by Olena

Healthy Zucchini Brownies

by Olena

5 from 25 reviews

Zucchini Brownies made healthy with sneaky veggies and whole wheat flour. No one will complain! Trust me.

If and when I bake, I make mostly healthy desserts. Black bean brownies and healthy zucchini bread are at the top of the list because kids love them!

3 zucchini brownies stacked on top of each other

Zucchini Brownies

These zucchini brownies are pure delight! Fudgy, healthy and easy. They do taste like real brownies while made with whole foods. And let’s be honest. Because zucchini is a seasonal item, I make zucchini brownies during summer months. In winter, you can find me cooking batches of Instant Pot black beans and making these brownies.

Everyone in my household was particularly excited for the re-do of healthy brownies with zucchini. Kids want to eat zucchini. Pinch me.

Let’s dive in!

Ingredients

  • Zucchini
  • Coconut oil
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Egg
  • Cacao powder
  • Whole wheat or spelt flour

Please read further about zucchini as it’s important.

How to make healthy brownies step by step

Substitutions

I will go over most commonly asked questions.

  • Flour – You can use only whole wheat or spelt flour. Any gluten free flour will not work because it doesn’t have gluten in it. This zucchini brownie recipe relies on gluten in dough to rise. All purpose flour acts differently than whole wheat flour too. So please stay the course for successful healthy brownies.:)
  • Maple syrup – You can replace only with liquid sweetener like honey, agave, brown rice syrup etc. Baking is a science and the ratio of dry : liquid is important and can’t be offset. Can’t use sugar.
  • Coconut oil – You can use any mild tasting oil like avocado oil. Or basically any oil you like the taste of. Oil is oil. One thing though. Because coconut oil is solid, zucchini brownies will be a tad more fudgy as it cools down and becomes solid again after baking. Haven’t tried applesauce either, so can’t tell.
  • Cacao powder – More common cocoa powder is OK. It’s just more processed where as cacao powder is considered a healthy choice with more antioxidants and nutrients.

Do I Have to Squeeze Zucchini?

Just a gentle mini squeeze.

We do not squeeze out zucchini completely. Just a gentle squeeze. Please read the recipe. Assume nothing. All zucchini brownies use different techniques. And baking is a science. We need the water contained in zucchini to make brownies moist and fudgy.

Grate zucchini on a medium size holes side of grater. Not large but not tiny holes. This helps with “nobody will be able to tell brownies contain sneaky veggies”.

Place zucchini in a colander while you are getting other ingredients ready. Do not overpack your measuring cup with zucchini because even extra 1/4 cup increases baking time.

chocolate zucchini brownies batter in a baking dish and sliced after baking

How Do I Know Brownies Are Ready?

  1. Bake for 28 minutes at 375 degrees F preheated oven.
  2. Remove zucchini brownies from the oven and let cool for about an hour in the pan. Baked zucchini brownies top should be soft and glossy and the centre not too jiggly.
  3. Do not over bake as brownies will have more of a cake consistency. A toothpick inserted has to come out somewhat not clean. If centre is too jiggly bake a bit more, ovens vary.
  4. Lift by the parchment paper flaps and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely. Cut into 16 squares.

Frosting?

No frosting, friends. No 1 cup of butter + 2 cups of icing sugar frosting. These are healthy brownies. Healthy.

We pack them with heart healthy monounsaturated fats from coconut oil to make fudgy and irresistible. They are absolutely satisfying a dessert craving without unhealthy frosting. You will be just fine.:)

healthy brownies on a platter

How to Store Brownies (Important)

Here is how I generally store these zucchini brownies.

Brownies become fudgier the next day, especially if stored cut up and separated or refrigerated. I leave them on a plate covered with kitchen towel on a counter overnight or for another night. Then in the fridge they go.

Since zucchini is a summer vegetable when many people make this zucchini brownie recipe. If it’s too hot outside I refrigerate brownies by the end of the day I baked them. And for up to a week.

Zucchini brownies taste even better the next day as they settle and cool off. That’s when brownies become really fudgy as coconut oil solidifies and settles. At first brownies might look like cake.

There is no such obvious crust on healthy brownies as with their butter and sugar counterpart. Obviously. However, if you cut and place brownies on a plate, their sides and edges will dry up a bit overnight.

Freezer Friendly?

Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 – 4 months.

More Yummy Healthy Summer Desserts

Print

Healthy Zucchini Brownies

5 from 25 reviews

Zucchini Brownies are easy, fudgy and healthy. Kids will eat them up. Taste even better next day.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 16 brownies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups zucchini, finely shredded (not tightly packed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour

Instructions

  1. Place zucchini in a colander while you are getting other ingredients ready. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 8 x 8 baking dish with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add egg, oil, maple syrup and pure vanilla extract; whisk to combine. Add cacao powder, baking soda and salt; whisk until well mixed.
  3. Give zucchini a gentle squeeze but do not ring out completely, add to a bowl and stir. Add flour and mix gently until combined.
  4. Transfer batter into prepared baking dish and level with spatula. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the centre is barely jiggly. Do not over bake as brownies will have more of a cake consistency. A toothpick inserted has to come out somewhat not clean. If centre is too jiggly bake a bit more – ovens vary.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for about an hour. Lift by the parchment paper flaps and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely. Cut into 16 squares.

Store: In a glass airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 4 days. If it’s hot outside, refrigerate for up to a week. Freeze for up to 3 – 4 months.

Notes

Brownies become fudgier the next day, especially if stored cut up and separated or refrigerated. I leave them on a plate covered with kitchen towel on a counter overnight.

Substitutions

  • Flour – You can use only whole wheat or spelt flour. Any gluten free flour will not work because it doesn’t have gluten in it. This zucchini brownie recipe relies on gluten in dough to rise. All purpose flour acts differently than whole wheat flour too. So please stay the course for successful healthy brownies.:)
  • Maple syrup – You can replace only with liquid sweetener like honey, agave, brown rice syrup etc. Baking is a science and the ratio of dry : liquid is important and can’t be offset.
  • Coconut oil – You can use any mild tasting oil like avocado oil. Or basically any oil you like the taste of. Oil is oil. One thing though. Because coconut oil is solid, zucchini brownies will be a tad more fudgy as it cools down and becomes solid again after baking.
  • Cacao powder – More common cocoa powder is OK. It’s just more processed where as cacao powder is considered a healthy choice with more antioxidants and nutrients.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

118 comments on “Healthy Zucchini Brownies

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  1. LOVED these brownies! So fudgy and decadent, definately didn’t taste like healthy brownies. Was sort of sceptical to try because of the experiences I’ve had with other healthy baking recipes but I am SO GLAD I did! Definitely a new fav, even with my junk food loving grandpa. Adding this one the the books!!

  2. Hi Olena, I made these Brownies and they were simply perfect ! Also it is such an easy recipe ! Thanks for that !! I was wondering if it is possible to make these brownies with butternut squash ?

    Warm greetings from Barcelona 🙂

    1. Hi Valerie. So happy to hear that! I have not tried with butternut squash but don’t see a reason why not. Might taste a bit squashy but good. Enjoy!

  3. Greetings from India. These are pure awesome! Thanks Olena! I tend to get a bit lazy so I mixed the dry ingredients together first, then mixed the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, mixed them together, added the zucchini into the batter and baked. I needed to bake for about 32 min but turned out incredible (I found the guidance of “not too wobbly in the middle” very useful).

    PS: would be nice to have options in grams for your baking recipes (cup/spoon measurements may differ but kitchen scales don’t lie)

  4. Hi Olena, thanks for the quick & wonderful recipe. I made some this morning, they have turned out real y good texture wise. But a little sweet and a bit more on salty side. Could it be the salt or i should try with more maple syrup next time? Thanks

  5. Hi Olena,

    I know you’ve said this 100x but can I use whole wheat bread flour? I have so much since it was BOGO and don’t want to buy more flour. I understand it will have a more cake like consistency But I just don’t want to waste all that zucchini if it won’t work at all. TIA

  6. These are a household favorite! Definitely a fun twist to using up all of the extra zucchini during the Summer. I love that I can make a delicious treat that I feel so good about giving my family. I personally like to cook them a bit longer to make them more cakey versus fudgey, but that is just how our family likes them. I have also made them super cakey & frosted them with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream to take to a potluck. They were a HUGE hit!

    1. Dear Olena, great ideas and recepies! Could you please convert Fahrenheit degree to Celsius for the EU users of your recepies :). Thanks a lot for your ideas and mission.
      Kind regards, Natalie

        1. Hi Olena, I would like to make the brownies adding xylitol, instead honey. Any idea how much should I add? Have you tried to use xylitol in your recepies? Thank you in advance 🙂
          Natalie

  7. I made these and they were great! I’m wondering if I could double the recipe. Also, could I make it in a bundt pan? Thanks!

    1. That’s so awesome to hear!!! Yes, if you double the recipe, make sure to use double the size pan. You can use single dose of recipe haha in a bundt pan but I have a feeling brownies will be more cake like if you are fine with that.

