Simple Zucchini Bread: mastering a kitchen staple

Zucchini.
It’s the rabbit of the vegetable world.
It’s that stack of bills delivered in the mail.
It’s mosquitoes at a late-summer barbecue.
Basically, every time you turn around, it seems to be multiplying.

But unlike student loans and winged pests, I look forward to the plethora of zucchini that my garden delivers each season. And with late summer showing its face, it’s time to start doing something with the large amounts of this tender green vegetable.

Now, I love savory as much as I love sweet. So zucchini in lasagna? You bet that’s on the menu. Stir-fry with zucchini? Check! Grilled zucchini? Heck yes, this vegetarian knows her way around a grill, so burger aficionados, beware.

But probably the best and most classic recipe you’ll find in most kitchens is zucchini bread. Everyone has a favorite version: studded with chocolate chips, peppered with toasted walnuts, subtly spiced with cinnamon. Simple zucchini bread goes hand in hand with coffee, Earl Grey, or a glass of cold milk.

Simple zucchini bread ingredients via @kingarthurflour

But enough talk about zucchini, let’s get down to baking this highly reproductive and incredibly versatile veggie.

Simple zucchini bread ingredients via @kingarthurflour

First things first: wash and trim your zucchini. You’ll need 2 cups grated or shredded, so about 2 medium-sized veggies. Gently pat it with paper towels to remove any excess water.

We’re not measuring by weight in this recipe because the water content of zucchini varies drastically, which means the weight can vary drastically. Just aim for 2 cups of medium-packed grated or shredded zucchini.

If you have a food processor, you can use its medium shredding blade to prep the zucchini. I like to use a cheese grater on the side with the medium-large holes versus the smaller holes. That way, the texture is slightly more prominent — and I like playing with fire, trying to avoid grating my knuckles.

Simple zucchini bread ingredients via @kingarthurflour

Besides, the smaller grater holes risk the zucchini being less shredded and more of a watery, goopy mess, losing a lot of its pleasant texture.

Simple zucchini bread pan via @kingarthurflour

Grease an 8 1/2” x 4 1/2“ loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350°F.

Simple zucchini bread ingredients via @kingarthurflour

Put the following in a bowl:

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons boiled cider, apple or orange juice, milk, or the liquid of your choice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to bake simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

Mix everything until thoroughly combined.

How to bake simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

In a separate bowl, whisk together the following ingredients:

1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

How to bake simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

Once whisked, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients; mix just to combine. Use a light hand in this step, or the loaf could sink in the middle and be tough.

Simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

Next, fold in the add-ins:

3/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
3/4 cup raisins, currants, or golden raisins
2 cups shredded zucchini

How to bake simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Smooth the top the best you can with the back of a spatula, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, if you so choose.

How to bake simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

The brown sugar adds an extra pop of sweetness and additional crunch.

How to bake simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack.

Simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

Resist the urge to slice into the zucchini bread while it’s hot; you don’t want it to fall apart. Let it cool (almost) completely before slicing. Top with butter, jam, cream cheese, or simply enjoy its simplicity as is.

As I said earlier, I love both sweet and savory, and a simple zucchini bread is pretty much a blank canvas, completely open to creative, flavorful alterations and additions.

Here are a couple of variations that I’ve fallen in love with:

Simple zucchini bread ginger variation via @kingarthurflour

Ginger Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Make the basic recipe above, but instead of walnuts and raisins, reach for equal amounts of chopped crystallized ginger and dark chocolate.

I love these two flavors together – the loaf works as a breakfast option, pick-me-up snack, or even dessert.

For a savory spin on zucchini bread, try:

Simple zucchini bread via @kingarthurflour

Spiced Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Substitute paprika for the cinnamon, and replace the walnuts and raisins with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and two tablespoons green onions or shallots, finely diced. BTW, there’s no need to lower the sugar; this is one of those salty-sweet combinations everyone seems to love these days.

For meat-lovers, why not toss in a handful of cooked and chopped bacon to accompany that cheddar?

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, then sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup cheese on top of the loaf for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking. This will give you that melty, slightly crisp layer of cheese on top, because everyone loves cheese.

So when the zucchini population starts to take over your garden, or it gets left on your porch in the middle of the night by neighbors, don’t dread it. Embrace it! You now know what to do with those plenteous plants.

