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
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 55 minutes
- Makes 1 9-by-5-inch loaf
1 1/2 teaspoons
coarse kosher salt
3 1/2 teaspoons
vegetable oil, plus more for greasing pan
applesauce (not unsweetened or low-fat)
1 1/2 cups
freshly grated zucchini
pure vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350ºF. Use a bit of vegetable oil to grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, stir together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla until fully combined.
- Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and stir until completely combined.
- 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.