How to Avoid Watery and Soggy Zucchini Noodles

Here is everything you need to know to avoid watery or soggy zucchini noodles. Now, your zoodles will be crisp, snappy and bright green every time!

skillet of zucchini noodles with meatballs and the words How To Avoid Watery and Soggy Zucchini Noodles

The question I hear most from new spiralizer users is, “How do I avoid soggy zucchini noodles?”

While zucchinis are over 90% water by weight, you can expect your cooked zucchini noodles to be a bit watery. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid watery, limp or soggy cooked zoodles! Follow the tips and tricks below and you will always have crisp and fresh-tasting zucchini noodles for all of your favorite recipes.

Tips to Avoid Soggy Zucchini Noodles

After you spiralize a zucchini with a spiralizer, there are three best ways to cook the zucchini noodles so they are crisp, not soggy:

  1. Serve them raw
  2. Sauté them in a skillet
  3. Simmer them in soup.

For more information on how to cook zucchini noodles, read this post.

Raw Zucchini Noodles

First, if you’re serving raw zoodles (such as this tropical Coconut-Mango Zucchini Noodle dish), you won’t have to worry about sogginess. Cooking is what really makes zucchini release moisture. However, sometimes even uncooked zucchini can get a little limp after it’s cut. In this case, to reduce excess moisture, simply pat the spiralized noodles dry with paper towels or a thin kitchen rag.

Zoodles in Soup

If you’re cooking zucchini noodles in a soup such as this Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup, you really don’t have to worry about excess water. Because of osmosis, the noodles will keep their moisture and stay mostly firm.

However, because the zucchini will release its water content into whatever soup you’re making, it may dilute the flavor. For example, if you’re making salty ramen, the ramen will have less umami flavor the longer the noodles sit in the broth. It’s easy to fix this by adding more seasonings if you store the soup. If you’re digging in right after cooking the ramen, this won’t be an issue.

Sautéd Zucchini Noodles

Finally, if you’re cooking zucchini noodles in a skillet, you will notice immediately that the noodles release moisture in the pan. One spiralized zucchini releases barely a tablespoon of liquid. However, if you’re cooking multiple zucchinis, you can quickly end up with a lot of water in the skillet.

Here are our tips on how to avoid watery and soggy zucchini noodles.

Sautéing Zucchini Noodles with Less Water

Tip 1: Noodles first, sauce second

If you’re serving the noodles with a hot sauce, such as my Creamy Chicken Vodka Sauce, don’t cook the noodles in the sauce. Instead, cook the noodles first, then add the sauce.

This way, the zucchini water can evaporate before you add more liquid with the sauce.

Tip 2: Drain cooked zucchini noodles in a colander

The next tip to avoid soggy zucchini noodles is to drain them.

After you cook the noodles and before you add sauce, drain the zoodles in a colander. Shake off any excess moisture. Bonus points for patting dry with a paper towel or dish towel!

Tip 3: Add foods that absorb moisture

It’s hard to avoid extra moisture when there is nothing added to absorb the water. Why do we love dipping bread in our leftover pasta sauce? To sop up the flavor!

So, either serve your noodles with some good crusty bread and dab as you go, or cook with an ingredient that absorbs moisture, like:

Tip 4: Reduce or thicken your sauce

If your dish includes a hot sauce, remove liquid the old-fashioned way: by reduction or thickening.

Reducing your sauce simply means to simmer it until enough liquid has evaporated. Be sure to stir the sauce often while it simmers to prevent burning. You can reduce your sauce even more than normal to account for the added liquid from the zucchini when you add everything together.

Thickening sauce means to add a starchy thickener. This can be a simple slurry made my mixing equal parts (1 tablespoon each to start) cornstarch and water. Stir this into your sauce and watch it thicken up in minutes. You can also thicken sauces with puréed potato or cauliflower for extra veggies.

Tip 5: Don’t over-cook your noodles

Just like a piece of meat will rest on a cutting board and continue cooking for a few minutes after you remove it from heat, so will zucchini noodles.

If you cook noodles too long in the skillet and they’re already looking limp and soggy, they’re going to be even soggier topped with sauce on your plate. To avoid soggy and limp noodles, I recommend cooking for only 3-5 minutes (5 if you’re cooking more than 1-2 spiralized zucchinis) and tossing frequently. You want a slightly al dente noodle.

Tip 6: Eat right away

Regardless of what you do to reduce the moisture in zucchini noodles, once the noodles sit in a hot sauce, water is going to drain out. So, plate your your meal just before you’re ready to eat it! Don’t let the noodles and sauce sit together for more than a minute before serving, because every second is precious!

We hope these tips help you have a more enjoyable zucchini noodle dinner with minimal sogginess!

Watch our video to learn how to spiralize a zucchini using the Inspiralizer and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch more videos:


Hungry? Now that you know how to avoid soggy zucchini noodles, put these tips to use with these popular zoodle recipes:

How To Avoid Watery and Soggy Zucchini Noodles

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Heather says:
Great tips! Is there any way to cook those frozen grocery story zoodles without them turning to mush? I’ve never had luck with them. Thanks!
Anonymous says:
Nope...freezing pulls all the moisture out and damages the plant structure. So, cooling only releases the moisture that has been pulled out and frozen on the veggie.
Anonymous says:
cooking...oops :-)
Liz says:
Are there any additional tips for working with frozen zoodles? I meal prep and freeze a ton and they are always super soggy after defrosting. Thanks!
Anne says:
I've had pretty good luck by using a salad spinner to remove excess water, too.
Inese says:
Before or after cooking them?
Julianne says:
The way I tackle the problem of soggy zucchini noodles is to spiralize, then place them in a colander and sprinkle with salt, then toss to coat all noodles with the salt. Let them sit for 15-25 minutes. Then, I boil water, usually bc my hubby will only eat regular pasta and when his pasta is cooked and drained, take the same water and pour it over the zucchini noodles for a quick blanch and rinse off of the salt. Then serve and eat.
Kylie says:
Great advice! Thanks!
John says:
Yes, I learned the trick of salting the veggies to remove some of the moisture from Asian cooking. It really helps avoid having soggy zucchini noodles.
Sarah says:
I do the same thing! Salt the zoodles for 15-30 mins and leave them in a colander. Then I use paper towel to squeeze out/soak up the extra moisture and toss it all around until it’s all pretty dry, then I sauté them on the stove. This really helps reduce the excess moisture!
Zane Paul says:
Pouring the boiling water over the noodles instead of submerging the noodles in the water... My god, you're a genius!
Donna B says:
Haha... love it!!!
Monica says:
What is the best way to clean both sharp pieces of the inspiralizer??
Carly Glazer says:
We recommend putting soap on some sort of scrubbing brush and scrubbing down those areas!
Carol LaBella says:
I lay my spiralized zoodles between paper towels for about an hour or so to absorb some of the liquid before I saute them in a little oil and garlic. I find this cuts down on the watery noodles. Then I drain if any water is left. I add my sauce after I finish the cooking.
Molly says:
Great tips! Very useful avoid having soggy zucchini noodles. Cant's wait to try!

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