Some of us need no convincing when it comes to eating our veggies. For everyone else, there’s Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Rich, moist, and tender, this is a dessert that sneaks in some serious nutrition!
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Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe
- You Know You’ve Got Zucchini to Use. Whether you’re growing it, you’re gifted it, or you’re just taking advantage of the vendors practically giving it away at the farmers market every week, zucchini is abundant in the summer. Savory recipes like Zucchini Fritters and Zucchini Pasta are great for dinner, but when it’s time for something sweet, it’s time for chocolate zucchini bread.
- I’ve Perfected the Art of Baking With Zucchini. We all have our own unique talents in life and this is one of mine. After making Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, Zucchini Banana Bread, and Healthy Zucchini Muffins, I’ve learned a thing or two about using zucchini in baked goods. Trust and believe, this chocolate zucchini bread won’t let you down!
- Serious Decadence. Your typical zucchini bread (or Vegan Zucchini Bread) tastes like cinnamon or spice cake, with a flavor that leans cozy, not rich. But this chocolate zucchini bread? Rich! Chocolaty! Decadent! It tastes like a dessert for real, with lots of chocolate flavor.
- Sneaky Healthy. Zucchini is bland on its own, which means you can’t taste it in this chocolate zucchini bread! it at all. Reap all the health benefits of this summer veggie—fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6, folate—without making your bread taste like squash.
- Moist, Tender Crumb. Zucchini and yogurt combine to create a super moist, tender chocolate zucchini bread. (Moist, never soggy and certainly not dry!)
How to Make Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Grated Zucchini. Smaller zucchini is best, as it has smaller seeds. If user larger later-season zucchini, remove the seeds first.
- All-Purpose Flour. The starting point for most bread recipes!
- Whole Wheat Flour. Whole wheat flour can be tricky to bake with on its own, but combining it with all-purpose flour lets us get a lot of its benefits without affecting the texture of this chocolate zucchini bread.
- Cocoa Powder. Both Dutch-processed or unsweetened cocoa powder will work.
- Baking Soda. Our leavening agent for this quick bread.
- Kosher Salt. If you use table salt, add a touch less—kosher salt crystals are larger and take up more space in a measuring spoon.
- Eggs. Let these sit on the countertop to come to room temperature.
- Plain Greek Yogurt. Any kind works, but whole or 2% yield a richer flavor and more tender crumb.
- Granulated Sugar. I add granulated sugar as a starting point for sweetness.
- Honey or Pure Maple Syrup. Adding only a liquid sweetener would change the moisture level in the batter, so using a combo of liquid and granulated sugar is key to zucchini bread perfection.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. Vanilla doesn’t just make things taste like vanilla—it enhances other flavors too!
- Chocolate Chips. I use bittersweet.
- Prepare. Preheat your oven, then coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray and line it with parchment paper.
- Shred and Squeeze. Remove as much liquid out of the zucchini as you can. This is key!
- Mix. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Mix Again. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Combine. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
- Finish the Batter. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
- Bake. Pour the batter into the pan, add chocolate chips to the top, and bake the chocolate zucchini bread at 350 degrees F until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool. Let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then finish cooling directly on the rack. ENJOY!
- Nutty Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Add chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts to the batter when you’re folding in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
- Chocolate Zucchini Bread With Dried Fruit. Tart dried cherries or cranberries add chewy texture and sweet-tart flavor to this recipe.
- Glazed Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Instead of adding chocolate chips to the top, you can drizzle glaze over the bread after it’s finished cooling. (Use the glaze recipe from my Strawberry Bread.)
- To Store. Store leftovers well-wrapped at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
- To Freeze. Wrap chocolate zucchini bread well, then freeze it for up to 6 months. Let it thaw at room temperature before serving. Use my guide for How to Store Muffins and Other Quick Breads for more helpful tips and tricks.
While you can extend the storage life of chocolate zucchini bread by keeping it in the refrigerator; the trade off is that it will dry out when refrigerated.
What to Serve with Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
- Nut Butter. Almond butter, peanut butter, Nutella—it’s all good here.
