Thursday, July 9, 2009

Best Zucchini Bread Ever

Every vegetable enthusiast has a special place in her heart for the humble zucchini bread. It's one of those cherished ways to make a dent in the inevitable onslaught of summer squash, and it's always fun to sneak healthy (green!) food into baked goods. The only problem is that most zucchini breads have a lot of white. White flour and white sugar, that is. It's really hard to find a recipe that uses 100% whole wheat flour, people just seem afraid that the result will be inedible without some refined, bleached flour. In the pursuit of a healthier, happier zucchini bread, I decided to take on those critics. Also, I still have the better half of a 50 lb bag of whole wheat flour in my kitchen cupboard. Full disclosure.

I'm not going to lie, I'm really proud of this recipe. It was, as these things have been going lately, greatly accidental, but this time I measured my ingredients and was rewarded with something well worth making and passing on. In addition to using only whole wheat flour, I used maple syrup instead of white sugar, and I used a combination of fats - good cream butter and some raw coconut oil, melted down and mixed with fresh eggs. I added the zest and juice of one lemon (note to parents: bring more lemons when you visit, I'm almost out! And some figs, while you're at it!). It's all pretty simple, but, trust me here, this is the best zucchini bread ever. Hands down. And packed into the whole-wheat,maple-y goodness is 3 packed cups of grated zucchini. I don't really know what made it so good, but it's moist, decadent, and just the right mount of sweet. I think this will become a summer staple around my house, and it should freeze really well.

Lesson learned, we shouldn't be afraid of 100% whole wheat. It can lead to some pretty fabulous recipes.

Eat well!

100% Whole Wheat Maple Zucchini Bread
3 Eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1 1/4 cup real maple syrup
Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
3 cups well packed Shredded Zucchini
2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, butter, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and syrup together. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and fold in the zucchini.

Pour batter into two greased 9 inch loaf pans. Bake 50 minutes or a tester comes out clean. Enjoy!


  1. I was just preparing for the onslaught of massive zucchini production here in our garden. This is a very welcome recipe! I've had great success with applesauce as sub for oil in pumpkin bread, but haven't tried the coconut oil. Does it lend a tropical coconut flavor?

    I'm definitely going to give this a whirl. Thank you!

  2. I can imagine that the maple flavor was wonderful in your bread! I have a lot of zucchini right now I'll have to give your recipe a try!

  3. Lelo - You don't really taste the coconut oil, unless you're really searching for it. I bet you could replace some of the oil here with applesauce - or maybe a really ripe banana! Let me know how it works for you!

    ungourmet - The maple really is nice. I think I might try molasses next time - and maybe add some ginger, for a spice-cake flavor. Good luck!

  4. that looks like a great recipe and the texture looks perfect!

  5. You are right, there is indeed a place in my heart for the humble zucchini bread!! I love that you used maple syrup in this! It looks fabulous! I'll have to give yours a try :)

  6. I am craving for zucchini bread for me. Will try the recipe for sure this weekend only.

  7. Could you substitute vegetable or canola oil for the coconut oil?

  8. Wow! I stumbled onto your site today, and I am very glad I did! This zucchini bread looks absolutely amazing. Must try it out this weekend.

  9. Joelen - Thanks! The texture is still great the next day, just as moist!

    Jennifer - Let me know how it works for you!

    Lone Acorn - It's that time of year, good luck!

    Lauren - I'm sure that would be just fine. I would usually use canola oil myself, but I was out yesterday and experimented.

    Sam - So glad you found my blog! Let me know how it goes!

  10. I LOVE baking with coconut oil! And I love that you used maple syrup instead of sugar! Man, now I wish I had some left over zucchini to make this... maybe in our next box :)

  11. Hi, Oakley sweetheart, lovely to catch your latest blogs. Yes, we will bring lemons, they seem much fuller now that we have the little grass patch that is being watered. Miss your cooking and all the great hugs. We miss you, too. Love, Country Rhodes

  12. My hat is off to you for diving in to the great unknown of creating a recipe to your specifications. The bonus is that it actually worked, right? I, too, am stockpiling recipes for the bounty of zucchini that is likely headed our way later in the summer. You sold me with the whole wheat and maple syrup.

