Baking Tips for Perfect Zucchini Bread plus my favorite zucchini bread recipes to make you the next zucchini bread Master Chef!
Zucchini bread is one of my absolute favorite things to bake, year round. Sure it’s great for using up that annual garden glut, but I love to make it in the middle of winter, too. It’s so cozy, inviting, and easy to whip up, once you know the ins and outs of a great loaf, that is 😉
My favorite no fail zucchini bread recipes:
- Ultimate One Bowl Zucchini Bread ~ this is your go-to zucchini bread when you get that craving and need some asap.
- Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread ~ a lemony twist and a hint of crunch make this a new favorite.
- The Best Chocolate Zucchini Bread ~ a decadent recipe for chocolate lovers. It’s frosted with a thick layer of ganache!
- Apple Walnut Zucchini Bread ~ the minute September hits, we bake this one.
- Orange Glazed Zucchini Bread ~ a citrusy take on the classic.
Choose the right zucchini
Select small to medium zucchini for baking. Smaller, younger zucchini has more flavor, is less watery, and less seedy than giant specimens. When you use smaller zucchini you get more peel in your batter, too, which adds flavor, texture, and pretty green flecks to breads and cakes.
This isn’t like banana bread where you search for the gnarliest bananas you can find…look for smooth, shiny skin and avoid dented or bruised zucchini.
The best way to grate zucchini
Hands down the best way to grate zucchini is in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. The shreds are uniform, dry, and nice and plump. When you grate zucchini with a box grater you get a finer, wetter result.
Whether you use a processor or a box grater, grate your zucchini just before adding it to your batter.
To peel or not to peel
NEVER peel your zucchini for zucchini bread, it contains nutrients, and gives the bread added texture and flavor.
The proper mixing technique
You don’t need a stand mixer or hand held electric beaters for zucchini bread, these recipes are formulated to require very little mixing. Use a whisk, a spoon, or, my favorite, a silicone spoonula. Fold everything together just until no dry flour remains.
If you’re using add-ins like nuts, fold them in right along with the zucchini to avoid over mixing.
The ideal loaf pan for zucchini bread
Loaf pans are maddeningly varied in size and shape, and even little differences in can affect the outcome of your recipes. It can be confounding to choose the right pan.
- the standard loaf pan size is 9×5, so I suggest going with that. I like this one because it’s got convenient handles.
- Non stick is a good choice because zucchini bread can stick, but remember you should wash it by hand, and avoid any metal utensils or harsh cleansers because you’ll quickly destroy the non stick surface.
- I always spray or butter my pans and then line them with a sheet of parchment paper. This allows me to lift out the bread for complete cooling and easier slicing glazing, or, in the case of my chocolate zucchini bread, frosting!
Why does zucchini bread sink in the middle
One of the most frustrating issues with zucchini bread is when it sinks in the center as it cools. It can look perfect coming out of the oven, but soon starts to deflate…
- The main issue here is that the bread just isn’t cooked through. Zucchini bread batter is thick, and loaf pans are narrow and tall, so there is a lot of batter in a relatively small pan. The center will be the last to cook through, so pay special attention to this area when checking your bread for doneness. A cracked top is a good indication that the center has cooked through, but check with a toothpick.
- Be sure you’re using the right size pan, see above. If your pan is even 1/2 and inch smaller than standard, this can affect the cooking time.
- If the bread seems to be browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil so you can continue to bake until the center is done.
For a soft moist bread
Different recipes yield different results, but if you crave a soft crusted moist loaf, I like to use a lighter colored pan (aluminum is good.) Line your pan with parchment paper, it provides a barrier between the bread and the pan for more even cooking.
Another way to insure a moist loaf with a soft crust is to wrap the bread, hot from the oven, in plastic wrap. I discovered this technique years ago with a banana cake recipe… I remove the bread from the pan, and wrap it in plastic while it is still hot. Then refrigerate (or freeze) it until cooled. Your bread will be extra moist and the crust will be nice and soft.
Don’t slice zucchini bread until you’re ready to enjoy it; slicing will allow the bread to dry out quicker.
Glazing your bread will also keep it moister.
Embellishing your zucchini bread
Zucchini bread is normally a very simple, homey type of treat, and that’s the way it should be…most of the time 😉 But sometimes you want a little something extra, and that’s where toppings, glazes, and frostings come in to play. They can help to sweeten up a zucchini bread, give it added texture, or an extra layer of flavor.
- If you want to add a streusel type topping to your zucchini bread, sprinkle it on before baking.
- When you want to glaze or frost, be sure to let your bread cool completely (and I mean completely) beforehand or it will sink right in or slide right off.
- A thinner glaze will give a translucent look, and a thicker one will be opaque. You can mix sifted powdered sugar with water, lemon juice, milk, or cream. I like to use cream in my glazes when I want them to be nice and opaque. Add extracts if you want added flavor.
- Let the glaze harden before slicing your bread.
How to freeze zucchini bread
Zucchini bread freezes beautifully, but there are a few things to in mind:
- Let the bread cool completely. There should be no warmth left when you touch it.
- Wrap first in plastic wrap, and then double wrap in foil. I will sometimes put that into a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag just be sure. You can also wrap and freeze individual slices.
- The bread is best enjoyed within 6 months.