Learn how to make THE BEST zucchini fritters in the air fryer! These tasty zucchini cakes are a great way to cook up a bumper crop of zucchini and get the whole family to eat more veggies. Air frying makes crispy fritters with tender centers. It’s hard to believe they are not deep-fried!
Can you make zucchini fritters in an air fryer? 🤔 You sure can! In fact, we find air frying is the best way to cook vegetable fritters.
Let’s back up a bit. A zucchini fritter is a small cake made with freshly grated zucchini, flour, eggs, and simple spices. Traditionally, vegetable cakes are fried in oil until a gorgeous golden brown crust forms on the outside while the insides stay soft.
Instead of deep frying in heavy oil, you can fire up your air fryer or Ninja Foodi to get the job done. This countertop appliance is essentially a tiny convection oven that uses dry circulating heat to cook food. The consistent flow of hot air creates the consistency of a deep-fried fritter. So you end up with a much healthier fritter without sacrificing flavor or texture.
Fritters are a great way to use up an abundance of garden fresh zucchini, but fortunately, zucchini are sold year-round. So you can serve these delicious and nutritious fritters for an afterschool snack, an appetizer, or a vegetarian meal with healthy sides. Enjoy!
🗨 Why The Air Fryer Is The Best Way To Cook Zucchini Fritters
- Unlike deep frying, air frying requires very little oil, so these fritters are healthier, and clean-up is a breeze.
- Air frying makes extra crispy outsides and delicate insides. It’s hard to believe they are not cooked in oil.
- In the end, you’ll have a batch of adorable zucchini fritters with irresistible flavor and the ultimate crunch to dip in your favorite sauces.
🧾 Ingredients You’ll Need
- Zucchini – Select zucchini that are freshly picked and firm. Look for smaller ones, as they’re typically less watery and have more flavor. You can peel them before grating, but the skin has lots of nutrients and adds color and texture.
- Salt – Tossing the shredded zucchini in a pinch of salt and letting it sit for a bit helps release moisture.
- All Purpose Flour – Helps bind the ingredients into a cohesive fritter and gives them a pancake-like consistency.
- Egg – Egg is essentially the glue that holds everything together, so they’re perfect hand-held crispy cakes when they’re finished.
- Avocado Oil – Brushing a bit of cooking oil on the zucchini fritters before air frying creates an extra crispy outer layer. You can also brush them with melted butter or olive oil.
- Dried seasonings – A simple mix of salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder enhances the overall flavor of the patties.
🔥 How To Make Zucchini Fritters In Air Fryer:
1️⃣ Prep zucchini for fritters. Wash the zucchini well and trim the stems with a sharp knife. Then grate the zucchini into a bowl with a cheese grater. Toss with a pinch of salt, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Use your hands or cheesecloth to squeeze out as much water as possible.
2️⃣ Form patties and chill. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, egg, and seasonings. Add the grated zucchini and toss until a thick, sticky batter forms. Form the batter into 6-8 patties and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Set the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour.
3️⃣ Preheat and brush with oil. When the fritters are ready to cook, preheat your air fryer to 375°F for 3-5 minutes. Remove the fritters from the freezer and brush the tops with a light coating of avocado oil.
4️⃣ Cook in air fryer. Place the patties in the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Flip the cakes at the 5-7 minute mark, and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the cakes are cooked through on the inside and golden brown on the outside. Serve hot with sour cream and your favorite sauces!
👩🏻🍳 Fritter Cooking Tips
- Don’t skip the salt. The purpose of salting the zucchini is so that it releases excess moisture.
- Drain the zucchini VERY well. After salting, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. The zucchini MUST be very dry for the fritters to get crispy.
- Don’t skip chilling. The purpose of placing the patties in the freezer is to absorb any remaining moisture so they firm up and do not stick to the basket.
- Skip the parchment paper. I know it makes clean-up easier (so use it if you insist), but it blocks the hot airflow on the bottom, so the fritters won’t be as evenly crisped.
- Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. For the cakes to get crispy and nicely browned, they need space. If they’re too close together in the basket, they will steam and become soggy, so work in batches if you need to.
- Adjust the cooking time as needed. The exact time it takes to cook these patties in the air fryer will vary based on the thickness, but 375F for 10 minutes is a great place to start.
Optional mix-ins: Making zucchini fritters from scratch gives you the flexibility to add other spices and seasonings, more veggies, and even cheese! Try these optional mix-ins:
- Herbs & spices: Add more flavor with fresh chopped herbs like parsley, basil, or chives. Give them a kick with a pinch of cayenne, chili powder, or red pepper flakes.
- Cheese: Add about a 1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan, mozzarella, or cheddar to the mix.
- Veggies: Swap half of the zucchini with other shredded like sweet potato, yellow squash, carrot, or yellow potato. Corn kernels and sliced green onions also taste great in these fritters.
Keto/paleo fritters: To make these fritters with fewer carbs and paleo-friendly, use almond flour or plain crushed pork rinds instead of all-purpose flour.
Gluten-free fritters: I haven’t experimented with making these with gluten-free flour. However, a good 1:1 AP gluten-free flour (like King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill) mimics the cooking properties of all-purpose flour very well.
🧊 Storing & Freezing
Veggie fritters are best enjoyed fresh from the air fryer. The leftovers can be stored for later, but know that they won’t be as crispy.
Storing: Place leftovers in a paper towel-lined airtight container in a single layer, and store them in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat, return them to the air fryer at 375°F for 2-3 minutes.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing fritters once cooked. However, you can freeze the uncooked patties by first freezing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then, once they are frozen solid, move them to a freezer-safe zip-top bag and keep them in the freezer for 2-3 months.
These crispy cakes are with cool and creamy dips like sour cream, tzatziki sauce, blackened ranch dressing, or habanero ranch dressing. Warm marinara sauce also pairs well, but if you want to take your zucchini fritters to the next level, spread dill pickle dip over the top!
Place frozen zucchini fritters in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook at 375F for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway or until heated and crisp on the surface.
To keep them in one piece, there are a few necessary steps. First, be sure to squeeze out ALL of the excess moisture from the shredded zucchini. Next, chill the uncooked patties for at least an hour. Finally, the air fryer basket must be hot so the bottoms sear evenly and don’t stick to the bottom of the basket.
Oh, no! If you do not squeeze all of the moisture from the zucchini before forming the patties, it will release as they cook, ultimately creating steam and making the fritters soggy. Overcrowding the air fryer basket will also result in mushy fritters.
To pan-fry these fritters, heat oil in a deep cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the fritters and cook until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes per side).
🍲 More Zucchini Recipes You’ll Love
- Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Easy Grilled Zucchini
- Gluten-Free Zucchini Banana Bread
- Chicken Zucchini Enchiladas
- Air Fryer Zucchini & Squash
Air Fryer Zucchini Fritters
- sharp knife
- cheese grater
- 2 mixing bowls
- Parchment Paper
- baking tray
- air fryer
- 2 cups shredded zucchini water squeezed out
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoong garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Wash the zucchini with cold water and trim the stems off with a sharp knife. Grate the zucchini into a bowl with a cheese grater.
- Add a pinch of salt to the bowl and toss with the shredded zucchini. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then using your hands or cheesecloth, squeeze out as much water as possible. Discard the liquid.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the flour, egg and seasonings. Whisk until fully combined, then add in the shredded zucchini and toss together until a cohesive zucchini fritter batter forms.
- Form the batter into 6-8 patties and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Set the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour.
- When ready to cook, preheat the air fryer to 375°F for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the fritters from the freezer and brush the tops with a light coating of avocado oil.
- Add the zucchini fritters to the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer. Set the timer for 15 minutes. At the 5-7 minute mark, flip the fritters over with a spatula and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the fritters are cooked through on the inside and golden brown on the outside.
- Remove while hot and serve with a dollop of sour cream or your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!