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.


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.


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.


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.


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 24 reviews
Recipe type: Breads
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.
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
  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.
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. 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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  1. Janet Olson says:

    I tried this the other day, I didn’t have any wheat flour and prefer to not have chocolate in my bread (or nuts or anything crunchy) And it turned out fab. My 2 1/2 year old loves it too. Score.

  2. Lorrie Scott says:

    My loaf is in the oven. I am not sure of a part of the instructions. It says to prep a loaf pan. Then prop a muffin or mini loaf. Is that Prep a Loaf pan, and prep a mini. Or is it either? I put it all in the loaf pan.

    I am sure your recipe is perfect as is, but I made yoghurt yesterday and had lots of whey left. I used Whey instead of Buttermilk, but added a T. of powdered milk to maintain the milk protein. I also am trying to use up some walnuts and threw them in too. The lick the spoon pronounced it to be delicious…now finish cooking!

    • I did the same thing…didn’t read step 5 where it said to put it in the muffins first and then the rest in the loaf pan. It’s still in the oven, and I don’t see it being done at 50 minutes. Oops. Hopefully it gets done in the middle before the top gets too done…

  3. Lorrie Scott says:

    Just reread your instructions. Too bad I am a bit dyslexic. I should have poured some into both loaf and muffin. No problem. I will cook the loaf a bit longer…good is good no matter what the shape is.

  4. Is there a way I can find out the nutritional information on this recipe?

  5. Hi Aimee,
    I just came across your website today & have been caught up here now for a good while.. lol..everything looks great!
    I wanted to ask you, in regards to this recipe, I don’t want to be difficult, but for health reasons I don’t eat anything ‘white’, so I’m wondering if I could just use all ‘wholemeal’ flour (what is ‘whole wheat’ flour?), instead of mixing it up with the cake flour or all purpose, or what do you suggest? Also I’ll have to sub the peanut or canola oil for avocado or coconut oil ( heriditary high cholesterol 🙁 For everyone out there raising their eyebrows.. canola is not really a ‘healthy oil’, avocado oil is fantastic & also withstands very high heat without oxidising (really unhealthy), coconut oil is also a heart healthy ‘good fat’.
    Do you think fat free Greek yogurt would be ok?, & a low fat milk, or rice milk/almond milk?..again, the cholesterol (saturated fat).. the dark chocolate in this recipe I’ll treat myself to! as long as it’s a good quality, non processed, high cocao content chocolate then it is actually heart healthy in moderation! (good news hey 🙂 Again, I apologise for being difficult, but I’m trying to manage my cholesterol without medication so I have to be strict with it.
    Thanks for any thoughts on my substitutions 🙂

  6. I just tried this recipe, and it is AMAZING, and remarkably forgiving as well. I had “misread” moment and accidently added a cup and half of greek fat free yogurt… I was going to make two batches…but I have run out of yogurt, lol. This is really a wonderful recipe and is now on my favorite list. Thankyou for a GREAT recipe!

    Teja, I grinded my own whole wheat flour and used Soft White Wheat berries. I used it for all of it and had no issues. Also used the 0% greek yogurt and had no problems. I hope this helps!

  7. I love recipes…what bothers me is the canola oil that is referenced in these recipes. We know that corn oil comes from corn, olive oils comes from olives and vegetable oil comes from vegetables. But, what the heck is canola? I suggest people read about the mechanical applications of this garbage.
    Steer your loved one away from this crap. Use what your creator created for you not this garbage…gees.

  8. Hi Aimee, I realise this post is quite old now, but when I try a recipe I find on a blog, I like to give feedback. This recipe is fantastic! I love baking for my kids but like to concentrate on snacks with vegetables or fruit in them as well as chocolate, and this one has gone down a treat! I only lament that it makes so much which means I need to find something else to do with my very productive zucchini plant for another week or two!

  9. 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!

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

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

  12. Summer Warren says:

    is there a way to print this easily??

  13. 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.

  14. 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!!!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. Is there a condensed version for printing?

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

    • I don’t. With the additional whole wheat flour, the batter needs that moisture.

      • Thanks Aimee. I was so itching to make the bread that I made it without waiting for your reply. I did it with no patting dry/draining and It worked out perfectly. Thank you once again! 🙂

  20. My husband just made your recipe. I hate zucchini. But… I LOVE this bread! Thank you!!!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. When you say whole-wheat flour do you mean bread or pastry?

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

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

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

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

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

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

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

  35. 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!

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