When you want a fast, easy, and crave-worthy low-calorie snack, make our easy air fryer squash recipe. Thinly-sliced summer squash is tossed in oil and spices and then fried until golden brown for a good-for-you snack everyone loves.
🍽️ Why This Works
No Mush. This method uses high heat in a very short amount of time to fry up your air fryer yellow squash and prevent mushiness. The result is browned squash chips with the perfect texture for snacking.
Fast. It only takes a minute or two to slice up your yellow squash and a total of fifteen minutes in the air fryer to serve up this tasty snack as we did with the Air Fryer Zucchini Chips.
Good-For-You. This recipe works with Keto, Whole30, Paleo, and is Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-calorie but most of all delicious.
Summer Squash vs. Zucchini – What’s The Difference?
The large number of squash varieties are classified as being part of the summer or winter squash groups.
Zucchini is a summer squash but so are other species like pattypan, crookneck, and yellow squash.
The latter is often called summer squash and has a yellow skin, compared to zucchini’s green exterior. To make things a bit confusing, some zucchini varieties also have yellow skin and they’re called gold zucchini.
Yellow squash and zucchini also have slightly different shapes. The first one has a wider bottom and a slimmer top, while zucchini has a more uniform contour.
Regarding taste and texture, they’re practically the same, so feel free to use one or the other in whatever recipe you want to make. Yes, even for desserts like zucchini muffins or bread.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Yellow Squash – Sometimes called summer squash, scallopini squash, or crookneck squash, this vegetable can be purchased year-round at your local grocery store.
Easily accessible, it takes on other flavors beautifully and works as an added vegetable in many different dishes.
I try to always keep at least one in my fridge at all times. However, in this recipe, it’s the star of the show!
Look for a squash that is firm to the touch, with brightly colored skin and minimal blemishes.
Olive Oil – The oil is important here. You don’t want to use a neutral here because the olive oil does add flavor.
Did you know you can buy an olive oil spray? It’s in the same section as a non-stick spray, and you will use it all the time with your air fryer.
Seasonings – Paprika, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Air Fryer | We have a Chefman TurboFry Touch 8 Quart shown in these pictures.
Mixing Bowl and Spoon | Both are workhorses in the kitchen, but in a pinch you can mix the recipe directly in the air fryer basket and stir with a dinner spoon.
Sharp Knife | Good knives will change your quality of life if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Step One: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F. If your air fryer has a preset temperature just get it as close to 400º as you can.
Step Two: Slice the squash to 1/4” thick. I’ve seen recipes recommend slicing the squash super thin, but this can cause the slices to fly around in the air fryer.
Step Three: Add squash to a mixing bowl. Toss it in oil and spices. Thoroughly coat the squash so that each bite will have plenty of flavor.
Step Four: Place each slice of squash in the air fryer basket. Do not place them on top of one another. Work in batches if you can’t fit half of a squash per person into the air fryer.
Step Five: Cook each batch at 400°F for 15 minutes.
Step Six: Let cool and serve by itself or as a side dish.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Pat the squash dry with a paper towel after slicing it to remove excess moisture. This will help the squash crisp up even more.
Knife cuts matter. Try to get nice even slices so they will cook evenly and finish at the same time.
Does your air fryer have a strong fan? Try placing your squash slices on a skewer to weigh them down as they cook.
Place them about one inch apart on a wooden or metal skewer that will fit into your air fryer and can withstand high heat.
Do not overcrowd your air fryer. A single layer is best. If you have a rack, you may be able to get away with two layers.
However, the layers should not touch because the air fryer works through air circulation. In addition, trying to cook two layers at once may increase the cooking time.
Use perforated parchment paper made for the air fryer to save on clean-up.
Do not put the finished squash in a pile in a bowl. The steam from the heat will make the squash get soggy fast. Instead, serve them spread out in a single layer.
To get really crispy squash slices, you will need to cut it much thinner.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
While these are best if consumed right out of the air fryer, you can keep your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Reheat and crisp it back up using the air fryer for about five minutes.
Slice the squash up to two days ahead of time and keep the slices in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Freeze sliced, uncooked squash in a freezer-quality plastic bag for up to three months.
Thaw before putting it in the air fryer. Pat dry after thawing to remove excess moisture. Do not use the squash for this recipe if it gets freezer burn.
Additions and Substitutions
Try a variety of spices to mix things up!
Air fryer yellow squash is excellent with any of the following: chili pepper, ancho chili pepper for heat, za’atar with turmeric, cinnamon with oregano, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, or your favorite seasoning blend or dry rub.
Use any squash for this recipe. We love how the yellow squash works, but it’s worth trying these delicious alternatives too!
- Sliced zucchini
- Sliced or cubed pattypan squash
- Cubed butternut squash
- Cubed acorn squash
- Cubed pumpkin
Each of these cubed squashes will be different but tasty when cooked with the same method. Any of the harder squashes will take more time to cook.
Add a dash of soy sauce to the olive oil for a different seasoning flavor.
Toss your cooked squash in grated parmesan after it comes out of the air fryer for a nice touch.
Dipping sauces are so nice with this recipe! Add ranch, honey mustard, a vinagrette, or tahini dressing for dipping.
The simple viniagrette we used for this Air Fryer broccolini works just as well for yellow squash.
Our air fryer yellow squash chips with no breading are great as a low-calorie appetizer, snack, or side dish.
You can also enjoy this light side next to main dishes like this incredibly tender Air Fryer Whole BBQ Chicken, a hearty slow cooker BBQ meatloaf, this flavorful Air Fryer tri tip roast, or some quick and easy Air Fryer chicken tenders. This also can be whipped up quickly for an easy side for What to Serve with Pot Roast.
❓ Recipe FAQ
15 minutes at 400ºF. Adjust this time if your air fryer has a preset temperature lower than 400 degrees.
Yellow summer squash has lots of vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fiber. It is also a low calorie vegetable.
No. The peel helps get a crispy edge to the squash and helps it keep its shape.
Make sure you wash your vegetables first and dry thoroughly, but do not peel the squash.
No. While you can preheat your air fryer, it is not required. It will heat up fast.
Yes. However, it will be mushy reheated and is best added to soups, stews, or stir fry dishes.
Summer squash, including zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan squash, and crookneck squash are in season throughout the entire summer, from early June to late August.
Air Fryer Yellow Squash
- 2 yellow squash
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°f.
- Wash the squash and then using a sharp knife, slice the squash to 1/4” thick.
- Toss the oil, spices and squash in a mixing bowl to fully coat the squash.
- Place each slice of squash in the air fryer basket. Allow room for air to circulate around each squash while not placing them on top of one another.
- Cook each batch at 400°f for 10-12 minutes.
- Serve immediately.