Cheesy Zucchini Rice

Easy and cheesy! Even kids love this zucchini rice. It's the perfect side dish for a busy night.

My daughter, it seems, needs some help in the amphibian and reptile department.

You see, she plays Draw Something on my phone (I swear those drawings and misspelled guesses are from the 7 year old and not me!) with my friends and she seems to have issues with frogs and tortoises.

She held out the phone to me in confusion the other day and said “What the heck is this?”

It was green. It had big round bumps for eyes. It said “ribbit” above the photo.

“That’s a frog,” I replied in my best DUH voice.

“But frogs don’t say ribbit. Bunnies do!”

The child argued with me for a good five minutes before finally believing that rabbits do not, in fact, ribbit.

Yes, we homeschool. Why do you ask? ๐Ÿ˜‰

That same friend that drew the frog just received a picture from Emma that said, “tortoise I do not know what tortoise is.”

Okay, first of all, that’s cheating. Draw Something is about drawing, not spelling things out.

Second of all, come on, child. You’re making me look bad.

(I shared some tips on how NOT to lose your mind while homeschooling right here, if you’re interested!)

So, in honor of my child and her new lessons on green slimy animal-like things, I thought I’d share this delightfully greenified rice. It’s so cheesy that you won’t even mind the shreds of veggies floating around in there.

If you have an abundance of zucchini this would be a great way to use it up!

PrintPrint Recipe

Cheesy Zucchini Rice


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, grated (I used my food processor but a cheese grater would work well, too)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
splash of milk, as needed


Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the rice and stir to coat. Toast the rice, stirring often, just until it starts to turn golden.
Pour in the chicken broth, bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and cover.
Cook, covered, for 15 - 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Remove from the heat and add the butter, grated zucchini, cheddar, and garlic powder. Stir until well incorporated. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Stir again and add salt and pepper to taste and a splash of milk if you'd like to thin out the texture a little bit.

slightly adapted from Pink Parsley

Need other side dish ideas? Check out my favorites below!

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The Best Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

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Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

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Honey Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

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214 Responses to “Cheesy Zucchini Rice”

  1. jenny October 8, 2012 @ 10:36 pm (#

    tried this tonight but added asparagus, celery, mushroom and shredded chicken. Even my husband ate it who is a terror at eating vegetables due to a bad experience with some boiled cabbage as a kid! Thanks mucho!


  2. Phyllis November 1, 2012 @ 2:40 pm (#

    How is this recipe vegetarian. It has chicken broth?


    • Karly replied: — November 1st, 2012 @ 2:50 pm


      I didn’t say it was vegetarian, did I? Though you could swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth if you wanted to go that route! :)


  3. Daniela @ food recipes HQ November 14, 2012 @ 5:42 am (#

    Cool recipe, I’ll have to try!


  4. dede December 10, 2012 @ 4:31 pm (#

    Made this for lunch to day, and let me just say, I could have eaten the whole pot by myself :)
    this was smooth and creamy and had just the right balance of cheese and veggie flavor.
    I used minute rice, 3 kids waiting for lunch :0), so it did not take me as long , but I think it was still yummy!!

    thanks for sharing :)


  5. Christie December 16, 2012 @ 5:45 pm (#

    I can”t set my phone down without one of my littles grabbing it to play Draw Something. My daughter drew a taco for Tokyo so I feel your pain. We also homeschool ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. Adam January 6, 2013 @ 11:28 am (#

    Recipe looks awesome. Regarding Phyllis thinking this was vegetarian, it may have been because someone tagged it as vegetarian in Stumbleupon.


  7. Melissa January 9, 2013 @ 5:56 pm (#

    I just made this for dinner with zucchini frozen from my garden. This was so good everyone in my family gobbled it up. I will defiantly keep this in my side dish rotation. Thank you.


  8. Jennifer Howland February 17, 2013 @ 1:47 pm (#

    This was excellent…thank you!! :)


  9. Megan February 18, 2013 @ 12:56 pm (#

    I was wondering how this would work using frozen zucchinis. I have tons in my freezer that I need to use before summer comes.


