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Plate of baked stuffed zucchini flowers on a black and white hand painted plate from Sienna.
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5 from 9 votes

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers (Baked & Air Fryer Recipe)

Baked Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are a fun Italian appetizer with a crisp gluten free panko crust exterior and a creamy ricotta and Parmesan interior wrapped up in a delicate zucchini blossom. (Air fryer instructions included)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizers/ Snacks
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8
Calories: 106kcal
Author: HWC Magazine

Equipment

  • oven or air fryer

Ingredients

  • 16 zucchini flowers or other squash blossoms

Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs ( We used gluten-free panko bread crumbs)
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Basil dried
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Herbed Ricotta Cheese Mixture

  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese (to keep vegan exchange with vegan ricotta cheese or mashed firm tofu)
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (to keep vegan exchange with vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast)
  • cup Fresh Basil fresh chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried ground)
  • 2 cloves Fresh Garlic peeled and minced or ¼ teaspoon dried ground garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Ingredients

Instructions

Baking Instructions (please note that we have separated instructions completely so there is one whole set for baking and one whole set for air fryer- That is why the instruction area is so long)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.
  • Clean and prepare zucchini blossoms. Do not wash them under running water or they will be ruined. If you need to, take a slightly damp cloth and remove any obvious dirt or bugs. Remove the outer 5 prong picker on the outside of the flower at the top of the stem, where the flower meets the stem.
    16 zucchini flowers
  • Slice open the flower lengthwise. Open the flower with your fingers gently.
  • Remove the stamen with scissors or knife and dust off the pollen.
  • If zucchini blossom stem is long, trim so that about 1 inch remains.
  • Toast the panko bread crumbs in a dry frying pan until golden brown over low-medium heat. About 3 minutes (keep your eye on the crumbs, stir and do not burn in pan as they brown quite quickly) Remove from pan onto a plate to cool. Add dried basil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
    2 teaspoons Dried Basil, Salt and pepper
  • Make the ricotta herbed filling. In a medium bowl add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste. (To Make Vegan, exchange the ricotta cheese with vegan ricotta or mashed firm tofu. In addition, exchange the Parmesan cheese with vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast.)
    Salt and pepper, 1 cup Ricotta cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, ⅓ cup Fresh Basil, 2 cloves Fresh Garlic, salt and pepper
  • In a medium bowl add either your beaten egg. (Vegan option- use ⅓ cup of dairy free plain yogurt. If yogurt is too thick just thin with a little almond milk or water – about 1-2 teaspoons as needed to be consistency of beaten egg. )
    1 large Egg
  • Stuff the Zucchini Flowers. Place the ricotta herbed mixture in a baggie and cut the edge off or use a pastry bag and gently fill just enough stuffing to fill the zucchini blossoms so that the cheese can be covered by the flower. Close the flower and twist flower at the top to seal.
  • Dunk the stuffed zucchini flower into either the egg (regular) or dairy free plain yogurt (vegan) on all sides to coat. Remove from mixture and then coat the exterior of the stuffed ricotta zucchini blossom with toasted herbed panko bread crumbs to cover all sides and edges.
  • Place stuffed, dipped and coated zucchini flowers on to a lined parchment baking sheet or spray with a little olive oil. Bake for 18- 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with a little salt upon exiting the oven.
    Olive oil spray
  • Serve hot with a delightful warmed sun-dried tomato pesto sauce or marinara sauce and Enjoy!
    Marinara sauce or sun dried tomato sauce

