Healthy Zucchini Bread made with applesauce, whole wheat flour and no oil. Enjoy this super delicious, easy and moist recipe with your surplus garden zucchini or anytime of the year for breakfast or snacks.
Other quick bread staples in our house are healthy lemon zucchini bread, healthy chocolate zucchini bread and healthy zucchini banana bread.
Table of contents
This recipe is a result of my local farmer’s zucchini season in full swing. Yay! Therefore, super easy recipe and truly healthy zucchini bread.
Most zucchini breads are full of oil and refined sugars, which cancel the fact that you are eating a vegetable!
This recipe has no white flour, no refined sugar and no oil without sacrificing the flavor or moistness. Freshly grated zucchini and applesauce make it moist and low fat. Honey (or maple syrup) and cinnamon add a really nice flavor and keep it low sugar at same time.
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.
There is no need to eat dessert for breakfast. This healthy zucchini bread is delicious and perfect as a healthy breakfast idea or to fuel your afternoon.
I feel good feeding my family low sugar quick breads and I am sure you can relate.
Why This 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 means this quick bread stays oil free!
Ingredients You Will Need
Healthy zucchini bread ingredients are simple, wholesome and most likely in your pantry now:
- Zucchini: Can also use yellow summer squash. No need to peel or squeeze zucchini.
- Honey or maple syrup: Any liquid sweetener like agave, brown rice syrup or sugar-free syrup will work.
- Applesauce: Makes bread moist without using oil. I like to use unsweetened applesauce or Instant Pot applesauce. If all you have is sweetened that is fine, your bread will just be sweeter. Yogurt works as well.
- One egg: Acts like “a glue”.
- Whole wheat or spelt flour: Are the only flours I have tested in this recipe. Baking is a science and it is super important to follow the recipe. See FAQs below for other flours info.
- 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 Bread
This is one bowl recipe!
Combine all ingredients, except zucchini and flour, and whisk well. Mixture will be foamy and bubbly because applesauce reacts with baking soda right away.
Grate zucchini on large holes or medium size holes of a box grater. The only difference is that coarsely grated zucchini will have more prominent flecks of zucchini in baked bread.
If you would rather “hide the veggies”, use medium holes. I have tried and loved both methods. Also, I do not recommend to grate or “zest” 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 practice.
Batter won’t be as thick as traditional quick bread or muffin batter.
Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 60 mins. Photo shows a longer and skinnier loaf pan because I like to experiment. However, regular sized 9 x 5 inches loaf pan is all you need.
Bake, cool, slice and enjoy! You know the drill. 🙂
Optional Add-Ins 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 or 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 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.
- Egg free: I think it will work although I haven’t tested with this bread, but let me know in the comments. Try flax egg or chia seed egg.
Tips for Best Results
All zucchini bread recipes differ. Here is what I recommend to do with your zucchini for this healthy zucchini bread 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 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.
No because almond flour is ground up almonds and acts differently. Luckily, I have this foolproof almond flour zucchini bread recipe.
All-purpose flour and gluten-free flour blend may make bread dry. I would reduce to 1 3/4 cups and possibly it will work but I haven’t tried. I think you can get away with half whole wheat and half white flour, for sure.
White whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flour more likely will work 1:1 ratio. Please let me know if you try.
Coconut flour will not work as it is very “thirsty”.
Oat flour will not work as it will make bread gummy. However, I believe one of the readers tried successfully 50% whole wheat flour and 50% oat flour.
While I have not tested this, some readers have reduced the sweetener to 1/2 cup with good results. The key is to keep the balance of wet to dry ingredients. So possibly, add equal amount of applesauce for reduced amount of liquid sweetener.
Also as I have more experience with baking, you can use dry monk fruit sweetener or erythritol like Lakanto. I would add more, about 1/2 cup, applesauce though. Again, please let me know if you try.
Some readers have used grated apple, mashed banana or pumpkin puree and had great results! Let me know in the comments, if this works for you.
Yes. You should be able to make 14 regular sized muffins and bake at 22-25 minutes. Can also just follow this very similar healthy zucchini muffins recipe.
Make 4 small loaves and bake at 20-25 minutes. Make mini muffins and bake at 10-12 minutes.
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!
- French toast zucchini bread: This is best if your bread is nearing the end of its “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 and fry both sides of the bread in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Drizzle with a glaze: This works especially great if your bread is doubling as a dessert! Try the glaze from healthy lemon poppy seed bread. Alternately, drizzle with yogurt icing from this healthy carrot cake recipe.
- Favorite beverage: Healthy iced coffee or healthy 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 but if you do, then freeze it.
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 bag, 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
- Lemon zucchini muffins
- Healthy zucchini brownies
- Healthy banana zucchini muffins
- Almond flour zucchini muffins
Or find a recipe that appeals to you among these 45 healthy zucchini recipes!
