This is a family favorite recipe for homemade zucchini bread. One slice and you’ll taste why! It’s made with brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, cozy cinnamon spice, and summer’s favorite vegetable. See my recipe note for turning this batter into zucchini muffins.
Comes from An Award-Winning Zucchini Bread Recipe
This zucchini bread recipe is very slightly adapted from an award-winning family recipe. My husband grew up making this zucchini bread with his family, who entered it into the Maryland State Fair. And guess what? IT WON. You know a recipe is good if it’s winning state awards, right?
Now slightly scaled up to yield a taller 9×5 inch loaf (more zucchini, 1 extra egg, and a touch of applesauce for moisture), the quick bread is better than ever and ready to place 1st in your own kitchens too!
Here’s Why You’ll Love It:
- Batter comes together in less than 5 minutes
- Extra moist and flavorful
- Sneaks in veggies
- Can easily be doubled
- Welcomes add-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or blueberries
- Makes great muffins (see below)
- Freezes beautifully
A beginner baker can easily master this quick bread and it’s a wonderful recipe if you have eager young bakers ready to help!
Why Bake with Zucchini?
Zucchini is one of my favorite ingredients for baking and I have a lot of published recipes using this summer vegetable. We use an entire zucchini in my healthier greek yogurt zucchini bread and you’ll find a whopping 3 cups of it in my chocolate zucchini cake (you can’t taste it!).
It sounds odd to bake with a vegetable, but here’s why you should use it in your baking:
- There are only so many zucchini side dishes to make (looking at you, zucchini fritters). Zucchini is abundant in the summer months, and it’s fun to incorporate this vegetable when baking, too.
- Zucchini adds flavorless moisture. We’re talking pure moisture with zero savory vegetable flavor. I don’t think I would bake a cake with a green vegetable if I could taste it. You bake carrot cake, right? It’s delicious, right? Well zucchini is even better! It’s truly a magical ingredient in your baked goods and this includes zucchini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, too!
Grab These Ingredients
One new addition is the applesauce. This, along with the oil, keeps the bread moist. You can use sour cream, Greek yogurt, or mashed banana in its place if needed. All you’re doing is whisking the dry and wet ingredients together separately, and then combining everything.
Success Tip: Shredding Zucchini
Today’s zucchini bread comes together in just 5 minutes with simple kitchen tools including a couple bowls, a whisk, and a 9×5 inch loaf pan. You also need a grater to shred the zucchini. If you’re looking for recommendations, I own and love this box grater because it’s easy to use, grates quickly, and has held up well with regular use.
- How much zucchini do I need? Zucchini can vary in size, but 2 medium zucchinis are plenty for this recipe. You need 1 and 1/2 cups shredded, which is about 165g.
- Do I need to peel the zucchini first? You can if you’d like, but I never do. There’s no taste or texture variance either way, but you’ll definitely have more flecks of green throughout the loaf if you keep the peel on. Pretty!
You do not need to blot the zucchini dry before using in the batter. (You want that moisture!)
Expect a thick batter:
What Does This Zucchini Bread Taste Like?
Zucchini is like a chameleon and takes on the flavor of whatever’s nearby. Have you ever tried this peanut chicken zucchini noodles dish? The zucchini is basically a vehicle for the delectable savory peanut sauce.
Today’s zucchini bread includes cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and brown sugar so expect a lot of cozy, comforting, sweet flavors. In terms of texture, it’s not quite as dense as banana bread but not as light as white cake either. It’s soft and moist and actually reminds me of apple cinnamon bread, which is a favorite during the fall months.
And let’s not forget optional add-ins like chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, or even blueberries. Some readers have turned it into dessert with vanilla icing or cream cheese frosting (I’d halve the cream cheese frosting recipe). Honestly, this quick bread welcomes a bounty of tasty extras!
Can I Reduce the Sugar or Oil in Zucchini Bread?
You can absolutely slightly reduce either or both, but understand that sugar and oil help produce a moist, tender loaf; altering the ingredients may have disappointing results. Or for an option without refined sugar, you may enjoy this Greek yogurt zucchini bread instead!
This zucchini bread recipe yields 1 9×5 inch loaf. With brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and a little applesauce for added moisture, the quick bread is flavorful, moist, and a great way to use summer’s favorite vegetable!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. See notes for muffins.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together until combined. Whisk in the zucchini. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently whisk until *just* combined; do not overmix. Fold in any optional add-ins like chocolate chips or nuts. Batter is slightly thick.
- Spread the batter evenly into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55-70 minutes. (I like to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent heavy browning on top.) Baking times vary so keep an eye on yours. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out *mostly* clean with zero raw batter. Remove the bread from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
- Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Make the bread ahead of time by freezing it. Bake it, cool it, wrap it up in aluminum foil and freeze the loaf as a whole. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before slicing and serving. Freezes well up to 3 months.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Box Grater, Glass Mixing Bowls, Loaf Pan
- Update in 2022: Based on reader feedback and a few disappointing loaves in my own kitchen recently, I revised 2 ingredients in May 2022 (egg & zucchini) so the batter yields more for a taller loaf and there’s more moisture. I also added 1/4 cup of applesauce for added moisture, as you can see in the recipe. Rave reviews from taste testers. The original recipe used 1 egg and 1 cup of zucchini with no applesauce.
- Can I reduce the sugar or oil? You can absolutely slightly reduce either or both, but understand that sugar and oil help produce a moist, tender loaf and the results may be disappointing. For the oil, feel free to swap *some* for more applesauce. Or for a healthier option without any refined sugar, you may enjoy this Greek yogurt zucchini bread instead.
- Muffins: Grease a 12-count muffin pan or line with liners. Prepare batter in step 2. Spoon the batter evenly into each liner, filling each all the way to the top. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 18-21 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Yields 1 dozen.
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