This simple sautéed squash recipe is so easy to make and allows the flavors of this delicious summer vegetable to shine. The delicious squash is tender, buttery, sweet, and so flavorful.

One of my favorite recipes to make in the summertime is this sautéed yellow squash recipe. It is such an easy recipe, and it can so easily be used to make sautéed zucchini (or any variation of summer squash!) 

While we love to make fried squash, roasted squash, and zucchini bread, this sautéed squash is such a simple side dish that comes together in just minutes. It is such a simple summer squash recipe, and this delicious summer side dish is one of my favorite ways to prepare this delicious summer vegetable.

It’s the perfect summer recipe because you don’t need to heat up the house by turning on the oven, and it’s a delicious way to make use of the squash that just doesn’t seem to stop growing during peak season. 

A green bowl filled with sauteed yellow squash and onions and some being scooped on a spoon.

If you are anything like me and are also overloaded with cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes as well, you can dice up a few and add those to your sautéed squash, or you can make my cherry tomato salsa or dehydrate cherry tomatoes for later use!

🥘 Ingredients Needed

The ingredients needed to make sauteed squash, laid out and labeled.

This sauteed squash recipe uses such simple ingredients:

  • Fresh Summer Squash – Any squash can be used in this recipe; I have used this recipe to make all different types of squash – fresh yellow squash, zucchini, cocozelle, patty pan squash, or tromboncino squash. (I have also cooked zucchini noodles this way, just be sure to drain off any excess liquid because they produce a lot of water.)
  • Butter – You can also use ghee or olive oil to make the dish Paleo, Whole30 compatible, or vegan.
  • Diced Onions – You can use any kind of onions, but I like to use sweet onions, yellow onion, or shallots.
  • Minced Garlic – I like to dice up a fresh garlic clove or two, but you can also use garlic powder if that is all you have.
  • Salt – I like to use kosher salt or sea salt.
  • Optional – Cheese to sprinkle on top (Parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese), fresh herbs like fresh thyme or fresh basil, or Italian seasoning. You can also add a few cherry or grape tomatoes, just don’t add too many, or the squash won’t caramelize – it will just get soggy.

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • A Large Skillet
  • Sharp Knife and a Cutting Board

🥣 How to Make Sautéed Squash

Sautéed yellow squash is one of the easiest side dishes to make. I have a little trick to make it that makes it so delectable, and it starts with making a little garlic and onion butter. 

Diced yellow squash, garlic, and shallots on a white cutting board.

First, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in the skillet and sauté onions or shallots until they soften and begin to caramelize. Then add the minced garlic.

While the garlic and butter cook, chop the squash into evenly sized chunks. I like to aim for half-inch pieces – you can either cut them into half moons or cut them once again into quarters.

A collage of images showing how to make sauteed squash, steps 1-5.

Cook for a minute or two while dicing the squash to let the garlic become fragrant and stir as needed. Then, my favorite thing to add – my secret ingredient – a little bit of extra butter. (Or, you could also use a little bacon fat.) Cook for another minute or two to let the butter heat up, and stir to make a garlic butter.

Next, add the squash or zucchini chunks to the garlic butter in your hot pan.

Increase the heat to medium-high heat and toss the squash in the garlic butter, allowing the outside of the squash to caramelize in the butter while the inside softens and slowly cooks. It will take about 5-7 minutes to cook, depending on how much squash you put in your pan – the edges of the squash get nice and golden brown.

A skillet with sauteed yellow squash in it.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle with a little salt, then serve immediately. If you’re using cheese, you can sprinkle it on and toss it right before serving.

A green bowl filled with sauteed yellow squash and onions.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Summer Squash?

Summer squash is a larger squash family that includes a lot of different kinds of squash, including both yellow squash and zucchini (courgette.) The summer squash family is a family of gourds with a short shelf life (unlike winter squash – they have a thin, edible skin, soft and tender insides, and can’t be tossed in storage for six months.) 

The summer squash family includes different kinds of yellow squash – crookneck & straightneck, along with zephyr squash, young tromboncino squash, mirliton or chayote squash, cousa squash, round zucchini or eight ball zucchini, yellow zucchini/golden zucchini, and pattypan squash.

Sauteed zucchini with onions and garlic.

Zucchini, patty pan squash, and yellow squash can all be used with this recipe!

Sauteed patty pan squash in a skillet with peppers, onions, and garlic.

