Zucchini Applesauce Bread

May  5, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom Prop Stylist: Lauren Ringer Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • Makes 1 9-by-5-inch loaf
Author Notes

This recipe highlights one of the great methods my mom taught me: substitute applesauce for oil. It doesn't work with every single recipe, but it works beautifully with this bread. I think the use of applesauce makes this more flavorful and, of course, much healthier. I make this bread at least once a week when fresh zucchini is available. It's a dish that resonates with adults and children alike. In fact, this was one of the first solid foods I fed my daughter. Note*: I edited the amount oil in this recipe based on feedback from a Food52 user. I agreed with her assessment and now use less and don't split the batter up between two pans. —Kelsey Banfield

Test Kitchen Notes

This is the type of sweet bread that you can leave out in a container on your counter to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, or even dessert. Plus, it couldn’t be simpler to make: simply add the dry ingredients to the wet and let it bake away in the oven. You’ll find yourself reaching for this no-fuss recipe over and over again.

When you’re grating the zucchini, be sure to leave the skin on and use the large holes of your box grater to achieve the best texture. Do not pat the zucchini dry, salt it, or pack it too tightly, since the moisture in the zucchini results in that tender, can’t-have-just-one-slice bread.

Make sure to use a true 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (not an 8-by-4 or even an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2!) to ensure that the batter won’t overflow as it’s baking. Whenever you’re baking, the final product will likely vary by oven temperature (every oven is different—definitely invest in an oven thermometer if you love to bake to get the most accurate read!), the type of pan (glass versus metal versus ceramic), over- and under-mixing, and altitude, so be sure to trust your instincts and visual cues if you want to sub a smaller pan (say, a muffin tin; those will likely be done after about 20 minutes), bake the loaf for a bit longer than instructed, have to hold back a little of the prepared batter, or even divide the batter among two smaller loaf tins. —The Editors

What You'll Need
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Zucchini Applesauce Bread
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (not unsweetened or low-fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups freshly grated zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Use a bit of vegetable oil to grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla until fully combined.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and stir until completely combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until middle is set and a cake tester comes out clean.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kelsey Banfield
    Kelsey Banfield
  • Pie
  • Anna F.
    Anna F.
  • dietitian-nutritionist
Home cook, food blogger, cookbook author, wine lover, avid traveler, and mother of two young children. Check out my books: The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life (2012), and The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year (2015), Running Press.

20 Reviews

Pie July 10, 2022
One of the best recipes I've used and I also added raisins and Finley chopped pecans
Anna F. March 21, 2020
My loaf pan was 1" shorter all around so I used two loaf pans to divide the mixture.
Anna F. March 21, 2020
After taking them out of the oven, both loaves collapsed inside.
Anna F. March 21, 2020
And it was raw after 55 minutes of baking. Passing on this recipe.
I would like to replace part of the 1 1/2 cups of sugar with another ingredient, and since applesauce is already replacing part of the oil, what do you suggest?
Sara W. October 15, 2019
I just added a full cup of applesauce and 1/2 cup of sugar and it tasted great, 2 year old son approved. Have made it 3 times since . then already!
dietitian-nutritionist October 15, 2019
Thank you for your advice. I didn't realize that more than 4 years later this reply came in. Time to make another zucchini loaf!
kenya July 21, 2015
omgggggg ... just made 2 loaves of this delicious loaf, 1 for my neighbor whom I got the zucchini from and 1 for my household. The most moistest of all bread loaves I've ever made. I mean like melt in ur mouth good ! I even added my own lil kick to it ... a craisin and pistaccio topping. I opted not to mix the topping into the mix bcuz that way if the preference isn't to have nuts or whatever, scrape it off and get to eatin that moist bread ! Thx a million times over 4 this recipe, ABSOLUTELY AWESOME !!!
Kelsey F. October 8, 2014
I made this recipe tonight (in a midnight baking destressathon) for the second time. The first time I followed the recipe ingredients exactly, although I baked it as muffins rather than a loaf. My roommie and her mother devoured them all within a few days (despite the mother being "gluten-free"). This second time, I made them as muffins again, but added a grated carrot, reduced the sugar, and substituted half of the AP flour for quinoa flour. I also added a sprinkling of cardamom, mostly because it's my favorite spice. We'll see how long it takes to finish this second batch.
shortnsweet September 15, 2012
have a loaf of this in the oven now-it smells divine, but each time i check it i've had to scoop the overflow off the bottom of my oven. any idea what i might have done wrong?
Crunchymamaof4 July 30, 2012
Mmmmm... I added 1/2 cup shredded carrot and reduced sugar :) My boys LOVED it!!
lauraaford September 10, 2011
I just made a double batch of the bread and I used 3 cups of shredded zucchini and 1 cup shredded kale and it came out amazing! I also added a dash of nutmeg to the mix and it tastes great!
I would like to replace part of the 1 1/2 cups of sugar with another ingredient, and since applesauce is already replacing part of the oil, what do you suggest?
AEC April 26, 2011
So good! I used natural (sugar-free) applesauce because that was on hand. Also shredded (rather than grated) half of the zucchini to add a little texture. Love all the cinnamon in this. I did have to increase the baking time, but that may just be my unpredictable oven.
mommy O. August 29, 2010
I made a few tweeks to this recipe and it came out great. I substituted whole wheat flour and used organic cane sugar. My twins refuse to eat anything green so I am hoping this bread will do the trick! I'll let you know.
maclover March 2, 2010
I made this recipe again recently with a few adjustments, and it turned out well. I added 1 tsp vanilla (since it doesn't specify in the ingredients) and 1/4 cup vegetable oil instead of 1/2 cup. I baked the whole batter in a single 9x5 loaf pan for 55-60 minutes. Wrapping the loaf in foil after cooling helps soften crunchy outer edges from defunct ovens like mine.
Kelsey B. March 2, 2010
I am so glad to hear this. I can see how reducing the oil would work since it is such a moist bread and you made one large loaf. Wrapping the loaf in foil when necessary is a great tip too - we are all at the mercy of our ovens!
maclover October 7, 2009
Steps 2 and 3 are identical. Are there important details for the real step 3?
Kelsey B. October 15, 2009
Hi! Thanks for letting me know, that is strange that is was duplicated. I've edited the recipe and it should be all set!
Kelsey B. October 15, 2009
Hi! Thanks for letting me know, that is strange that is was duplicated. I've edited the recipe and it should be all set!