Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil

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Made simply with grated zucchini, butter and cream, this creamed zucchini makes an easy and elegant summer dish.

Bowl of creamed zucchini with garlic and basil.

This rich yet delicate creamed zucchini is easy to make. You simply sauté grated zucchini and garlic in butter, then finish it off with a touch of heavy cream and fresh basil. The zucchini gets tender and creamy, almost melting into a purée. Try it with baked or grilled fish or roast chicken — and put the recipe in your entertaining file because you can make it ahead of time.

What you’ll need to make Creamed Zucchini

Ingredients including heavy cream, zucchini, and basil.

How to make creamed zucchini

Begin by grating the zucchini. You can do this by hand with a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk.

Shredded zucchini in a food processor.

Transfer the zucchini to a clean kitchen towel.

Pile of shredded zucchini on a towel.

Wring out all of the excess water.

Twisted towel full of shredded zucchini.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the zucchini and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender.

Shredded zucchini and garlic in a skillet.

Add the heavy cream.

Cream pouring into a skillet of zucchini and garlic.

Then stir in the basil, salt and pepper and simmer until all of the cream is absorbed.

Basil and other seasonings added to a skillet of zucchini.

Serve and enjoy.

Bowl of creamed zucchini with garlic and basil.

This recipe was inspired by a Creamed Zucchini with Herbs recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

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Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil

Made simply with grated zucchini, butter and cream, this creamed zucchini makes an easy and elegant summer dish.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • 1¾ pounds zucchini (preferably smaller zucchini, as they are less watery)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil


  1. Grate the zucchini by hand with a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. Wrap the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much excess water as possible. Repeat a few times, replacing the towel if necessary.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shredded zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender, about 6 minutes. Turn the heat down to low; add the heavy cream, salt, pepper and basil and simmer until the cream is absorbed. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm.
  3. Make Ahead Instructions: The whole recipe ahead of time. Just cover and refrigerate. You can reheat it in the microwave right before serving.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 179
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 461mg
  • Cholesterol: 49mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • This recipe is so easy and delicious!! It’s very much company worthy, but fast and simple enough for a weeknight side.

  • I was very happy with this recipe. The whole family loved it. Simple and quick to make. I used a food processor, but a hand grater would work just fine. Note important step: try hard to get all the water you can out of the zucchini. It fries much better.

  • This was very good. I used two zuke’s that weight about 1 3/4 pound and saw once it was in the pan there was no way that would be enough for my family (3 teens and a tween, but my 2 boys won’t eat it anyway) so I grabbed a third zuke and added it. I added a little extra garlic and butter when I added the extra zuke. I then decided to use up some riced cauliflower I had food-processed a few days ago (added maybe 1/2 a cup). You couldn’t even tell it was in there – so perfect to bulk up the recipe! The four of us ate it all at dinner with instant pot chicken. Very easy weeknight dish to make. I’m intrigued by the other reviews that add nutmeg and maybe I’ll try that in future as well. My daughter couldn’t get enough and was upset that she had to allow her father to eat some.

  • yummy and low carb

  • Everyone loved this. Even the kids!

    • — Kiersten Medvedich
    • Reply
  • I wasn’t sure about this recipe, but I have a LOT of zucchini, and I trust Jenn, so I made it. Very, very good – definitely making again. I used a large 2 lb zucchini, so I cored it and really squeezed the excess moisture out. Definitely has a creamed spinach taste to it, and I added a touch of nutmeg.

  • Delicious!

  • Made tonite to go with ribeye and sliced tomatoes. Absolutely delicious! May be my new creamed spinach replacement! With a lot less,cream. Thank you for expanding my palate!

  • Made this last night and my husband and I loved it. My husband is usually skeptical of vegetables but he ate all of this!

  • This Zucchini recipe looks great & I’m going to try it. You mentioned it can be done ahead. If doing that, would you cook it all the way, then just warm it up, or set it aside at a certain point to finish later? (I’m thinking of the last minute rush when giving a dinner party to get everything finished at the same time.)

    • Hi Melinda, Just make the whole recipe ahead of time, then just cover and refrigerate. You can reheat it in the microwave right before serving. Hope you enjoy!

