Got lots of zucchini? Bake up a loaf of this classic zucchini bread! It’s easy to make, with the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.
*I originally posted this zucchini bread recipe on June 27, 2018. I thought it was about time for a refresh. So I’ve improved the recipe, added a new video, and provided lots more tips for success. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.*
It never fails- every year we end up with a bumper crop of zucchini! They’re just so easy to grow where we live, they thrive. Everyone in our town has too much zucchini and they’re all trying to give it away to each other!
Of course, there’s lots you can do with them. We enjoy them in all sorts of savory preparations, and we love this zucchini cake and these chocolate zucchini muffins. But the best way to enjoy zucchini is in the form of zucchini bread. It’s a total classic!
WHAT DOES ZUCCHINI BREAD TASTE LIKE?
Typically, zucchini bread is a slightly sweet quick bread (similar to a muffin), with a hint of cinnamon. It’s often punctuated with tender bits of walnut, like you see here in this recipe. The zucchini itself is so mild, you don’t even really taste it at all. But the little green flecks are very distinctive and pretty, don’t you think?
I’ve stuck to tradition here with this simple recipe. It’s got the cinnamon, and it’s got the walnuts, and it’s moist and tender, with just the right amount of sweetness.
But you can totally get creative! Try omitting the cinnamon and adding the zest and juice of a lemon, for a lemon zucchini bread! Or, throw in a bag of mini chocolate chips! Or sub out the walnuts and add a few handfuls of coconut instead! You can even use yellow squash in place of the zucchini, if yellow squash is your bumper crop. The options are limitless.
HOW TO MAKE ZUCCHINI BREAD
Quick breads like this one start with the dry ingredients in one bowl, the liquid ingredients in another bowl, and then you combine them.
But before you do that, you’ll want to shred up the zucchini. I like to use a food processor for this step, because it makes it so quick and easy. But if you don’t have one, a box grater will work just fine!
After grating your zucchini, place it in a colander so the excess liquid can drain away.
Place the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and roughly chopped walnuts (if using) together in a large mixing bowl.
Then just whisk it all together to get everything combined.
Start by melting the butter in a large liquid measuring cup.
Then add the Greek yogurt, milk, eggs, and vanilla, and whisk it all together until smooth.
MAKE THE BATTER
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Then fold everything together until mostly combined.
Next, fold in the shredded, drained zucchini.
Be careful not to overmix, or your bread could come out tough. It’s totally fine if the batter is a little lumpy, or even if it still has a few streaks of flour.
BAKE THE BREAD
Transfer the batter to a greased loaf pan. Just a standard-sized, 9×5-inch, 5-cup loaf pan will work fine, you don’t need anything fancy!
Bake the bread until it’s puffy and golden-brown around the edges. You’ll know it’s done baking when a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Once it’s cool enough to handle, flip it out of the pan and allow it to cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.
IS IT HEALTHY?
Well, I guess that depends on what your definition of “healthy” is! There are so many different ways of eating these days.
This recipe does contain sugar and carbs, but they’re balanced by a decent amount of green vegetable! It’s a great way to sneak some healthier veggies into your family’s bellies.
If you want to make it even more healthy, you can sub out 1/4 cup of the butter for applesauce, in equal measure. That will make it lower in fat. You can also use a fat-free Greek yogurt.
For a gluten-free version, just use a good quality gluten-free flour blend that subs cup-for-cup for regular all-purpose flour. Here are a few that I would recommend:
- King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
- Cup4Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
And if you are looking for a vegan option, you can use any kind of plant-based milk (such as oat milk, nut milk, or soy milk) in place of the Greek yogurt. For the eggs, just place 2 tablespoons of ground chia or flax seeds in a small bowl with about 1/4 cup of water. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes and gel, and add that in place of the eggs. Coconut oil would make an excellent substitution for the butter.
IS IT MOIST?
This zucchini bread bakes up nice and moist! The ratio of all the different ingredients guarantees that, but the addition of shredded zucchini makes it even more so.
Zucchini naturally has a lot of moisture in it. Sometimes it can actually be too much! I like to put the grated zucchini into a colander or strainer after it comes out of the food processor, just so some of the extra liquid can drain away. If yours seems very wet, you can even squeeze it out a little bit with your hands, before folding it into the batter. This added step will prevent your final product from being gummy or soggy.
HOW TO STORE
This zucchini bread recipe should keep for at least 2 or 3 days at room temperature. You just want to wrap it tightly or keep it in an airtight container, so it doesn’t get stale.
If your bread is still hanging around after 3 days, you might want to refrigerate it. It should last in the fridge for at least a week, if not a few days longer.
You can also freeze it! With all the extra zucchini at this time of year, that might actually be the best option. Bake up as many loaves as you can, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or foil, and slip them into a zip-top bag before stashing them away in the freezer.
Thaw at room temperature and enjoy a little taste of summer all year ’round!
A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITE QUICK BREAD RECIPES:
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- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups (275 g) light brown sugar,, loosely packed
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (87.75 g) roughly chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter,, melted (1 stick)
- 1 cup (200 g) Greek yogurt*
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) milk
- 2 (88 g) eggs,, large
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) vanilla extract
- 1 (196 g) zucchini,, medium, shredded & drained (about 1 3/4 cups shredded)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and mist a 5-cup loaf pan* with non-stick spray.
- Place the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the melted butter, Greek yogurt, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a smaller container and whisk to combine.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, and fold together until only a few streaks of flour remain.
- Fold in the shredded zucchini, and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
- Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted in the thickest part of the bread comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Choose fresh, firm zucchinis for the best flavor and moisture content. Avoid overripe or mushy zucchinis.
- It's essential to allow the zucchini to drain and release extra moisture. If you do not do this, the batter will be wet, and the bake will be gummy in texture. If the zucchini still seems wet after you've allowed it to drain, squeeze out excess moisture from the grated zucchini using a clean kitchen towel.
- Allow eggs and other refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature before mixing. This promotes even mixing and better incorporation of ingredients.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together to ensure even distribution and avoid lumps.
- Be careful not to overmix, or your bread could become tough and dense. It's fine if the batter is a little lumpy or even if it still has a few streaks of flour.
- Bake the bread until it's puffy and golden brown around the edges.
- Once it's cool enough to handle, flip it out of the pan and allow it to cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.
- Sour cream or buttermilk can be substituted in equal measure.
- This zucchini bread can also be baked as muffins. Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 10 to 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Keep at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, then transfer to the refrigerator to keep for an additional few days.
- Freeze for 2 to 3 months.