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These Sharp Cheddar Baked Zucchini Fritters are the ultimate summer appetizer! Made with garden-fresh zucchini and cheddar cheese, they come together in no time and always impress at the party.
Say hello to a crispy and cheesy summer appetizer!
I’m a big fan of cheesy appetizers (I can never resist a baked goat cheese ball) but sometimes I need veggies in my life. That’s where baked zucchini fritters come in! Made with zucchini, cheddar cheese, and a handful of flavor-boosters, they’re one of the best summer appetizers and have the perfect blend of cheese and vegetables.
One bite of these Sharp Cheddar Baked Zucchini Fritters and you’ll be heading back for another (especially when you see that melted cheddar cheese pull). They’re baked and not fried, preventing you from babysitting and worrying about messy cleanup. Just toss them in the oven and start working on the party drinks! I recommend a refreshing paloma or ginger beer mocktail.
What’s in baked zucchini fritters?
If you’re looking for summer appetizer ideas without breaking the bank or spending hours on prep, you’ve come to the right place. Baked zucchini bites are made with a handful of simple ingredients and are ready to eat in 1 hour. Here’s what you need:
Of course! Zucchini is a summer squash that’s favored by gardeners because it’s easy to produce and grows throughout summer. This makes it one of the most popular summer vegetables. It’s delicious roasted, grilled, or spiraled, and adds moisture and sweetness to homemade breads, muffins, and more.
Zucchini isn’t a big contributing factor to the flavor in these fritters. It’s a sneaky way to eat more vegetables and does add a mild sweetness, but most of the flavor comes from cheese and simple aromatics.
Zucchini is a watery vegetable. And if you want crispy fritters, you have to get that water out. The secret to draining zucchini quickly and effectively is with salt!
Salting shredded zucchini extracts that moisture with ease. Squeeze the zucchini after a few minutes to get the last bit of water out and it’s ready to use.
Sharp cheddar cheese
Cheddar cheese and zucchini were made for each other. Sharp cheddar, in particular, is a creamy cheese that melts beautifully and adds richness and depth to these zucchini appetizers.
If you don’t have sharp cheddar on hand, stick to regular cheddar or swap it for colby, parmesan, or American cheese.
A crispy texture makes the fritters extra enjoyable and that’s where panko breadcrumbs come in. They also play an important role in binding everything together! Feel free to use regular breadcrumbs if you can’t find panko.
Eggs also bind the fritters together and prevent them from falling apart.
It just wouldn’t be a summer appetizer without herby goodness, bright flavors, and a hint of savoriness. You’ll find all of that in these fritters thanks to parsley, shallots, garlic, dijon mustard, and lemon juice.
You can get a little creative here if you want. If you love herbs, add dried basil, dill, chives, or thyme to the mix. Toss in parmesan cheese for extra cheesiness or even green onions if you like your fritters extra savory.
These crispy zucchini-stuffed snacks deserve to be served with an equally as delicious dipping sauce. My dip of choice is creamy, lemony, and packed with parsley. It’s so refreshing and pairs so well with these summer bites.
Are you serving the fritters at your party? Great! Include a few more snacks to bring up the summer vibes and feed your guests well. I recommend pairing them with tomato basil bruschetta, mixed berry crumble bars, and a batch of frozen margaritas while you’re at it.
Frequently asked questions
If your fritters are soggy or didn’t crisp in the oven, it probably means there was too much water in the zucchini. It’s extremely important to drain and squeeze out as much of the excess liquid as possible before baking the fritters.
Once shredded, place the zucchini in a strainer and sprinkle salt over top. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then wrap the zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze all of the moisture out.
It’s up to you! They taste great whether they’re served fresh out of the oven or at room temperature. Don’t worry about having to reheat them.
Absolutely! To air fry, place the assembled fritters in an even layer in the air fryer basket. Cook at 375ºF for 10 to 15 minutes (flipping halfway) or until they’re beginning to brown.
Make ahead and storing tips
Both the bites and dipping sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead of the party. When it’s time to eat, pop the bites in a 350ºF oven to reheat for 15 minutes. Any leftovers store well in an airtight container in the fridge.
To freeze, line the bites on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until they’re frozen solid. From there, transfer the bites to a container and freeze for 3 months. They can be baked right from frozen when you’re ready.
Sharp Cheddar Baked Zucchini Fritters
- Sharp Cheddar Zucchini Bites
- 1 ½ pounds zucchini about 3 large, grated
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 6 ounces Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated
- 1 ¾ cup panko
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- 2 eggs
- 1 large shallot finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Lemon Parsley Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and lightly spray with non-stick spray.
- Evenly salt the grated zucchini in a large bowl and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Using a colander or cheesecloth, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the zucchini.
- Combine the zucchini and the remaining zucchini bite ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Scoop a tablespoon sized scoop of the zucchini mixture and place on the baking sheet. Keep going until you’ve used it all up!
- Gently press down on the tops of the zucchini bites to slightly flatten them.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through until browned on both sides.
- While your sharp cheddar zucchini bites are baking, you’ll want to make the dipping sauce. Just mix all the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and chill until ready to serve.
- Once your bites are done, serve them on a cute tray with the dipping sauce and enjoy!