Welcome to the lightest, crispiest Greek style zucchini fries made with an easy tempura batter. Make them as a quick and easy appetizer to share, or an interesting summer side dish that everyone will love. Whatever you do, don’t forget to serve with traditional Greek tzatziki sauce for dipping!
What are Greek zucchini fries?
When Mr. Scrummy and I first met (which happened to be in Greece, where I was living at the time), one of our favourite meals to order at a taverna was Greek meatballs (keftedakia) with a huge plate of fried zucchini chips (otherwise known as courgette fries or chips)!
These are most definitely ‘a thing’ in Greece. They are known as just fried zucchini or ‘kolokithakia tiganita’ (kol-o-kith-akia ti-gan-it-a in case you’d like to know how to say it!).
There are a few different variations, all equally as delicious. I love them as you see in the photos, quite thickly sliced and shallow fried in a super light and crispy tempura batter.
Greek zucchini is one of the most popular Greek meze dishes. It makes such a great appetizer or finger food for a dinner, party or BBQ. But it also goes incredibly well with so many different mains as a side dish, especially Mediterranean style mains (scroll down for specific ideas!).
Why you’ll love them
There are hundreds of recipes for zucchini or courgette fries out there, but here’s why I think this is the best:
- You can shallow fry them. You don’t need a deep fat fryer, or even a lot of oil. Just an inch of oil in a medium to large pan is enough.
- The easy tempura batter takes minutes to make – it’s just flour, soda water, baking powder, and a bit of salt. Nope, no eggs, so as long as you serve them with a vegan dip these are vegan zucchini fries if you need them to be!
- The tempura batter is light, puffy, crispy and delicious! Anything super crispy gets my vote! (If it gets your vote too, you just have to try these amazing crispy Greek potatoes, too!)
- The fries only take a few minutes to cook in the hot oil. This means you don’t have to use a big pan with a lot of oil in it. Just make the fries in a few easy batches.
About the ingredients
This is a quick and easy recipe for battered zucchini with just zucchini/courgette and 5 very basic ingredients to make the tempura batter.
Why do I use soda water to make my tempura? Don’t ask me the science behind it, but it helps to keep the batter light. Also, as there are no eggs in it either, using water instead of milk makes it vegan.
Tzatziki for the dipping sauce is optional but highly recommended! (recipe included below)
Zucchini/Courgette: To serve 4 to 6 as an appetizer or side, you’ll need 2 small to medium zucchini. Avoid really large zucchinis. As they have a high water content they might not help you get the crispiest fries.
Flour (+ a little salt): You’ll need just a cup of ordinary plain/all-purpose flour.
Baking powder: This is what will help your fries to puff up and crisp as they cook.
Soda water: You can either use soda water or sparkling mineral water. Either will help make your fries irresistibly light and airy.
Olive oil (for frying): I recommend a light olive oil, but you can use any neutral tasting oil you like.
How to make Greek zucchini fries
How to prepare the zucchini/courgette
- Cut it into 3 or 4 pieces depending on how big it is.
- Then cut each piece in half lengthwise so you have 2 semi-circles of zucchini.
- Slice lengthwise again into fry shapes.
- Pat the sticks dry with paper towels to keep your fries nice and crispy.
Watch the video to ‘see’ how to do it!
You can make chunky fries, medium fries or skinny fries. The recipe will still work.
Or if you prefer you can simply slice the zucchini into rounds. Like a cucumber. I’ve eaten fried courgette like this in Greece many times!
How to make the tempura batter
This is so easy. All you do is grab a small bowl or jug.
Mix together the dry ingredients, then slowly whisk in the chilled soda water.
How to cook your fries
Drop small handfuls of the chopped zucchini into the batter. Fish them out with a fork or even your fingers.
Gently drop them into the hot oil. Let cook for a couple of minutes. The batter will puff up a little and go lightly golden. Flip over with a fork for a minute or so.
Repeat in batches until you’ve fried all the zucchini. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take too long!
Fish out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Then enjoy immediately while they’re still lovely and crispy. Don’t burn your tongue!
Helen’s top tips
- Wait until your oil is very hot. This will make sure your fries don’t go soggy – they’ll be nice and crispy. Test by dipping the end of a piece of zucchini in – if it sizzles the oil’s ready.
- Sometimes you won’t need to flip the fries over. It depends how vigorously the oil is bubbling, and how deep the oil is in the pan. Just keep a close eye on them and make a decision as they are cooking.
- Make sure you prepare the tzatziki in advance. It might sound obvious but you want to be able to get stuck into your fries while they’re at their chunchiest and best!
How to serve zucchini fries
These yummy and super crispy tempura zucchini sticks are more versatile than you might think.
Eat them chunky or eat them skinny, perhaps with a little salt and dried oregano sprinkled over the top. You could even add a light sprinkle of feta cheese.
Don’t skip the bowl of homemade Greek tsatziki sauce or 5-minute Greek feta dip AKA tirokafteri to go with them. If you prefer to keep the recipe vegan, no worries – just serve with marinara sauce or any other favorite dipping sauce.
