchini totally stealing the show.

Not only does this make the overall dish just *work* better, but it’s also easier on the potential squash haters in the bunch. I would know. I have 2 1/2 of them.

Finely chopped zucchini on top of ingredients in skillet.

Al Dente Zucchini

Can I share a potentially shocking opinion?

I don’t think zucchini needs to be cooked very long (or at all). Mushy zucchini is the literal absolute worst. And I’ve found that in savory dishes, I like zucchini pieces (or zucchini noodles) cooked for just a few minutes so they stay a bit al dente.

Sometimes I even leave zucchini noodles uncooked, and they are delicious.

However, you do you when it comes to the zucchini in this recipe. If you like softer zucchini, that’s totally fine. I’ll never know if you decide to cook the guts out of it.

Just promise me you’ll cover it all in a lot of cheese. A.Lot.Of.Cheese.

Shredded cheese covering ingredients in skillet.

You can get all fancy and broil the cheese-covered skillet in the oven.

Or you can be lazy like me and cover the skillet with a lid, keep it over low heat, and let it sit there for a couple minutes until the cheese is melty and perfect.

12-inch skillet with zucchini, ground beef, beans and seasonings covered in cheese.

A Versatile Meal

This cheesy Tex-Mex zucchini skillet meal is so tasty! The flavors are amazing, and you can serve it a million different ways.

Over rice.

Loaded with toppings.

With chips.

Cheesy tex-mex zucchini skillet with corn chips on white plate.

I have several kids who give me serious side-eyes when it comes to squash in any form. I about fell over when my oldest child, who is One of Them, devoured this and declared it “crazy amazing” even knowing it was loaded with zucchini.

Of course the hefty helping of cheese and sour cream on his portion didn’t hurt matters, but he even went back for seconds, and that has never happened with any dish that involves the Z-word.

This zucchini skillet recipe is really adaptable. Play around with the ingredients and see what you come up with!

It’s such a great way to use up the humble, beloved, green, garden veggie. I hope you love it!

Fork pulling bite size piece away from portion of zucchini skillet ingredients on white plate.

What to Serve With This

One Year Ago: Blueberry Muffin Bread 
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Three Years Ago: Frozen Strawberry Lemonade Pie 
Four Years Ago: One Pot Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta 
Five Years Ago: The Best Zucchini Bread 
Six Years Ago: The Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake 
Seven Years Ago: Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cookies
Eight Years Ago: Frozen Mint Lemonade Slush
Nine Years Ago: Tappan Hill Brownies
Ten Years Ago: Summer Couscous Salad

serving spoon lifting up cheesy portion of zucchini skillet

Cheesy Tex-Mex Zucchini Skillet

4.95 stars (98 ratings)


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can (14.5-ounces) diced tomatoes (don't drain)
  • 1 can (15-ounces) black, pinto, or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (4-ounces) green chiles (mild or spicy), drained
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoons oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet
  • 4 cups finely chopped zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese


  • Tortilla or corn chips
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh, chopped cilantro
  • Avocados
  • Salsa
  • Olives


  • In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet (it will be very full by the end, so don't use a smaller size) over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Break the meat into small pieces and cook until no longer pink. Drain grease.
  • Add corn, tomatoes, beans, chiles, cumin, chili powder, oregano and paprika. Stir to combine.
  • Add the zucchini and stir until evenly combined. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the ingredients are heated through and the zucchini is tender (I only cook for a few minutes so the zucchini stays al dente; cook longer if you want the zucchini softer).
  • Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Turn the heat to low. Pat the zucchini mixture into a mostly even layer, sprinkle with cheese, cover with a lid or loosely with foil, and let rest on the heat until the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve warm with toppings of choice: chips, sour cream, cilantro, olives, avocados, salsa, etc.
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 206kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 407mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 4g