Air Fryer Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C and set timer for 15 minutes.
  • Clean and prepare zucchini blossoms. Do not wash them under running water or they will be ruined. If you need to, take a slightly damp cloth and remove any obvious dirt or bugs. Remove the outer 5 prong picker on the outside of the flower at the top of the stem, where the flower meets the stem.
  • Slice open the flower lengthwise. Open the flower with your fingers gently.
  • Remove the stamen with scissors or knife and dust off the pollen.
  • If zucchini blossom stem is long, trim so that about 1 inch remains.
  • In a medium bowl add panko bread crumbs, dried basil and salt and pepper to taste. There is no need to toast bread crumbs, like you do with the baking method. The air fryer will toast the stuffed zucchini blossoms to a golden brown.
  • Make the ricotta herbed filling. In a medium bowl add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste. (To Make Vegan, exchange the ricotta cheese with vegan ricotta or mashed firm tofu. In addition, exchange the Parmesan cheese with vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast.)
  • In a medium bowl add either your beaten egg. (Vegan option- use ⅓ cup of dairy free plain yogurt. If yogurt is too thick just thin with a little almond milk or water – about 1-2 teaspoons as needed to be consistency of beaten egg. )
  • Stuff the Zucchini Flowers. Place the ricotta herbed mixture in a baggie and cut the edge off or use a pastry bag and gently fill just enough stuffing to fill the zucchini blossoms so that the cheese can be covered by the flower. Close the flower and twist flower at the top to seal.
  • Dunk the stuffed zucchini flower into either the egg (regular) or dairy free plain yogurt (vegan) on all sides to coat. Remove from mixture and then coat the exterior of the stuffed ricotta zucchini blossom with herbed panko bread crumbs to cover all sides and edges.
  • Spray your air fryer basket with a little olive oil spray to prevent sticking. Place stuffed, dipped and coated zucchini flowers on to the air fryer basket. Spray ricotta stuffed blossoms with a little olive oil on one side. Air fry for about 7-8 minutes. Then turn the stuffed flowers over and spray the other side with a little olive oil spray. Place zucchini flowers back into the air fryer for the remaining 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with a little salt upon exiting the air fryer.
  • Serve hot with a delightful warmed sun-dried tomato pesto sauce or marinara sauce and Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Follow these easy-to-follow steps for cleaning zucchini flowers…
  1. Do not wash the flowers under running water or they will be ruined. If you need to, take a slightly damp cloth, and remove any obvious dirt or bugs.
  2. They must be used right away and within 24-48 hours after picked is optimal. If you clean them right away while the flower is still opened, it is much easier. However, you can still clean them later with our easy method. Check our video below to watch how to clean a zucchini flower.
  3. It is best to keep the zucchini blossoms refrigerated until ready to use. If they have a long enough stem, put them in water in the refrigerator to preserve until use.
  4. Remove the outer 5 prong picker (calyx) on the outside of the flower at the top of the stem, where the flower meets the stem.
  5. Slice open the flower lengthwise. Open the flower with your fingers gently.
  6. Remove the stamen with scissors or knife and dust off the pollen.
  7. If zucchini blossom stem is long, trim so that about 1 inch remains
Hints For Success
  1. The secret to making your baked ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms extra crispy is to first toast your panko breadcrumbs in the pan BEFORE coating your zucchini blossoms and the baking step. Alternatively, you can skip that step all together using the air fryer. (Recipe directions in the recipe card below for both baked and air fryer methods.)
  2. Spritz your ricotta stuffed blossoms with a light spray of olive oil on the baking sheet and on top of the prepared stuffed flowers before baking or air frying.
  3. If baking, line your baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum for easy clean up.
  4. If using the air fryer, line the catcher tray with parchment paper for easy cleanup and spritz your air fryer tray with a little spray oil to prevent sticking.
  5. Do not overstuff the flower blossoms with ricotta mixture as this will make it difficult to close and seal.
  6. Set up an assembly line. Place your dish of stuffed zucchini blossoms first in line, next your beaten egg, then your toasted seasoned panko breadcrumbs and finally your lined baking sheet or air fryer tray. This makes it easier for processing and saves you time. Now you can dip, roll, and lay all in one easy motion.
  7. Bake or air fry your ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers, right before serving. Turn over halfway through the cooking process. (If using the air fryer method, spritz with spray oil after turned.) Best served hot out of the oven.
Can you freeze stuffed zucchini flowers?
Zucchini flowers can be stuffed with the ricotta cheese mixture and frozen up to 2 months in a sealed freezer safe container. However, we like to hold off on adding the panko breadcrumbs, so they stay crispy. On the day you want to bake or air fry. Prepare your herb panko bread crumb mixture and dip the stuffed squash blossoms in egg and roll in panko breadcrumbs. Bake or air fry as desired.
Where to buy zucchini flowers?
Zucchini flowers or squash blossoms can be purchased at farmer’s markets and specialty shops. The best way to find zucchini flowers is in your own vegetable garden.
How to make stuffed zucchini flowers vegan?
Exchange the dairy-based ricotta cheese with a vegan ricotta cheese or mashed firm tofu. Swap out the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast. In addition, exchange the egg dip with a non-dairy yogurt to help the breadcrumbs stick.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 2flowers | Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 1mg