  • Wonderful recipe! Made it several times over the summer. My daughter also made it with coconut milk for a child who needs dairy-free. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes AND detailed recipe cooking tips!

  • This is so delicious! An almost comfort food, I topped with freshly grated parmasean!

  • This is a great way to use up the abundance of zucchini that appears in gardens around this time of year. And especially because it is a quick-cooking recipe that doesn’t heat up the house too much.

    Jenn, you’re my go-to lady for recipes! I just google my ingredient + Once Upon A Chef and I always come up with some good results.

    • That is so nice to read, Audrey – I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes! ?

  • This was a delicious way to make zucchini. My husband who professes to hate it, ate his entire serving. The fresh basil is a great addition and the flavor is perfect. To lighten it a bit I used half and half and cut the butter to 2tbsp and it was still creamy. I served this with grilled salmon and Vivian Howard’s corn for a fast and easy summer meal.

  • Love this recipe! Great, easy, and, delicious!

  • This recipe is simplicity at its finest. The flavors are so clean and it is so easy to make. I am always searching for a great vegetable side dish and would not hesitate to serve this at a dinner party.

  • We are major zucchini fans and have frequently sauteed grated zucchini. Had never thought to add a bit of cream to it, so this caught my attention. And since we had just purchased some beautiful corn, I cut the corn off three ears and stirred it in just as the dish thickened. Heaven!!

    • Adding the corn kernels is an outstanding idea! I will definitely try this the next time I make this dish that I already love.

  • As we are not eating carbohydrates at the moment I made this dish to substitue mashed potatos…. Wow!!!
    I will never br missing potatos again with this fantastic, creamy recipe! Great with fish or steak or….

    • — Viktoria Busse
    • Reply
  • I did not enjoy this. Like someone else said, it was bland. I love garlic and use lots and lots of it in my cooking, but all this tasted like was creamy garlic – no yum factor 🙁 I won’t be making this again.

    • I made this and added grated nutmeg (because in my mind, any creamed veggies ALWAYS ask for nutmeg), and my hubby and two boys devoured it. Making it for a second time right now, and had to increase zucchini by a pound (and seasonings accordingly) so that we all get enough! Insert chef fingertip kiss here!

  • I made this for dinner tonight-absolutely awesome! I couldn’t see getting a kitchen towel all green so instead I just put the shredded zucchini in a colander and took handfuls of it and squeezed firmly to remove the moisture. I ended up doing this twice but it was pretty dry before I was done. I had to use dried basil, 1 tsp., and did add 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg and it turned out to be the best zucchini we had ever eaten!

  • Wow! Just a couple of nights ago, we needed a veggie to go with the chicken, my husband had made. So, opened your website and clicked on veggies and sides. I was looking for something to do with zucchini and yellow squash. I saw this creamed zucchini recipe. I made it with the zucchini and squash. It was delicious! My husband and I loved it and would serve it at a dinner party. I only had dried
    Basil and half and half, instead of real cream. It was still a hit! I’ve loved all your recipes that I’ve tried! Thanks, Jen, for some new ideas!

    • — Becky Jancosko
    • Reply
  • Loved this! So yummy!

  • We made this once for ourselves and loved it so much that we’ve made it twice for guests. Creamy and delicious.

  • Um…4 servings? Not at my house. ? My husband and I polished this off by ourselves — so scrumptious! Jenn, I trust your recipes so much that I would make them for the first time for company… thanks for doing what you do.

    • That is so nice to read, Susan. Thank you! And so glad you enjoyed the dish 🙂

  • I was very intrigued by this recipe, as I love zucchini. I don’t believe I squeezed as much water out the zucchini as I should have, because it was difficult to get the dish to thicken. The garlic was a little too much, but perhaps my cloves were larger than average. I may saute some chopped onion or shallots next time around, or add a little nutmeg. I usually add nutmeg when I saute zucchini. I wanted a creamier texture, and I think I can improve on my initial results.

  • Is this good served cold?

    • Hi Chris, I prefer it hot. Sorry!

  • Just made this dish and oh, was it delightful! Thanks Jenn.

  • Simple. Quick. Delicious. I’ll be making this one often during zucchini season.

