Fried zucchini flowers recipe: how to make Rome’s favorite appetizer

by marta

Easy and delicious Italian fried zucchini flower recipe from Rome, Italy, a perfect savory summer starter for your Italian dinner or buffet table.

Fried zucchini flowers (fiori di zucca fritti) are a typical appetizer from Rome.

Served at the beginning of a meal in places such as pizzerias and traditional restaurants, zucchini flower fritters are a tasty and easy-to-make vegetable appetizer perfect for summer.

home made fried zucchini flowers

Making fried zucchini flowers at home is easy: you only need 4 ingredients and about 20 minutes and success is guaranteed!

The process involves cleaning the flowers, making a simple batter and frying them.

If you have your flowers already prepped, you can skip to the bottom of this page and read the recipe card for the detailed cooking instructions.

Fried zucchini flowers may be unusual for some but most people love them.

They have a delicate and almost sweet taste, the fried batter gives them a bit of a bite, and they look pretty, with inviting yellow, orange and green hues.

This is how to make fried zucchini flowers at home. But first, some info about the ingredients, so you can pick the best.

Fried zucchini flowers ingredients (serves 4)

15 zucchini flowers
150 gr flour
150 gr water
a pinch of salt
olive oil for frying

Tools to make fried zucchini Flowers

  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Wooden spoon and fork / kitchen thongs
  • Non stick pan
  • Kitchen paper

Fried zucchini flowers / fiori di zucca fritti: what are fried zucchini flowers called in Italian?

In Rome, the name for fried zucchini flowers is ‘fiori di zucca’.

If you speak Italian, you will notice that this may sound misleading.

In Italian, Zucca = pumpkin and squash and zucchine = zucchini/courgettes.

However, in this case, we use the word ‘zucca’ for both, since they are both very similar and both edible.

What you get served in Rome when ordering fiori di zucca is fried zucchini flowers, that are bigger and stronger orange color.

Fried zucchini flowers in Italian are called fiori di zucca fritti. In Rome’s restaurant, you find them on the menu among the appetizers, as simply ‘fiori di zucca

Zucchini flowers in red bowl

How to pick zucchini flowers

If you have access to fresh zucchini plants, then you can pick your own zucchini flowers.

Zucchini flowers must be picked early in the morning when their petals are open.

If you have plants in the garden, make sure you pick those that grow from the zucchini fruit itself, not the plant: the flowers coming off the fruit are female flowers while those off the main plant are male flowers.

Picking male flowers from the plant will stop it from growing altogether while picking those attached to the zucchini vegetable itself won’t damage it.

If you are buying your flowers, you don’t need to worry about this as both are edible.

How to preserve freshly picked zucchini flowers (raw)

After picking, zucchini flowers should be eaten within the day, to prevent wilting.

If you cannot make them on the same day or you have too many, you can also clean them, dry them well (see below) and save them in the fridge in a container with a lid. They will last up to two days.

If you want to freeze them, you can do so but only after they are coated in batter.

Follow this recipe for the preparation of the batter and to coat them properly.

Then, instead of frying them there and then, you can put them in a freezer container with a lid and freeze them – fry them as needed just before serving.

How to buy zucchini flowers

Zucchini flowers, when in season (summer), are available in supermarkets in Rome and Italy in general on in grocery stores and markets specializing in Italian produce.

You usually find them attached to the zucchini itself: you can the use the flowers for these fritters and the zucchini for a zucchini frittata, another Rome staple!

The best type of zucchini flowers come from the ‘zucchine romanesche’ variety – they are smaller, light green with dark stripes and they have a star shape when sliced.

Romanesche means ‘from Rome’ and this names gives away the fact that these are the most typical in the city and the best zucchini to get for this quintessential Roman dish!

How to clean zucchini flowers

The most delicate part of this fried zucchini flower recipe is the cleaning of the flowers.

The best way to clean them without ruining them is this:

Take one zucchini flower at a time and use your hands to delicately remove the bottom part of it, where you have their stalk.

Use one hand to hold the bottom of the petals and the other one to stalk off it.

stalk and bottom part of zucchini flower
This is the part of the zucchini flower you discard

The stalk and pistil will come off, and you will have your petals intact and empy.

Now, pass the flower onto cold, running water and then dry it well and set aside.

Top tip: it is paramount that you dry well the flowers, if you are frying them but even more if you want to preserve them as the water will make them wild and rot very fast. Good kitchen towel is best for delicate drying.

How to make fried zucchini flowers, Rome style

To make fried zucchini flowers you need to make the batter. The batter for frying zucchini flowers is called pastella and is very easy to make.

This is the flour we found at the local shop but any plain white flour will do

Pour 120 gr of white flower in a bawl. Add a pinch of salt and the instant yeast, if using.

Take a glass of lukewarm water and, gently, start pouring it into the bowl of flour: use a wooden spoon or a table spoon to mix.

You want your mixture to turn into a smooth, white batter, it will only take a couple of minutes.

Top tip: be very slow in adding your water. If you dump it all in, you will get lumps of raw flour that will ruin the result. Add a little bit of water, mix until absorbed and repeat. It won’t take long to have your batter ready.