Healthy Zucchini Bread
- 2 cups coarsely or medium shredded zucchini packed and not squeezed
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or yogurt
- 3/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
- Cooking spray I use Misto
- 1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped (optional)
- 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. Add zucchini and stir.
- Add flour and mix gently with a spatula just enough to combine.
- Pour batter into previously prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off for 10 minutes. Then holding onto the flaps of parchment paper remove bread from a loaf pan and let it cool off for another 30 minutes or completely.
- Using sharp serrated knife cut into 12 slices and enjoy!
- All-purpose flour and gluten-free flour blend may make bread dry. I would reduce to 1 3/4 cups and possibly it will work but I haven’t tried. I think you can get away with half whole wheat and half white flour, for sure.
- White whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flour more likely will work 1:1 ratio. Please let me know if you try.
- Coconut flour will not work as it is very “thirsty”.
- Oat flour will not work as it will make bread gummy. However, I believe one of the readers tried successfully 50% whole wheat flour and 50% oat flour.
This came out delicious. I loved your discussion of ingredients and their different purposes for the recipe, so I was able to make substitutions and additions using up what I had in my pantry. My husband and I both have diabetes, and while I have mine under control, he is still struggling with finding treats and sweets that leave him satisfied but do not give him huge spikes in blood sugar levels. So, I was eager to try something to use up some extra zucchini that would avoid oil, reduce refined sugars, and increase fiber. I had no syrup – but I did have various substitutes and settled with 1/2 cup agave syrup, 1 T allulose powder, and 1/4 cup Monkfruit brown sugar substitute. Well, this had my batter a bit too think, so I added more applesauce, making for a total of 1 cup of unsweetened natural applesauce. Finally, searching the freezer I had just a half cup of allulose (sugar free) dark chocolate chips and 1/2 cup black walnuts. Toasted the walnuts and chopped them up and added that and the chocolate in before the zucchini. I ended up having enough batter for one large loaf pan and three muffins. They baked up beautifully and we dug right into the muffins as soon as they cooled to touch. Absolutely beautiful color and I think that brown sugar monkfruit gave a nice carmelization to the crust. But the best part was the texture – I did not expect a whole wheat quick bread to so light and fluffy!
Thank you for letting us know how you adjusted it with what you had on hand! So glad it worked out and you both enjoyed it.
Hi there! Let’s say I want to make this slightly unhealthy and add a wee bit of butter lol. When would I add that and how would that change the bread (aside from taste)? Thanks!
This recipe has not been tested as such, so you may want to save the butter for spreading on a slice after! That being said, you might be able to sub some of the applesauce for butter, but I would just start with subbing 1/2 and see how it goes as again baking is science and it’s best to follow the recipe as written.
I made this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour and reduced the amount to 1 3/4 cup. It came out perfectly! Recently went gluten free and was so excited to find a zucchini bread recipe that I love. Will definitely be making this again!
So glad it worked out! Thanks for the rating and review!
I love your recipes!! The Thai chicken salad was awesome too!! I’m a type 1 1diabetic . Always looking for healthy recipes everyone will eat, or I end up not eating or making 2 dinners every night. Love that you use low fat, low sodium, low carb-but the food is still delicious!! Thank you sooo much!!
Glad you are enjoying everything and find it delicious!
Made this today as muffins! Totally delicious!
So glad you enjoyed it!
I am currently making my 4th batch this summer of muffins from this recipe. I made 2 loaves. One is currently in the freezer but my husband is telling anyone and everyone he can about these muffins. They are a hit! I wish I would have notice sooner that they should be frozen after 3 days. We are a small family so they do not go as quickly as that.
So glad you love them and that is awesome on your husband telling everyone, too! Be sure to tell him thanks! Heat and humidity can differ from location to location, glad you were able to save them to the freezer.
My husband thinks this recipe is great & is thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve made two loaves, one with yogurt, one with applesauce, one for him to eat right now & one in the freezer. 4 star review is because I don’t care for this at all. Sorry..
So glad the husband loves it Leslye! Maybe it will grow on you. 🙂
Could I use sugar free maple syrup in place of regular?
That would work, taste may change.
I don’t think they make it sugar free, unless you’re talking about pancake syrup (like log cabin) which is not the same thing. Maple syrup will say 100% maple syrup on it.
Made into muffins using all purpose flour 1 3/4 cup(what I had on hand) and unsweetened plain Greek yogurt instead of apple sauce.
Cooked 20 min in silicone pans. They turned out delicious! Will definitely make again!
So glad you loved it, thanks for sharing how you made it!
Love this recipe, but I altered it for what I had available. I substituted 1 cup of pear sauce (homemade applesauce texture) for the applesauce and honey. The version I have is 100% whole wheat (fresh ground) and sweetener-free. Plenty sweet for me. Great smeared with butter.
Glad you could make it work, that pear sauce sounds like it added a lovely taste, too!