by Olena

Healthy Zucchini Bread

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Olena Osipov
5 from 129 votes

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Healthy Zucchini Bread made with applesauce, whole wheat flour and no oil. This low sugar and low fat quick bread is the best zucchini bread recipe. Enjoy this super delicious, easy and moist recipe with your surplus garden zucchini or anytime of the year for a healthy breakfast or snack.

Other healthy quick bread staples in our house are lemon zucchini bread, banana bread and almond flour banana bread.

Healthy Zucchini Bread in a loaf pan with fresh zucchini by the sides

Healthy Zucchini Bread

Healthy zucchini bread is a result of my local farmer’s zucchini season in full swing. Yay! Therefore, super easy recipe and truly healthy zucchini bread. If you can find locally sourced zucchini during the summer season, that is the best. Otherwise, look for organic zucchini – since you do not peel the zucchini and will be eating the skin.

This best zucchini bread recipe has no white flour, no refined sugar and no oil without sacrificing the flavour or moistness. Freshly grated zucchini and applesauce make this quick bread moist. Honey (or maple syrup) and cinnamon add a really nice flavor.

There is no need to eat dessert for breakfast. I feel good feeding my family low sugar whole grain muffins and quick breads. And I am sure you can relate. Most zucchini breads are full of oil and refined sugars, which cancel the fact that you are eating a vegetable! This healthy zucchini bread is both delicious, healthy and a great way to start the day or fuel your afternoon.

Why This Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe Works?

  • Easy to make: Healthy zucchini bread is made in one bowl – you don’t even need to squeeze excess water out of zucchini! Less work and less dishes to wash, means you can be in and out of the kitchen in less time.
  • Whole grain: Made with whole wheat or spelt flour, means you are consuming less refined carbohydrates – you will stay full longer as well as consume good for you nutrients.
  • No refined sugar: Honey or maple syrup are lower on the glycemic index which allows your body to burn sugar more efficiently and avoid the ‘crash and burn’ that can come from white refined sugar.
  • Moist: It’s no secret, using zucchini in breads adds moisture due to its high water content. Applesauce also adds moisture and bonus – means this quick bread stays oil free!
Healthy Zucchini Bread with applesauce sliced

Ingredients for Zucchini Bread with Applesauce

Healthy zucchini bread ingredients are simple, wholesome and most likely in your pantry now:

  • Zucchini: No need to peel or squeeze zucchini.
  • Honey or maple syrup: Any liquid sweetener like agave or brown rice syrup will work.
  • Applesauce: Makes bread moist without using oil. I like to use unsweetened applesauce or Instant Pot applesauce, but if all you have is sweetened that is fine – note that your bread will just be sweeter in taste.
  • One egg: Acts like “a glue”.
  • Whole wheat or spelt flour: Baking is a science and it is super important to follow the recipe. For gluten free bread, try my almond flour zucchini bread.
  • Cinnamon and salt: Salt to enhance the flavor of ingredients and cinnamon to add a sweet, earthy taste.
  • Vanilla extract: Enhances the overall flavor of all the ingredients in baking.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: Adds leavening and lift to the zucchini bread.

How to Make Healthy Zucchini Quick Bread

  • Combine all ingredients, except zucchini and flour, and whisk well. Mixture will be foamy and bubbly because applesauce reacts with baking soda right away.
  • Finely grate zucchini. Do not squeeze and do not pat dry. Just pack tightly 2 cups. We want all the juices for moist and healthy whole wheat zucchini bread.

Do not salt, squeeze or pat dry your zucchini! For this healthy quick bread with zucchini, the moisture plays a crucial role in the end result.

  • Add flour and stir until well mixed. I wouldn’t be too concerned with over mixing but folding ingredients into the batter gently is always a good baking reminder. Batter won’t be as thick as traditional muffin batter.
  • Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 60 mins. Photo shows a longer and skinnier loaf pan because I like to have fun.

