I still remember the first time I encountered zucchini bread as a teenager. I had a hard time getting my mind around the concept. At the time, zucchini was something my mom made me eat, and not anything you would bake into something sweet.
Why Zucchini Bread Is a Must-Try
Fortunately, the pathway into my naturally resistant-to-new-foods teenage mind had already been cut with carrot cake. Heck, if you could get something that good out of carrots, why not zucchini?
After one bite, I was sold forever. Grated zucchini, mixed into the batter, brings moisture and tender texture to what is essentially a spice cake.
VIDEO: How to Make Zucchini Bread
No Need for a Mixer
This is a favorite, tried-and-true zucchini bread recipe. It couldn't be easier; you don't need a mixer!
It's basically our zucchini muffin recipe in a bread form. It's a standard quick bread recipe that starts with grated zucchini, about 3 to 4 cups of it. It is pretty forgiving. If you use 4 cups, it will result in a more moist and dense bread.
How to Prep Zucchini for the Best Zucchini Bread
Grate the zucchini on a standard box grater. No need to peel!
After grating, place the grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl to drain any excess moisture while you prep the other ingredients.
Note that different zucchini can really vary in their moisture content, depending on if they were garden picked in season or store-bought off season.
A tip I learned from my grandmother is if I grate zucchini and it is on the dry side, to sprinkle water over it, and then let in drain in a sieve.
What Can I Add to Zucchini Bread?
Walnuts and pecans are especially good in zucchini bread, and so is dried fruit. I like raisins or dried cranberries, but you can also add shredded coconut or a handful of mini chocolate chips. A bit of orange zest would work too, or grated apples or carrots.
For a version with crushed pineapple, try my Zucchini Bread with Pineapple recipe.
How to Store and Keep Zucchini Bread
This bread will keep at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap for several days. If you would like to freeze it, let it cool down all the way first, wrap it in plastic wrap, and then wrap it tightly in aluminum foil.
Frozen zucchini bread will taste best if you eat it within 3 months. Thaw it on the countertop, still wrapped, or in a low oven. (More freezing and thawing advice in this post.)
5 More Quick Breads You'll Love
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Swaps and Substitutions
Our readers have shared a plethora of ways they have tailored this recipe. While we haven't tested these substitutions ourselves, we wanted to highlight some here in case you'd like to give them a try.
- Flour options: In place of some or all of the all-purpose flour, try whole wheat, gluten-free, or oat flour. One reader commented that she used white spelt flour with great success.
- Butter alternatives: A couple of readers used Earth Balance (a vegan butter alternative) in place of butter. Some have swapped in applesauce for a portion of the butter. Others replaced some or all of the butter with coconut, olive, or canola oils. Note that when you substitute butter with oil in a baking recipe, use 3/4 the amount of oil as you would butter. Since this recipe calls for 3/4 cup of butter, you would substitute it with a little more than 1/2 cup of oil.
- Sweet swaps: Zucchini bread typically has some sweetness to it, so we recommend a minimum of 1 1/4 cups of sugar so it tastes good. Some readers have swapped brown sugar in place of some of the granulated sugar. Others have used applesauce and honey to reduce the refined sugar.
- Add-Ins: Instead of walnuts or pecans, you can use sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, more dried fruit, or just leave them out altogether.
Zucchini Bread Troubleshooting
- Since not all zucchini contains the same amount of moisture, you might need to make adjustments to your batter. Fresh homegrown zucchini tends to be wetter than store-bought.
- Adding too much flour will gave you a dense loaf. When you measure the flour for this recipe, don't pack it into the cup. Fluff up the flour, scoop into it with a measuring cup, and then level it off with a flat knife.
- How do you know how much moisture is "right" for this recipe? Go by the consistency of the batter. Ideally, the batter will be thick but not pasty, pourable but not thin. If it’s too thin, fold in a little more flour. If it’s too thick, mix in some water.
Easy Zucchini Bread
Place the grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl to drain any excess moisture while you prep the other ingredients.
You can use anywhere from 3 cups to 4 cups of freshly grated zucchini for this recipe; 4 cups will yield a slightly more dense, moist zucchini bread.
Don't pack flour into the cup when you're measuring it, or your bread will be too dense. Fluff up the flour, scoop into it with a measuring cup, then level it off with a flat knife.
- 3 to 4 cups grated fresh zucchini (700 to 900 ml)
- 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pans
- 3 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/3 cup (270 g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1 cup (100 g) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- 1 cup (120 g) dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
Drain the zucchini:
Place the grated zucchini in a sieve or colander over a bowl to drain any excess moisture. If the grated zucchini seems to be on the dry side, sprinkle water over it as it's in the colander, then let it drain.
Prep the oven and pans:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
Combine the dry ingredients:
In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and ground nutmeg.
Whisk the wet ingredients:
In another large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt (omit the salt if using salted butter). Stir in the drained grated zucchini and then the melted butter.
Mix the batter:
Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, to the sugar-egg-zucchini mixture, stirring after each incorporation. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins, if using.
Bake the bread:
Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans. Bake for 50 minutes at 350°F (175°C) or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.