Is there a summer quick bread more ubiquitous than zucchini bread? It is our favorite vehicle for the overabundance of zucchini that comes in August. We love zucchini most for its keen ability to play either sweet or savory. Bake up this tender loaf of zucchini bread and you'll feel like you're getting a sweet treat and a serving of vegetables all in one.
This zucchini bread recipe is our tried-and-true method that uses up a full pound of zucchini and will make you two gorgeous loaves — one for now and one for the freezer.
What Is Zucchini Bread?
Zucchini bread is a sweet quick bread designed to use up a bunch of fresh zucchini at once, much like banana bread. If you've never been introduced before, let me say a few words about zucchini bread. First off, it doesn't taste like zucchini. Nor can you feel pieces of it in the bread itself. Both the flavor and the texture of the shredded zucchini melt into the bread, creating a subtle sweetness and a soft texture.
This recipe makes two smallish "tea-sized" loaves. The smaller slices are perfect for an afternoon snack or late-night nosh. If you'd prefer larger slices, bake all of the batter in one single 8x4-inch loaf pan and extend the baking time by about 10 minutes. You can also bake the batter in a muffin pan — use liners or spray liberally with non-stick spray.
Key Steps for the Best Zucchini Bread
- Squeeze the zucchini. To avoid ending up with soggy loaves from all the moisture in the zucchini, I've adopted a trick from Cook's Illustrated. You simply squeeze the shredded zucchini in a clean dish cloth before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. The loaves end up light and airy instead of dense and weighed-down.
- Use the muffin method for mixing. When mixing quick breads it is important to mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients separately, then bring them together gently. Add the shredded and drained zucchini to the dry ingredients before adding the wet.
- Cool the loaves on their sides. This tiny trick makes for more tender loaves with crisp sides — especially ideal if you plan on freezing that extra loaf, which you should.
Storing and Serving Zucchini Bread
Zucchini bread is best served slightly warm with a slathering of butter, so toast leftover bread slightly before serving. As for storing you'll want to tightly wrap the leftovers and store them at room temperature for just a few days. Move extra loaves to the freezer for long-term storage.
This zucchini-packed quick bread is one of the best reasons to turn on your oven in August. We swapped the ground cinnamon originally called for here with lemon zest for more of a fresh, summery flavor. And we simplified the recipe by eliminating a quarter teaspoon of baking soda.
If you're looking to bake this into muffins, be sure to use muffin liners and bake for 16 to 18 minutes. Makes about 24 muffins.
— Meghan, August 2018
How To Make Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 (8x4-inch) loaves
What You Need
Cooking spray or butter, for greasing the pans
zucchini (about 2 medium)
packed brown sugar
olive oil or canola oil
Optional mix-ins: 1 cup chopped nuts, 1 cup raisins, or 1 cup chocolate chips
8x4-inch loaf pans
Kitchen towel or cheesecloth
Heat the oven to 350°F. Coat 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray or butter.
Grate the zucchini. Trim the stem and root-end from the zucchinis and grate them on the large holes of a box grater. You should end up with about 3 cups of shredded zucchini.
Squeeze the moisture from the shredded zucchini. Place the zucchini in a clean kitchen towel or several layers of cheese cloth. Gather up the sides and squeeze to press out as much moisture from the zucchini as possible.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Place the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine; set aside. Place the eggs, sugars, olive oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
Mix the batter. Add the zucchini and any mix-ins (nuts, raisins, chocolate chips) to the flour mixture. Pour the liquids over top. Gently stir and fold just until no more dry flour is visible. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
Bake the loaves and cool. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. The finished loaves should have a golden-brown crust and feel springy if you give the top a little pat. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Storage: Loaves will keep in an airtight container for several days. They can also be wrapped in foil and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or in a warm oven for 20 minutes.