  • A friend gave me one giant zucchini from his garden at work today so I made this for dinner. It is a very quick dish wish is great for weeknights. I did have to squeeze a lot of water out of the zucchini since it was a large one. I used part heavy cream and part half&half since I was down to my last bit of cream. I also sprinkled a heaping tablespoon of parmesan on top before serving. My husband and I both liked it. thanks.

  • I thought this was an elegant easy recipe to make. I used it for dinner with company and we all really liked the dish.

  • I made this last night and really liked it. I thought it was missing a little something when I tasted it so I added 1/8 tsp or so of nutmeg and that made it out of this world!!

  • Just made this tonight. I’m trying to eat paleo so instead of using heavy cream I used a small can of coconut cream and really made sure I squeezed as much liquid out of the squash as possible. This has a really nice flavor and the texture was nice too.

  • Absolutely fantastic. I love zucchini and I love this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes.

  • I made this recipe last week and felt that it was a bit bland. The texture was good and the recipe was easy to follow. We did add a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano that was left over from the Grilled Pesto Shrimp recipe (which was wonderful) but my family felt it still lacked something.

  • This recipe is fabulous. It is amazing how easy it was to prepare. And it makes me feel great adding more summer vegetables to my families diet. I love recipes that can be used for more then 1 meal. Next time I will add my leftover creamed zucchini to a pasta dish like lasagna roll ups, manicotti, or stuffed shells. Great budget stretcher as well!

    • — Juliane McDavid
    • Reply
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  • I just made this and couldn’t be happier (maybe if I had more basil on hand, but I can’t complain). I used a combination zucchini/summer squash and it turned out great. Definitely in our summer sides rotation!

  • Yummy ! I made it with grill chicken & corn bread & my family loved it. Can anyone suggest what I can replace the heavy cream with to make vegan friendly ?

    • — Carrie Burkholder ( Arizona )
    • Reply
    • Hi Carrie, You can just leave out the cream; won’t be quite as rich but it will still be delicious. Would also be wonderful with olive oil instead of butter.

  • I made this last night and it received rave reviews! Thank you so much, Jenn! I made it earlier in the day and then just heated it on the stovetop. It’s so easy and delicious.

    I made the Black Bean Salad with the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette yesterday and am excited to try it today. Thanks for the awesome recipes…this is my new favorite site!

  • Sorry to be so literal, but how would you prepare this ahead of time? Thanks!

    • Hi Sally, You can make the whole recipe ahead of time, then just cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can reheat it in the microwave. Please let me know how it turns out!

  • Fantastic, and sooo easy !

  • This sounds yummy! I’ve made it with spinach but not zucchini. I wonder if some Parmesan shaved on top would make it too rich?

    • Hi Rebecca, I think Parmesan would be delicious!

  • I have not made this particular recipe, but I do have a very similar recipe from a long time ago. So similar that I am going to go ahead and rate this even though I have not made this version. Cream improves everything, right? I used to serve it over pasta. It is great way to use up the zucchini crop many get overwhelmed with this time of year. Thank you and I am inspired to try this soon.

  • This was very good. I will be serving it all summer long.

  • Ok, I am learning to cook. What exactly does “serve immediately” mean? To me, it means have everyone seated and run to the table with the food. But I did this and half the meal ended up on the floor. Can someone define the term for me? Should it actually just say “serve” instead of “serve immediately”?

    • — Daryl in Dallas
    • Reply
    • Hi Daryl, I’m so sorry you lost half your dinner on the floor but your comment made me laugh 🙂 In recipe writing, “serve immediately” just means serve hot but you make a good point – I’ll stick to “serve hot” from now on. Hope you were at least able to enjoy it.

  • Wonderful Recipe!

  • Thanks Jenn, you recipes always sound and look so good. I would have never thought I would try creamed anything but I am definitely going to try this. If it is near as good as your pesto shrimp it will be delicious!

  • This looks absolutely fabulous!!! Have both zucchini and summer squash…Think I’ll be making this with my roast chicken tonight! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • I love zucchini and have plenty from my In-Law’s garden when they are in season, like right now. So, I always look for new ways to prepare them. I love your simple yet decadent Creamed Zucchini with Herbs! So delicious. I can’t wait to make it again!

  • I love zucchini and this recipe looks delish. We’ll be having this tonight. Thanks!

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