Cucumber vs Zucchini: Difference + Nutrition Comparison


They may look similar and even belong to the same family, but there is a difference between zucchinis and cucumbers.

We’re going to look at the nutritional value for each of these foods side-by-side, while also seeing how healthy each is overall.

Note that any data on this page is per 100 grams of food.

What’s the Difference Between Cucumber and Zucchini?

Cucumbers and zucchinis are both part of the gourd family, but are distinct plants.

They are both technically fruit, and have a similar appearance, but zucchinis are more closely related to gourds like pumpkins and squashes, which is evident in the stem.

Taste-wise, cucumbers are crisp and light, while zucchinis have a softer texture that feels and tastes less watery.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Cucumber and Zucchini

Both of these “vegetables” are very low in calories due to their high water content.

Let’s look at their macronutrients below per 100 grams:

  Cucumbers Zucchini
Energy (kcal) 15 17
Protein (g) 0.7 1.2
Total Lipid (g) 0.1 0.3
Carbohydrate (g) 3.6 3.1
Fiber (g) 0.5 1.0
Sugars (g) 1.7 2.5

They have about the same calories, but there are a few minor differences:

  • Zucchinis do have a bit more protein and fat
  • Cucumbers are slightly higher in carbohydrates while also being lower in fiber (i.e. higher in net carbohydrates)

With such few calories, it’s clear why both of these foods are seen more as fillers, rather than primary ingredients in meals. 

However, this makes them great additions to salads and other meals if someone is trying to lose weight.

Vitamins and Minerals in Cucumber vs Zucchini

Next let’s look at the micronutrients in cucumbers and zucchinis.

The table below also has an “RDA” column that has the suggested target for an adult. This can vary based on your age and gender, so I’ve only included it for the sake of a quick comparison and sorting.

  RDA Cucumbers Zucchini
Vitamin K (µg) 75 16.4 4.3
Vitamin C (mg) 90 2.8 17.9
Potassium (mg) 2000 147.0 261.0
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.0 0.2
Manganese (mg) 2.3 0.1 0.2
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.0 0.1
Folate (µg) 400 7.0 24.0
Magnesium (mg) 400 13.0 18.0
Phosphorus (mg) 700 24.0 38.0
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.0 0.0
Zinc (mg) 11 0.2 0.3
Niacin (mg) 16 0.1 0.5
Iron (mg) 18 0.3 0.4
Choline (mg) 550 6.0 9.5
Calcium (mg) 1200 16.0 16.0
Sodium (mg) 1500 2.0 8.0
Selenium (µg) 55 0.3 0.2
Vitamin A (µg) 900 5.0 10.0
Vitamin E (mg) 15 0.0 0.1
Copper (mg) 900 0.0 0.1
Vitamin B-12 (µg) 2.4 0.0 0.0
Vitamin D (µg) 15 0.0 0.0

Neither cucumbers or zucchini are incredibly nutritious, but they do have a small amount of several vitamins and minerals, which can help round out a healthy diet.

Overall, zucchinis do have a slightly stronger profile, as they have significantly more:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Potassium
  • Manganese 
  • Folate

Plus a bit more of several other nutrients like iron and magnesium.

Cucumber vs Zucchini: Which is Healthier?

Zucchinis and cucumbers are both fairly healthy foods, but zucchinis are probably slightly healthier for most people.

Zucchinis have a bit more protein, fiber, and overall micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals).

It’s not a huge difference, so it’s not like you need to swap out cucumbers for zucchinis in every recipe, but if you can go either way, then zucchinis are a bit better.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.