For something a little different, try serving with a dish of this easy lemon butter sauce.
They’re perfect for sharing as an appetizer, or meze style as part of a bigger spread. Alternatively, serve them as a side dish with a meat, fish or vegetarian main.
Zucchini fries go particularly well with:
- any kind of meatballs (these air fryer Greek chicken meatballs are my favourite!), steak, chicken, or fish.
- other Greek or Mediterranean mezze style dishes such as this baked eggplant with tomato sauce and feta, Greek marinated chicken, or spinach and feta filo pie (all great for sharing!).
- classic Greek meals such as easy moussaka, one pan Greek roasted chicken and potatoes, Greek stuffed eggplant, gigantes plaki (Greek big beans) or Greek baked fish.
- However I serve them, I usually add a Greek salad and tsatziki sauce. You could also serve alongside cold salads such as this refreshing pesto orzo salad.
To be honest with you, these delicious Greek fried zucchini chips go with pretty much any kind of Greek food (have a browse!).
More things to know (recipe FAQ)
Well, zucchini is lower in carbs and higher in fiber and antioxidants than french fries. But when it’s fried in a light tempura batter, it’s just as delicious and satisfying. Baked versions of zucchini fries can be good too, but for me fried in healthy olive oil is the most delicious way to go!
It’s possible that your oil wasn’t hot enough before you starting frying. Test the oil by dipping the very end of a battered fry in. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough! If not, wait a little longer. It’s also possible that there is too much moisture in the zucchini. Make sure you pat the zucchini strips dry with paper towels to help them crisp. Also, serve immediately after frying when as crisp as can be!
Many people recommend sprinkling zucchini with salt to help draw out moisture before frying. I don’t generally bother (I just blot the zucchini well), but try it if you like! Simply sprinkle generously with salt and let sit in a colander for 5 to 10 minutes. Then pat dry with paper towels before continuing with the recipe.
Got more zucchini to use up? You HAVE to try this amazing zucchini slice. It isn’t a quiche, it isn’t a pancake, and it isn’t corn bread. It’s more like something in between, and it’s absolutely delicious!
More must-try Mediterranean appetizers
- Halloumi! Have you ever tried halloumi fries? (or ‘little sister’ recipe, halloumi bites) Halloumi is perfect for appetizers and share plates. Check out my guide on how to cook halloumi, with loads of ideas about how to cook it.
- Baked feta with tomatoes, peppers and olives! Smoosh onto bread, serve as a side or even stir through pasta. This is incredibly delicious!
- Ever made a proper Spanish omelette, otherwise known as a tortilla de patatas? It makes such a great appetizer with bread, or part of a mezze style meal. Prepare to have your mind blown!
- Little Greek party pies! Choose from tiropitakia (mini Greek cheese pies), crispy mushroom pies or mini spinach and feta pies. All delicious!
- Greek fried olives! Did you know you can stuff olives with feta, then fry them? Mmm! Give them a try!
Or check out this list of 15 easy Greek appetizers.
Crispy Greek Zucchini Fries With Tempura Batter
Equipment (affiliate links)
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
- 2 medium zucchini (courgettes)
- 1 cup oil (approximately – enough to fill a medium pan with about ½ inch oil) I like to use light olive oil, but any kind of oil is fine.
for the tempura batter
- 1 cup plain flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup soda water chilled (or use sparkling mineral water)
for the tzatziki sauce
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt (not regular yoghurt – it's too thin)
- ½ clove garlic minced/crushed
- 1 cucumber (medium) diced finely, or grated
- 1 teaspoon dill chopped finely (optional)
- 2 squeezes lemon juice
- black pepper & a drizzle of olive oil
- Wash your zucchini/courgette and chop off the very ends. Then cut into three or four big pieces, depending on the size. Cut each piece in half so you have 2 semi-circles. Then lay flat (green side up) and slice into fry shapes.2 medium zucchini
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a jug or small bowl. Then slowly add the chilled water and mix until you have a smooth batter.1 cup plain flour, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup soda water
- Heat up the oil until it sizzles when you dip the end of a piece of zucchini in it.1 cup oil
- Dip the zucchini into the batter a small handful at a time. Fish out with a fork and place carefully into the hot oil.
- Let cook for 2 or 3 minutes, turning once if necessary.
- When the fries are puffed up and golden, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on kitchen paper. Repeat until all the zucchini is fried.
- Serve while still hot and crispy with tzatziki sauce on the side (optional – see recipe below).
for the tzatziki sauce
- Put the yogurt into a small bowl or dish and add the garlic, cucumber, dill and lemon juice. Mix it all together well.1 cup Greek yoghurt, ½ clove garlic, 1 cucumber, 1 teaspoon dill, 2 squeezes lemon juice
- Grind some black pepper onto the top and drizzle over a little olive oil.black pepper & a drizzle of olive oil