Crispy Greek Zucchini Fries (With Tempura Batter)

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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!

A hand dipping a zucchini fry from a big plate of them into tzatziki sauce

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)

Ingredients you need to make zucchini fries

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

A collage of photos showing how to make zucchini fries with crispy tempura batter

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!
A big plate of zucchini fries with a bowl of tzatziki in the background

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 a quick authentic 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:

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)

Are zucchini fries healthier than french fries?

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!

Why are my zucchini fries soggy?

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!

Should you salt zucchini before frying?

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.

A person dipping a zucchini fry from a big plate into a bowl of tzatziki sauce

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

  • 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!
  • 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.

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A brown baking paper bag of zucchini fries
5 from 3 votes

Crispy Greek Zucchini Fries With Tempura Batter

Delicious and super easy Greek style zucchini fries in the lightest, crispiest tempura batter. They go wonderfully well as a side with any kind of meat, fish or vegetarian main. They also make a crowd pleasing appetizer to share. Don't forget a big dish of traditional Greek tzatziki sauce for dipping!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 -6

Ingredients 
 

  • 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
  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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

Notes

How to slice the zucchini: I’ve described how to do this in the body of the post above. You can also watch the how-to video to ‘see’ how I do it. 
You can cut the fries either thick, medium or skinny. You can also fry ’rounds’ of zucchini instead of fries. Simply slice the courgette/zucchini like you would a cucumber, then proceed with the recipe as normal. 
How to keep the fries from getting soggy: Blot the zucchini sticks with paper towels before coating in the batter. Wait until the oil is very hot before cooking, until the end of a fry dipped in the oil sizzles. Serve immediately! 
Flip the zucchini fries in the oil or not? It depends! I sometimes find that I need to flip the fries over for a few seconds to cook the top. Sometimes though you don’t need to do this – 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.
Note about the nutritional info: I’ve roughly estimated that you’ll need around 1 cup or 250ml oil to cook all the zucchini fries. You won’t be ‘eating’ all of this oil, so bear in mind that the calorie count of 1 portion of these fries will probably be less than stated above! 

Nutrition

Calories: 680kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 58g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 483mg, Potassium: 543mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 283IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 165mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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38 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are delicious! Could they be made with almond or coconut flour to reduce the carbs? Can they be frozen?

    1. Hello Amanda! Although I’ve never tried making them with a lower carb flour, I have a feeling that rice flour would work well. For tempura batter you need a light flour, so I’m not sure that almond or coconut would work (although it might!). I wouldn’t freeze them – I’d definitely make them and eat immediately for that lovely light and crispy crunch!

  2. This is the first time I’ve made tempura batter and it was so easy. Clear instructions. I had to cook in batches and I popped the in the over while I cooked the others and they were still lovely and crispy. I will certainly try another of your receipts. Thank you

    1. Hello Barbara! Thank you so much for the feedback! I’m so glad the recipe worked out well for you. Try my halloumi fries as well. I guess they’re a similar sort of thing (appetizer). Really amazing and addictive!

  3. 5 stars
    Great! Thanks for the recipe! I used half the batter and it made enough for my family of four for a side. I used gluten free flour because we have to in our family, and I used regular water since I didn’t have any seltzer on hand… and it still turned out great!

    1. Great to hear they turned out well, Mozhon! Thanks so much for letting me know. It’s especially good to hear they still turn out really good with regular water and they’re easy to make gluten free. The fizzy water just adds a bit of lightness that’s all, but not a deal breaker. Have you tried my halloumi fries as well? 😉

  4. These look fab, Helen! I love zucchini fries and have fond memories of eating them on Greek holidays. Bet that tempura is deliciously crisp and light. I can’t wait to try the recipe, sounds delicious serving the fries with tzatziki too!

    1. Jess! How lovely to hear from you! How are you doing? Thank you so much for passing by. This is an older recipe that needed a bit of improving. I think I’ve nailed it now! 😉

      1. I’ve been good, Helen! Strange times at the moment, but I hope you and your family are all doing well too? 🙂 I’ve got all the ingredients in ready to make these – can’t wait to try them! x

      2. Yes, very weird times, but I guess we’re all getting used to ‘the new normal’! We’re good too thanks! My son is 3.5 already and we’re about to move – potentially twice, so lots of packing to do! I hope you enjoyed the fries. I always end up eating far too many! All the best and I hope you have a great summer despite all the weirdness!

  5. Hi Jazzy! The idea for this recipe was to keep the batter really fine, like a Japanese tempura batter. The recipe is one of my older ones and due a revamp! Thanks for the feedback – I appreciate it!

  6. Oh, that’s a shame, Sumana! How did yours turn out? All of my latest recipes have videos with them, so I hope you’ll visit again and see if there’s anything else you’d like to try! 🙂

  7. Hello Sharon! You’re right, I didn’t include the fat in the nutritional info. Tbh it isn’t easy to calculate how much fat the fries will soak up during cooking. Sorry about that. But I’ll add a note to the recipe!

  8. Sorry you were disappointed, but thanks for leaving your feedback anyway. These have always turned out well for me. What do you think makes the difference with your usual recipe?

    1. Haha. I didn’t know this, but now I do I’m afraid I still won’t use it. Does anyone? 😉

  9. Hi Helen

    I’ve just found your blog, what a pleasure. Your photos are outstanding, they all look like they’ve been shot in the med somewhere!

    Loving your courgette fries. As simple as this recipe is, I just put mine in milk then leave in flour for 5 minutes before frying. This creates a thick layer of flour which goes perfectly crisp on frying. I know some people struggle with tempura being too thick/thin. Anyway thats my opinion, either way, they’re still delicious.

    1. Hi David – thank you so much for the lovely compliment. You’ve made my day (and made me blush!). It’s especially nice to hear your appreciation of my photography. Believe it or not though, I struggle sometimes with the light in the UK and definitely consider my photography a work in progress!

      That’s a wonderful little tip for making even simpler ccourgette fries. I have another similar recipe, actually, for halloumi fries (mmmmm!) that I use this technique for and they’re delicious. I’m definitely going to try it next time I make courgette fries. I guess the tempura just makes if more of a batter as it ‘puffs up’ a bit – for a slightly different end result.

      Thanks again for taking the time to take a look around and comment. Have a great weekend!