Old-Fashioned Fried Summer Squash Recipe

Today summer squash is often streamed or grilled, but once or twice each summer I fry it.  So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Fried Summer Squash.

When I make fried squash, I generally “bread” it with flour. The old recipe called for actual bread crumbs.  The bread crumbs are a nice twist to this classic comfort food.

Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

Yellow summer squash  or zucchini could be used in this recipe. I used yellow straightneck squash to more authentically replicate the hundred-year-old recipe. According to Wikipedia, “the first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s.” Since this cookbook was published in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1917, the cookbook author won’t have used zucchini.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fried Summer Squash

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

3 small summer squash

salt and pepper

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, slight beaten

shortening or cooking oil

Wash and cut the squash into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper,  dip in the beaten eggs, and coat with bread crumbs. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat 1/2 inch of shortening or oil in a large frying skillet. When hot, carefully place the breaded squash slices in the skillet in a single layer. Depending upon pan size, the squash slices may need to be cooked in several batches. Fry for about a minute or until the bottom side of each slice is lightly browned, then gently turn and fry until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: Some of the breading will fall off the squash during cooking. This is okay, the remaining breading is enough to make an attractive and tasty dish.

The old recipe calls for coating the squash slices with bread crumbs, both before and after dipping in egg. When I made this recipe very few bread crumbs clung to the squash slices prior to dipping it in the egg – so I skipped this step when updated the recipe. It works fine to only coat with bread crumbs after dipping in the eggs.

28 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Fried Summer Squash Recipe

    1. This is a nice way to use summer squash. I liked this recipe – and I also enjoy a similar recipe where flour is substituted for the the bread crumbs.

  1. I usually saute onions until they begin to caramelize, then add the squash, thinly sliced. This looks just as good, and maybe better. I don’t often fry anything, but this would be good as an occasional treat. I’ve got some squash in the refrigerator, so this may become supper.

  2. You picture alone makes one want to try this. I have a daughter in law who is gluten intolerant so I use either rice flour or cornmeal for frying squash . The rice flour is really good as it sticks to the squash and makes a lovely brown crust.

    1. Thanks for the tip about rice flour. It’s frustrating when breading doesn’t stay put during the frying process. I’ve never cooked with rice flour, but I may need to give it a try.

  3. My mom and her family fried “crookneck” squash (sliced thinly) and onions in bacon grease. But, she turned the heat up really high to begin with and let the squash scorch to the bottom of the pan. Then put a lid on the pan, turned off the heat and went back a little later to scrape the “brown” from the bottom of the pan. Then continued cooking the squash til they were VERY done. That’s the only way I cook yellow squash.

    1. I’m intrigued by this recipe. I can’t quite picture what it would taste like, but it’s obviously very good. A recipe has got to be good when it is made by cooks across generations.

        1. I really disliked greens when I was a child – and especially disliked dandelion greens when my mother served them each spring. Now it’s one of my favorite foods, I can hardly wait each year for spring to arrive so I can forage for it. 🙂

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