This zucchini bread is healthy and just as tasty as other recipes packed with sugar and oil.
If you have a thriving garden unlike me, you may have lots of zucchini on hand. Or, if you’re more like me, you’re a sucker for any in-season, local produce and overbuy at the farmers market. And that also leads to an abundance of zucchini.
After seeing this chocolate zucchini bread recipe, I couldn’t stop thinking about zucchini bread. But I wanted a traditional zucchini bread recipe, non-chocolate, and one that was slightly healthier than the recipes that are so filled with sugar and oil that they’re essentially cake. Hey, I love cake too, but I wanted a good balance so I could eat this zucchini bread all day. And I also wanted to make them into muffins. They are so much easier for me to grab and go when I make muffins, so that’s I’m sharing today.
Now that Thomas is 9 months old (how did that happen!?) I’ve really loved our time together in the kitchen. Since publishing recipes is part of the blog, I try to do at least a little recipe testing a week, when Thomas is awake. I think it’s a fun activity to do together, especially since he’s so curious right now. I just put him in his high chair and go to town.
Enough about that though, let’s get to this delicious recipe!
Best Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe
I haven’t made zucchini bread muffins in a few years but after seeing all the local, organic zucchini around here, I started to really crave this delicious bread. I bought a HUGE zucchini and pulled up my go-to recipe, which I shared below!. Sometimes I make loaves, but recently I’ve been making muffins since they’re so easy to grab.
This recipe makes two 8×4 loaf or 24 muffins.
Okay, first let’s make sure you have all the ingredients on hand! Scan the list and double check your kitchen and pantry before you dive into making it!
- whole wheat pastry flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- unsweetened applesauce
- olive oil
- zest of two lemons
- maple syrup
- coconut sugar
- vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350* and grease and flour two 8×4 bread pans or two 12 muffin tins.
Grate your zucchini. Tip: You can prep your zucchini ahead of time and leave it in a sealed container, in your fridge, for 3-5 days.
In a medium bowl, sift together, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.
In a large bowl combine applesauce, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon zest and eggs. Add in the sugar. Whisk until well combined.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then stir until just combined.
Stir in the walnuts and zucchini. Reserve some of the walnuts to sprinkle on top of the loaf before baking, or mix them all in. (If the mixture seems extremely dry, almost like a wet cookie batter, you might need to add in a few tablespoons of milk. The batter should be very gooey and thick.)
Pour in batter and spread so it’s level or fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way. If desired, sprinkle more chopped walnuts on top.
Bake loaf for 50-65 minutes. Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes. Toothpick test to be sure. You want the toothpick to be slightly moist with some crumbs but not coated in batter.
Let cool for 20-30 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack until completely cool.
Zucchini Bread Tips
Sometimes the zucchinis can be really watery, especially if you grind them in the food processor. If there is an unusual amount of liquid, you might want to drain some away. Just place it over a colander and let the water drain out for 15-20 minutes.
I think the hardest part is knowing when to pull the loaf out of the oven. You don’t want it to dry out but you definitely want it cooked through. For me, the muffins are much easier to judge.
When you toothpick test, you want it to still be slightly wet on the toothpick, because it will continue to cook a bit after pulling it out. You don’t want the toothpick to be gooey or completely dry. The loaf will rise and crack on top as well as brown on the edges and pull away from the pan. Those are all signs that the loaf is done! If you slightly overcook, you can always warm the muffins and slather with butter to help with any dryness!
Zucchini Bread Variations
Add 2/3 cups chocolate chips, along with the walnuts. Or nix the walnuts and only do chocolate chips!
I haven’t tried substituting a flax egg or an egg replacement in this recipe, but if you do, let me know how it goes. If you are looking for a tried and true vegan zucchini bread recipe, this is a great one!
- Increase oven temp to 375*
- Use less baking powder – 3/4 teaspoon will work
- The extra 2-4 tablespoon milk will most likely be necessary.
- Cook for longer. It may take over an hour (65-75 minutes) to bake.
To freeze, fully cool, wrap in saran wrap, then foil and then place in a large sealable bag.Print
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Zest of two lemons (about ½ to 1 teaspoon)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups rounded grated zucchini [skins on or off, doesn’t matter] (2 large zucchini)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 350* and grease and flour two 8×4 bread pans or two 12 muffin tins.
- Grate your zucchini.
- In a medium bowl, sift together, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl combine applesauce, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon zest and eggs. Add in the sugar. Whisk until well combined.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then stir until just combined.
- Stir in the walnuts and zucchini. Reserve some of the walnuts to sprinkle on top of the loaf before baking, or mix them all in. (If the mixture seems extremely dry, almost like a wet cookie batter, you might need to add in a few tablespoons of milk. The batter should be very gooey and thick.)
- Pour in batter and spread so it’s level or fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way. If desired, sprinkle more chopped walnuts on top.
- Bake loaf for 50-65min. Bake muffins for 18-22min. Toothpick test to be sure. You want the toothpick to be slightly moist with some crumbs but not coated in batter.
- Let cool for 20-30 min in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack until completely cool.
*Milk – Like I mentioned in the directions, you may or may not need to add a few tablespoons of milk to help moisten the batter. If after adding the zucchini, it is hard to stir with a spoon add 2-4 tablespoons milk. It is a gooey, thick batter that will need some assistance when transporting it to your loaf pan.
This post was originally published in 2010 and I’ve since tweaked the recipe a bit to incorporate some spices and lemon like my sister-in-law’s amazing recipe. Enjoy the older photos and the new recipe!