Chocolate Zucchini Bread – Sugar Spun Run

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Transform your zucchini into rich and fudgy chocolate zucchini bread! This recipe uses 2 full cups of zucchini, so it’s perfect for using up an abundant crop from your garden. Recipe includes a how-to video!

Close-up view of a chocolate loaf bread that's made with zucchini.

Rich, Chocolatey Zucchini Bread

Where traditional zucchini bread is sweet, spiced perfection, chocolate zucchini bread is dark, fudgy indulgence. Most definitely a dessert, this veggie-packed bread will forever change the way you think about this unassuming green veggie!

I perfected this recipe last year near the end of summer and made it a dozen times. I am excited to finally share it this year, hopefully just in time for everyone’s summer gardens to be yielding zucchini!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Uses 2 full cups of zucchini! If your garden is over-producing this year, you’re in luck! You can also try my zucchini roll or chocolate chip zucchini muffins, if you’re overwhelmed with zucchini (and stay tuned for my classic zucchini cake, coming soon!).
  • Incredibly moist and fudgy texture. It’s similar to my chocolate banana bread. It’s quite indulgent, for sure, but it makes for a perfect chocolatey dessert for chocolate lovers. 
  • Sneaks veggies into a decadent dessert! No one will be able to detect the zucchini in the final product if you follow my shredding instructions.
  • No mixer needed, and just 20 minutes to prep before it goes in the oven. The bake time is a bit long, but that’s pretty standard for most quick breads baked in a loaf pan.

Ingredients

I carefully chose today’s ingredients for perfectly moist, tender, and flavorful results. There are a few you should pay close attention to; I’ll list them below.

Overhead view of labeled ingredients including shredded zucchini, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and more.
  • Zucchini. I use the same shredding technique from my carrot cake recipe, as it creates perfect-sized bits of zucchini (with no discernible pieces in the final product). Make sure you blot your zucchini after shredding–I talk about this process in more detail below and in my video. There is no need to peel your zucchini for this recipe.
  • Sugar. A combination of light brown sugar and granulated sugar keeps this bread moist and tender.
  • Cocoa powder. I chose Dutch process cocoa for the richest tasting chocolate zucchini bread. Do not use natural cocoa, as that could change the way your bread rises. I talk more about the leavening differences between the two in my natural vs Dutch process cocoa post.
  • Hot water. We will use this to bloom our cocoa powder (a technique you’ll recognize from my chocolate muffins). Make sure your water is very hot, if not boiling. You can also use really hot coffee and skip the instant coffee instead, if that’s easier for you.
  • Instant coffee. This really enhances the chocolatey flavor of the bread (without making it taste like coffee).

SAM’S TIP: Room temperature eggs work best in this recipe, so try to bring your eggs out of the fridge ahead of time. If you forget to, don’t fret! I have a trick to quickly bring eggs to room temperature.

Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Prepare the Zucchini

Two photos showing zucchini being shredded and blotted with paper towels.
  1. Shred the zucchini – first, use the shred blade of your food processor. Then, switch to the the regular blade and pulse just a few times to chop the zucchini into bits. Don’t go too far or you’ll end up with a zucchini puree, which won’t work!
  2. Blot the shredded zucchini with paper towels. Do this until you’ve removed most of the water. The zucchini will start to stick to the paper towels when it’s ready.

Make the Batter

Four photos showing a chocolate batter being prepared in a large bowl.
  1. Combine the dry ingredients (except for the cocoa powder) and sugars with a whisk, then set aside.
  2. Whisk the cocoa powder and instant coffee into the hot water until well combined. This blooms the cocoa and helps develop the flavor.
  3. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the chocolate mixture and whisk well to combine.
  4. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together until 50% combined–do not over-mix! This can yield a dense, dry, and rubbery bread.
Three photos showing chocolate batter being poured into a bread pan and baked.
  1. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips until just incorporated. Again, do not over-mix. I know I sound like a broken record, but this is critical!
  2. Spread the batter into a parchment lined bread pan.
  3. Bake until a skewer (a toothpick is too short!) inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Make sure you avoid the chocolate chips when checking for doneness–those can be deceiving. If your skewer comes out covered in chocolate, check another space in the bread.

SAM’S TIP: For the cleanest slices, let your bread cool completely before slicing. This bread is very prone to falling apart when it’s warm (though it tastes amazing warm!).

Overhead view of a chocolate zucchini bread in a pan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my bread dry?

This chocolate zucchini bread was designed to be super moist, so if yours is dry, something definitely went wrong. Over-measuring your flour or over-mixing the batter are the most likely causes. Over-baking could be the culprit too, though.

Do I have to use the coffee?

No, you definitely don’t! I do like adding it for the most decadent flavor, but you can leave it out if you don’t have any on hand. Remember, you shouldn’t be able to actually taste the coffee if you add it.

Does it need to be refrigerated?

This bread will be fine at room temperature for a day or so, but any longer than that and it will need to go in the fridge. Make sure you store it in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out.

Two slices of chocolate zucchini bread on a plate.

If you want to take your zucchini even further into dessert territory, try my chocolate zucchini cake!

Enjoy!

Let’s bake together! Subscribe to my newsletter to be notified of all the newest recipes, and find my free recipe tutorials on YouTube 💜

Two slices of chocolate zucchini bread on a plate.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Transform your zucchini into rich and fudgy chocolate zucchini bread! This recipe uses 2 full cups of zucchini, so it’s perfect for using up an abundant crop from your garden. Recipe includes a how-to video!

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Course: Bread, Dessert, quick bread

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Servings: 12 slices

Calories: 357kcal

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and lightly grease and flour a 9Ă—5″ bread pan (or make a parchment paper sling). Set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, and salt.

    1 ½ cups (190 g) all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup (133 g) light brown sugar, ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, ¾ teaspoons table salt

  • In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, instant coffee (if using) and very hot water until smooth and well-combined.

    ½ cup (50 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon instant coffee, ½ cup (118 ml) very hot/steaming water

  • Whisk melted butter into the cocoa mixture, then add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well-combined.

    ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, 2 large eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and gently fold together until about 50% combined.

  • Add zucchini and chocolate chips and continue to gently fold together until mixture is uniformly combined. Don’t over-mix or bread could be dense/rubbery.

    2 cups (305 g) grated zucchini, 1 ½ cups (255 g) semisweet chocolate chips

  • Spread batter evenly into prepared bread pan.

  • Transfer to center rack of 350F (175C) oven and bake for 85-90 minutes (see note) and until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (make sure you’re not skewering a melted chocolate chip and re-try if you do!).

  • Allow bread to cool completely (or at least mostly) in pan before removing, slicing and serving. I love chocolate zucchini bread while it’s still warm but the slices are more prone to falling apart when cut warm.

Notes

Blotting zucchini

To blot the zucchini, spread it evenly over several sheets of paper towels then take several more folded paper towels and press firmly until most of the excess water has been absorbed and the shredded zucchini begins to stick to the towels.

Bread pan

My bread pan (linked above in the equipment section) is slightly smaller than a classic 9Ă—5 and is light in color. For a darker 9Ă—5 pan start checking the bread at 80 minutes. Note that a glass pan will take longer (sometimes significantly longer) to bake.

Storing

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You may also freeze for several months, I like to wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and then place in a ziploc bag and freeze.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.



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