The question,is zucchini a squash?,” is sort of like asking, “is a square a rectangle?” The answer is yes, but not all squash are zucchini. This post breaks down all the nuances between the two veggies. After reading about these variety of summer vegetables, you’ll be ready to whip up any kind of savory or sweet dish!

Yellow squash and zucchini are layered into a baking dish.

Is zucchini a squash?

Zucchini is a squash, but not all squash are zucchini. Zucchini and yellow squash are like a square and a rectangle; squash is a category that encompasses zucchini, but also includes other types, such spaghetti squash and butternut squash. These vegetables—which are technically fruits—are part of the Cucurbita pepo branch under the Cucurbitaceae plant family, along with the gourd family and cucumbers.

Zucchinis are harvested immaturely, making the rind tender. It’s this edible, dark-green rind that classifies them as a summer squash. They are white and soft on the inside with edible seeds.

What is a zucchini?

A zucchini is a fruit, though commonly thought of as a vegetable, with a mild taste and a tad of sweetness. Depending on how you cook it, the texture can vary. If you sauté a sliced zucchini with olive oil or butter, it can become crispy and taste savory. If you shred or purée a zucchini to add to a baked good, it’ll bring out a natural sweetness.

Learn about the 19 Health Benefits of Zucchini in this post and how you can further prepare and use your zucchini in the kitchen!

Prepared zucchini are prebaked before stuffing.

What is a squash?

Squash is classified as a Cucurbita which is a branch of the Cucurbitaceae family. There are two types of squashes: winter squashes and summer squashes. 

Winter squash consists of butternut, acorn, and kabocha. Summer squashes consist of yellow squash and zucchini. 

Squashes are bright in color, and they, too, are mild and sweet in flavor. It really depends on how you cook them, whether they become sweet or savory. 

When are zucchini and squash in season?

Zucchini plants thrive and provide great fruit production in the spring, summer, and autumn seasons. Squash is in season during the summer and autumn months.

You’ll find that your grocery stores or farmer’s market will have cheaper zucchini and squash in the summer months since that’s when they are thriving and in peak season.

Cut halved zucchini in a frying pan.

Zucchini & Yellow Squash Similarities

If you find yourself confused by the two, it’s only because zucchini and squash have a lot in common:

  • Both are from the Cucurbitaceae family. 
  • Zucchini and squash are used in both savory and sweet dishes.
  • They grow on vines, and grow quickly!
  • Some have the same color, like golden zucchini and yellow squash.
  • Zucchini and squash have high-water content and have a similar nutrition profile in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and magnesium that boost your immune system.

Yellow Squash & Zucchini Differences

The main difference between zucchinis and yellow squash are shape, texture, and color. Additionally, another way to tell the difference between these fruits are the leaves they grow on. Yellow squash have large, green leaves, but different shapes and textures. Zucchini have big, indented, jagged leaves.

Color

Zucchinis are usually dark green and sometimes have lighter stripes that run down their length. Squash are bright yellow or golden in color. 

Shape

Zucchinis are long, cylindrical fruits, and straight throughout. Yellow squash are cylindrical, but have a larger bottom and a tapered neck.

Texture

Summer squashes and zucchini can be eaten raw and cooked. Winter squashes are hard and need to be cooked before consumption.

A spatula scooping out a serving of cooked yellow squash and zucchini from a pan.

What temperature should I store zucchini and squash at?

The refrigerator in a plastic bag is a great way to store zucchini and squash. Once they reach the temperature of 60°F, they stop growing and ripen. They can stay at room temperature for a few days, but once they’re already picked, you’ll want to preserve them until you’re ready to use them. 

Zucchini & Squash FAQ

​How can I cook zucchini?

There are so many ways to cook zucchini and squash! Some of the best way include roasting, sautéing, baking, grilling, or in baked goods with fresh herbs. They’re also delicious raw.

Why do zucchini plant leaves turn yellow or white?

Yellow leaves result from the lack of rich soil and are too close to each other when growing.

Can I eat zucchini on a specific diet?

Zucchini works well with the DASH, keto, Whole 30, and paleo diets. 

Does zucchini have to be peeled?

No, most of the nutrients are found in the skin of zucchini, which is edible.

How long does it take for squash to fruit after flowering?

Under the right conditions, squash grows quickly, and is ready to pick within the week of flowering. Remember, only female flowers produce fruits. 

How many squash do you get from each plant?

Depending on the squash, you can get 5-6 fruits per plant.

Four zucchini fritters in a stack on a white plate.

Squash & Zucchini Favorite Recipes

Zucchini and yellow squash are such versatile ingredients, they can work with a ton of different recipes. Try these this summer, when these veggies are at their peak:

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