Bake, cool, slice and enjoy! You know the drill. 🙂

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Chocolate: Add up to a 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate.
  • Nuts: A 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, pecans or pistachios for some crunch.
  • Dried Fruit: Raisins, dried chopped apricots, dates or unsweetened cranberries add additional texture. I would start with 1/4 cup and add up to a 1/2 cup.
  • Coconut: Look for unsweetened coconut in the baking aisle, shredded works better than flakes.
  • Blueberries: Before adding, toss with a small amount of whichever flour you are using to prevent sinking to the bottom OR use to stud the top of the bread.
  • Dash of nutmeg: For additional earthy flavor.
  • Grated apple: Short on the 2 cups of zucchini needed for this recipe? Readers have reported using grated apple to get to the optimum 2 cups!
  • Yellow squash (summer squash): Yellow squash can be used instead of zucchini. Look for longer, thinner bright yellow summer squash.

Tips for Best Zucchini Bread Recipe Results

All zucchini bread recipes differ. Here is what you have to do with your zucchini for this healthy zucchini bread with applesauce recipe:

  • Do not peel: Squash’s skin is very soft and once cooked it becomes very tender. So, do not waste your time and discard valuable nutrients.
  • Do not squeeze: You do not have to squeeze zucchini for my recipe because we want all the water to make the bread moist.
  • Pack in a cup – You want 2 cups packed of finely shredded zucchini. As you fill up the cup with handfuls gently press on zucchini before adding more. Don’t go crazy but just pat it inside.
  • Frozen zucchini – I have heard from a few readers they freeze shredded zucchini and then use in baking. I have not tried. But if you are wondering, I would thaw frozen shredded zucchini for a bit so it’s not one blob and try. Please let me know if you do.:)

Please follow the recipe: I can’t stress enough that baking is a science and 99% times deviations from original recipe result in baking fails.

FAQs

Do you need to peel zucchini for bread?

No, you don’t need to peel zucchini. The skin of zucchini is thin and will absorb into the bread as well as the skin of zucchini is a concentrated source of nutrition, providing many nutrients.

Why is my zucchini bread dense?

This could be for a variety of reasons: if you over mixed the batter, the dough was too wet or too dry, the oven was too hot, or the zucchini bread wasn’t baked long enough. To ensure this doesn’t happen be sure to gently mix your ingredients until just combined, follow the recipe exactly as it has been tested (baking is a science!), allow your oven to pre-heat until it reaches the proper temperature and when you test the bread before removing from oven, the toothpick should be clean.

How do you know when zucchini bread is done?

Doing the toothpick test is a great way to ensure your bread is done! Insert a toothpick into the center of the bread, if it comes out clean, your quick bread with zucchini is done. Another method to try is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp. Insert the meat thermometer into the center of the bread, if the thermometer reads 200F degrees, your bread is done. Note, I tested this bread using the toothpick method.

Why did my zucchini bread fall in the middle?

You over mixed the quick bread batter or mixed it vigorously – this is the most common reason quick breads will fall in the middle. When you over mix your bread, less stable air bubbles get trapped in the batter which affects the rise. Other culprits that could cause this is if your baking powder or baking soda is expired.

Can this bread be made into muffins?

While I am apt to just make my zucchini muffin recipe, some readers have used this zucchini bread with applesauce recipe to make muffins. You should be able to make 14 regular sized muffins/bake at 22-25 minutes, 4 small loafs/bake at 20-25 minutes or mini muffins/bake at 10-12 minutes. The temp of the oven will remain the same at 350F degrees no matter what size of bread/muffins you bake. Because all ovens vary at the speed they bake things, I would start at the lower end of the time and adjust a few minutes more if it is not done after testing.

How do I make this without egg?

Some readers have had success substituting the egg with half a banana and 1 Tbsp of coconut yogurt. I have not tested it this way (or with other popular egg replacers such as chia or flax egg) – so proceed with caution.

Can I use yellow squash in zucchini bread?

Yes, yellow squash/summer squash and zucchini can be used interchangeable in healthy zucchini bread.

Can I reduce the maple syrup/honey in healthy zucchini bread?

