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Zucchini vs Cucumber: What's the Difference?

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Have you ever wondered what cucumbers and zucchini have in common? Well, cucumbers are a type of plant that grows on vines. Zucchini is a type of squash that also grows on vines. So, cucumber vs zucchini - what's the difference? Both vegetables belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and are a variety of gourd. Cucumbers have thin skin that can range from light green to white in color while zucchini has a thicker skin which ranges from dark green to yellow or orange in color.

What is a Cucumber?


Cucumbers are long, green, and cylindrical fruit that is often eaten as a vegetable. They have a mild flavor and are used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.

What is a Zucchini?


Zucchinis are also long and green, but they are more bulbous than cucumbers. They have a more pronounced flavor and are often used in savory dishes. While zucchinis can be eaten raw, they are also commonly cooked.

Key Differences between Cucumber and Zucchini

The difference in appearance & dimensions

  • Cucumbers typically grow to be about one-two feet long while zucchinis can reach up to two-five feet in length.
  • Cucumbers are usually picked when they are immature, while zucchinis can be harvested at any size.
  • Zucchini flowers typically point upward toward the sky, cucumber flowers droop downward near the stem.
  • While both vegetables come from similar parts of flowering plant families, their flesh is different. The skin of cucumber has tiny ridges and grows to form an inedible peel whereas the skin of zucchini does not have these ridges.
  • Zucchinis are typically smooth with a slight give when squeezed while cucumbers are more firm with a slight crunch.

The difference in nutrition

Nutrition between cucumbers and zucchini can vary widely based on size, seasonality, variety, etc. However, generally speaking, Cucumbers are considered to be more watery than zucchinis. Zucchinis have a greater nutritional density in terms of both vitamin C and dietary fiber compared to cucumbers. Cucumbers are usually eaten raw in salads or as part of sandwiches, while zucchini is commonly cooked.

The difference in growing conditions, origins & taste

Cucumbers thrives best in warm, sunny areas with plenty of water whereas zucchini grows well both indoors and outdoors but is most productive when given lots of space to spread out. Zucchinis tend to be a bit less sensitive than cucumbers to soil and weather conditions. Cucumbers are typically available year-round, while zucchinis are at their peak during the late summer and early fall months.

Cucumbers originated in India and were cultivated around 3000 years ago. Cucumbers are often eaten raw and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Zucchinis can be eaten either cooked or raw and have a more pronounced, yet still pleasant flavor. Also, cucumbers can be found at most grocery stores, while zucchinis are not always available in the supermarket.

Comparison Chart: Cucumber Vs Zucchini

Calories (per 100 grams)16 kcal17 kcal
ColorDark GreenGreenish Yellow

Similarities between Cucumber and Zucchini

  • Both plants are members of the Cucurbitaceae family.
  • Both plants have smooth, edible skin.
  • The fruits of both plants can be eaten raw or cooked.


Which is healthier: cucumber or zucchini?

Both are healthy vegetables & both have a relatively similar amount of calories per serving. Due to being low in calories, it is widely used as a part of weight control diets around the world.

Which is better: zucchini or cucumber?

There isn't much difference between the two in terms of taste, although some people prefer one over another due to personal preference. Cucumbers have a more distinct flavor so if you like something milder then go with zucchinis. Zucchini tends to be slightly bitter-sweet than cucumbers as well so it might be preferable if you're making fruit salads or other recipes that require both fruits and veggies.

Can you substitute zucchini for cucumber in a salad?

Yes, you can substitute zucchini for cucumber in salads. This is especially useful if your garden has an excess of one vegetable and not so much of the other!

Do I have to peel cucumber before eating it?

No, there's no need to peel cucumber before putting it into dishes or eating as long as you're going to be cooking them with the skin on. Peeling will reduce some nutrients but it won't make too big of a difference overall since they both contain high amounts of water and fiber which are good for weight loss. However, peeling might be necessary depending on what type of recipe you're making. Peeling also reduces the number of calories present in a cucumber but the difference is rather negligible.

Some people also choose to peel cucumbers before eating them raw because the skin can be a bit tough and chewy which makes it harder for your teeth to break down. Again, this is more of personal preference rather than an actual necessary step!

Can you eat zucchini flowers?

Yes, you certainly can eat zucchini flowers! They're actually really tasty since they have a bitter-sweet flavor that's somewhere between a honeydew melon and cucumber with just a hint of peppery spice. Zucchini blossoms are quite common in Mediterranean dishes like pasta or risotto but if you want to try something new don't hesitate to experiment with different cuisines! For example, many Asian fusion recipes call for edible flowers so it might be worth checking out some recipes from that region.


There you have it - the major differences between cucumbers and zucchinis! If you're still not sure which one to choose for your next recipe, go with a cucumber - they're hard to go wrong with. But if you're looking for something with a bit more flavor, give a zucchini a try!  We hope this blog post has helped you understand the differences in these vegetables so that you can choose which one best suits your needs!


Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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