Fudgy zucchini brownies are rich, decadent dessert bars. You'd never know they're made with zucchini - using a food processor blends them seamlessly into the batter before baking!
These fudgy zucchini brownies are the perfect recipe for chocolate lovers. They turn out fudgy, chocolatey, dense, and moist - all of the qualities you'd want in a brownie recipe.
Zucchini brownies are the perfect way to use up extra zucchini you have on hand. They make a great after-dinner dessert or handheld summer picnic treat.
The secret to making a fudgy zucchini brownie without all that stringy zucchini texture? Using a food processor. For this recipe, you'll blend your wet ingredients together, add your dry ingredients, pulse a few times to combine, then pour the batter into an 8x8 square pan to bake. Your brownies will have a smooth, even texture, with just a few tiny flecks of green throughout.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need one heaping cup of cubed zucchini, which is about 1 small zucchini, or 135 grams in weight. Adding extra zucchini can make your brownies gummy by adding too much moisture.
- Sugars - A combination of granulated and brown sugars helps make these brownies fudgy and sweet, but not too sweet.
- Butter - You'll need melted, unsalted butter for this recipe. Using butter helped give these brownies their fudgy texture, but can be substituted with a light cooking oil if needed. Unsalted butter can also be substituted with salted butter (omit the salt listed in the recipe).
- Egg - One egg adds just enough structure to your brownies without making them cakey.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor to your brownies.
- Flour - I recommend using all-purpose flour for this recipe. I have not tested this recipe with other flours, and not all flours can easily be substituted at a 1:1 ratio, so I don't recommend making flour substitutions.
- Cocoa powder - Adds chocolate flavor to your brownies. I used natural cocoa powder for this recipe, but dutch cocoa would also work if you'd like a milder flavor.
- Baking powder - A small amount of baking powder adds just enough lift to prevent these brownies from being dense and gummy, without turning out fluffy like cake. Baking powder cannot be substituted with baking soda - I tested this recipe with baking soda and the brownies turned out too fluffy and cakey.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your brownies.
Do I need to peel the zucchini?
No, there's no need to peel the zucchini for this recipe. The skin of the zucchini contains fiber and nutrients you'd be missing out on by peeling it off. Plus, since we're pureeing the zucchini, it doesn't leave a noticeable texture in your brownies.
However, if you're opposed to the potential of seeing flecks of green in your brownies (there may be a few), you're welcome to peel your zucchini before measuring.
Can I make these without a food processor?
Yes, a blender will also work.
If you don't have a food processor or blender, this recipe can be made with finely grated zucchini, which may leave a noticeable texture in your brownies. However, they'll taste just as good! Simply combine the wet ingredients with a spoon, whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to combine.
What size food processor do I need?
Any food processor 9 cups or larger should handle the entire recipe at once. I used a 9 cup food processor, but have not tested this recipe in anything smaller. Use your best judgement and don't fill your liquid ingredients above the liquid fill line.
If you have a small food processor in the 3 to 7 cup range, you can still use it for part of the recipe. Puree the zucchini, butter, and egg together in the food processor. If you have room, also add the sugars and vanilla in this step. Pour the wet ingredients into a bowl (and for smaller processors, stir the sugars and vanilla in at this time). In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. Last, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
What makes a brownie fudgy?
I did an extensive amount of testing with this recipe and found that having enough butter and sugar resulted in a fudgier brownie. A higher ratio of butter to flour gives your brownies a fudgier texture instead of a cakey texture. Cakey brownies tend to have more eggs, flour, and leavening.
In one of my early versions, I used less fat (oil for that attempt), more flour, more eggs, and too much leavening, which led to my recipe for chocolate zucchini snack cake! Equally as chocolatey, but with a fluffy, moist, and cakey texture.
Are zucchini brownies healthy?
My goal with this recipe was to make a brownie that 1) included zucchini, 2) still had a fudgy, rich texture, and 3) tasted delicious.
These zucchini brownies contain plenty of flour, sugar, and butter, so I would not call this particular recipe "healthy" by any stretch of the imagination. However, healthy is a relative term that can mean different things from one person to the next.
The addition of zucchini adds fiber and nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and antioxidants. By adding zucchini, I was able to reduce the amount of eggs needed by one, the amount of sugar (very slightly), and the amount of butter (very slightly). These measurements are compared to my traditional brownie recipe that doesn't include zucchini.
Here's a great article on the benefits of zucchini: Healthline - 12 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Zucchini
How to store zucchini brownies
Zucchini brownies will keep for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or for up to a week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Zucchini brownies also freeze well! Wrap them in plastic wrap and/or foil, then store in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Transfer to the counter top to thaw for 1 to 2 hours before serving.
Fudgy Zucchini Brownies
- 1 small (135 g) zucchini, cubed, about 1 heaping cup
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (106 g) brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (90 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (40 g) natural cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a large food processor, add cubed zucchini, melted butter, egg, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, then pulse a few times until just incorporated.
- Pour brownie batter into prepared 8x8 pan and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with crumbs, not liquid batter).
- I recommend a 9-cup or larger processor to prepare the entire recipe.
- If using a smaller food processor, blend together zucchini, butter, and egg, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in sugars and vanilla. Whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to wet ingredients and stir to combine.
- Recipe can be made with finely grated zucchini if you don't have a food processor, but zucchini may leave a noticeable texture.
- Zucchini brownies will keep for 3 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Brownies can also be frozen for up to 3 months.