How To Tell If Zucchini Is Bad 6 Simple Hacks

So, is your zucchini sour? Trying to figure out how to tell if your Zucchini is bad?

We’ve all been there. You reach into the crisper drawer, and suddenly, you’re wondering if that zucchini you bought last week is still good. Or could it be the one causing my freezer to smell?

It’s a common frustration.

And one that’s easily solved with some knowledge about how to spot warning signs that indicate the vegetable in question has passed its prime.

Below, we’ll cover six simple checks. To help you determine if your zucchini is still fresh enough to use.

Check the Skin and Stem for Dark Spots

Take a look at the skin and stem of your zucchini. It will help you tell if the zucchini is bad. If you notice dark spots, the zucchini is likely starting to go bad.

It’s important to check each side of the zucchini for these black or brown spots, as it can signify that fungus has started to form.

If this is the case, removing the zucchini can help. It will keep any fungus or bacteria from spreading to other products in your fridge.

Gently Squeeze the Zucchini – It Should Have a Little Give

Armed with an inspection routine, let’s start with the basics.

Gently squeeze the zucchini; it should yield to your touch but not overly soft or squishy. A slightly soft zucchini may still be ok to eat if there are no signs of discoloration or mold.

If the zucchini is still firm and healthy after squeezing, check for any other indicators that may be present.

It’s best to give it the all-clear when all six of these indicators are passing:

Look at the Skin – It Should Be Firm and Unblemished

Look at the Color – It Should Be Bright Green

Smell Your Zucchini – It Should Have a Fresh Aroma

Feel the Zucchini’s Surface – It Should Be Dry and Smooth

Check for Soft Spots – There Should Be None

Cut Into Your Zucchini– The Flesh Should Look Firm and Fresh

Shake the Zucchini – It Shouldn’t Sound Sloshy

The next thing to check is the zucchini’s internal consistency.

If you hear a sloshing sound, the liquid’s probably inside, which isn’t a good sign. It could mean that the zucchini is too soft or rotten.

On the other hand, if you don’t hear sloshing inside, the zucchini isn’t overripe. And if it’s solid when you apply pressure, even better!

When selecting a zucchini, look for one that feels firm to the touch and doesn’t make any noises when shaken.

Sniff the Zucchini for a Foul Odor

If you want to know if your zucchini is still good, sniff it! Rotten zucchini will usually have a strong odor that is distinct and not pleasant.

The smell could be described as “off,” like something has gone bad.

By giving the zucchini a good sniff, you can tell immediately if it’s no longer safe to consume.

Use your nose as your best guide here. If it smells bad, chances are the zucchini has gone bad. It should be discarded immediately.

Eating is still okay if the zucchini doesn’t smell foul or off. However, you can still do other tests to ensure, so keep reading for more tips!

Cut Into the Zucchini – It Should Look and Smell Fresh Inside

The fifth check you should make is to cut into the zucchini. You want to make sure it looks and smells fresh inside.

When you cut the zucchini open, look at the flesh inside. It should be firm and bright, not soft or dark—if it’s either of these things, it’s starting to go off and should be thrown away.

You’ll also want to sniff. It shouldn’t have any sour odor, indicating it’s bad.

If everything looks and smells good when you cut into the zucchini, congrats! You can safely use it in your dish or store it later.

If in Doubt, Throw It Out – It’s Not Worth the Risk

Finally, if you doubt your zucchini, throw it out. It’s not worth the risk. No matter how fancy your 6-step process is, if something looks off, that slight smell of rot—better safe than sorry.

Symptoms to Watch Out For:

Soft spots or discoloration

Take a closer look for discolored spots or areas softer than the rest of the zucchini.

Mushy texture

A mushy and watery texture means your zucchini is bad. These are two qualities you want to avoid!

An off smell

When raw, zucchinis should have a slightly grassy scent; an unpleasant odor is a huge red flag that something is off.


If mold is growing on your zucchini’s skin (or in between crevices), remove it immediately, and don’t even bother checking further!

Fresh produce is perishable, so always check before ingesting.


Whether new to cooking or a seasoned chef, identifying when a zucchini has gone bad will save you time and money.

With the right knowledge and these six simple checks, you can easily tell when to chuck your zucchinis and buy new ones.

You should also make sure that you’re buying quality zucchini in the first place.

Look for ones that are firm to the touch, bright green, and free from soft spots. With a little care and attention, you’ll be able to use fresh, tasty zucchini in all your favorite dishes and know that you’re doing your part to stay green.

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