Lemon Zucchini Bread
Lemony, moist and with a delicate crumb, this Lemon Zucchini Bread will be your newest summer dessert obsession! This is hands down one of the best quick breads I’ve ever made. Both the zucchini and olive oil play an integral role in keeping this loaf moist and light while adding the perfect texture. And the most lovely pop of lemon flavor makes this recipe absolutely irresistible!
This lemon zucchini bread is light, tender and bursting with flavor from the fresh lemon zest. We love to enjoy it for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Drizzled with a sweet and tart lemon glaze, this easy to make zucchini bread recipe is a great way to use up zucchini from your garden or farmer’s market.
I love baking with zucchini and olive oil! The two paired together really take baked goods to the next level. Zucchini not only has a ton of health benefits but it is composed largely of water, which release during baking to keep your baked goods extra moist. You can’t taste any of the vegetable in this recipe, but you get the most delicious bread!
Whether you are making this quick bread, a decadent cake, breakfast muffins, simple cookies or rich and gooey brownies, zucchini keeps baked goods moist and adds a boost of nutrients to any recipe. Because of this veggie’s mild flavor and with additional ingredients and flavorings, you won’t be able to taste it at all. Chocolate chips, warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or tangy lemon all turn any zucchini recipe into a masterpiece.
This incredibly tender lemon loaf has the perfect soft, tender crumb and bright citrus flavor. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Zucchini. The shining star of this recipe! We’re adding in 3 cups shredded zucchini. The good news is there’s no need to peel this tender-skinned vegetable. Simply wash about 2 to 3 medium zucchinis and grate them with a box grater.
- Sugar. This recipe uses a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar for maximum flavor.
- Eggs. You’ll need three large eggs to help with binding and ensure this loaf bakes properly.
- Lemon zest. Essential to the lemon flavoring of this loaf! Here’s the inexpensive zester I use.
- Vanilla extract. For extra flavor and sweetness.
- Olive oil. For additional moisture and a boost of heart healthy fats. You can sub with melted coconut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil, if you’d like.
- Flour. For best results, use all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or a combination of the three. I haven’t tried using gluten-free flour, but a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour would probably work. My favorite is King Arthur Measure for Measure flour!
- Baking powder & baking soda. These two ingredients will ensure your loaf has the perfect rise and texture.
- Salt. To bring out all of the delicious flavors.
- Poppy seeds. Totally optional, but I love the extra texture they give this bread.
- Glaze. Powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice is all you need for a bright and flavorful glaze.
Like most quick breads, this lemon zucchini bread recipe is easy to make from scratch and requires just a few minutes of preparation. Grab a mixing bowl and your loaf pan!
You can find the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of this page, but let’s walk through all of the steps.
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease and flour well).
- Grate the zucchini. Use a standing box grater to grate the zucchini. Then, use a thin dishtowel to wring out most of the water from the zucchini; set aside.
- Combine ingredients. In a large bowl whisk the sugars, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the olive oil until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold the zucchini into the batter.
- Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake on the middle rack in the oven for about 65 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Cool. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 20 minutes on a wire rack. Use a butter knife to loosen around the edges and carefully remove the bread from the pan. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing or adding the glaze.
- Glaze. Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar together until well combined. With the bread on the cooling rack, drizzle glaze over the bread. Slice, serve and enjoy!
Pro tip: Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil after about 30 minutes of baking to help prevent the top and sides from getting too brown.
This recipe is really quite easy, and here are our TOP tips for making sure it turns out perfect!
- Dry the zucchini. It is important to DRY the zucchini. Since some zucchinis, like homegrown garden zucchinis, have more moisture than others, I would suggest grating it about 30 minutes before making the recipe. This will allow it time to shed any excess water. Then, wring and pat it dry before tossing it into the mixture. Do not skip this step or the bread will be overly moist and not bake well.
- Measure flour correctly. Too much flour can cause baked goods to be dry and crumbly. Start by whisking the flour, then spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the top (without shaking the measuring cup). If you have food scales, use those for even more precise measuring.
- Do NOT over-mix batter. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together by gently folding them with a large spoon or spatula and mix just until moistened. Do not use a whisk. Over-mixing the batter can produce tough bread.
- Muffins. To make this bread into muffins, pour the batter into a greased muffin tin. Bake at 350ºF for 15 mins. Full recipe will make about 18 muffins. Try these zucchini muffins, if you’d rather not have the lemon flavor!
Frequently asked questions
No, it is not necessary to peel zucchini when you’re making a zucchini bread. Zucchini skin is thin and softens while baking. You (or your kids) won’t even notice it! Plus, a big portion of the vitamins and minerals are found in the peel.
Typically, you will not even notice seeds in zucchini. However, if the vegetable is extra large, you should remove the seeds. By the time it has large and well-formed seeds, it is tougher and the seeds are tough to eat and often taste bitter. Simply, scoop them out before adding the flesh to the batter.
You’ll definitely want to grate the zucchini to add to your bread (and not dice or chop it). You want those delicious shreds of moisture in every morsel of this zucchini bread! Use the larger side of a square cheese grater to shred your zucchini.
All recipes are different, depending on the ratio of ingredients. For this particular loaf, you will want to get the majority of the water out of the zucchini. To do this, I like to wrap a thin dishtowel around the shredded zucchini and squeeze it out over the sink.
This quick bread recipe makes twelve slices and only lasted a little over a day in my household. My whole family was pretty fond of the soft, moist bread, bursting with citrus lemon flavor. If you need to store your bread for any length of time, follow the tips below:
- Cover loosely with a tea towel and store at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Like most homemade baked goods, you’ll get the longest shelf life by storing this bread in the fridge. Place the bread into an airtight container, wrap it in plastic wrap or store slices in a zip-top baggie. It should keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can eat the bread straight from the fridge, lightly toast it in the toaster oven or warm it up for about 25 seconds in the microwave.
- To freeze, wrap in aluminum foil, then plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to about 3 months. Defrost at room temperature overnight, remove the plastic wrap, then gently reheat in a 350º oven for 10-15 minutes. I recommend freezing it without the glaze, thawing, and then adding the glaze just before eating.
If you try this incredible bread recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Lemon Zucchini Bread
- 3 cups grated zucchini, about 2-3 zucchini
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- grated zest of 2 large lemons
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil , vegetable or canola oil will also work
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Use paper towels or a thin dish towel to wring all liquid out of the zucchini and set aside.
- Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper or spray generously with a nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla until well blended. Beat in the olive oil gradually, whisking it in until it’s thoroughly incorporated.
- Gently stir in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds until just combined. Add the zucchini to the batter and stir it in gently until evenly incorporated. It may seem that there is too much zucchini, but don't worry once it bakes, it will be perfect.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 1 hour and 5-10 minutes. I checked my loaf after 1 hour and let it stay in the oven 5 minutes more and it was perfect. The outer crust of the bread will be firm to the touch and golden brown. If you feel the bread is browning too quickly, loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil after about 30 minutes of baking to help prevent the top and sides from getting too brown.
- Cool the bread in the pan for about 20 minutes. Remove onto a wire cooling rack.
- In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice together until well combined. With the bread on the cooling rack, drizzle glaze over the bread.