How to Make the Best Zucchini Bread Ever

One of my favorite narratives on zucchini is from Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ where, when faced with a unrelenting crop of the green squash, she devises many ways of using up the abundance them in her prolific garden.

She baked, steamed, fried, and froze zucchini, as well as gave them away to friends with such abandon that she freely admits: “Our gardening friends knew enough to slam the door if they saw a heavy sack approaching.”

I could completely relate to Barbara’s dilemma (if you can call an abundance of food a dilemma), and I, as a gardener, fully understand a zucchini’s capability to turn into a baseball bat practically overnight if overlooked on the vine.

Fortunately, I have a strategy to help me maintain the upper hand during the Great August Zucchini Invasion: Zucchini Bread. Around here this humble loaf is a favorite snack for the kids, a bake-sale best-seller, and alongside a tall glass of milk, has made it’s way into our ‘Guilt-Free Non-Suppers‘.

Now some of you probably think that you have the best zucchini bread recipe, others perhaps have never found a recipe they liked, –and chances are a few of you are thinking: “Zucchini? Bread?” And to all of you I say, I hope someone has shared their zucchini crop with you, because you’re going to want to make this recipe!

If you remember, I brought you the best muffin ever (which is still making new converts every day), so believe me when I say I have done my homework for this zucchini recipe.

Attributes of Great Zucchini Bread

What should (or shouldn’t) perfect zucchini bread be like? Here are a few qualities I like to see. Without question, the recipe below embodies all of them.

Flavorful!

Hint: don’t expect the zucchini to contribute any of this. Nope, zucchini bread relies on added flavorings to make it memorable. In this recipe, fresh ground cinnamon, nutmeg and dark chocolate chunks provide everything we need.

Moist

The inclusion of full-fat yogurt ensures our loaf stays as moist as can be. I also don’t squeeze the liquid from the grated zucchini as it add necessary moisture.

Textured

Sweet breads have a tendency to be pasty. Yep, and even gummy. Thanks to the addition of whole-wheat flour, you can safely enjoy a slice of this zucchini loaf knowing it’s not going to latch onto the roof of your mouth in a desperate attempt to avoid being swallowed.

Adaptable

A winning zucchini bread recipe should be able to easily morph into many shapes: cupcakes, mini-loafs, or muffins. It should also lend itself well to freezing. This recipe does it all.

Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread with Cinnamon & Dark Chocolate Chunks

I'm including plenty of alternative ingredients in parenthesis, because although the original recipe is the very best it can be, I want you to be able to work with what you have on hand.
4.3 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bakery
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 3805kcal
Author: Aimee

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour or all-purpose
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon or 1 Tablespoon pre-ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or peanut
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk or regular milk with a splash of vinegar
  • 1 cup organic Turbinado sugar or brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups finely grated zucchini
  • 4 oz dark chocolate chunked

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 9x4 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with papers OR oil a mini loaf pan.
  • In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy; beat in yogurt, buttermilk, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Combine well. Stir in grated zucchini and chopped chocolate.
  • Fold flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Spoon batter into 6 muffin cups (or mini loaf pan) and pour the rest into the 9x4 loaf pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in the pan. Loosen the sides and remove from pan. Cool loaf completely before cutting.

Notes

Tips to Making the Best Zucchini Bread Ever:
  • Use the very best ingredients possible. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you set out to make the best zucchini bread recipe ever, but use rancid flour and stale spices, well, you're not going to get the same result as I did - and it certainly won't be the best ever.
  • Use small to medium sized zucchini. If it's longer than your arm, don't bother, it will be tough and dry. If you must use these kinds of massive zucc's, halve them lengthwise first and remove the seeds with a spoon. Discard or compost them and grate the remainder of the zucchini for your baking.
  • Don't skimp on the chocolate (but feel free to use chocolate chips).
  • Use freshly ground cinnamon.
  • Have ingredients at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 3805kcal | Carbohydrates: 546g | Protein: 79g | Fat: 149g | Saturated Fat: 43g | Cholesterol: 363mg | Sodium: 2616mg | Potassium: 3437mg | Fiber: 41g | Sugar: 249g | Vitamin A: 1410IU | Vitamin C: 56.4mg | Calcium: 823mg | Iron: 25.8mg

A Word on Freezing Zucchini

You don’t have to wait for zucchini season to roll around to enjoy this bread. It is possible to freeze grated zucchini so as to have it available whenever the baking mood strikes.