  8. This is excellent.
    My husband was completely behind my experimenting, but had no high hopes for any ‘sweet/cake’ featuring zucchini.

    Dear reader, yesterday, after making this for the second time, the sentence ‘Why would anyone, ever, make brownies WITHOUT zucchini?’ has been uttered.

    People who have tried them asked immediately for the recipe and we’ve been enjoying both their joy and their surprise when they hear about the ingredients.

    The coconut oil is a bit expensive around here, so I look forward to trying the fudgier version some day, but until then – this one goes straight into the family cookbook 🙂 !

    Thank you!

  9. So easy to make and super delicious! I added some roughly chopped dark chocolate through the mixture for some extra gooey bits but overall a winner recipe for when you need a feel-good choc fix! Will be recommending to my sister!

  10. Taste great and easy to make. I only had 1.5 cups of zuchinni so I added .5 cup of homemade apple sauce. Still turned out great in spite of deviating from the science of the recipe. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. These were amazing!!!!! I just made them this morning, so I’m excited to try them tomorrow and see how the texture is. I did try one an hour after getting them out of the oven and they were great! The only thing I did differently was I used sugar-free maple syrup. They ended up being about 100 calories per piece! I thought about adding some sweetener, but honestly, the syrup was enough. Thank you for this great recipe!!!

  12. Very tasty! Next time I will bake at 350 for 25 min. instead of 375 since it turned out more like cake than brownies. The only things I did differently was sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top and put a little ground flax in with the whole wheat flour.

  13. I added a teaspoon of chili flakes to spice things up a little. “Not too jiggly” is a bit mystifying to the novice but worked out that it should solidify a bit as it cools…

  14. OMG

    I was skeptical, added a little coconut sugar on top but this actually has my 9 year old daughter eating zucchini. She’s not picky by choice, autistic so texture is big issue.

    Thank you

  15. My husband and I had a major craving for some ice cream tonight. Instead of going out I opted to search for a healthier option and this was it! They turned out so great and satisfied the craving and sweet tooth. Will make these again for sure!

  16. I made these tonight looking for a healthier, yet simple brownie recipe. They were fantastic & a big hit with everyone. This is my new go-to brownie recipe. I’m glad I found your sight & this recipe. I’ll be trying more of your recipes soon. Thank you so much ?

  17. I garden & grate my zucchini, place 2 cups–that’s usually what’s called for–in freezer bags. I have a good supply for winter baking. Love zucchini bread made with crushed pineapple–it adds some brightness & makes a delicious, moist loaf.
    Zucchini brownies are wonderful for chocolate lovers. Once you try them, nothing else will do! Fudgy, decadent–a guilty pleasure.

  18. Hi, quick question, if I can’t use coconut oil due to an allergy which oil would be an acceptable replacement. Thanks

    1. Hi Helen. Any oil like avocado or olive oil. Or even butter. Brownies might be a bit less fudgy due to the fact that coconut oil solidifies when cooled down. But not a huge deal.

  19. Yum! What a great idea for tasty reasonably healthy desert. I added some marmalade to the recipe this time as I had only half the amount of honey so will see what the tribe say.

  20. Just made this to use up surplus zucchini – YUM! Will make again 🙂 Thanks for the refined sugar-free recipe.

  21. Hello

    Super excited to make these. Couple questions and hate to be a pain. I know you can substitute oil and egg w/ pumpkin.. would that be ok. Or do just egg whites? Also I know you said wheat flour , what about Almond. Just trying to use what I have. If not I will buy wheat, but wheat bothers my stomach. I have Coco powder hopefully just as good to use. I want to make for people for Thanksgiving, so I was going to double recipe. But I will trial it first. Thank you

    1. Haha I appreciate your honesty.:) OK, baking is a science. For best results it’s always best to follow the recipe. I don’t think substituting oil and eggs with pumpkin will work. Almond flour won’t work for sure. If you do all those subs you will end up with completely different recipe. You can test and play around.:) I also have pumpkin brownies recipe.

        1. Was a little nervous that the zucchini may set off the “attempted hidden vegetables alert” for my kids, but these brownies genuinely are so flippin delicious, not a word has been muttered about any questionable ingredients!
          Thank you- it’s become a firm (well soft and slightly chewy) favourite in our house. ?

