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What’s the difference between yellow zucchini and yellow summer squash?

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Many gardeners refer to yellow summer squash as summer squash and call the green fruit zucchini, but they are both a type of summer squash. To further complicate matters, some zucchini are yellow and referred to a golden zucchini. You may be wondering how yellow zucchini and yellow summer squash differ.


Zucchini falls in the category of Italian marrow squash. These are typically cylindrical and are the same size from end to end. Zucchini can be deep green to almost black, light green with stripes, mottled or deep yellow. All zucchini have the same basic flavor and texture.

Yellow Summer Squash

The yellow squash is either straight neck or crook neck, with either smooth or bumpy skins. Crook neck and straight neck squash taper at the neck and widen at the end. Straight neck and crook neck squash have the same basic flavor and texture.

Other Varieties of Summer Squash

But there are other types of summer squash, too. Scalloped summer squash, sometimes referred to as patty pan squash, may be either green or yellow with a crisp nutty flavor. Some zucchini, often referred to as eight ball zucchini are round.

Whether you prefer to call them all summer squash or distinguish between the two with terms like summer squash and zucchini doesn't really matter, as long as you grow some of both to add color and variety to your recipes.


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Yellow Zucchini
Yellow Zucchini Public Domain image

Yellow Zucchini

Yellow zucchini, sometimes called golden zucchini, does not taper at the ends like yellow summer squash. It's flavor is a bit sweeter than traditional green zucchini. Try mixing yellow and green in your stir-fry to add visual appeal.

Green Zucchini
Green Zucchini Farmanac via Flickr

Green Zucchini

Traditional green zucchini is cylindrical and does not taper at the neck. When harvested young, these tender fruits can be eaten raw or added to salads. Mature zucchini can be shredded and used in zucchini bread.

Summer Squash
Summer Squash dogeared via Flickr

Summer Squash

The yellow and green zucchini on the left are cylindrical and do not taper at the neck. 

Yellow crookneck squash on the right tapers and curves at the neck.

Scalloped or Patty Pan Squash
Scalloped or Patty Pan Squash Public Domain image

Scalloped or Patty Pan Squash

Scalloped squash can be yellow or green. It is crisp with a nutty flavor ideal for stir-frying.

This summer squash keeps well for several days in the refrigerator without losing flavor.

Straight Neck Summer Squash
Straight Neck Summer Squash National Cancer Institute/Public Domain

Straight Neck Summer Squash

Straight neck summer squash tapers at the neck. This squash is tender and mild and can be eaten raw if it is picked when it is young and tender. Try adding fresh summer squash to garden salads.

Round Zucchini
Round Zucchini adactio via Flickr

Round Zucchini

Round zucchini, sometimes called eight ball zucchini, is ideal for stuffing with meats and cheese and baking. These crisp zucchinis retain the traditional zucchini flavor.