Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

This recipe makes a single beautiful loaf of walnut studded zucchini bread. And a sizable one at that. For years I would load my zucchini bread batter with all manner of zest, spice, and whatnot. But that's not how I roll anymore. Over the years I began to prefer this pared-down and more minimalist version. Moist, just sweet enough and loaded with toasted walnuts inside and out, it has a sweet nut-crusted top, requires just one pan and is a rustic stunner. If you're looking for a go-to zucchini bread recipe, give this a shot.
Zucchini Bread Recipe

A Few Zucchini Bread Tips

Pre-grate & Freeze Excess Zucchini: When you have more zucchini than you know what to do with, grate it and divide 2 1/2 cup portions into freezer bags. Thaw and use with this recipe later in the year.

Too Much: If you've baked more zucchini bread than you can eat, slice it, divide with parchment paper, and freeze in baggies. When you're ready for it, thaw and toast (or toast in a pan with a bit of butter).

Accurate Baking Time: A cake tester is important here. This is a big loaf and you want to make sure the interior is cooked though. If cake batter is visible on your tester keep baking in 7-10 minute increments. 

Yellow Summer Squash Are OK Too! You can basically use any summer squash you like here. Classic green-skinned zucchini are most typical, but you can also use eight-ball squash, patty pan, crooked neck squash, etc. I like to leave the skins on all of them for the color-flecks they lend to the batter. One thing to keep an eye out for is any squash that has developed seeds. Just scoop those out prior too grating.
Zucchini Bread Recipe

Variations

My Special Zucchini Bread: This is the more maximalist version of zucchini bread I've featured here since 2008. To the batter add: the zest of 2 lemons, 1/4 cup poppy seeds, 1/3 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon favorite curry powder. So fragrant!

All the Zests Zucchini Bread: Add the zest of 3 limes, 2 oranges, and 3 lemons. Consider swapping almond extract for the vanilla extract.

Basil & Lemon Zucchini Bread: Add 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil and zest of two lemons to the we ingredients. You can use Italian or lemon basil.

Zucchini Oat Bread: An idea I haven't tested yet, but want to mention it in case someone wants to give it a try. Swap 1/3 cup of the flour for old-fashioned oats.

Raz el Hanout Zucchini Bread: I've baked a delicious version using a Raz el Hanout spice blend, highly recommended! Just add 1 tablespoon of Raz el Hanout to your dry ingredients.

Zucchini Bread Muffins: Yes, you can make muffins! Fill lined muffin tins 2/3 full - 3/4 if you’re living on the edge! And bake until golden and cooked through.
Zucchini Bread Recipe

More Zucchini Ideas

If you have a garden that is anything like ours, it's putting off an incredible number of zucchini right now. Take a look at these zucchini recipes. I've been trying to come up with more recipes that put a real dent in the zucchini supply. So far, this Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream is a favorite, and this Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad is perfect for summer & using up extra sourdough at the end of the week. And we love this Simple Sauteed Zucchini, especially with a little side action of this favorite pesto.
Zucchini Bread Recipe
Enjoy! And please leave notes in the comments if you have other variations you like.

 

Zucchini Bread

4.55 from 24 votes

A time-saving tip: if you have a food processor with the grating attachment, use it to shred the zucchini. It will perfectly shred the zucchini in no time. On the flour front, this recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour, it lends a nice, tender crumb to the zucchini bread - feel free to swap in unbleached all-purpose flour if it is more convenient or happens to be your flour of choice. Or do a 50/50 blend of whole wheat pastry and all-purpose. Lastly, I have you sprinkle some sugar across the top of your zucchini bread batter before baking, if you have a large grain sugar use that (pictured), if not granulated sugar is fine.

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped toasted walnuts, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2-3 medium), skins on
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle. Butter a 9x5-inch (1 lb.) loaf pan, dust with a bit of flour and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pan with a sheet of parchment. If you leave a couple inches hanging over the pan, it makes for easy removal after baking. Just grab the parchment "handles" and lift the zucchini bread right out.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/4 cups of the walnuts.
  3. Using a mixer (or by hand), beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Squeeze some of the moisture out of the zucchini and then fluff it up a bit before stirring it into that batter by hand.

  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring between each addition. Stir just until you have a thick, uniform batter. Pour the batter into the pan and level it by running a spatula over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining walnuts, and 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.
  5. Bake for about 60-70 minutes keeping a close eye on things after 50 minutes. If the top of your zucchini bread is getting too dark, drape a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil over it for the remainder of the baking time. You're going to want to use a cake tester or toothpick to test for doneness. The cake should be golden and rustic looking, and a toothpick should come out clean.

  6. When done, remove from the oven and cool the zucchini bread in pan for about ten minutes. Transter onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes

Makes 1 large zucchini bread.

Serves
12
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • Hi Heidi! I love your website and your cookbook. Quick question: have you considered, or could you put the flour measurements into weight instead of volume? My family is gluten free and it is so much easier to translate recipes by weight than volume. Otherwise I end up having to guess the weight based on the flour you use and your measuring technique. Thank you! I look forward to trying this quick bread during zucchini season!

    Laura
    • Hi Laura, yes! I try to do it as often as possible, but sometimes I just can't pull it together enough to do that extra step :/ Apologies!

