Zucchinis are still appearing in abundance at farmers' markets as I write this, and social media regularly reminds me of the many ways they can be used. One thing that seems popular this year is the idea of "spiralizing" them into zucchini noodles - though grumpy debates among foodies bemoan the fact that while clever, they taste nothing like noodles and are no substitute for that carb craving. Anyhow, this is not about noodles.

Google Zucchini Bread and you will get over 2.5 million results - and chances are we have all eaten a not so great zucchini bread - tasteless, soggy, dense, greasy...

By now you may have noticed how often I turn to recipes from America's Test Kitchen. Did you know, on average, they spend $12,000 perfecting each recipe? - testing over and over, varying methods and ingredients until they get it just right. I am happy to let them do the testing.

I'll use this moment to plug their online site. From time to time they offer access to all of their recipes for a rock bottom price. (You may have to sign up to get their free emails to see this offer.) Even though I may have the recipe in hard copy, the site often leads me to it more quickly.

They offer up about a half dozen Zucchini Bread recipes. I tested several - one even had cardamom and pistachios (yum) - but am sharing my favourite here. As a footnote, am also sharing my Mom's recipe - though I confess I prefer the ATK version (sorry, Mom).

BTW, since I had a ton of zucchini gifted to me, I was anxious to use it up - and shockingly, some zucchini bread recipes use only a cup of zucchini. This one uses up a pound and a half!! AND - you can make this by hand - no need for a stand mixer. Apart from the time it takes to shred the zucchini, this comes together quickly, but has a long bake time.

Getting ready:

  • preheat oven to 325 F
  • adjust oven rack to middle position
  • grease 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (ATK prefers that size, though many of us have 5 x 9" pans - if using the larger pan, test for doneness 5 minutes sooner)
  • bring eggs to room temperature
  • shred zucchini
  • prepare/mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (use a smaller one to mix wet ingredients)
  • walnuts - toast these at 350 F for about 10 minutes {read more]; cool and chop

1 1/2 pounds zucchini, shredded

I weighed the zucchini after cutting off the ends (and removing seeds from large ones). Wash (and dry) the zucchini - do not peel it. Remove the seeds? That depends on the size of the zucchini - when they are super large, I cut the zucchini in half and remove the seeds. ATK suggests you use the large holes on a grater to shred the zucchini. I am not a fan of graters - I always seem to add my own DNA to the recipe - eek! Much easier and faster to use the large holes on a food processor grater! Squeeze as much liquid out of the zucchini as you can using the tea towel method. (Mel's Kitchen demos three techniques for getting the water out.) About 1/2 to 2/3 cup of liquid should come out.

1 1/4 cups packed (8 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2  large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk all these together.

Fold in zucchini.

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces)  whole-wheat flour
1 TB ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 cup  walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

1 TB granulated sugar

In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together.

Gently fold in the zucchini mixture - do not over-mix. 

Fold in walnuts, if using. (These should have been toasted - see"Getting ready" - and cooled and chopped.)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar.


Bake in a 325 F preheated oven on the middle rack for 65-75 minutes. (Recall from above that if using a 5 x 9" pan, this may be done a few minutes sooner.) A toothpick inserted in the centre will come out with some moist crumbs attached. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then remove it from the pan to cool completely. I store this in the fridge after the first day. Delicious as is, though I have a bad habit from childhood of spreading a bit of butter on zucchini bread - oh dear...

Notes and Tips...

  • Shredding zucchini -  I have found that the shredded zucchini stores well in the fridge for a couple of days. I grate it and squeeze out the water and line the storage container with a paper towel. The recipe comes together quickly if the zucchini is all ready to go!
  • Walnuts - ditto above - toast and chop those the day before and assembly is that much faster.
  • P.S. - my Mom's recipe - (for two loaves) Beat together 3 eggs, 2 c white sugar, 2.5 c grated zucchini, 1 c oil, 3 tsp vanilla; Add 3 c flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp salt, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 c chopped walnuts, 1/2 c raisins. Bake 350 F for ??? (not specified) The sugar and oil seem like a lot, but it makes two loaves. Her recipe card says it's from Ann - that can be one of two people and I'll never know which.
  • For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.

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