    Anyway, I found you through TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren't accepted there, I'd love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it's a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


  13. I love the maple syrup and WW flour. I'll give this one a try!

  14. This is so tasty, I made it with agave and baked it in a bundt pan, and even with those tweaks it was perfect! It was gobbled up by even the most staunchest of wheat flour haters.

  15. You wouldn't, by chance, have the nutritional facts for this recipe would you? Thanks!

  16. Since this recipe makes two loaves, and each loaf is about 10 servings, the estimated nutrition facts for one serving are:

    calories: 91
    fat: 5g
    cholest: 44mg
    sodium: 178mg (less if you use unsalted butter)
    carbs: 9g
    sugars: 5g
    fiber: 1.5g
    protein: 2g

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  17. I made your recipe of zucchini bread but used half white and half whole wheat and half sugar and half maple syrup. I also did not use the coconut oil as it is so expensive. But I got rave reviews from the family at the reunion I took it to!I plan to make the whole recipe the next time. :)

  18. I just wanted to say that I just made this bread using canola oil instead of both the butter and the coconut oil, and it turned out amazing. Thanks for a great recipe!

  19. Just made this using olive oil in place of the coconut oil. Also added some chocolate chips, which never hurts, but this bread would be great even without them. It's so moist, and the maple syrup stands out just enough. And now I know: 2 zucchinis as big as my arm = 3 cups.

  20. Sounds nice! I love Zucchini Bread and I think the maple flavor sounds like a perfect way to add a new touch and keep things interesting.

  21. Well, this bread is aptly named. I made it on a budget, with sunflower oil instead of the butter and coconut oil, and honey instead of maple syrup (As a Canadian, I am hanging my head in shame!). Maybe because of the honey, I found mine took longer than the recommended 50 minutes. It was in for a little over an hour. It turned out deliciously addictive, and I will definitely being adding it to my regular summer baking. Thanks for posting such a great recipe. Keep them coming!

  22. Actually I have been playing around with the recipe and the best version of this is to use a high quality is to use equal amounts of high quality unbleached flour and stone ground whole wheat along with a quarter cup of millet flour. (love using a bit of millet in all my baked goods, but only a bit) Then one half cup of maple syrup and one cup of organic raw evaporated sugar. I also used light olive oil. The rest stays the same. It isn't overly sweet but sweet enough. My family went nuts over it. My hubby dislikes whole grain flour anything so this was a great compromise for him. And it held up very well.

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  24. I was attracted to this recipe for three reasons: I love butter, practically drink coconut oil, and I like to try alternate sweeteners. Unfortunately I never keep real maple syrup around, preferring pancakes fried in coconut oil and then slathered in butter, so for my two batches, I made one with 1/4 cp honey and 3/4 cp sugar and the other with 1/4 cp molasses and 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cp of vanilla yogurt in both. They took much longer (1:15 but partly due to altitude) but both turned out quite tasty and not too sweet. Next time I'll decrease the butter/oil content a bit. Just a little too oily, even for me, which is saying a lot.

  25. I doubled the batch, forgot to double the butter, added brown sugar instead of maple syrup, and threw in some extra lemon juice (maybe 4 tbs).
    Turned out DELICIOUS, almost a tad too moist. The batter consistency was like runny yogurt, so next time will add in more flour to make it a bit firmer. Thanks for the recipe!!

  26. Just stumbled on this recipe while googling, I was looking for a zucchini bread that embraced whole-grainy goodness (rather than trying to "sneak" whole wheat in.) This definitely fit the bill for me! It's not sweet or cake-like enough for my family, if I were to make it to share with a crowd I'd probably add sugar and maybe mix white and WW flours. But for me this was perfect, earthy and sweet-enough and delicious! I bought real maple syrup just for this recipe, and am glad I did :)

  27. Another healthy alternative to suger is to use Organic Blue Agave - recommended for Diabetics - I have some zucchini that I have been threatening to make bread with - I will try your recipe & substitute the Agave & let you all know!

    Paycation Specialist

  28. Great recipe. Loved it. Thanks so much!

  29. This recipe was wonderful. My little guy can't quite say zucchini so he named it "candy cake." I did not feel bad about letting him eat a big piece either b/c of the absence of sugar and the whole wheat. Glad he can consider that desert, with all that could be available instead. I did not have coconut oil so used 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 applesauce.I only had a lime in the house. The slight lime taste was wonderful. I think next time I might lower the maple syrup just a tad. But it taste delicious and I will make it again. Thanks so much for the recipe. It was easy, delectable and healthy. 3 important things to a buys mommy.

  30. Thank you so much to everyone who has tried this recipe. It's such a joy to know that real people are actually out there cooking food that I thought up. It doesn't get better than that!

  31. I just finished baking this recipe and all I can say is - WOW! I have tried so many whole wheat zucchini bread recipes that are not even comparable. I didn't use coconut oil, but 1/4 of applesauce (made in a food processor with 1 apple) and instead of all maple syrup, I used 1 cup of molasses and 1/4 of maple syrup. I also only made 1 loaf and the rest a dozen muffins. I am so amazed at how moist it came out!

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It is definitely a keeper!

  32. This IS the best Zucchini Bread Recipe EVER!!! Thank you! Didn't have coconut oil so used the last few tablespoons of applesauce in the fridge and mushed banana to complete. Not enough maple, either, so completed with honey. Didn't have lemon, so used grapefruit zest and juice. I'm certain that the original is better, but THIS IS DELICIOUS!

  33. Hey there! I just made your recipe and I love the flavor, but the bread turned out extremely soggy and way too moist. I followed everything exactly as your recipe. I live in TN where it is really humid right now. Do you think that may have something to do with the outcome of the way my bread turned out? What kind of grater do you use? I grated mine pretty fine, I used about 4 zucchinis, maybe I used too many? Any tips would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

  34. mmm!!! I was looking for a recipe that used maple syrup instead of refined sweetener and yours was the first recipe that came up. Mine made 2 small loaves and 12 muffins. I upped the spices (added nutmeg, cloves, cardamom) and used spelt flour in place of wheat. Mine is a little extra moist, not sure if that is from the spelt or if I was a little too liberal with the 3 cups of zucchini. Either way it is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much!

  35. I found the bread to be too moist. When the toothpick came out clean, I took the loaves out and turned them over on racks. The whole bottom came off because they were still not finished and remained quite runny. I turned them upside down and put them back in the oven on a cookie sheet. All toll -- they took 1.5 hours to completely cook through. I even tried turning the oven temp up.

    I used Brown Rice Syrup which is awesome and is low glycemic. THanks for the recipe.

  36. I just tried this reciped for the second time (last time, which was last August, doesn't count because I realized part way through that I was out of eggs and tried to use banana instead -- substitution FAIL! After about 1.5 hours in the oven, I turned it out, cut it into slices, and baked them on a cookie sheet in hopes that it might become something biscotti-esque.... funny story about how I served this to my now-fiance the first time he visited me, only to discover that he loathes banana).

    This time, I was able to follow the recipe in essentials (though I used 1 cup brown sugar instead of maple syrup -- 1 1/4 c. maple syrup?? That's about $7 worth, especially this year with the price through the roof because of a bad sugaring thaw... I also used a bit of oat flour, and added some flaxseed (ground and whole)). Though I used a hotter oven and baked it longer than suggested (350 for about 70 minutes or so), the above three comments reflect my own experience: far too wet. The zucchini I used was fairly water-logged, and perhaps I ought to have been more agressive in wringing it out first.

    When I pulled it out of the oven last night, I was on my way to bed so wasn't able to give it more time. I now have the loaves sitting on the rack in a 250-degree oven in hopes that they might dry out some...

  37. I adore zucchini bread and like that you used coconut oil. Look forward to trying it!

  38. Hello. I love the ingredients, but I couldn't make mine the right consistency! The second time I made it, I drained the zucchini (since the center was mushy the first time despite the outer layer baking quite well) and let it bake for about 1:15. At this time, I decided to remove the crunchy, sweet outer layer so it wouldn't burn and returned the center bits to the oven for some baked bread bits. Turned out super yummy!

  39. Hello again. After getting the American Test Kitchen cookbook, I realized a few things: Folding the wet and dry ingredients together is key. Squeezing the zucchini in a clean kitchen towel will get rid of the excess moisture that will make the bread more consistently moist but not mushy throughout and the crust will not be as crispy.
    Also adding sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt will break down the toughness of the flour and make the bread more tender. I really like this recipe and it is healthy for you.

  40. Attempt #3: success!

    Here are the deets:

    First, I removed the seeds and pithy middle of a very large zucchini. After grating the rest (about 4-ish cups total volume?), I tossed the shredded zucchini with a teaspoon of salt and let it sit for a bit to draw out the water. I then squeezed it out in a tea towel (I suspect letting it drain in a cheese cloth would have a similar effect?). I extracted about 2 cups of liquid (no wonder it's been soggy in the past!), leaving about 2 cups of zucchini flesh.

    Here are the rest of my proportions:

    3 eggs
    2/3 c. fat (1/2 c. butter, 1/6 c. veg. oil is what I used)
    1 c. brown sugar (packed)
    2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    1/2 c. buttermilk

    1 c. all-purpose flour
    1 c. whole wheat flour
    3/4 c. oat flour
    1/4 c. ground flax seed
    2 (heaping) Tbsp. whole flax seed
    1 (heaping) tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. baking powder
    (no added salt, since the butter was salted and I salted the zucchini to draw out the water)

    350-degree oven for about 65 minutes total.

    Still very moist, but not falling-apart-soggy as it has been in the past! It's quite delicious, and I'm personally a fan of the added flax seed.

    Thanks for the inspiration, LemonBasil!

  41. I know this is an old post, but I found this recipe the other day and decided to try it. Delicious! I made a couple of changes (just because I'm allergic to coconut. Causes my throat to close up. Not pretty) But I am willing to bet that the recipe just as it is is fabulous!

  42. Sheesh, dunno why everyone is having troubles. I followed the recipe exactly as is and it wasn't too soggy and was absolutely perfect. Thanks!

  43. Cannot get this recipe to bake properly despite suggested modifications; it's always soggy in the middle :( I'm sad about this because it's SO tasty!!

  44. I baked this zucchini bread today and it was delicious. The first time I've ever been able to get my 3 year old to eat zucchini! I only included 1/2 cup of maple syrup and it was plenty sweet. Other than that, I followed the recipe as originally posted. The bread is dense and moist, with a great crust. Thanks for the 100% whole wheat option. I'll definitely be making it again.

  45. Mine is wet too, but the flavor is bright with the lemon and delicious. I added walnuts and chocolate chips because my kids really like that, and I promised I would:) The chocolate and lemon are surprisingly beautifully complementary here.... I'm putting it in the fridge to see if that will help firm it up, with the types of oils in it, the colder temps should help solidify. YUM!

  46. If you are varying the type of flour being used, that will have an effect on moisture. Higher gluten flours will absorb more moisture. Flours lower in gluten like all purpose flour do not need as much moisture.

  47. This recipe is awesome! I made a few slight changes to it to make a half batch, and to incorporate brown rice syrup instead of maple syrup and omit lemon juice/zest because I didnt have any. I followed the same directions, but used the following ingredients:

    1 tablespoon orange juice [I actually ended up using pineapple juice leftover from a can of fruit cocktail and it came out great, so really, almost any sweet, slightly acidic fruit juice would do]

    1 1/2 eggs (appox. 1/3 cup of beaten egg or egg substitute) [If using fresh eggs, beat 2, measure, add, and microwave the remaining egg in a coffee cup for 30 secs. with a tiny bit of butter. Instant scrambled eggs. Yum.]

    Coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of butter mixed in that equals 1/4 cup [I melted the butter first, then kept adding the oil until it reached 1/4 cup]

    1 cup brown rice syrup

    1 1/2 cup zucchini

    1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    1/2 tsp baking soda

    1/4 tsp baking powder

  48. This was the most delicious zucchini bread I ever ate!Well, I guess that's why it is called The Best Zucchini Bread Ever. Anyone I made it for loved it!