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Tender, moist and flavorful Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Bread: the perfect quick bread for all occasions
Delicious, tender and flavorful Zucchini Bread is the most popular of all quick breads, for good reason! It’s easy to make, hard to mess up, travels well, is great for gifting and freezes beautifully.
Zucchini Bread is versatile and adaptable. Add your favorite nuts, dried fruits, lemon or orange zest and / or cinnamon chips or mini chocolate chips. It even turns out beautifully if you add extra shredded zucchini!
It’s easy to see why anybody can make this quick bread with great success. Even if you’re a novice baker, no worries. This no-mixer recipe is for you!
Ingredients in Zucchini Bread:
- unsalted butter melted and cooled
- fresh zucchini grated on a large box grater, then drained
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- baking powder
- ground cinnamon
- granulated sugar
- brown sugar
- room temperature large eggs
- vanilla extract
- lemon or orange zest (optional)
- neutral tasting vegetable oil
- chopped pecans, walnuts or other nuts
- dried fruits like raisins or cranberries (optional)
- mini chocolate chips, cinnamon chips or toffee bits
How to make Zucchini Bread:
Start by preparing the zucchini:
- Shred the zucchini on a large box grater and transfer to a fine mesh strainer to drain.
- There’s no need to peel the zucchini first.
- For large seedy zucchini, cut the vegetable in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon before shredding.
- Some zucchini are drier than others. Always drain the zucchini but do not press to extract moisture. If the zucchini is overly dry, drizzle with a little cool water to hydrate. You need some moisture for the best bread.
Combine the dry ingredients:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
Next combine the remaining ingredients:
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the brown and white sugars, eggs, vanilla and zest if using.
- Add the melted butter and vegetable oil and fold together until blended.
- Fold in the flour mixture until no dry pockets remain.
- Finally, add the zucchini, nuts and dried fruits if using. Fold together until blended.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 60 minutes.
The Zucchini Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with no wet batter. Moist crumbs are great!
Cool in the pans for 30 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
An heirloom recipe for Zucchini Bread
My mother-in-law shared this great recipe with me more than 30 years ago. Edith was a lovely, caring and kind lady. She always had Zucchini Bread on hand for visitors, sick neighbors and friends, or as a hostess gift when she stopped in for a visit.
Over the years I’ve tweaked her recipe just a bit to make it our own. The biggest change came when I replaced most of the vegetable oil with melted butter. This final blend of 3/4 butter to 1/4 vegetable oil is perfect.
In addition to reducing the amount of oil, I’ve also reduced the amount of granulated sugar. Next I replaced some of the granulated sugar with brown sugar for enhanced flavor and added moisture.
This amazing flavorful loaf is lighter, but is still very moist. It’s not greasy or dense and has a nice buttery, sweet flavor. I think you’ll find this recipe is practically perfect in every way!
This recipe makes two loaves of quick bread
We make this quick bread often in the summer months. We have one to enjoy now and one or share or freeze until later.
Freeze zucchini bread well sealed in plastic wrap and a zipper bag. You can freeze an entire loaf or individual slices for up to 3 months.
Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Zucchini Bread is terrific as is. However, if desired you can smear with a little soft butter, jam, honey or cinnamon cream cheese.
Sandwich thin slices of zucchini bread together with walnut cinnamon whipped cream cheese. Then slice each sandwich into three pieces which are perfect for eating out of hand.
Place on a platter and watch them disappear!
Make this recipe your own:
As mentioned above, this Zucchini Bread is easily adapted by tweaking it here and there.
In addition to cinnamon, add a little allspice or ground nutmeg.
Replace the light brown sugar with dark brown sugar.
Add an extra cup of shredded zucchini for an ultra-moist quick bread.
Stir in dried cranberries, golden or dark raisins. Soak the raisins in a spoonful of apple brandy before folding into the batter if desired.
Add mini chocolate chips or try sweeter cinnamon chips.
Top the bread with coarse sugar for a crispy crust.
Substitute 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled (12T or 6oz)
- 3 cups grated zucchini (do not peel) about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (378g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar (222g)
- ½ cup brown sugar firmly packed (90g)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (optional)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (2oz)
- 1 cup chopped nuts (4oz or 113g)
- 1 cup raisins, cranberries or mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 8 ½-inch loaf pans with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
- Shred the zucchini on a large box grater. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl to drain while preparing the other ingredients. (See NOTES for tips)
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the granulated and brown sugars, eggs, vanilla and zest if using. Whisk in the melted butter and vegetable oil until smooth. Add the flour mixture and fold together using a spatula until no dry pockets remain. Gently fold in the zucchini and nuts just until blended.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar for a crispy crust. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter. Moist crumbs are okay.
- Cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before storing.
- Zucchini bread can be eaten slightly warm but may crumble a little more than a cooled loaf. Slice with a serrated knife for best results.
- Pecans and walnuts are both great in this quick bread.
- For this recipe you can use any combination of butter and vegetable oil to measure 1 cup. Or use all butter or all vegetable oil. We prefer the recipe as written.
- Add 1 cup of raisins, dried cranberries or chocolate chips to the batter with the nuts, if desired. Golden raisins are a favorite.
- For large seedy zucchini, cut in half and scoop out the seeds before shredding.
- Don’t peel the zucchini before shredding.
- Some zucchini are drier than others. Always drain the zucchini but if it’s dry you may not have any liquid extracted. This is okay.
- Do not press the zucchini to extract moisture. You’ll want it to be a little moist.
- Take care not to over-pack the zucchini in the measuring cup.
Originally published August 2011, updated September 2021