Zucchini bread is a classic sweet quick bread that tastes more of warm fall spices than summer squash. To achieve moist, tender results, most recipes follow a standard formula of one part oil to two parts sugar to three parts flour (by volume). Our version offers some key adjustments: melted butter adds dairy richness, while swapping a portion of the traditionally white flour with whole wheat flour adds a pleasant nutty flavor and thickens the batter, resulting in a higher rise and more attractive peak. We amp up the loaf’s caramel flavor by adding light brown sugar to the mix, which is complemented by citrusy ground coriander and the deep, earthy notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.
We like stirring toasted walnuts into the batter, but they can easily be omitted or substituted with an equal volume of toasted pecans, dried fruit (cranberries or golden raisins would be great mix-ins), or chocolate chips or chunks for a sweeter, more dessert-leaning twist. No matter the version you opt for, the result is a lightly spiced, hearty yet decadent zucchini bread that’s suitable for breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack, or dessert. It’s zucchini bread 2.0.
Botanically a fruit, zucchini boast a high water content (95%!) and a mild sweet squash flavor, which lends itself well to both savory and sweet applications. Here, zucchini’s primary role is to ensure that the bread bakes up moist and stays that way long after it comes out of the oven. Because water content in zucchini can vary, with some being more watery and others less so, we wring out excess moisture from the squash after grating so that we end up with a tender quick-bread rather than a soggy or gummy loaf.
If you don’t have a loaf pan, this batter can be used to bake up a batch of muffins instead—perfect vehicles for generous smears of butter when they’re still warm from the oven. For a punchy, more savory flavor, consider swapping the neutral oil in the recipe with a good extra-virgin olive oil.