  22. Oh my goodness – these brownies ARE definitely better the next day! The recipe is great w such yummy simple/good for you ingredients (I liked the list much better than other recipes I looked up on the internet) I just bookmarked it for future reference!! ThankYou 🙂

  23. I didn’t have wheat flour so I used all purpose turned out Cakey, good texture however, turned out too salty and honey wasn’t sweet enough.. what did I do wrong? Measurements were exact as recommended…

    1. Used wrong flour. You can’t swap all-purpose for whole wheat or spelt. First one expands more as it is stripped of bran. Try with whole wheat, should be good.

  24. Hi – thanks for the great recipes. A quick question. Can I reduce maple syrup to 1/4 cup? Would that still work?

    1. I honestly don’t know if that will crucially throw off the ratio and consistency. You could try but no guarantees. These are not sweet though…

  25. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It’s brilliant. I cook it a little longer and it is the nicest cake consistency. Great way to get veggies into fussy eaters.

  26. These are great! I can’t wait to make you zucchini bread recipe next! We got so much zucchini this year that even freezing it hasn’t used it all up haha!

    1. Haha, isn’t it the same story every year?! They are so easy to grow, like cucumbers. That is why I keep making and posting zucchini recipes, they are just everywhere right now and so easy to cook with! Enjoy!

  27. As a mother who’s trying to make healthy school snacks for my children, these are great! They love them! These will be in a permanent rotation in our household. Thank you

  28. Question:
    My daughter hates seeing the string of zucchini in anything. What are your thoughts on if this recipe work if I blended the zucchini with the wet ingredients? (I blended all the wet ingredients along with banana and zucchini together in your muffin recipe and it worked great).

    1. Hi Jeanelle. This recipe calls for zucchini to be drained a bit. So I think if you blend zucchini first by itself and drain a bit of water, then add the rest of ingredients and blend it should work. Or shred zucchini, drain a bit and then blend. More work though but maybe better to ensure recipe’s success. See, zucchini banana chocolate chunks muffins call for not squeezed zucchinis all. So, that is easy to blend. I think do what said and you should be fine.

    1. No, I don’t, sorry. I went through a stretch of not posting nutritional info and then got “harassed” for it.:) But not this recipe. You can quickly do it yourself using spark people calculator.

      1. Health and weight loss are not about calories and low fat but rather eating real food and moderation. On top, modifying liquid amounts in recipe will not yield proper results.

  29. I’ve tried this recipe and even though I ended up with a chocolate cake, it was delicious fluffy…I can say it was a perfect accident!. I changed spelt flour (+2 tbsp over the measure) instead of whole wheat. I will try again with same measures instead of adding 2 tbsp and also I think I need to baked them in a lower temperature to get the right consistency,

    1. You could for sure. I don’t because I just pack it tightly or don’t pack it and that is it. Zucchini is not like flour that can throw off recipe by much. I hate weighing and measuring all together. But I have to for blog purposes. I cooked by the eye measure all my life so if I can avoid scale I will. In this case, scale is avoidable.

  30. Hi!
    Could you use apple sauce instead of the egg? I usually do this when I bake cakes and cookies but wasn’t sure how it would work with these.

    1. No. I know what you mean but in this recipe egg is crucial. I made these brownies without an egg and they were really like a cake. It will be the same issue with applesauce. I mean you can do it but brownies will be very cakey.

  31. Zucchini Brownies is a winner. Great flavour, it is just divine.
    Hi Olena,Thank you for your healthy recipes xx
    July 30th 2015

    1. 135 mg per each brownie. Daily recommended intake 2,000mg. Are you going to eat all 16 brownies at a time? Comments like this make me smile. So easy to just come in and throw in theories…

  32. Hi Olena,
    Have you ever tried these with coconut flour? I ran out of whole wheat flour and wanted to see if coconut flour will do the trick. Thank you for your awesome recipes!

    1. Hi Natalie. No, you can’t substitute coconut flour for gluten flour. Coconut flour is very “thirsty” and has no gluten. It is very tricky to bake with. You are welcome:) Wait until you get a ww flour.

  33. Response to my earlier comment. I’m sorry I missed the “through” part. Directions are fine, my mommy brain is not…Thanks again for sharing:)

  34. These are in the oven as we speak, can’t wait to try them! Also, I don’t not bake alot, so when I do, I go completely by the recipes directions, and I just wanted to let you know that in your directions I could not find where it said to mix in the coconut oil, syrup/honey, baking soda and salt. I realized after I put in the flour, that I had not put in the other wet ingrediants, so I mixed it in after, along with the baking soda. Hopefully they still turn out as amazing as yours look! Thank you for sharing!

      1. I think you’re missing a few steps… the directions do not include when to add the coconut oil, b. Soda. Salt and maple syrup.

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