Air Fryer Squash is quick, easy, and delicious. With just a few simple ingredients and little prep work, you can roast Summer Squash in the Air Fryer in less than 15 minutes. Serve as a simple side dish, add to pasta sauce, or pair with zucchini for a colorful summer veggie mix.
If you love the idea of including yellow squash in your seasonal menu but aren't quite sure the best way to cook it, then look no further. Cooking squash in the air fryer is quick, easy, and results in a squash that's both firmer and more flavorful than other cooking methods. A great advantage of cooking summer squash in the air fryer is that it cooks more evenly on both sides (as opposed to roasting in the oven). And unlike sauteing squash in a skillet, using an air fryer to cook the squash helps it maintain its shape.
The end result is a delicious and flavorful summer squash that can be served as a side dish or added to pasta sauce or curry. You can also serve air-fried squash cold over mixed greens or add it to a pasta salad.
You'll love this Summer Squash Air Fryer Recipe because it's:
- Quick & Easy
- Vegan / Vegetarian
- Almost Zero Prep
- Seasonal & Delicious
- A Perfect Healthy Side Dish
- Great for adding to pasta or rice dishes
- Easy to make Oil-Free / WFPB
What's the difference between summer squash and zucchini?
Squash is a term that refers to all gourd vegetables and is usually broken into summer and winter squash groups, depending on when they are in season. Summer squash can include both yellow squash, zucchini (courgettes), and other summer squash varieties--or it can just refer to the yellow squash. The biggest differences between the two are the color (zucchini is green and summer squash is yellow) and the shape (zucchini tends to be straighter, while summer squash can be slightly curved with a fatter bottom).
In terms of flavor and cooking techniques, zucchini and summer squash are practically interchangeable. For this recipe, you can easily substitute zucchini using the same cooking method. Or do a mix of 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash.
When is yellow squash in season?
Yellow Squash, aka summer squash, is in season from later spring to late summer. If you're in the US, you can probably find yellow squash year-round, though it's sometimes hard to find in the winter months and early spring.
- 2 medium-sized summer squash (about 1 pound or 500g)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil (optional--use water or broth if you want to make this dish oil-free)
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt (to taste)
- fresh cracked pepper (to taste)
- vegan parmesan
- fresh chopped herbs
- You can use a variety of seasonings for summer squash. Any kind of Italian herbs or Herbs de Provence would go great.
- In place of oil you could use water or broth, but just keep in mind that squash already has a high water content, so don't add much because too much liquid will make it soggy.
- You can cook zucchini in exactly the same way. Instead of cooking two yellow squash, you can cook one squash and one zucchini for more variety. Or just follow this recipe for Air Fryer Squash and Zucchini.
Tips for cooking summer squash in the air fryer
- Summer squash (unlike winter squash) has a high water content and cooks very quickly. Cooking it at a very high temperature will allow you to get some browning on the outside without turning the insides to complete mush!
- Having slightly thicker rounds will also help the squash maintain its shape while cooking. I cut mine about 1 cm thick (somewhere between ¼ and ½ inches).
- When you place the cut squash in the air fryer make sure none of the squash rounds are sticking together. If they are, the sides stuck together won't brown.
- When serving air-fried squash as a side dish, I like the serve them on a plate rather than in a bowl. If they're in a bowl everything beneath the top layer will continue to steam and get mushy.
What kind of Air Fryer do you recommend?
The air fryer you choose should be the one that best meets your needs for budget, capacity, and storage space. Some air fryers also have other functions like grilling and dehydrating. I ended up buying the Ninja Foodi Grill 4-in-1 because it has a large capacity to feed my family of four. If you're looking for more options, check out this list of the best air fryers of 2021.
- Preheat the air fryer to 450F or 240C (or the highest heat yours goes).
- Wash the summer squash and chop off each end. Cut the squash into rounds that are somewhere between ¼ and ½ inches wide. I find that slightly thicker rounds hold their shape better.
- Place the rounds in a bowl. Add olive oil or water and the seasonings. Mix to combine.
- Pour the squash into the air fryer basket. Try to spread them evenly. Notice how the top layer in the photo below is staggered so that no two rounds are stuck together. The more air flow you get to each piece, the better browning you can achieve.
- Cook for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are nicely browned but still firm. (I stopped the air fryer at about 8 minutes to swap the rounds on the outer edge with the rounds in the middle. The rounds on the outer edge tend to brown better.)
- Garnish with fresh herbs and (optional) vegan parmesan. Serve right away.
How to serve
- If you're serving this as a side dish, placing the cooked squash on a platter or plate helps them keep their shape better. (If you pour them into a bowl the squash on the bottom of the bowl will continue to steam.)
- I like to serve this with fresh chopped herbs or vegan parmesan.
- Serve this as a side dish to any number of dishes, like Vegan Pesto Pasta, Vegan Baked Feta Pasta, or Chick-fil-A style Tofu Nuggets.
- Add to a marinara sauce or toss with vegan pesto and serve over pasta.
- These would also pair perfectly with any of these Vegan Grill Recipes.
Can I make it ahead?
If you plan to serve this as a stand-alone side dish, then I don't recommend making it ahead since it will get mushy when you reheat it. (That said, if you plan to add it to a sauce or serve it cold, then making it ahead is fine.)
How to store & reheat
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- When serving as leftovers, I recommend adding to a marina sauce, curry, or stew. Or serve leftovers cold as part of a salad or cold pasta dish.
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
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- Air Fryer Broccoli
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets
Air Fryer Squash
- vegan parmesan
- fresh chopped herbs
- Preheat the air fryer to 450F or 240C (or the highest setting).
- Wash the summer squash and trim off the ends. Slice the squash into rounds that are between ¼ and ½ inch wide.
- Place the cut squash in a bowl. Add the olive oil and seasonings. Mix to combine.
- Pour the squash into the air fryer. Try to spread the squash evenly in the basket, making sure that none of the rounds are sticking together.
- Cook for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until they're browned but still firm.
- Stop the cooking about 8 minutes to redistribute the squash in the basket.
- Serve right away with fresh herbs and vegan parmesan.
- If you are using a smaller air fryer, you might need to cook the squash in 2 batches.
- The less crowded the basket, the better the squash will brown without getting mushy.
- The squash on the outer edges of the basket will cook more quickly. When you stop the cooking about 8 minutes in, you can swap the squash on the outer edges with the squash in the middle for more even cooking.
Did you try this recipe? Have a question? Just leave a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!