What Kinds of Yellow Squash are there?

Yellow squash comes in two different varieties: crookneck and straightneck. Crookneck squash has larger seeds and a thicker, sometimes lumpier skin, and its shape can make it harder to slice up. I prefer to grow the yellow straight-neck squash because it is easier to cook – though we also grow a lot of zucchini!

What Can I Do with Overgrown Squash?

If you wait to harvest yellow squash or zucchini until it is really big, the skin will be thick, and the proportion of seeds to squash “flesh” will be unfavorable. The seeds will be very big, and the taste and texture will not be nearly as good as the small, less-mature squash. 

Don’t use those squash in this recipe, but don’t throw those giant squash away! Instead of using your oversized squash for this recipe, use them to make zucchini bread or cheesy zucchini muffins! Scoop out the seedy center, then grate the squash to use in your favorite baking recipe. (You can also hollow out the “boats” and stuff them with Italian sausage, sauce, and diced zucchini with lots of cheese!)

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A green bowl with a spoon filled with sauteed yellow crookneck squash and onions.

🫙 How to Store Leftover Cooked Squash

Once cooled, store leftover squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can reheat the squash in the microwave or air fryer.

I also like to toss leftovers with blistered cherry tomatoes, olive oil, Italian seasoning, and ground beef to make a summery pasta.

Sauteed summer squash with burst cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, ground beef, and pasta.

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🍗 What to Serve with Sautéed Squash

I love to serve this delicious side dish with buttermilk fried chicken tenders, crockpot country-style ribs, collard greens, burgers, pasta salad, southern cornbread, fried catfish, and fried shrimp – really, any easy main dishes will complement this simple dish well!

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Sauteed yellow squash with onions.

Sautéed Squash

5 from 3 votes
This simple sautéed squash recipe is so easy to make and allows the flavors of this delicious summer vegetable to shine. The delicious squash is tender, buttery, sweet, and so flavorful.
Author: Kari
Servings: 4 people
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 2 yellow squash or zucchini – about 2 cups when cut up
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ sweet onion or 1 whole shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼-½ teaspoon kosher salt

Optional Topping

Instructions 

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat & melt butter in the skillet.
    2 tablespoons butter
  • Sauté onions or shallots in the butter until they soften and begin to caramelize.
    ½ sweet onion
  • Add the minced garlic next, and while the garlic and butter cook, chop the squash into evenly sized chunks. (I like to aim for half-inch pieces – you can either cut them into half moons or cut them once again into quarters.)
    2 cloves garlic, 2 yellow squash
  • Cook for a minute or two while dicing the squash to let the garlic become fragrant and stir as needed. Then, my favorite thing to add – my secret ingredient – a little bit of extra butter. (You could also use a little bacon fat.)
    1 tablespoon butter
  • Cook for another minute or two to let the butter heat up, and stir to make a garlic butter.
  • Next, add the squash or zucchini chunks to the garlic butter in your hot pan.
    2 yellow squash
  • Increase the heat to medium-high heat and toss the squash in the garlic butter, allowing the outside of the squash to caramelize in the butter while the inside softens and slowly cooks. It will take about 5-7 minutes to cook, depending on how much squash you put in your pan – the edges of the squash get nice and golden brown.
  • Remove from the heat and sprinkle with a little salt, then serve immediately. If you're using cheese or Italian seasoning, you can sprinkle it on and toss it right before serving.
    ¼-½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Notes

Any squash can be used in this recipe; I have used this recipe to make all different types of squash – fresh yellow squash, zucchini, cocozelle, patty pan squash, or tromboncino squash. (I have also cooked zucchini noodles this way, just be sure to drain off any excess liquid because they produce a lot of water.)

🫙 How to Store Leftover Sauteed Squash

Once cooled, store leftover squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can reheat the squash in the microwave or air fryer. I also like to toss leftovers with blistered cherry tomatoes, olive oil, Italian seasoning, and ground beef to make a summery pasta.

Special Equipment Needeed

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 99kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 1gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 217mgPotassium: 186mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 361IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sauteed squash, sauteed yellow squash, sauteed zucchini
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

My best friend Emily and her husband grew way too many patty pan squash, so she shared some with us. How cute are these!? They look like a sunflower and taste delicious when cooked in my garlic butter!

A hand holding a patty pan squash, freshly picked from the garden.

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Hi, I'm Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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