- Jam. Strawberry jam (try this Chia Jam), raspberry jam, and orange marmalade pair well with chocolate.
- Fruit. Accompany your chocolate zucchini bread with fresh fruit or Fruit Salad on the side.
- Other Breakfast Foods. I like pairing sweet quick breads with a savory option like Instant Pot Boiled Eggs for breakfast, or round out your meal with a Greek Yogurt Smoothie.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Loaf Pan. This is the one I use, and I swear by it!
- Box Grater. You’ll need this for grating all that zucchini.
- Mixing Bowls. The best mixing bowls for baking.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Use Small or Medium Zucchini. If you’re using one of those giant zucchinis your neighbors leave on your doorstep in August, you’ll need to halve it lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. They’re bigger and tougher than the seeds in smaller zucchini, which means they’ll be noticeable in your chocolate zucchini bread.
- Squeeze, Squeeze, and Squeeze Some More. You really want to get as much moisture out of the grated zucchini as you can. If you can squeeze the zucchini in a kitchen towel and no more liquid runs off, you’re good!
- Don’t Overmix. When it comes to quick breads, it’s always better to have some streaks of unmixed flour than to stir so much that the gluten in the flour toughens. This yields a quick bread that falls flat, both literally and figuratively.
- Tent the Bread in the Pan. This allows it to continue baking while shielding the top. After 45 minutes, rotate the pan and tent it with foil, then bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes.
- Use a Skewer to Check for Doneness. You know the wooden skewers you use to make Chicken Kabobs? They’re also great for testing quick breads for doneness. It should come out mostly clean, with just a few moist crumbs and melted chocolate chips clinging to it. (An instant-read thermometer is an even better option—it should read 200°F.)
Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- 3 1/2 cups grated zucchini about 3 small or 2 1/2 medium zucchini—scrape out the seeds if using a large late-season zucchini
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour or additional all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder Dutch-processed or unsweetened both work
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt*
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 10 ounces chocolate chips I use bittersweet; about 1 2/3 cup
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper so that two opposite sides of the parchment over hang the pan a bit, like handles.
- Place the grated zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze well to wring out excess water.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, sugar, honey, and vanilla until smooth.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mostly combined—the batter will be thick and seem dry at this point. Do not over-mix; some dry spots are fine.
- Add the zucchini; if desired, reserve a handful of chocolate chips for sprinkling on top, then add the rest to the batter. Using a rubber spatula, stir slowly and deliberately to combine the zucchini evenly with the batter. You’ll want to smush it around a bit so that the zucchini moistens the batter and everything is evenly combined. As soon as it looks evenly distributed, stop mixing.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer (your pan will be full to the brim). Sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips over the top. Bang the pan on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles.
- Bake the chocolate zucchini for 45 minutes, then rotate the pan 180°F, tent with foil and continue baking for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer or long, thin knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it (don’t use a toothpick—it won’t reach in far enough). You also can use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness—the bread should register 200°F.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Using the parchment handles, lift the bread out of the pan and onto the wire rack. Let cool before slicing.
- *Use 2% or full-fat Greek yogurt for richer results; nonfat will also taste good, so use what you have.
- TO STORE: Store leftovers well-wrapped at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
- TO FREEZE: Wrap chocolate zucchini bread well, then freeze it for up to 6 months. Let it thaw at room temperature before serving.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Zucchini skin is thin and it’s also going to be grated into very small bits, so there’s no need to peel the zucchini before making chocolate zucchini bread. Leave it on and you’ll get some extra nutrients too!
The most likely culprit is grated zucchini that was too wet. There’s nothing to remedy this after the fact, unfortunately—just remember to squeeze out the liquid longer the next time you make it!
You can leave the seeds in the zucchini if it’s small or medium, but if it’s large, you’ll need to remove them first.
The top of the zucchini bread should spring back when you poke it gently; if it doesn’t, the zucchini bread is undercooked. If you insert a skewer and it has batter on it when you pull it out, that’s another sign that your zucchini bread isn’t ready yet. To be certain, use an instant-read thermometer. When the bread registers 200°F, it’s done.