Recipe Review

Why Serious Eats’ Zucchini Bread Recipe Isn’t Worth Your Time

published Jul 13, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk

When selecting recipes to include in our zucchini bread recipe showdown, I knew I wanted to include four that each had a distinct point of view. Serious Eats’ zucchini bread recipe immediately fit the bill: It uses both olive oil and Greek yogurt to give the bread added flavor and moisture. I had never made a zucchini bread with these ingredients, so I was eager to try it.

Serious Eats is known for taking recipe testing seriously (hence their name) and has amassed a loyal following of food-lovers who turn to them for quality recipes, so I had high hopes for this quick bread. Here’s what happened when I baked it at home.

Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Serious Eats’ Zucchini Bread

You’ll start by combining eggs, vegetable oil, extra-virgin olive oil, 2 cups of grated zucchini, full-fat Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and light brown sugar in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir with a rubber spatula until a very thick batter forms. (The batter was the thickest of all the zucchini bread recipes I tested).

Fold in the walnuts, then pour it into two greased loaf pans. Bake in a 350°F oven until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 30 minutes, then slice and serve.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Serious Eats’ Zucchini Bread Recipe

This recipe was a bit of a disappointment. The batter was very thick — completely different than the other three recipes I tested. The texture was like a loose bread dough that was very sticky and wet. It gave the loaves a dull, lumpy appearance that made them the least attractive loaves. It also yielded very squat loaves that didn’t rise very much.

Beyond its appearance, the bread didn’t taste that great either. Instead of being rich and cakey (qualities I look for in my zucchini bread), it was dense and bready. I was hoping that the addition of both olive oil and Greek yogurt would have kept it moist, but it didn’t. (And I couldn’t even taste the olive oil.) The flavor was fine — with subtle caramel notes from the brown sugar, a pleasant warmth from the cinnamon, and pops of texture from the walnuts — but it was nothing to write home about. It was just too dense and I don’t think I’ll be making it again.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Serious Eats’ Zucchini Bread, a Few Tips

  1. Freeze one of the loves. Keep in mind that this recipe yields two loaves of zucchini bread, so unless you’re planning to eat all of it within a week, go ahead and freeze one of the loaves. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap and placed it in a zip-top baggie before freezing.
  2. Use full-fat Greek yogurt. Avoid using fat-free Greek yogurt in this recipe. Full-fat varieties are more flavorful and lend the zucchini bread additional fat that helps keep it moist.
  3. Use a cheap olive oil. The recipe calls for using 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, but you can’t really taste it, so it’s okay to use a cheap variety and keep your expensive bottle for another use.
  4. Use an offset spatula or spoon to smooth the top of the batter. Because the batter is so thick, you’ll want to make sure to smooth the top of the batter out before popping it in the oven. This will help it bake evenly and make sure the top looks lump-free.

Rating: 3/10

Have you ever baked Serious Eats’ zucchini bread recipe? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk