Summer’s Best Homemade Zucchini Bread
Homemade zucchini bread is a family favorite! Tender slices of bread scented with a few spices and speckled with grated zucchini is downright addicting! It’s made with a handful of simple ingredients and uses up all that summer squash!
I’ll be honest with you.
It took me quite some time to get this zucchini bread recipe to where it’s at today. A few years ago, Anees and I had brunch at this fantastic cafe where I happened to order a slice of zucchini bread for dessert. And it’s stuck with me all this time.
Ultra tender zucchini loaf, scented with just a hint of warming spices with grated zucchini running through it. It had a hint of spice and something in the background that I just couldn’t figure out. Was it maple syrup? A ground spice?
I’m an original Carmen Sandiego when it comes to figuring out what goes into a particular recipe (totally just gave away my age, didn’t I?), so I made about ten loaves of zucchini bread since then trying over and over again to crack the code.
And this zucchini loaf took quite some tinkering, but she’s here now and she’s absolutely perfect!
What do you need to make homemade zucchini bread?
- All-purpose flour: I prefer to use unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe.
- Leavening agents: We’re using both baking powder and baking soda in a today’s bread recipe. I’ve tried it with just one, and it doesn’t give you quite the same results.
- Spices and extracts: We’ll be using a bit of kosher salt to balance the sweetness as well as ground cinnamon and nutmeg. I also like to add a dash of almond extract (that’s the ingredient I just couldn’t put my finger on) and some vanilla extract. I suggest using a good quality almond extract, such as this one, so that it’s not overpowering in the bread. Lower quality extracts can sometimes add unpleasant flavors to bread and cakes.
- Oil: I prefer to use oil for my zucchini bread as I find it gives the loaf a much lighter texture! You can use vegetable, canola, coconut, or even olive oil here.
- Plain yogurt: yogurt helps moisten (I know, that word!) the bread. You can swap the plain yogurt for Greek yogurt or even sour cream if that’s what you have on hand. Since Greek yogurt and sour cream are thicker than plain yogurt, you’ll want to whip them in a bowl (with a small whisk or fork) before adding them to the batter.
- Eggs: Eggs play a critical role in bread and cake recipes. They add structure and stability in the zucchini bread batter as well as adding moisture.
- Sugar: I suggest using granulated sugar for this recipe. I’ve tested it with both brown and white sugar and found that white sugar actually allows for more of the other flavors to carry through in the bread. It also gives the bread a better appearance. I find the brown sugar somewhat masks the other delicate flavors in this recipe.
- Grated zucchini: I like to grate the zucchini by hand on a box grater, but you could also use your food processor if you’d like to get it done quicker.
- Optional add-ins: The add-ins are just a suggestion! I usually prefer my zucchini bread without them. But you could add a cup of raisins, currants, chopped pecans, or even chocolate chips if you’d like to change it up a bit!
How to make the most delicious zucchini bread:
- Prep it good. Set your self up for success! Start by preheating the oven and giving it at least 20-30 minutes to heat up to 350ºF. Spray a nonstick loaf pan with cooking spray and line with a sheet of parchment paper down the center for easy lifting.
- Make the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, leavening agents, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine the ingredients. In a 4-cup measuring cup (or medium bowl) combine the oil, sugar, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and whisk until combined. Fold the zucchini into the wet ingredients. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. When the batter still has some dry pockets, you’ll want to stir in the add-ins if you’re using them.
- Bake the bread: Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tin and bake the bread until it cooks all the way through. You’ll want to test for doneness with a toothpick. A few crumbs are just fine, you just want to make sure there isn’t any wet batter. Let the bread cool int he loaf pan for at least 30 minutes before trying to transfer it to a wire cooling rack.
Things to remember when making homemade zucchini bread:
- I suggest using a good quality loaf pan. I purchased this one as a set of two from Home Goods, but here’s a set of two that are affordable!
- One thing that I highly encourage everyone to invest in is an oven thermometer. It costs less than $10 but will take your baking to the next level. Not all ovens actually heat up to the desired temperature when they say they do. I can’t tell you how many times mine has dinged that it’s preheated and when I go to check the temperature, it’s lingering around the 325ºF mark! Some run hotter, while others run cooler. This tool allows you to adjust the oven temperature, so you bake a perfect cake, loaf, or cookies, every time!
How to store leftover bread:
Zucchini bread can be covered tightly and store in an airtight container for up to three days, if it’s not particularly warm where you live. If it is, I suggest storing the bread in the refrigerator after one day as the bread is quite moist! I usually slice and freeze half of the bread once it’s cooled off or share with family and friends. It holds up beautifully in the freezer!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Nutella Banana Bread
- Lemon Olive Oil Pound Cake
- The best Blueberry Muffins
- One Bowl Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
- Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins
- Healthy Zucchini Muffins
- Chai Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon EACH: kosher salt AND baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: ground nutmeg AND almond extract
- ½ cup vegetable oil (or canola, coconut, olive, etc.)
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ cups grated zucchini (1 mediumish)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Optional: 1 cup of raisins, chopped pecans, or chocolate chips, currants, etc.)
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray, and line with parchment paper in the center for easy lifting; set aside.
- BATTER: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk until mixed. In a medium bowl or 4-cup measuring cup, combine the oil, sugar, yogurt, eggs, almond extract and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly combined. Fold the zucchini into the wet ingredients. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. When the batter still has some dry pockets, you can stir in chocolate chips or walnuts/pecans, if desired.
- BAKE: Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 48-58 minute for until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for at least 30 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.