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

In this recipe, the inclusion of full-fat yogurt, instead of gobs of oil, ensures our loaf stays as moist as can be – without the added cholesterol.

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
4.3 from 19 reviews
Print
Recipe type: Breads
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 1+ loaf
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.
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
  1. 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.
  2. In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Fold flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Spoon batter into 6 muffin cups (or mini loaf pan) and pour the rest into the 9x4 loaf pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
  6. 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.

 

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.

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Comments

  1. Just searched for a zucchini bread recipe and found yours. Yum! I used Cocolo fair trade orange dark chocolate. Thanks for sharing! I’ll be using this recipe again!

  2. Loved this recipe, one thing though. Adding yogurt and decreasing oil actually ADDS cholesterol, which is only found in animal products.

  3. This looks delicious I’m going to try this when I go back home to Ireland

  4. Summer Warren says:

    is there a way to print this easily??

  5. I made this bread this morning but I substituted one of the ingredients with what had on hand because I did not want to run to the market. I used black cherry yogurt instead of plain yogurt and I had to do the vinegar technique with milk. I also used semi-sweet chocolate chips. One thing I neglected but the bread still tastes good is I completely forgot the sugar.

  6. I was given a zucchini and wanted to make some bread but had no clue were to start…. this recipe was very helpful! Followed it exactly and the loaf came out amazing. I loved the addition of dark chocolate!!!

  7. I am extremely picky with my zucchini bread and I finally found one I like. It’s similar to yours, but 100% whole wheat (I admit I was doubtful at first), and there’s a trough of toasted coconut and chocolate running along the top. So yummy! http://bit.ly/OPHvpq
    Jennifer Jo’s last post: roasted beet salad with cumin and mint

  8. I really don’t want to use whole wheat flour or chocolate is there any ingredients i can replace those with to make the rest of this recipe turn out well?

    • Sure! You can use all-purpose flour for the entire recipe – about 3 1/4 cups would do it. We added toasted walnuts today, why not use those instead of chocolate? Coconut would be good too. Happy Baking!

  9. Ha, ha…didn’t read step 5 very well. I thought it said to pour into muffin cups or a loaf pan (not muffins first and rest in loaf pan). I put all in the loaf pan. We’ll see how this turns out… If it’s not good, I have a ton of zucchini left for take two1

  10. Is there a condensed version for printing?

  11. Can you tell me if you drain or patted dry the grated/shredded zucchini before using it in the recipe? Thanks.

  12. My husband just made your recipe. I hate zucchini. But… I LOVE this bread! Thank you!!!
    Jennifer’s last post: Olde Canal Days Festival, Canal Fulton, Ohio

  13. Can I substitute non-fat plain greek yogurt instead of the regular yogurt ? How will the affect the moisture? I also may skip the chocolate chips (not by my choice) and add walnuts.

    • Ooops, one more question….do the muffins stay in for the full 50 mins with the bread?

      • Have made this twice now. Second time all muffins (need approx. 20 mins). Both times I used plain greek yogurt. Also added walnuts both times and coconut to the second batch of muffins. All great, highly recommend. I used 70% dark chocolate the first time and 80% dark the second time. Thought the 70% was better. Making this again this weekend as all muffins.

  14. Wanted to make a healthy alturnative to zucchini bread..I didn’t want all the sugar and oil other recipes asked for..tried this recipe the other day and LOVED it..I will surely make them again. I took the muffins out after 20 minutes (perfect) and I baked the loaf for 63 min, which could have used a few more minutes.

  15. When you say whole-wheat flour do you mean bread or pastry?
    Thanks!

  16. Made this exactly as recipe states and just tasted the muffins. Mine have a slightly bitter taste to them. What would cause this? Also the cooking time seems a little long for at least the muffins. Next time I may use my aluminum muffin pan instead.

  17. I made the mistake of leaving out the dark chocolate and found the bread rather heavy and bland. It still tastes good, just not as sweet as I expected. I won’t make the mistake of leaving out the chocolate next time!

  18. I added freshly grated ginger to this and an extra egg. Excellent.

  19. Vanya Rose says:

    I finally used the bread flour with the all-purpose. (I wonder if labelling is different here in Canada.) And I used maple syrup instead of sugar and 71% dark chocolate. The loaf turned out perfect. Everyone adored it! Thanks!

  20. tracy nelson says:

    when using frozen zucchini, instead of fresh, do you include the liquid from thawing in the reciepeor darain it off. a lot more liquid in thawed zucchini than fresh.

  21. I made this today. I tried to cut the sugar in half and use stevia for the rest. It really needed the sugar. Now its not sweet enough. I also used all whole wheat flour since I didn’t have any AP. I also didn’t have any plain yogurt so just used maple flavor instead. The bread is very moist, and my boyfriend likes it. I’ll just use more sugar next time! Oh and I used a monster zucchini. I had one in my garden.

  22. Made this – instant hit! Used Cane Sugar –
    Definitely will make again!

  23. Today was my second attempt at this bread and it turned out AMAZING. The first time i was concerned with the loaf and muffins cooking for the same amount of time and sure enough, they were both dry.
    This time, I made all muffins 20-22 minutes at 350. I also substituted 6 ounces of 2% greek yogurt (added kick of of protein) for the plain yogurt. I also subsituted a bar of 70% cacao Ghirardelli for the chocolate chunks. If you freeze it first, it chops much easier.
    Thanks so much for this recipe. I’ll be sharing it at work for sure!

    PS- the first time I made this, I squeezed ALOT of the liquid from the zucchini. DON”T do this! It makes a big difference and adds alot of moisture to the bread.

  24. WOW WOW WOW. This is going to be great, I can just tell. Have tons of zukes, and can’t wait to smell this cooking in the oven. Thanks!

  25. Pretty good. However muffins cooked in 30 mins tops…

  26. This recipe sounds good. Really hoping it comes out moist. Making this for teachers appreciation.

  27. I just put this one in the oven – however I played with the flours a bit. substituted coconut flour & oat flour for 2/3s of the AP flour, just to bump up the protein & fiber a bit more, since the plan is for the kids to eat this for breakfast this week. Excited to see how it turns out! It looked awesome going in. (adding chocolate chips to quick breads is my standard to guarantee the kids will eat it! I’m curious about the nutmeg & cinnamon flavors with the chocolate.)

    Thanks very much for the recipe!

  28. Alas, I seem to be in dissent here. I made this exactly as directed, but I found it to be heavy and not very yummy. I’m going back to my zucchini bread recipe that uses real butter and more sugar.

    • I have to agree with you. I went pretty whole hog and made several loaves, bought many fresh ingredients and it was not that good. I will NOT be using this recipe again.

  29. 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

  30. I made pumpkin, zucchini bread yesterday and used whole wheat flour for the first time. I loved it!! Moist and so yummy.
    Julia’s last post: White Pear and Apple Sangria

  31. 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!
    luv what you do’s last post: I Never Thought I’d add Pumpkin To…

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. Pat Floyd says:

    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.

  35. 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.
    Corinne’s last post: Effortless Entertaining—Host A Brunch

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.
    Growing Up Jersey’s last post: Zucchini Invasion

  39. Jessica says:

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

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

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

    Thanks

  42. 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!

  43. 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.

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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!!!

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

  48. 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.

  49. The bread turned out so good, tasted really well! love it!

  50. 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.

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