Big Batch Zucchini Bread or Muffins

By Ann Fulton

Make zucchini bread or muffins—or some of each! For a smaller yield, you could easily cut this recipe in half, but the bread is great for sharing and freezes well too.
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Perfectly spiced and classically sweet zucchini bread can be made as loaves or muffins – or both!

 

Last summer, I gave a batch to my brother and his family, and these were the texts I received after they had eaten them: 

“These zucchini muffins were the best I’ve ever had. They were pillowy fluffy and delicious. Perfection.” – sister-in-law, Melissa

“Wow. Muffins are amazing. Don’t change a thing!!” brother Bill

There was a reason they sent these texts…

I’ve shared quite a few zucchini recipes over the 10+ years of writing this blog—six of which fall within the bread category.

There’s Banana (or Applesauce) Zucchini Bread, Whole Grain Zucchini Bread, Grain-Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, and Paleo Zucchini Bread, among others. 

So why was my recipe for classic zucchini bread missing?

I’ve made the following zucchini bread many, many times over the years. But sometimes I get experimenting and creating and have trouble deciding on “the best” version. 

This was a case of my family knowing me well. They were simply telling me to cease further experimentation!

Perfectly spiced and classically sweet zucchini bread can be made as loaves or muffins – or both. This big batch zucchini recipe is summertime perfection!

While the supply of garden-fresh zucchini is abundant, why not take full advantage? The following recipe makes plenty to share or save for later, as it freezes well.

Of course, if you’d like to make a REALLY big batch, you could double the recipe!

Prefer a half batch?

For those who would like a smaller yield—one loaf or 12 muffins—you can cut the recipe in half. The only fussy detail is that you’ll need 1½ eggs. To do this, simply whisk one egg, measure out 2 tablespoons, and then add the 2 tablespoons to a second whisked egg. You may discard the unused portion or reserve it for scrambled eggs the next morning.

A big appeal of this bread is how the cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla play with the caramel notes of the brown sugar for a perfectly spiced bread. I also appreciate that it can be made in loaf or muffin form–or both.

Conveniently, the ingredient list consists of pantry staples and a variety of optional add-ins, which allow you to customize the loaf to taste.

Truly a lovely way to enjoy a bumper crop of zucchini!

Perfectly spiced and classically sweet zucchini bread can be made as loaves or muffins – or both. This big batch zucchini recipe is summertime perfection!

Sometimes I top the loaves with pecans for a pretty look. Using a sawing motion with a sharp, serrated knife (not the dull knife pictured!) will help cut through them when slicing.

Perfectly spiced and classically sweet zucchini bread can be made as loaves or muffins – or both. This big batch zucchini recipe is summertime perfection!

This zucchini bread recipe is moist, flavorful, and a fabulous way to enjoy the seasonal abundance. Plus, it comes together quickly, scales easily, is perfect for sharing, and freezes well.

I love this loaf plain, as pictured above, although my other favorite combinations are dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips and pecans and white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Dried coconut (I generally use unsweetened) is a lovely addition as well. Muffins, like the ones directly below, allow you to mix up the toppings. 

Perfectly spiced and classically sweet zucchini bread can be made as loaves or muffins – or both. This big batch zucchini recipe is summertime perfection!

Need a gluten-free option–with an upgrade? I’ve included a simple adjustment in the recipe notes. Jumbo muffins, like these (which happen to be gluten-free–the other photos are “regular”) may also be made.

 

ZUCCHINI SEASON TIP: As a general rule, an 8-inch zucchini weighs about 8 ounces. So if a recipe specifies weight, you don’t have a kitchen scale, and there’s no scale when buying, choose zucchini that are about this long so you can get close to the desired weight.

Big Batch Zucchini Bread or Muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves or 24 standard muffins
Perfectly spiced and classically sweet zucchini bread can be made as loaves or muffins – or both!

Sometimes I top with whole pecans for a pretty look. Using a sawing motion with a sharp, serrated knife will help cut through them when slicing the loaves.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (380g) all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled; substitute cup-for-cup GF flour if needed—see notes for GF upgrade)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon*
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (I lightly round the spoon)
  • Optional: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, or shredded coconut (or a mix)
  • ½ cup (112ml) vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • ½ cup (113g) applesauce (I use an unsweetened 4oz single serve cup)
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (192g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (14 to 15 ounces)**
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9×5 (or 8×4) inch loaf pans. (See notes for 24 muffins. May bake 12 muffins and 1 loaf separately.)
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and optional chocolate chips or nuts until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, whisk the oil, applesauce, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, and zucchini together until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (I do it in two additions), and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.
  3. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pans. Bake on the center rack for 45–55 minutes. (Helpful hints: The best method to ensure the loaves aren’t under- or over-cooked is to use a quick-read thermometer. The internal temperature when done should read 205℉ when taken in the bottom third of the loaf. If you find your loaves are browned to your liking but still not done, loosely cover them with aluminum foil. Note that baking times vary from oven to oven, and some ovens cook more slowly when there are two loaves instead of one.) When done, remove the bread from the oven, cool in the pans for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  4. Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The bread freezes well too.
Notes

*Sometimes I use 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

**Fill the cups without packing the zucchini. Also, there is generally no need to squeeze zucchini to remove excess moisture when baking. However, if you are using a large zucchini that is especially watery and is heavy in the measuring cup, you may wish to squeeze it lightly. 

Running low on zucchini? I’ve made this recipe with 2 cups of shredded zucchini and the result is still good. In this case, just be extra careful not to over-bake and dry out the bread. You could also supplement with finely shredded carrot.

To Make Muffins: Grease a muffin pan or line with liners. Prepare batter in step 2, and then spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F. Then, keeping the muffins in the oven and the oven door closed, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, or until the muffins are just cooked through the center. (The higher starting temperature creates a lightly domed instead of a flat muffin top. Internal temperature when done will be 205℉.) Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Prefer jumbo muffins? The full recipe will yield 12 jumbo muffins. I find they only take a minute or two more than the standard-size muffins.

Gluten-free upgrade: I like to use 2¼ cups (286g) GF flour and ¾ cup (84g) fine ground almond flour. All GF flour may be used, although the combination removes the hint of “gluten-free” flavor that may otherwise be detected with some blends.

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A fun nutrition fact from our dietitian Emily:
Did you know that zucchini is considered ripe for picking when it’s still immature? This is why the outside skin – or rind – is soft and easy to eat. And it’s such a nutritional blessing, because the fruit and vegetable skins often contain the highest concentration of vitamins & minerals. So leave those skins on when cooking and baking!

For those who are curious…
The reason we don’t list nutritional breakdowns next to each recipe is because the numbers can change significantly depending on brands people buy and how exact the measuring is. In saying that, if you email me separately, I can provide you with my best estimations on the nutrients you would like to know more about in this recipe. I’m happy to help!

xo Emily

 

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Comments

  1. Laura Post author
    (5/5)

    I had been using a zucchini bread recipe for years but was never quite satisfied with the taste. It was missing something. I made this zucchini bread recipe and boy did it hit the spot! Although many of the ingredients were the same as in my recipe, the amounts were different. Also, your use of brown sugar was a welcome flavor change along with your suggestion to use some pumpkin pie spice with the cinnamon. Perfect! My 20-month grandson, who is a picky eater, ate a whole muffin nonstop. I will be making this one again!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Laura, Such wonderful feedback – thank you for taking the time to let me know. I’m delighted this zucchini bread is new favorite and that your young grandson agrees!

      Reply