Sautéed Zucchini, Squash and Onions

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy our healthy Sautéed Zucchini, Squash and Onions. This fast and easy vegetable side dish recipe cooks up very quickly in a skillet on the stove top!

Zucchini and onions sauteed in bacon grease in a large skillet on a red plaid napkin

Sautéed Zucchini and Onions Recipe

Green zucchini and yellow squash are often ripe from the garden at the same time. They are similar in size and texture meaning they cook up in about the same amount of time. For several reasons zucchini and squash are the perfect match.

Add onions to the onions for a flavor contrast that is perfect served with meat like grilled pork chops and a salad.

This Sautéed Zucchini and Onions recipe is unique because the onions are softened in a little bit of bacon fat for extra flavor. The bacon can be used in meal prep for these Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Sliders or our Bacon Breakfast Casserole.

Overhead view of skillet full of sautéed zucchini, squash and onions

I appreciate that this zucchini squash recipe is lighter, faster to make and more versatile than our Zucchini Casserole with Stuffing.

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Should Water Be Added to Sautée Squash?

Zucchini and squash already have a good bit of water inside. Adding about a half of tablespoon of water per squash when a lid is used to sauté will help soften the veggies faster.

Adding too much water will eliminate flavors from the onion, bacon drippings and other seasonings from shinning through in addition to make the squash soggy.

Not using any water will make the slices more likely to burn and the cooking time will increase which is another burn factor.

How to Slice Zucchini

Using a mandolin is the fastest and easiest way to make uniform slices of zucchini and onions.

Always use the guard to protect your fingers and keep them out of the slicer.

Slices of zucchini with a mandolin on a cutting board

What Type of Squash Works Best?

The variety of squash isn’t nearly as important as the age and size of the squash. Small tender squash have smaller seeds which makes the entire dish more enjoyable to eat.

As squash grow and mature so do the seeds. While the skin and flesh cook and become tender fairly quickly, the seeds take much longer and never really decrease in size.

I like to choose firm zucchini and squash that are 1 1/2″ to 2″ in diameter.

How Long to Sautée Squash In A Skillet?

A couple small squash sliced thinly cook in about 6 – 8 minutes over medium heat.

When a large skillet is very full of thin slices of zucchini it will take 10 minutes. They will need stirred a few times to rotate the batch so all of the zucchini can cook evenly.

Always soften the onions before adding zucchini to the skillet.

Step By Step Instructions

Turn skillet to medium heat and cook bacon. Set bacon aside, eat or use for another recipe.

Leave about 2 – 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the skillet and sauté thin slices of a medium onion for 2 – 4 minutes until beginning to get translucent.

Slices of sauteed onions in a skillet

Add 6 – 8 cups of sliced zucchini or a zucchini and yellow squash combination. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of water, season with salt and pepper.

Fresh zucchini squash seasoned with salt and pepper on top of onions in a hot skillet

Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and stir. Take care to rotate the zucchini and onions off the bottom and sides of the skillet so that squash in the middle has time to cook as well.

Squash and zucchini beginning to soften in a skillet with steam coming out after the lid was removed

Stir well again rotating the slices from the center and middle to a new spot in the skillet.

Season again with salt and pepper if desired or skip this step for a lightly seasoned dish.

Stirring slices of zucchini and onions in the process of making a saute

Cover and cook until desired tenderness. This usually takes 8 – 12 minutes total depending on how full the skillet is, how thick the slices are and how well the skillet conducts heat.

Soft and tender zucchini laying in slices of onion cooked in a skillet with squash

Serve warm and enjoy!

Can This Recipe Be Doubled?

Yes! As long as there is room to stir everything in the skillet you can fill it up with slices of squash. Just make sure there’s a little room to stir and keep rotating the squash on the bottom and sides of the skillet.

Cooking time will increase as the amount of squash increase. More stirring will also be required.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Slices of zucchini pair better with onions than chunks
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated, but this dish is best eaten warm the first time.
  • A cast iron skillet may help with more even cooking, however I typically use non-stick skillets

Printable Sautéed Zucchini and Onions Recipe

Overhead view of sauteed zucchini with onions and squash in a skillet

Sautéed Zucchini, Squash and Onions

Servings 5 servings
Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy our healthy Sautéed Zucchini, Squash and Onions. This fast and easy vegetable side dish recipe cooks up very quickly in a skillet on the stove top!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 – 3 medium zucchini sliced
  • 2 – 3 small yellow squash sliced
  • 3 tablespoons water


  • In a frying pan, melt the fat and sauté the onion until tender over medium heat. This takes about 2 – 4 minutes.
  • Add slices of zucchini and squash. Add 2 tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir well and add 2 more tablespoons of water if needed.
  • Cover and cook for another 4 – 5 minutes. Stir again.
  • Zucchini may be done, or may need cooked another 3 – 5 minutes until it reaches your preferred tenderness. If you continue cooking keep about a tablespoon of water in the skillet, but not much more. Serve warm and enjoy!


Calories: 110kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 23mgPotassium: 442mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 314IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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