This moist, delicious Zucchini Bread with walnuts, cinnamon, and vanilla, is made healthy and light with applesauce – a great way to use up that summer zucchini!
This easy zucchini bread recipe was modified from my Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread with lots of cinnamon, walnuts, and vanilla. I love how this came out!! It’s a classic zucchini bread recipe made lighter, not overly sweet – just enough to be perfect for enjoying with your morning coffee for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. To make it healthier I used half whole wheat flour with the all purpose flour which turned out great. Some zucchini recipes you can bake this summer, try this Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Banana Zucchini Cake, and Pineapple Zucchini Cupcakes.
Why This Works!
- Light in calories: For a healthier take on zucchini bread that doesn’t compromise on flavor, but reduces the amount of butter and sugar, this is the best zucchini bread recipe!
- Healthy! Most zucchini bread recipes add a lot of sugar and butter. This recipe is lightly sweetened and swaps out most of the butter for apple sauce.
- Delicious – My daughter Madison loves this quick bread!
- Make it ahead – you can make this ahead for the week and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
- Shredded Zucchini: from about 1 1/4 large zucchini, not packed, not squeezed as the moisture from the zucchini helps keep the bread moist.
- Flour: I utilized a mixture of all-purpose flour and white whole-wheat flour. However, ordinary whole-wheat flour would be a suitable alternative, or you could opt to use solely all-purpose flour.
- Sweetener: Light brown or dark brown sugar, not packed.
- Spices: Vanilla, ground cinnamon and salt
- Leavening agents: baking soda and baking powder, to make the bread rise (make sure they’re not expired)
- Nuts: Chopped walnuts or pecans. You can also omit.
- Egg: 1 large egg, added for texture and taste
- Fat: melted unsalted butter, or dairy-free butter for moisture and helps with leavening
- Apple sauce: This helps reduce the calories and replaces some of the butter.
How To Make Zucchini Bread
- Prepare pan: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Add nuts: Add 1/2 cup walnuts and gently mix to combine.
- Wet Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk egg, vanilla, melted butter, apple sauce then mix in the grated zucchini.
- Combine: Add to the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just blended.
- Add batter to pan: Pour batter into the prepared 9×5-inch loaf pan and top with remaining nuts.
- Bake: Bake the bread 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool: Cool the bread for about 10 minutes in the pan. Remove loaf from pan and let it cool further before slicing.
- Sweetener: If you want to use monk fruit brown sugar sweetener instead of brown sugar, it will work fine.
- No applesauce? Swap it for banana but know it will change the flavor.
- Nuts: Sub pecans for walnuts or omit them.
- Spices: Add some nutmeg with the cinnamon for a variation.
- Muffins: Make zucchini muffins instead of a loaf – bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Dairy-free: Swap butter for coconut oil
- Gluten-Free: Zucchini Bread: Swap both flours for Cup4Cup flour.
- Yellow Squash: You can use yellow squash in place of zucchini if you prefer. Avoid using the seeds.
How to Shred Zucchini for Bread
You can grate the zucchini with a box grater or in a food processor using the shredding attachment. Grating zucchini by hand gives you a finer texture, whereas shredding results in long strands.
How to Store
To store, slice and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Store bread in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. See directions below to freeze.
Do you peel zucchini for zucchini bread?
No, there’s no need to peel zucchini for this recipe, but if you want to hide any green stuff from your kids, you certainly can.
Do you squeeze water out of zucchini for bread?
Don’t squeeze the water out – it’s what makes the bread so moist.
Can zucchini bread be frozen?
Leftover zucchini bread is perfect for freezing. You can even double the recipe and freeze half for later. I like to slice it and store the pieces in a bag with parchment paper in between so they don’t freeze together. Individually wrapping the slices in aluminum foil is another option. Thaw the bread overnight in the fridge or microwave it straight from the freezer.
How can you tell when zucchini bread is done?
The easiest way to determine if zucchini bread is ready is to insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. The bread is done if it comes out clean with minimal crumbs and no wet batter.
More Healthy Quick Bread Recipes You’ll Love:
Zucchini Bread Recipe
- cooking spray
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, I used unbleached
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour, regular whole-wheat flour would work*
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, not packed
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons melted butter, or dairy-free butter
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini, not packed, not squeezed (from about 1 1/4 large)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Add 1/2 cup walnuts and gently mix to combine.
- In a medium bowl, mix egg, vanilla, melted butter, apple sauce and zucchini.
- Add to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.
- Pour batter into the prepared 9×5-inch loaf pan and top with remaining nuts.
- Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for about 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and let it cool before slicing.