Our Favorite Zucchini Bread Recipe

This incredibly easy zucchini bread recipe is our family’s favorite! Made with brown sugar to keep it nice and moist, and cinnamon and vanilla for a delicious flavor, I’m convinced that you’ll think it’s the best, too. Be sure to check the recipe notes for mix-in ideas, as well as options for making zucchini muffins and mini-muffins. A summer staple perfected!

Overhead photo of zucchini bread on cutting board with two pieces sliced off.

Zucchini bread is an all-time classic and is exactly what to put on the menu when gardens are overflowing with summer’s most bountiful vegetable. Sure, there are tons of ways you can cook with zucchini, but when trying to figure out how to use up the extra, is there really anything better than a slice of moist, tender zucchini bread loaded up with chopped walnuts (and/or chocolate chips, if you’d like!) and slathered with butter? Definitely not.

The best part of this zucchini bread? It’s the quintessential quick bread! A quick grate of the zucchini, squeezing out excess liquid, then some whisking ingredients together and it’s ready for the oven. Less than 15 minutes of prep work, no waiting for zucchini to drain,  and no mixer required makes this a perfect quick bread recipe!

Ingredients for zucchini bread prepped in bowls on counter.

How to prepare the zucchini

When used in baked goods, zucchini morphs from a “meh” vegetable to a powerhouse ingredient that delivers tons of moisture to whatever you’re baking. In addition, it doesn’t have an overpowering flavor, so it will usually just blend right into the background of your bread/cake/muffin.

Below are some tips for working with zucchini successfully:

  • Selecting zucchini – I like selecting medium-sized zucchini that are slightly firm when squeezed. Rinse under water and dry off.
  • Leave the skin on – I do not peel the zucchini when baking with it; it breaks down during baking and is very soft, so there’s no need to make extra work for yourself 😉
  • Shred the zucchini – I use a traditional box grater and grate on the largest holes. Be sure to trim off the ends first!
  • Squeeze it! – Once the zucchini is shredded, place it into the center of a clean dish towel, gather up the towel and wring it out over the sink to get as much liquid out as you can.

Whisking together dry ingredients in a bowl for zucchini bread.

Whisking together wet ingredients for zucchini bread in bowl.

Troubleshooting zucchini bread

The beauty of quick bread, and especially zucchini or banana bread, is that they come together very quickly and that due to their ingredients, they are never dry and stay nice and moist. So, what could go wrong?

  • Zucchini bread is too dense – This is a result of too much moisture; be sure to really squeeze out as much liquid as you possibly can after you shred the zucchini.
  • The bread is taking too long to cook – The bake times are variable because there will be inherent differences in how much moisture is released from your zucchini. Yours may take a bit longer, just be sure to follow the doneness cues in the recipe – bake until a toothpick has moist crumbs attached when inserted into the center.
  • The bread is getting too dark – If you prefer a paler loaf of bread, you can tent the loaf pan with aluminum foil halfway through baking to keep it from getting too dark.
  • The loaf sunk in the middle after it cooled – This can be caused by too much moisture (see “zucchini bread is too dense” above), the bread not being cooked through the entire way before it was removed from the oven, or accidentally using too much baking powder or baking soda (be sure to measure accurately).
  • The bread is sticking to the pan – This bread should come right out of the pan, but I do recommend the double step of spraying with non-stick cooking spray, and then lining with parchment paper to make removing a breeze.

Mixing dry and wet ingredients together in bowl.

Zucchini bread batter in loaf pan, then photo of fully baked bread.

Recipe Success Tips

A few extra notes to ensure you are sitting down to the absolute best banana bread that you’ve ever had…

  • As mentioned above, be sure to squeeze out as much water as you can from the zucchini.
  • Make nut substitutions if you’d like. Walnuts are a classic, but pretty much any other nut will work – try pecans, cashews, anything! You can also omit the nuts if you’d prefer, as well.
  • Mix-In options: Chocolate chips, raisins, and dried cranberries are all great options. You can swap them in for the nuts, or do a mixture.
  • Loaf Pan: Use a 9×5-inch or 1-lb loaf pan. I use the Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch loaf pans.
  • Serving Ideas: While this bread absolutely stands on its own, you can dress it up for dessert with a slather of cream cheese frosting.
  • Storage: Wrap the cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: This bread freezes exceptionally well. Wrap in plastic wrap, then tightly in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
  • Converting to Muffins: If you’d like to turn this zucchini bread into zucchini bread muffins, line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill each about ¾ full. You should get around 18 muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For mini muffins, they’ll need about 10 to 13 minutes to bake and you’ll get around 3 dozen.

More Zucchini Bread Variations

Two slices of zucchini bread stacked on together on white plate.

If you make this recipe and love it, I would so appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a rating below. Thank you so much! ❤️️

Our Favorite Zucchini Bread Recipe

Servings 12 servings (Makes 1 loaf)
Prep 45 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

This incredibly easy zucchini bread recipe is our family's favorite! Made with brown sugar to keep it nice and moist, and cinnamon and vanilla for a delicious flavor, I'm confident that you'll think it's the best, as well. Be sure to check the notes for mix-in ideas, as well as options for making zucchini muffins and mini-muffins. A summer staple perfected!

Ingredients:

  • pound
    zucchini, shredded
    (about 2 large zucchini)
  • 2
    cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 2
    teaspoons
    ground cinnamon
  • 1
    teaspoon
    baking powder
  • 1
    teaspoon
    baking soda
  • teaspoons
    salt
  • cups
    light brown sugar
  • ¼
    cup
    vegetable oil
  • 2
    large eggs
    (beaten lightly)
  • 1
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • ¾
    cup
    walnuts
    (coarsely chopped)
  • 1
    tablespoon
    granulated sugar
    (for sprinkling)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper so excess parchment hangs over each side.

  2. Place the zucchini in a clean dish towel, gather the ends together, then twist and squeeze to drain out as much liquid as possible.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine; set aside.

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until completely combined. Fold in the drained zucchini.

  5. Add the zucchini mixture to the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold together until a few streaks of flour remain. Add the chopped walnuts and gently fold to combine.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth into an even layer, and sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the top.

  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 65 to 75 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Leftover bread should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • As mentioned above, be sure to squeeze out as much water as you can from the zucchini.
  • Make nut substitutions if you’d like. Walnuts are a classic, but pretty much any other nut will work – try pecans, cashews, anything! You can also omit the nuts if you’d prefer, as well.
  • Mix-In options: Chocolate chips, raisins, and dried cranberries are all great options. You can swap them in for the nuts, or do a mixture.
  • Loaf Pan: Use a 9x5-inch or 1-lb loaf pan. I use the Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch loaf pans.
  • Serving Ideas: While this bread absolutely stands on its own, you can dress it up for dessert with a slather of cream cheese frosting.
  • Storage: Wrap the cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: This bread freezes exceptionally well. Wrap in plastic wrap, then tightly in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
  • Converting to Muffins: If you’d like to turn this zucchini bread into zucchini bread muffins, line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill each about ¾ full. You should get around 18 muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For mini muffins, they'll need about 10 to 13 minutes to bake and you'll get around 3 dozen.

Nutrition:

Calories: 276kcal
Fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 27mg
Sodium: 404mg
Potassium: 277mg
Carbohydrates: 43g
Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 25g
Protein: 5g
Vitamin A: 153%
Vitamin C: 10%
Calcium: 60%
Iron: 2%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

[Photography by Ari of Well Seasoned]