spicy zucchini and ricotta fritters

We’re getting our first real cold front this weekend. As I type, it’s only 37 degrees out, and tonight it will be even colder. Of course, this is Florida, so we can still wear shorts and flip flops later today, if we choose. But this morning, it’s all long-sleeves and sweaters and cuddling on the sofa with a cozy red blanket.

I’ve been having pangs of wistfulness for the days before we adjusted our clocks back one week ago. I adored gaining that extra hour – though I can’t think of anything productive that I did with it – but I do miss the early evening sunlight. I miss being able to sit on my front porch when I get home from work, rocking in my rocker and listening to the birds and squirrels.

It’s just not the same, sitting there in the dark.

Our summer and early fall vegetables tend to hang around for a while, thanks to our warm Florida climate. Some of you up north may even still have zucchini showing up in the markets. If you do, these Spicy Zucchini and Ricotta Fritters make great use of the vegetable. You could omit the jalapeno and cayenne, if you wish, but I don’t recommend it. The heat really adds something to the recipe.

The fritters make for a wonderful vegetarian side dish or appetizer, but they also make for a great light lunch. My daughter and I did just that one day, sitting down to a batch of zucchini fritters and a couple of glasses of iced tea. Madeline enjoyed them so much that I had to keep her from eating the whole batch.

Yield: approx 15 fritters

Spicy Zucchini & Ricotta Fritters

These make a wonderful vegetarian side dish or appetizer. Be sure to serve with lemon, for squeezing over the top right before taking a bite.


2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
Zest from one lemon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
Olive oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving


In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, jalapeno, garlic, scallions, ricotta cheese, eggs, lemon zest, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir well until combined. Add the flour and cornmeal and stir until incorporated.

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil over moderate high heat until shimmering. In batches, add 2-tablespoon mounds of zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them out to form approximately 3-inch fritters. Fry until browned and crisp, turning once, about 3 minutes total. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve immediately. Serve with lemon wedges.

*Fritters can made in advance. Store for up to 2 hours at room temperature. Re-warm in a 325 degree oven.

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21 Responses to “spicy zucchini and ricotta fritters”

  1. 1

    It’s cold here today too….but there are no flip flops in sight! It’s about 40degrees! lol. I miss those “cold” Florida days 😉

    This has all my favorite ingredients! And can you believe that I am Italian and have never made any fritters?! Unheard of right?

    I will definitely have to pin these for later!

    mmmmmmmmmm 🙂

  2. 2
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — November 11, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    I think I’m just now able to embrace fall foods… I do miss summer, but when I see these leaves, it just makes me so happy.

  3. 3
    Karriann Graf — November 12, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    Yikes I’d be freezing in Key West if it hit 37′ degrees, lots of houses don’t have heat since normally our winters are mild. Stay Warm up there.

    These fritters look awesome 🙂

  4. 4
    Adrienne — November 12, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    I had no idea Florida got that cold! These look fab, by the way.

  5. 5
    Paula — November 12, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

    I have a hard time believing that you would have any moments left unproductive in your day let alone an hour! These fritters look wonderful.

    Take heart in knowing on December 21st the days start getting longer again and you’ll be enjoying the sights and sounds from your front porch rocker before your know it 🙂

  6. 6
    Chris — November 13, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    ha ha, yeah I had a hard time feeling sorry for my in laws when they mentioned how “cold” it was in Florida yesterday….and out on their boat in the afternoon.

    I like these fritters. I made them before but not with the jalapenos like yours, I LOVE that. These would be good on their own or as the literal base of another recipe. Like maybe sauce on a plate, then your cakes, and then topped with strips of spicy grilled chicken. Can you tell you got my mind thinking? ha ha

  7. 7
    DessertForTwo — November 14, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    What a great vegetarian dinner for two idea! Thanks 🙂

    I’ve been thinking about you lots, sweet lady. I hope you are still sitting on your rocker, enjoying the last few moments of the day, sunset or not, you deserve some relaxing ‘you’ time.

    Lots of love 🙂

  8. 8
    Rachel — November 14, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    These look awesome. Do you ever put any kind of sauce with these? What do you recommend?

    I am embarassed to say that I don’t think I’ve ever had a fritter. Are they similar to potato pancakes? The picture reminds me of potato latkes. YUM.

    • 8.1
      Merry-Jennifer — November 14, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

      Yes, they’re probably most similar to a potato pancake. I’d think a garlic aioli would be nice with these.

  9. 9
    Nutmeg Nanny — November 15, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    These fritters look great! I always grab up zucchini every time I see it. I can’t help it. I love it so much!

  10. 10
    Sook — November 16, 2011 @ 3:37 am

    I love zucchini fritters. They look great!

  11. 11
    Adria — February 3, 2012 @ 12:44 am

    I made these tonight, and they were a complete hit! What a great recipe and simple dinner. Thanks!

  12. 12
    Lori — August 5, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    These look so good! I just “discovered” them (when they were featured in Gojee’s Top Three email). I was looking for another excuse to stop by the farmers market and I am so happy to have it now! I need zucchini!

    I was wondering if you had an approximate measurement for how much shredded zucchini would be in 2 medium? I grew up with garden grown zucchini that Mom never picked before they were at least 18 inches long (no exaggeration, really) so the tiny things in grocery stores are so cute to me. I’m not really sure how much a normal “medium” zucchini would produce. haha

    • 12.1
      Merry-Jennifer — August 5, 2012 @ 10:40 am

      Hi Lori — glad you found the site! 2 medium (grocery-store) zucchini would yield between 2-3 cups shredded zucchini.

  13. 13
    Kevin — August 5, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    Hi – Do you have to squeeze the zucchini of moisture after it is shredded? Thanks. Can’t wait to try this.

    • 13.1
      Merry-Jennifer — August 5, 2012 @ 11:11 am

      Nope, you don’t. I let mine rest on paper towels to sop up any extra moisture, but you don’t have to squeeze it.

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