Lemony Zucchini Muffins

published Jun 7, 2022
Zucchini Muffins Recipe

A full pound of zucchini goes into these lemon-y muffins, perfect for using up that summer bumper crop.

Makes12 muffins

Prep20 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

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Credit: Kelli Foster

With no need for a mixer or food processor, muffins are one of the easiest baked goods to make. At the height of summer, when the bumper crop of zucchini is threatening to take over your garden, grating a full pound of the summer squash to make tender, lemon-y muffins is the logical move. These portable cousins to zucchini bread are delicious at breakfast or brunch, or during a mid-afternoon tea or coffee break.

Do You Peel Zucchini Before Shredding for Muffins?

Zucchini has a very thin, tender skin, so there’s no need to peel it before shredding it. In fact, the dark green skin beautifully speckles the muffins to remind you that there’s a vegetable inside!

How Do You Grate Zucchini for Muffins?

Trim the stem end from the zucchini, then grate on the large holes of a box grater into shreds. Alternatively, you can shred the zucchini using the shredding disc on a food processor.

Squeeze Your Zucchini (Don’t Skip This Step!)

Zucchini, especially large ones, tend to have a high moisture content, which can turn muffins soggy and squishy, not to mention dilute the flavors. In order to fit a full pound of zucchini into 12 muffins, squeeze the extra moisture out of the grated zucchini before stirring it into the batter. You’d be surprised at how much liquid comes out of the shreds and glad that it won’t end up in the final muffins.

How to Make Zucchini Muffins

  • Mix your dry ingredients. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together.
  • Prepare the zucchini. Grate the zucchini, then squeeze out the extra moisture. Fold it into the dry ingredients.
  • Make lemon-y sugar. Rub lemon zest into the sugar so it’s nice and fragrant.
  • Mix the wet ingredients. Whisk the lemon sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and kosher salt together. The salt is added here so it gets a chance to dissolve before the dry ingredients are mixed in.
  • Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Top and bake. Divide the batter among the muffin wells. Top with a sprinkle of grated zucchini, which adds a pretty colorful touch. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

These muffins stay moist for days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If the muffin tops get too wet and sticky, just stick the muffins in a warm oven for a few minutes to refresh them and dry the tops out again.

Zucchini Muffins Recipe

A full pound of zucchini goes into these lemon-y muffins, perfect for using up that summer bumper crop.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

Nutritional Info


  • Cooking spray or paper muffin liners

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1 pound

    zucchini (about 2 medium)

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable or canola oil

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line a standard 12-well muffin tin with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

  2. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Trim and grate 1 pound zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (about 3 cups). Reserve 1/4 cup of the zucchini for garnish. Place about 1/3 of the remaining zucchini on a clean kitchen towel. Gather up the sides and squeeze over the sink to press out as much moisture from the zucchini as possible. Add to the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining zucchini in two more batches. Stir the zucchini into the flour with a flexible spatula until combined with no big clumps of zucchini.

  4. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon into a medium bowl (about 2 teaspoons). Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant. Add 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil, 2 large eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk until smooth and lightened in color.

  5. Scrape the sugar mixture into the zucchini mixture and fold together with the spatula until just combined with no streaks of dry flour remaining, the batter will be very thick. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin wells (about 1/3 cup per well), they will be very full. Sprinkle with the reserved zucchini, about 1 teaspoon per well.

  6. Bake until golden brown on top and a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan. If not using paper liners, run a thin knife around each muffin to loosen. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They can also be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature.