These cheeseburger zucchini boats make an easy weeknight meal that the entire family will enjoy. Made with a hint of ketchup and mustard, plus melty cheese on top, these boats taste just like your favorite cheeseburger!
Cheeseburger zucchini boats make a great weeknight meal and are ready in about 30 minutes with minimal prep involved.
Fresh zucchini are halved and cored, then filled with cooked ground beef and onion that's been tossed with ketchup and mustard. Topped with melty cheese and baked to perfection, this recipe is filled with flavor - the entire family will love it.
Serve cheeseburger zucchini boats for a quick weeknight meal. They also make a great meal prep recipe and are easy to store and reheat later. If you like these, you may also like my buffalo chicken zucchini boats.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need about 3 medium sized zucchini (or 4 small zucchini) for this recipe. I used a 9x13 casserole dish, so I looked for zucchini about 9 inches long that would fit perfectly into the pan and fill the space.
- Olive oil - Any neutral cooking oil works.
- Onion - Adds depth of flavor to your cheeseburger mixture. Can be omitted if desired. Optionally, you can also add minced garlic for extra flavor.
- Ground beef - Ground beef works best in this recipe, since we're replicating the flavor of cheeseburgers, but you're welcome to substitute with your favorite ground meat, like ground bison, ground turkey, or ground pork.
- Ketchup and mustard - Adds cheeseburger flavor to your ground meat mixture. Use your favorite brands, or even add a dash of hot sauce for a little spicy flavor.
- Seasoning - Salt, pepper, and garlic powder add flavor to your beef mixture. Garlic powder can be substituted with minced fresh garlic if desired.
- Cheddar cheese - Any melty cheese works here, like monterey jack cheese, pepper jack cheese, or mozzarella. I suggest using freshly shredded cheese, as pre-shredded bagged cheese can add a grainy texture when melted.
- Lettuce and tomatoes - Fresh vegetables help cut the heaviness of the cheeseburger filling. Feel free to add your favorite burger toppings here.
Do I need to peel my zucchini?
No, there's no need to peel your zucchini to make zucchini boats. In fact, the skin contains many nutrients and fiber you'd otherwise be missing out on. The skin also helps hold the shape of your boats as they bake.
Can zucchini boats be frozen?
Technically yes, zucchini boats can be frozen. However, zucchini releases quite a bit of water and gets a little soggy after being frozen and thawed.
For best quality, I highly recommend eating your zucchini boats fresh instead of freezing and thawing.
Leftovers and reheating
Leftover zucchini boats keep well for 3 to 4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I recommend storing leftover cheeseburger zucchini boats without the added fresh toppings (like lettuce and tomato), and instead topping your zucchini boats once they've been reheated.
To reheat, zucchini boats can be microwaved or reheated in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake boats, uncovered, for up to 20 minutes, or until warmed throughout. If frozen, allow to thaw before reheating.
What to serve with zucchini boats
Want to stretch your zucchini boats recipe a little further? Serve one zucchini boat per person along with a side dish or two, like a side salad and some garlic bread. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Side salad
- Garlic bread
- Roasted vegetables
- Steamed cilantro rice
- Corn on the cob
For more ideas, check out my full post: 25 side dishes to serve with zucchini boats
Cheeseburger Zucchini Boats
- 3 medium zucchini, about 9-10" long
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 16 ounces ground beef
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
- Cut the stems off your zucchini, then slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, carefully scape out some of the flesh from each zucchini half and discard (or save for another recipe). Place into prepared 9x13 pan, cut side up. Optionally, lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add onion and cook until lightly browned around the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until browned and cooked through. Add ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine. Remove from heat.
- Once boats have par-baked, remove from oven and top with beef filling. Sprinkle tops with cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until zucchini can easily be pierced through with a fork.
- Optionally, top with diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce before serving.
- Calories shown are for one boat (or one zucchini half), if your recipe makes six boats. One boat can be served as an entrée along with side dish(es), or two boats can serve as a complete meal on their own.
- Leftover zucchini boats will keep for 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until warmed throughout.