To freeze zucchini, first wash them, trim the ends and then simply grate them on a box grater. Package in 1 or 2-cup portions in freezer bags or freezer containers. Remove as much air as possible from the bag by smoothing it with the back of your hand from bottom to top and quickly sealing the bag. Freeze flat.

Is zucchini bread a favorite in your home?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Hello,

    I hope you’re well. I made the same thing today! I think it turned out great. I even took a picture 🙂 Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe 🙂

    Mishgon

  2. I made pumpkin, zucchini bread yesterday and used whole wheat flour for the first time. I loved it!! Moist and so yummy.

  3. Wow, that looks amazing! I love zucchini bread and can’t wait to give this one a try. I have a zucchini in my fridge waiting to be turned into bread!

  4. Hi,
    I just made this recipr, and followed everything, except I added 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup AP, and i used 2 bread pans (9×4). The smell of baking was so good, but unfortunately it did not turn out for me :(. I must of screwed something up, it never cooked the middle (i even covered with foil and extended the cooking time by up to 30 mins). Do you think the extra WW flour had an impact? Or is the recipe too big for two loafs?? Any thoughts why it never cooked inside?

    • Hi Sarah (sorry this is late, just catching up on comments now.)
      The extra ww flour shouldn’t have made that much of a difference…I’m scratching my head because it always bakes up nicely for me. I’m wondering if your oven could be off? It’s not unusual to have it 50 degrees lower than it reads. So very sorry for your trouble.

  5. Weird – I can’t comment under your posts if I access this blog through google chrome.
    Anyhow, yes! Zucchini bread is a favorite around here. We love it & are lucky enough to find zucchini at this time of year (where we are located). This bread is getting made very soon!

  6. 4 stars
    This is a GREAT recipe from reading, I can tell by the ingredients. Just wanted to pass on a little tip for grating and freezing zucchini….I’m a gardener so I always have an abundance. SO…grate your zucchini and than put it into a large Colander placed over a bowl. Toss the entire pile with with about 1/4 cup SUGAR!!! (You know how salt helps ‘sweat’ moisture out of veges….sugar does the same thing!!) After about half an hour of draining – you’ll be amazed – pack your ziploc bags with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of grated zucchini. You will now have more flesh and LESS WATER!!! To cool. I’ve been prepping mine this way for years.

  7. A healthy version of a quick bread? I could eat this every day! I love your site–I am finding the best recipes here that are healthy and delicious. This recipe (along with your muffin recipe) also made my favorites list for a brunch menu (http://wondermomwannabe.com/effortless-entertaining-host-a-brunch/). Thank you so much for the great recipes.

  8. I put raisins in my zucchini bread and now I make cream cheese
    zucchini brownies. I’ve gotten a lot of requests for this recipe.
    My friends , and even my doctors love it.

  9. 4 stars
    Hello! I just wanted to say thank you for this great recipe. I followed the directions exactly and it turned out delicious!! Everyone loves it. I especially like it in the muffin tin form. I’ve made 2 batches so far with Ghirardelli dark chocolate (62%), and today I’m making a batch with walnuts as everybody loves them. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  10. 5 stars
    I recently found your recipe and tried it this weekend. It was great!
    I didn’t have any yogurt on hand so I substituted more buttermilk. My husband loved the chocolate addition. I might try some walnuts next time.

    I didn’t post your recipe, but I linked to it from my garden blog. I hope that is OK.

  11. The note about cholesterol is a bit misleading, as yogurt does contain cholesterol, whereas canola oil does not. The recipe is great, though!

  12. Nowhere can I find out if you peel the zucchini before you grate it, or not.

  13. Hi. Can I use regular all purpose flour instead of whole wheat and sour cream or Greek yogurt in this recipe ?

    Thanks

  14. This recipe is in the oven right now. I’ve tried tons of zucchini bread recipes throughout the years and never have found one that’s good enough to go on repeat. Maybe this one can be it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. I made zucchini bread last year, and my son has been asking for me to make it again. Well, I did not save the recipe and have been searching for one online and came across this one which sounded really good. I then remembered I had emailed the recipe to a friend. When I found it, it was this exact recipe from this website. I will be making it again today.