      Heidi Swanson
  • I am a BIG fan of your recipes & website - FINALLY a great place to find yummy healthy recipes that seem really easy to whip up! I love to cook and always try to eat a healthy diet. It's not easy finding recipes that incorporate whole grains, so I am very excited to start trying your recipes!!! So far I made this zucchini bread & LOVED it!!! Thanks so much, Heidi!!!!!!

    marcy o.
  • just came out of the oven! i am trying this recipe for a breakfast for someone special. i had a tiny bit of batter left over to make a mini test loaf...and it is delicious! i only had 1 zucchini so i cut the recipe in half. i used all your optional ingredients and it is delicious! i think the baking time extends to about 1 hour. thanks for the great recipe!

    m a a
  • I didn't have any walnuts on hand, and while that would have given it a meatier texture, it was COMPLETELY made up for with the spices. The lemon and ginger really stand out, and curry just finishes the former off. I hadn't the faintest of where to get WW pastry flour, but I did a mix of all-purpose self-rising and whole wheat, and it came out fine, perhaps a little on the flat side. Thank you for helping me expand my baking horizons AND helping me clean out Zucc's!

    KT
  • To Wendy: if you were surprised at hearing about zucchini bread, then get this. In Slovenia (where I live) it's quite standard to bake zucchini strudel!!!! It can be just as sweet as the traditional 'apfel' version, and as Heidi pointed out, it gets rid of a lot of zucchini! :-) In this country almost everybody has their own patch of land, and they grow everything themselves (if you want free home-grown lettuce, just ask anybody!) Too bad I don't get "whole pastry flour" here, but I think spelt flour would do the trick most of the time, hm?

    Carlitos
  • Love this recipe. Thought it was crazy with the curry but then I start to think and I was smelling my slightly sweet curry and thought this will be different. The Ginger is another great addition to this traditional bread. I am now doing my second try and doubled the recipe for friends and family. The second batch I also grated some fresh nutmeg and see what that taste like. Love your site, I have now turned my oldest son on to some of your recipes since he has now cut meat from his diet. It has helped him broaden his diet for a new veggie eater!

    Lisa
  • This was my first attempt at making anything on your site and it came out great. I used Pumpkin Pie spice and ground cardamom instead of the curry and forgot the baking powder!!! My friends and roommates still went back for seconds so it must have tasted yummy. I felt like it needed more zucchini though, I barely noticed it with all the other exciting ingredients. Thanks for a fun baking adventure.

    AnaLuisa
  • ooohhhh! i made this last night with fresh zucchini from the farmer's market. i was a bit skittish about using the curry, but i really really like it in the bread! i just inhaled a piece with my coffee. delicious! i'm afraid i've found a new zuke bread recipe to replace paula deen's!

    margaux
  • I also felt really strange putting so much curry and ginger in but was pleasantly surprised by the fantastic flavor that came out. Although I think I would add a bit more sugar next time. Thanks again, I am never disappointed by your recipes (and my co-workers love your recipes too). I will continue to try them, thanks!

    Pam
  • good recipe......nice n strong taste

    karol
  • OK, I feel a little silly for asking this, but I have a ton of yellow summer squash from my CSA share and I am very new to baking with vegetables. Can I use them instead of the green zucchini to make this? I am dying to use them up and I am craving something sweet!!!. HS: Go for it Katie, the yellow squash will work just as well.

    Katie
  • Great bread, Also love putting grated zucchini in bran muffins (with golden raisons and walnuts)....much moister with the zucchini. Re what to do with all those lemons....vinaigrette, lemon bars, lemon bundt cake with lemon glaze, lemon pound cake topped with fresh stawberries, hollandaise...etc etc etc.

    Deborah
  • yummy!

    YOYO's cooking
  • My boyfriend and I have made this twice, first omitting some of the optional ingredients and then including everything. Either way, it is the most delicious zucchini bread we've ever had. Great with scrambled eggs and pepperjack cheese, too. Thanks Heidi!

    Principle Investigator
  • I made this with a few variations: lime zest for lemon, 1 cup hazelnuts for the walnuts, ground ginger added in, and chopped crystallized ginger sprinkled over the top; I had to bake it for about 55-60 minutes, though I suspect my oven temperature was off. The lime worked really worked well with the Thai curry powder taste. And I'm definitely a big ginger person, so the ginger was perfect. I might add more curry powder next time, and perhaps explore some of the Thai flavors you talked about in your post.

    Abby
  • I always like to wrap my zuk bread in a bread towel after it's cooled a bit. it really blends the flavors together and makes it "cakey" really good for coffee and tea. my friends and family love it and i'm convinced that it's how i got my husband to fall in love with me.

    Tai
  • did you try dried figs and apricots in a zucchini bread? it's fabulous!

    theCook
  • I was just referred to your website by a friend of yours, Ben Y. as I am working at the same residential camp as him. I run a daily cooking (really baking) program for children 7-16 years old. WOW! WOW! WOW! I have been reading your comments and everyone else's and staring , no drooling over your photos of your recipes (absolutely stunning) and can't wait to look at more and then finally make them. I have a feeling I won't be sleeping tonight and will be printing out many of them. I have a particular affinity to chocolate and peanut/nut-free baked goods. Keep up the great work!

    Renee
  • I made this last night and I haven't stopped dreaming about it. It's amazing. With the raz-el-hanout, it is quite possibly the best thing to happen to a loaf since sliced bread.

    Megan
  • I just wanted to comment on how beautiful your pictures are. As an enthusiastic baking hobbyist, I'm excited to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    Heidi - Botanical PaperWorks
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