While I have not tested this, some readers have reduced the sweetener to 1/2 cup with good results. I would caution going any lower than that amount, as the balance of wet to dry ingredients will be thrown off.

I am just shy of 2 cups of zucchini that is needed, what can I use?

Some readers have used grated apple and had great results! Let me know in the comments, if this works for you.

Serving Recommendations

While most of the time, our family enjoys this bread as is fresh from the oven, here are some other fun ways to serve this best zucchini bread recipe!

  • Waffle bread: Slather two slices with a small amount of butter, wait until your waffle iron is heated and crisp them in the ‘iron’! Alternately, you could do the same in frying pan. Either way, the crispy edges are delicious.
  • Make a trifle: If your bread is nearing day 3, cube it and then layer with fresh berries and my healthy cream cheese yogurt frosting.
  • French toast zucchini bread: Again, this is best if your bread is nearing the end of it’s ‘lifecycle’ – make an egg dip batter by combining egg, your preferred milk and a pinch of salt and cinnamon or nutmeg. Whisk to combine. Soak a slice of bread in the mixture for only a few minutes – only a few minutes as you don’t want the bread to disintegrate. Fry both sides of the bread in a frying pan over medium high heat. Serve immediately.
  • Drizzle with a lemon glaze: This works especially great if your bread is doubling as a dessert! Alternately, drizzle with my healthy greek yogurt vanilla icing.
  • Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream: I recommend my healthy dairy free vanilla ice cream for a healthy dessert!
  • Favorite beverage: Kombucha Tea, iced coffee, anti inflammatory tea or lime iced tea are all some of my favorite sippers!

How to Store and Freeze Zucchini Bread

Store: Quick bread dries out fast if you leave it in the open. I like to place zucchini bread in a resealable Ziploc bag and store in a pantry away from direct sunlight for up to 3 days. I doubt you will have any left past day 3. Then freeze – my next tip.

Freeze: Bake zucchini bread and cool completely. I recommend you do not slice bread before freezing. It retains its moisture better this way. Place in a gallon size Ziploc container, let out as much air as possible and seal. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw: Defrost on a counter. Takes about 3-4 hours. Zucchini bread will taste just like freshly baked. Pop it in a toaster for a minute for that freshly baked bread warmth and aromas.

Enjoy this healthy zucchini bread!

More Healthy Zucchini Recipes

Or find a recipe that appeals to you among these 45 healthy zucchini recipes!

healthy zucchini bread recipe
Healthy Zucchini Bread

Healthy Zucchini Bread {Best Ever!}

Healthy Zucchini Bread made with applesauce, whole wheat flour and no oil. This low sugar and low fat quick bread is the best zucchini bread recipe. Enjoy this super delicious, easy and moist recipe with your surplus garden zucchini or anytime of the year for a healthy breakfast or snack.
4.95 from 129 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Muffins and Quick Bread
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 148kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely shredded zucchini packed and not squeezed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder aluminum free
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
  • Cooking spray I use Misto
  • Chocolate chips nuts etc., options add-ons (I didn’t)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line 9 x 5 loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add egg, applesauce, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk until combined.
    Healthy Zucchini Bread
  • Add zucchini and stir.
    Healthy Zucchini Bread
  • Add flour and mix gently with a spatula just enough to combine.
    Healthy Zucchini Bread
  • Pour batter into previously prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    Healthy Zucchini Bread
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off for 10 minutes.
  • Holding onto the flaps of parchment paper remove healthy zucchini bread from a loaf pan and let it cool off completely before slicing with sharp serrated knife.
    Healthy Zucchini Bread

Store: Store covered in a cool dry place for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

    Thaw: Defrost on a counter. Takes about 3-4 hours.

      Video

      Notes

      • Please follow the recipe: I can’t stress enough that baking is a science and 99% times deviations from original recipe result in baking fails.
      • Gluten free: Try my almond flour zucchini bread. Also coconut flour will not work in this recipe.
      See post for more recipe FAQs and tips.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1slice | Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 291mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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