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Reader Tip: Another Great Use for Zucchini

Benita emailed in the following tip:

I’ve recently found myself, like I do most summers, with an excess of zucchini thanks to my prolific garden! Even after giving a lot of it away, I still have more than I can keep up with. So, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.

One of our family’s favorite desserts this time of year is to make “apple crisp” with zucchini. The last time I made it I started wondering if I could also use zucchini to make applesauce.

So, I peeled and seeded three medium-sized zucchini, sliced them up, and put them in the slow cooker with about a 1/2 cup of water (just enough to cover the bottom so the zucchini wouldn’t stick) I set the crock pot on high and let it do it’s thing. I stirred them occasionally and after several hours got out the potato masher to mush them up.

However, I quickly realized that zucchini could not be made into “apple”sauce! Not to be deterred, I pureed the mixture in the blender, poured the mixture into some canning jars, and put the jars in the refrigerator.

The next day, I was making muffins and was going to replace the oil with applesauce. But then I remembered the pureed zucchini and decided to give that a try instead of using applesauce (or oil). It worked great and we couldn’t taste any difference in the final muffins!

I froze the remaining zucchini puree in 1/2 cup portions and have since used that in several different recipes, all of them turning out perfectly. Our favorite so far is zucchini brownies — made with zucchini puree in place of the oil, of course!

Yay! One more way to make use of my abundant zucchini! -Benita

photo source

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  • Emily says:

    What a wonderful idea! Thank you!

  • Rachel says:

    Zucchini brownine….YUM!

  • Love this idea! I was wondering the same thing just the other day, but was not brave enough to try it! Good to know it works.

  • Andrea says:

    My grandparents use to make the best bread & butter pickles with Zucchini instead of cucumbers! I didn’t even know that they weren’t cucumbers until I became an adult! But alas, my grandfather no longer has the recipe! 🙁

  • Alicia Richardson says:

    This sounds like such a simple and ingenious was to use those extra zucchini! I also like to use applesauce in place of oil in a lot of recipes, and this is going to be something I try.

  • Corinne says:

    Wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing it.

  • I love that idea! My kids like muffins for breakfast and my dad has a bunch of great big zukes his garden. I bet this would work for pancakes too!

  • MJ Gerd says:

    My husband is gluten free and he loves lasagna, so I thinly slice zucchini (long and flat), the larger the better and treat them as lasagna noodles. It turns out really well.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Wonderful idea… now if I or my friends could ever get 1 zucchini before the squash bugs eat them 🙂

  • Awesome! I’m going to try this. Thanks for the great tip Benita!

  • Jessica says:

    Wow – what ingenuity! I’m impressed. Thanks for sharing!

  • Joy says:

    I just made zucchini brownies last night. My kids didn’t even know there was something healthy in them. LOL.

  • robyn says:

    we do this too, except i don’t use the crockpot just whirl them in the vitamix for a few seconds. we use zucchini as noodles too and when i have more than we can eat i spiral them and dehydrate them for later use. i also slice the larger zucchini into rounds and dehydrate them for later use in gluten free lasagna.

  • Rae Ann says:

    I’ll bet if you subbed apple juice for water and maybe added apple pie spices or cinnamon to the zuchini then your original idea to make a mock applesauce would work too.

  • shelly says:

    I grow zucchini each year but my husband is not a fan. So the kids and myself are the ones who eat it. I will give cooking up the zucchini into “applesauce” a try as we do like to make muffins often. I am sure my husband would do fine with the zucchini sauce added.

    We like to grill sliced zucchini with a little salt and pepper so yummy. I also dehydrate sliced zucchini for zucchini chips. I also dehydrate grated zucchini for muffins and breads.
    Great idea thanks.

  • Sakura says:

    We found a recipe on You Tube for Zucchini Gummy Worms. My kids and the neighbors love it. It’s super easy to make and it actually tastes like candy. You’ll be surprised if you try the recipe. After I make mine I keep it in a small 1/2 pint or pint size jar with a lid, unless we have a house full of kids then there gone as fast as I can get them finished up.

  • We dry our zucchini and squash for chips. My kids LOVE them. We can’t get ENOUGH of them . I have always wanted to try making lasagna with zucchini. For those of you who have done it, do you pre-cook the zucchini before you use it? I always have issues with it being hard and also so watery (I assume I need to talk and pat dry before I use it to get rid of access water?) that we don’t like it. I need to be gluten free and would LOVE to use zucchini if I can just learn to do it. PLEASE help! I think the slicing it in long thin strips is a fantastic idea for lasagna if I could get it cooked up.

    • Marie says:

      can you share how you make it into chips. I would love to try it.

    • Pam says:

      I boil or steam the zucchini until it is softened slightly. I drain it well and pat it dry.

      I make muffins, casseroles, stuffed zucchini, sausage and zucchini in the crockpot, breads, pizzas, stir fry’s, zucchini pancakes, as well as tossing it in just about everything. We have eaten zucchini at 3 or 4 times this week in one form or another.
      I made sugar free zucchini muffins for the freezer.
      Zucchini casserole.
      Zucchini pita pocket pizzas.
      I put in Cobb salad last night.
      I also made stuffed zucchini and froze some last weekend.

  • Benita says:

    Hi! This is my “reader tip” – and it’s so fun to see others like the idea!
    One thing I noticed that got left out of my original e-mail is that after trying to mash up the zucchini I put them in a blender and pureed them. The zucchini never got soft enough to mash up (we like chunky applesauce in our family, but that was beyond chunky!) so you really need to puree it if you’re going to use it in baking.
    Hope this extra tip helps!

  • Theresa says:

    I like making zucchini jelly and zucchini relish! I put it in everything…enchiladas, meatloaf, all baked goods! We love it!

  • Rudi Pittman says:

    Could you point me to your Zucchini apple crisp recipe?

  • Sasha says:

    I’ve used one cup of pureed yellow squash to substitute for one cup of milk in my homemade mac n cheese. There wasn’t a difference in taste or texture. Haven’t tried it with pureed zucchini though.

  • I put it in meat products to make things more moist, and more healthy (not to mention cheaper, since it stretches the meat further!)- burgers, meatloaf, even taco meat. Just shred it or puree it (I don’t cook it first at all), and add it in. I don’t measure, but for a pound of hamburger, I probably put at least half a cup of shredded zucchini, probably more. My family thinks they don’t like zucchini, but have no idea how much of it they eat!

    Thanks for the tip about using it as an oil sub – I’ll try that too!

  • Misty says:

    My neighbor gave me a huge zucchini that was hard. I was making spaghetti that night and needed a filler for noodles. I cut it up like french fries and broiled the strips, drizzled olive oil, pepper and garlic. It was delicious with spaghetti sauce over it.

  • Christa says:

    My mother has been pushing zucchini and summer squash on us all summer long. Her garden has yeilded more than the whole neighborhood and everyone at work can handle. I have a bag full of fresh picked squash on the table right now! My freezer is full of zucchini muffins two different ways. I found these ideas and sent them to her. Thought I’d share. You would not believe what you can do with zucchini!,,20509747,00.html

  • Amy Sue says:

    My favorite dessert using zucchini is a zucchini chocolate cake with chocolate chips and pecans on top. No need for icing. It is so moist and yummy!

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