Simple zucchini bread ginger variation via @kingarthurflour

Please read, bake, and rate our recipe for Simple Zucchini Bread.

Print just the recipe.

Bryanna Allen
About

Bryanna Allen is from Vermont, where she received a degree in communications and journalism at the state’s Castleton University. During college she worked at Otter Creek Bakery in Middlebury, where she developed her love of baking. After graduation she became a newspaper reporter, writing feature ...

comments

  1. Marsh. King

    Zucchini bread is the best way to enjoy this veggie! And I love your variations of this recipe, but how shall we decide who gets the end slice? (That was often a topic of debate for my kids).

    Reply
    1. Bryanna Allen , post author

      The oldest child of course! Kidding. Sharing is caring, always enough to go around. Happy baking, Bryanna@KAF

  2. Amber Haller

    Thanks for giving this often slandered vegetable a good name (and good photos)! This is well written (humor always appreciated) and easy to follow; I have never tried a savory Zucchini Bread so I will definitely be giving the Spiced Cheddar a try. Now, to just search out a friend with a vegetable garden…

    Reply
  3. Harper

    Loved this article! The photographs brought everything to life as did the writing. I am going to try the ginger chocolate recipe for sure.

    Reply
  4. Suzanne R,

    This post was so timely! I have an abundance of zucchini – so doubled this recipe, then divided the batter in half: put golden raisins and toasted pecans in one half, and chopped crystallized ginger and mini chocolate chips in the other half. Amazing!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Erich,
      Don’t worry, this recipe can be easily printed. Just click the link for Simple Zucchini Bread under the top most photo in the blog post, or just print it here. Kye@KAF

  5. Susan Anderson

    I substituted dried cranberries for raisins and found we prefer their slight tart- sweetness over raisins.

    Reply
    1. Bryanna Allen , post author

      Cynthia, I personally added the vanilla still, because it created this nice, subtly-sweet-savory flavor combination. If you’re hesitant, feel free to leave it out! Bryanna@KAF

  6. Mary Berg

    Has anyone tried this with KAF Gluten-free flour? If so, are any substitutions or additional ingredients necessary?

    Reply
    1. Bryanna Allen , post author

      Mary, this recipe would work wonderfully with our Measure for Measure flour because it’s designed to convert standard recipes into gluten-free recipes without any adjustments to the ingredients. Let us know if you give it a try, we love feedback of any sort.
      Bryanna@KAF

  7. Diane

    Best my friend s have had love how you show how to make bread I’m a terrible cook this helped me a lot thank you so much

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Are you using walnuts that are already roasted? Try using chopped, raw walnuts in your baking. If you notice any large exposed chunks on the top of your bread before it goes into the oven, just tuck them in slightly using a toothpick. This should help! Kye@KAF

  8. carol butkeiwicz

    For the Ginger Chocolate bread, can you use the unsweetened baking chocolate? (Not the powder but the chunks)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Unsweetened chocolate is very bitter. It’s best only used in recipes that specially call for it. Stick with either bittersweet or milk chocolate chunks for the best flavor. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel

      Sure, Jean. Just thaw, then set it in a colander and weigh it down with something heavy set atop a plate. Let the liquid drain for a couple of hours, and it should be good to go – PJH

  9. Therese

    So can you tell me what I’m doing wrong when the middle of the loaf is a gooey mess and the edges are burning. Help

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Therese,
      Are you baking in glass or ceramic? This is usually the cause of uneven baking throughout the loaf. We recommend baking in a medium-colored metal pan for the most even baking results. You can also consider covering the loaf with foil about halfway through baking to prevent the edges from over-baking. A last option? Turn the temperature down by 25°F and extend the baking time by about 5-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  10. Regina

    I made this with the measure for measure flour. The taste was very good. However I am going to make it again because it was very gummy in the middle. Next time I am going to take most of the moisture out of the zucchini, that is what I think the problem was. Overall a great recipe!

    Reply
  11. Jenn

    Can you recommend a baking time for muffin sized paper pans, or mini loaf sized paper pans? These often end up under-cooked when I try to make them.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Jenn,
      We sure can help with this. Bake zucchini muffins at 375°F for 25-30 minutes and mini loaves (depending on the size) for about 35-40 minutes. Always test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center, and remember you can tent with foil to prevent the tops from browning too much if you think the center needs a bit more time to bake all the way through. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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