Light, crispy, and full of flavor, Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips are perfect for a snack, side dish, or party appetizer that your guests will love
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As a kid, I was a pretty picky eater. My food couldn’t touch on the plate…there literally had to be space between each portion of food. And if something did touch, I wouldn’t eat it. Yes, I still portion and eat my food separately to this day, but it’s strictly habit now.
Also, if I decided I didn’t like some food (mainly vegetables), nothing and nobody could change that. My parents were good about it though, because I devoured the vegetables I did like.
Until a few years ago, I refused to eat zucchini. Then my dad used it in a stir-fry, so I decided to be adventurous. I tried a bite, and became an instant fan. I’m a huge texture eater, so the tender-crisp texture of the stir-fry was what sold me.
Pinterest is my go-to for recipe inspiration, and it’s easy to find zucchini recipes. My first recipe was baked zucchini fries, but it was a huge fail. The zucchini was mushy because I cut it too thick, and I didn’t get the golden crust. I got gun-shy after the fail, and stuck with stir-fry for a while. I finally decided to try again, with some new inspiration. And that’s how Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips was born
These Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips are so delicious. They have great crunch, and are really addictive. If you’re making them for a crowd, you can keep them warm in a 250° oven on a baking rack so they don’t get soggy. Mine never last that long…I usually eat them nearly straight out of the pan. I just can’t resist.
KEYS TO THE PERFECT PANKO PARMESAN ZUCCHINI CHIPS
- Cut the zucchini into about 1/4″ thick slices. If you cut them too thin, they will get mushy. You want them all the same size so they cook at the same time.
- Season the flour! I didn’t do that the first time I made Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips, and they were bland. So now I add Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Sea Salt and black pepper to the flour
- Panko Bread Crumbs create a light and airy crust that has great crunch. You just don’t get that same texture from regular bread crumbs. So it’s also easy for me to feel like I’m eating a little healthier! I have to press the Panko into the zucchini chips so that it sticks, but it’s worth a little extra work
- I add a little hot sauce to the egg wash, for even more flavor. My good friend Pat owns Caulfield Provision Company, a small-batch hot sauce company. He sent me bottles of all their sauces, and I used Smoky Red Pepper Chipotle sauce. You can use your favorite hot sauce, but just remember that a little goes a long way.
PANKO PARMESAN ZUCCHINI CHIPS…BAKE OR FRY?
I considered baking these Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips, but my fail with the zucchini wedges was still in the back of my mind. I sauteed them in cooking spray, but failed again. They took too long to cook, the crumbs burned, and the inside was mushy. The best method is to pan fry them in just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, cook them over medium-high heat, and drain well on paper towels before serving.
I use Chosen Foods Avocado Oil to pan fry my Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips. I’ve also used Canola Oil and it works well, but I’m kind of obsessed with the avocado oil. It has a very high smoke point, and a beautiful, silky flavor.
I have a love/hate relationship with lemon. I like it in small doses, but too much can completely overwhelm a recipe. Since I used lemon juice for the garlic aioli dipping sauce, I added some zest on top as well. I had some leftover zest and added them to the Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips at the very end. I love the fresh burst of flavor that the zest adds to the chips. Again, a little goes a long way.
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese is the only way to go. I admit, I used the stuff in the green can until I bought a fresh chunk of Parmesan at the grocery store. I haven’t looked back since. There’s no comparison to the bite of fresh Parmesan. I mix Parmesan into the Panko Bread Crumbs, and then also add a little more fresh grated Parmesan on top at the end.
I usually make Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips for a snack, because I can make a whole bunch and not feel super guilty. I’ve done them as a side dish before, but then I get so full from the chips that I can barely eat anything else!
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 2 cups zucchini, cut into 1/3" slices
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce of your choice (more or less, to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon water
- avocado oil for pan frying
- spring onions, chopped, for garnish
- lemon zest, for garnish
- PREPARE BREADING STATION: * Panko bread crumbs & Parmesan cheese in one container * Flour & seasonings in another container * Eggs, hot sauce and water in another container
- Dredge zucchini pieces first in flour mixture; then egg wash; then finish in Panko & Parmesan mixture. Press zucchini pieces firmly in Panko mixture to form solid coat
- Add enough oil to heavy bottom pan to coat the bottom of pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Test with a small sprinkle of bread crumbs. When the crumbs immediately start to sizzle, then oil is ready
- Add zucchini pieces to oil, making sure to leave a little space between them. Otherwise, they will steam and not cook properly
- Turn zucchini when bottom is golden brown. Continue cooking until other side is golden brown. Remove immediately and drain on paper towels
- Add more fresh Parmesan, spring onions, and lemon zest. Enjoy!