Zucchini bread is an easy-to-make quick bread. It’s extra moist thanks to two cups of shredded zucchini and contains a mix of warm, earthy spices that will remind you of your favorite cup of chai. In fact, a slice of this zucchini bread would be the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea – whether it’s for breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack.
Forget about banana bread – if I could have just one quick bread to enjoy for the rest of my life, I would definitely choose zucchini bread. Some quick breads – which is just a term for those loaves that rely on chemical leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast – have a tendency to turn out dense, dry, and crumbly. (I’m looking at you, pumpkin bread.)
But zucchini bread is always perfectly moist and tender thanks to the inherent moisture in the squash. And because zucchini itself has such a mild taste, you can pair it with a lot of beautiful, fragrant spices. The combination of this perfect cakey texture and the warm spices is what makes zucchini bread a perennial favorite.
While cinnamon and cloves are the classic spices for zucchini bread, I like to add a hint of cardamom and ginger to my loaf – a combination inspired by my morning mug of chai. Cardamom is a spice that appears frequently in Scandinavian baked goods and it adds both sweetness and a herbal, citrusy flavor. Feel free to omit it, if you don’t have any on hand. But I love the warm spiciness that the cardamom adds to this zucchini bread.
Zucchini bread is a forgiving baking project that comes together quickly. (Do not be put off by the seemingly long list of ingredients; it’s mostly spices!) Essentially, you whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl while, in another bowl, you mix eggs, sugar, and oil. Then, combine the wet and dry ingredients and fold in the zucchini and some toasted pecans for texture. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake!
Speaking of loaf pans, these pans tend to vary in size. For this recipe, choose a loaf pan on the larger side – 9×5. This recipe makes a lot of batter! You never want to fill a loaf pan to the brim; the batter will overflow when it starts to rise and burn in the oven. (I speak from experience here!)
Aim to fill your loaf pan only 2/3 or, at most, 5/6 full. If you only have a smaller loaf pan and you want to make this recipe, fill your pan 2/3 full with the batter and pour any remaining batter into a lined muffin tin and bake zucchini muffins.
While this recipe comes together quickly, the bread does need to bake for a long time – at least an hour. That’s because the batter is thick and it takes a long time to cook all the way through. Be sure to check the bread for doneness before you remove it from the oven: a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean when the bread is ready to come out.
The good news is, if you want to serve this zucchini bread in the morning, you can make it the night before without sacrificing any of its delicious flavor or texture. Because this recipe calls for oil, not butter, it stays moist and tender even after several days. In fact, some people swear that zucchini bread tastes better on the second day!
Because zucchini bread is not overly sweet, it works well on your breakfast or brunch table. Or serve it for afternoon tea. You can spread the slices with softened butter or cream cheese, but if I am being honest, I think this zucchini bread is perfect all on its own with a lovely cup of tea.Print
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. cardamom
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (from 1 medium squash)
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Combine the sugars and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, and using the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat on medium speed until light and thick, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the oil and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until the batter is thick and bright yellow, about 2 minutes.
- Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
- Fold in the shredded zucchini and pecans by hand, making sure they are thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. (Do not overfill the pan. The batter should not come all the way up to the top of the pan.) Place the loaf pan in the middle of the oven and bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Cool the zucchini bread on a cooling rack in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the loaf out from the pan and allow to cool completely.
- Well-wrapped, zucchini bread will keep on the counter for several days. (Some people even think it tastes better the next day!) Zucchini bread may also be frozen. Allow to cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap followed by foil prior to freezing.