  16. I just made this recipe today, used white flour instead of wheat and used lowfat vanilla yogurt and non-fat milk. Made all muffins and added semi sweet chocolate chips and they turned out wonderful. My son who refuses to eat anything with zucchini in it loved them! Would absolutely make this again!

  17. I loved this recipe and used made 24 muffins. Used a bit more oil cause I did not quite have enough yogurt. It raised wonderfully and it only cooked for 30 minutes! Thanks for te recipe. I liked the whole wheat flour, yogurt and buttermilk and less oil than most recipes.

  18. I made the recipe with 67% organic cacao chocolate chunks (1.25 cups) from Whole Foods and everyone loved it. I did follow the recipe very closely and the only thing I did different was to use 1% milk and cut it with lime juice. And I used Green Valley Lactose Free Plain Yogurt. Definitely a hit, especially with a partner that is very very picky!!!

  19. Bread turned out great. How do I store the loaf? Should I fridge it?

  20. Josie Koler says

    I used coconut milk – w a spash of balsamic vinegar – Delicious !!! Passing the recipe along to my great-aunt who gave me the frozen zucchini. She said she’d teach me how to make zucchini bread – I will share w her ! The organic chocolate bars, cut into chunks, is what makes this such a rich, hearty treat to enjoy.

  21. 4 stars
    The bread turned out so good, tasted really well! love it!

  22. 5 stars
    I just made this recipe. The texture of this bread is insane, soft, moist, spongy. I have to agree, the best zucchini bread ever. I followed the recipe exactly except for one ingredient – the sugar. I replaced the one cup of turbinado or brown sugar with 1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar. I like the recipe because it uses less oil and sugar than most.

  23. I just made these with our first zucchini from the garden and with some pretty significant changes…100% whole wheat flour, butter instead of oil, 1/2 c. each yogurt and milk/vinegar (bc of the whole wheat), 1 c. walnuts, and 1/2 c. coconut. They are amazing! I’m eating my second muffin already. I can’t really review your recipe, because I deviated so much, but it worked. Next time, I’ll definitely try the chocolate. 🙂

  24. How many loaves does this recipe yield?
    I read your instructions & it says…
    1-9×4 loaf pan OR
    6- muffins OR
    1-mini loaf

    I’m not sure how these are all equal?
    I love your recipe & would love to make it this weekend! Please let me know!

    -Rebecca

  25. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe now about 4 times, the most recent finishing off the zucchini from the freezer from the garden this fall. The only change I made was to sub butter for the oil (I just melted it first), well, and I use buttermilk powder, which is my new favorite pantry item since its always on hand.. this is hands down the best zucchini bread I’ve ever made! Thank you!

  26. I absolutely love this recipe of yours!! I’ve made it several times before and each time people ate it up like there’s no tomorrow! I started counting calories a couple months back, do you happen to have the calorie and nutritional counts for this recipe?

  27. 4 stars
    A few modifications: 1/2 cup almond butter (for a little extra protein, 2 cups flour (only had all purpose), 1/4 cup olive oil (reduced oil and flour to accommodate the almond butter), and nuts on top.

    I did squeeze all the extra liquid from the zucchini out since I was using all purpose flour – will try again without the excess squeezing next time. Bread came out moist and soft but not as moist as say the oily concoctions at your local (chain) coffee shop.

    Will make again! Thank you for the recipe!

  28. 5 stars
    Oh man! These are wonderful! I wish I hadn’t halved the recipe now, I want to eat the whole batch.

  29. I want to make this recipe, but am not sure which side of the box grater to grate the zucchini. Please respond.

    Bea

  30. wondering what would happen if j used ricotta? Don’t have yogurt in house currently

  31. 4 stars
    I made these as muffins and they came out delicious 🙂 Baked them for about 30 minutes at 350. Thank you!

  32. 5 stars
    What’s the best way to make this recipe gluten free without compromising the taste? We love the recipe as is at home but I wanted to make a separate batch for my son’s class and there is a gluten restriction.

    Thanks

    • 4 stars
      I am baking my first batch right now and used Quinoa flour… we shall see…
      Made 2 mini loaf pans and 16 muffins. Didn’t quite measure out even, 40mins. I think that amount of bake-time might’ve been too long by about 10mins, but the flavor is GREAT!!!!!

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