    • Karly replied: — February 18th, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

      Honestly, I’ve never worked with frozen zucchini before, so I really don’t know. If you try it, please report back and let us know! :)


  10. Ashley March 1, 2013 @ 8:01 pm (#

    Could you make this with brown rice? Would the directions be the same? Thanks!


  11. fake Marc Jacobs Handbags outlet April 28, 2013 @ 10:07 am (#

    Hello, your articles here Buns In My Oven ยป Cheesy Zucchini Rice to write well, thanks for sharing!


  12. golden1 May 29, 2013 @ 10:08 am (#

    Just made this and All I can say is ” DELISH “. I could of ate the whole pot. Next time I’m going to try it with Quinoa instead of rice. I’m sure it will be just as good.
    I did use Daiya Cheese just because I can’t have dairy.


  13. Liz June 3, 2013 @ 1:21 pm (#

    Sounds great. Thank you.


  14. Jill June 9, 2013 @ 3:59 pm (#

    Yum! Thanks for sharing. Now a staple in my house… I like to refer to it as “garbage sink” rice… As I have added shredded carrots, spinach, anything else in the fridge that I have.


  15. Savannah June 24, 2013 @ 7:38 pm (#



  16. Jasmine Ward July 14, 2013 @ 6:35 pm (#

    Looks yummy, might try with quinoa. :)


  17. Mary Ceverha July 15, 2013 @ 6:03 pm (#

    I have a cheesy zucchini rice food baby. That equals “So Yummy!” Thanks! Browning the rice was genious.


    • Karly replied: — July 16th, 2013 @ 8:08 am

      Thank you! :)


  18. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen July 27, 2013 @ 8:05 am (#

    I can’t remember if I commented on this before but I just saw this pop up again in my Pinterest feed and was reminded that I can eat my weight in this stuff! My MIL makes it (usually with broccoli) for every family function and I seriously have no willpower. I’m craving it even now…


    • Karly replied: — July 28th, 2013 @ 7:55 am

      Yes! One of my favorite dishes too! :)


  19. Carol July 29, 2013 @ 5:19 pm (#

    A good friend of mine just had a baby and I made this to bring to her for a dinner! I saved a little for myself and it’s a winner! Can’t wait to make it again!


  20. Laura July 31, 2013 @ 7:10 pm (#

    Looks really good I’m going to have to try it while zucchini is in season, how many servings do you get out of this recipe?


    • Karly replied: — August 1st, 2013 @ 8:37 am

      It would make about 5 half cup servings.


  21. Golden Gilly Girl August 11, 2013 @ 5:05 pm (#

    Eating this now!! Wow it is great. Thanks for posting.


  22. Rigo August 14, 2013 @ 3:49 pm (#

    I did this rice a couple of week ago and it was so delicious I couldn’t believe it!!! The hubbs had like 3 bowls!!! :) thanks for sharing!!! I will like to make a post with this recipe in my blog
    thanks for sharing!!


  23. Christine August 14, 2013 @ 5:52 pm (#

    I honestly hated this recipe. Not saying it to be mean, just being honest for when other people come to view this, so they see both sides of it. I don’t know if I did something wrong or what but it was inedible. :/ sorry!!


    • Karly replied: — August 16th, 2013 @ 8:59 am

      Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you!


  24. faith August 19, 2013 @ 10:25 am (#

    I only have a massive zucchini…would you say you use about 2 cups of shredded zucchini? Could you possibly add the approximate measurement to your recipe? I’m cooking it right now. Going to add some peas and shredded carrot, maybe a little extra garlic powder. Looking forward to it as a good mac & cheese alternative!


    • Karly replied: — August 20th, 2013 @ 7:42 am

      I would guess it was about 2 cups, but I’m not sure. You really can’t mess this up. Just add as much zucchini as you like. :)


  25. Dana August 21, 2013 @ 8:50 pm (#

    Can you use brown rice?


  26. Faith September 5, 2013 @ 9:46 pm (#

    I used regular brown rice. I cooked it longer (but not as long as I usually cook brown rice) and it was a bit al dente, but it worked fine and was still yummy.