Take a large non-stick pan and pour a generous amount of oil: it must cover the entire bottom of the pan, plus add a little more.

Put the pan on the hob, turn on the heat to medium heat and wait until the oil is hot enough for frying.

To know when it is ready, you can pour a drop of batter into it: it is sizzle, your oil il ready!

Take one flower are the time, pass it onto the batter so it gets fully coated and put it delicately into the hot oil. Careful as it will sizzle like crazy!

Add one zucchini flower at the time and let them cook until golden on one side.

Use a fork, wooden spoon or kitchen thong to turn them and then let them cook on the other side.

When both sides are golden brown, take them off the pan, and lay them on kitchen paper / paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Add salt and serve hot.

How to serve fried zucchini flower Rome style (fiori di zucca)

Fiori di zucca / fried zucchini flowers are a simple Roman dish usually served in restaurants with little fanfare.

The most traditional way to serve them is on a central plate on yellow paper, which is typical of the fried foods of Rome (suppli and olive ascolane usually come in the same fashion!).

At home, you can experiment with fun and pretty ways to present them: ways I love involve individual small cones of paper or small bowls, masonry jars or buckets, which add a stylish touch to this simple dish.

Fried zucchini flowers Frequently Asked questions

Can I eat zucchini flowers?

Yes! Zucchini flowers are edible and delicious: they have a delicate taste and a touch of sweetness to them that means even kids usually love them

Zucchini flowers / squash flowers/ Zucchini blossoms: what’s the difference?

Zucchini and squash come in many varieties and so do their flowers. You can eat both zucchini flowers and squash flowers: in this recipe from Rome, we use zucchini flowers as these are the variety most common in Rome

Do I need baking soda or yeast for this fried zucchini blossoms recipe?

You do not need baking soda or yeast, but you can add it if you like your batter a little airier. I do not use it and we have always made them at home without it, following the most simple traditional way and they are delicious this way, no need for complicating the process!

Do I need sparkling water to make fried zucchini flowers?

No. Like all recipes from a poor tradition, the ingredients used are the simplest you would have had in the home. Tap water and common flour are all you need!

What oil for fried zucchini flowers?

The most common oil used in Rome housed to fry zucchini flowers is extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil, which is probably better (extra virgin olive oil is not ideal for frying). Any vegetable oil however will do

Can I make fried zucchini flowers in an air fryer?

Yes! They come out delicious and the process doesn’t change!

More ideas on how to eat zucchini blossoms

Zucchini flowers can be prepared in several other ways, less traditional in Rome but delicious!

You can :
Use zucchini blossoms to make a delicate risotto
Make stuffed zucchini blossoms adding mozzarella: once cooked, it will create a delicious string of cheese ready to melt in your mouth!
You can also fry them creating a different batter: just substitute flower and water with egg and breadcrumbs

Fried zucchini flowers ingredients (serves 4)

15 zucchini flowers
150 gr flour
150 gr water
a pinch of salt
olive oil for frying

Tools to make fried zucchini Flowers

  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Wooden spoon and fork / kitchen thongs
  • Non stick pan
  • Kitchen paper
home made fried zucchini flowers

Traditional Italian fried zucchini flower recipe from Rome

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Delicous and easy to make fried zucchini flowe recipe from rome. learn how to make this delicious vegetarian appetizer typical of the city of Rome, perfect for an Italian dinner or to bring a touch of color to your buffet table!

Quick to make and delicate in taste, they ar eperfect for guests big and small and are perfect for summer.


  • 15 zucchini flowers
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Pour your flower into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix well.

Slowly, pour in a quarter of your water and use a spoon to mix well. Once the water is absorbed, add more and repeat the process.

Keep adding and mixing until you have a smooth, loose batter.

Add extra flower or extra water as needed: this is a simple recipe and if you make a mistake with quantities, you can easily correct it!

Take your flowers one by one, snap off the stalk and internal pistil, and wash them delicately under cold, running water.

Dry them well using kitchen paper and then use your fingers to dip it in the batter one flower at a time.

Use as much or as little batter for each as you please but don't know fill them with it or they will come our heavy and soggy.

You want the batter (pastella) to lightly coat them.

Put a non-stick pan with a generous amount of oil on a hob at medium heat.

Wait until the oil it sizzling and gently lower your flowers into the oil, one by one.

Let them cook until the bottom side turns golden, then turn them onto the other side and let cook until they acquire a warm golden color.

Use a wooden spoon or a fork to move them around the pan, making sure they do not stick to each other (don't worry if they do, they are just tastier if they don't but do not stress over this - just make sure you don't crowd them inside the pan. They need a bit of space to come crisp up at best.

Once they are golden brown, remove them from the pan and dry them well using kitchen paper. Add extra salt if needed and serve hot.

More traditional Rome recipes you may like

If you love Rome food, you will enjoy the recipe section of this site! I am a Rome mama: the recipes Mama Loves Rome are the traditional recipes from my hometown I have grown up with.

They go from real carbonara recipe , cacio e pepe and lamb scottadito to appetizer recipes such as this one: you can find them all here.

I hope you enjoy them, Buon Appetito!

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