  27. Dani January 6, 2014 @ 4:26 pm (#

    I want to use frozen Zucchini anyone know about how many cups I should use to make the “two small zucchini”?


    • Karly replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 9:05 am


      I’d use around a cup, but you really can’t mess this up. More or less zucchini won’t hurt anything. :)


  28. Rachel March 29, 2014 @ 11:00 am (#

    This looks delectable! However, I was wondering how this would work with brown rice instead of white rice. Any thoughts?


    • Karly replied: — March 29th, 2014 @ 4:11 pm


      Sure! Just cook the brown rice according to package directions and add the cheese and zucchini at the end like I did here.


  29. laly April 15, 2014 @ 12:02 am (#

    thank u for the great recipe


  30. laly April 15, 2014 @ 12:04 am (#

    is this advisable with Indian rice


  31. Wowguy April 17, 2014 @ 10:20 pm (#

    I will skip the reptile part but what a great use for zuchinni


  32. Laura June 2, 2014 @ 8:47 am (#

    Do you know if you can make this in advance for a party? Thanks!


    • Karly replied: — June 3rd, 2014 @ 8:33 am


      I would worry that it would get a bit thick and goopy. I haven’t tried it, but I think you could easily add a bit of milk before reheating to get it the right consistency.


  33. Stacey Lehwald June 2, 2014 @ 8:15 pm (#

    This recipe is the bomb! I might have cheated with a minute rice. My daughter and I ate the whole thing!!!!


  34. Claudia June 12, 2014 @ 7:26 pm (#

    This is absolutely delicious! Thanks so much!


  35. Meaghan June 16, 2014 @ 8:58 pm (#

    I made this tonight, and the hubs and sons were shocked it was from scratch. They were sure I had snuck them a packaged rice dish. It’s absolutely dee-lish! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to share it soon on my own site !!


  36. Sharon Ranki July 11, 2014 @ 9:36 pm (#

    I’ve made the Cheesy-Zucchini Rice twice now and we just LOVE it? So easy to make too. Thanks for a great recipe.


  37. Sam July 21, 2014 @ 1:32 pm (#

    I barely eat rice ever, but this recipe sounded good so I had to try it. Must say it was delicious!


  38. cindy3539 August 4, 2014 @ 1:07 pm (#

    I made this today & I thought it was good. I did omit the salt & put in a couple splashes of soy sauce instead & threw in 1/2 a grated onion. Nice way to disguise squash! Thanks.


  39. Kimberly September 2, 2014 @ 6:25 pm (#

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I had it pinned for a while and tonight was craving some comfort food so tried it out. Yum! It will be in regular rotation during squash seasons.


  40. Amanda May 2, 2015 @ 8:52 pm (#

    Any thoughts on using quinoa instead of rice?


    • Karly replied: — May 3rd, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

      I think it would work fine!


  41. johna June 18, 2015 @ 5:38 pm (#

    Made this for four picky kids who do NOT eat green “stuff”, it was a hit with all four! Thanks for giving me a new, easy rice recipe.


    • Karly replied: — June 19th, 2015 @ 2:53 pm

      Yay! Glad they enjoyed it!


  42. Kim B July 5, 2015 @ 2:10 pm (#

    This looks amazing. But I normally like our dinners to be higher in protein. Has anyone tried adding in ground turkey or beef to this recipe? Would the flavors meld well? Or would chicken go better with this? Thanks!


    • Karly replied: — July 5th, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

      I’ve always served this as a side dish to meat, but I would think ground turkey or chicken would work fine in here. Flavors should be great!


  43. Luci July 27, 2015 @ 7:00 pm (#

    Your zucchini rice recipe was SOOO delicious that I had to make another batch as soon as The first one finished cooking! A great way to use leftover zucchini.


    • Karly replied: — July 28th, 2015 @ 11:05 am

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it!


  44. Emily August 16, 2015 @ 1:36 pm (#

    Made a double batch of this today! First batch as a side dish tonight. Second batch wil be mixed with ground beef and some stewed tomatoes and will be used to stuff zucchini boats! So yummy!


    • Karly replied: — August 17th, 2015 @ 8:39 am

      Ooh, I love the zucchini boats idea!



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