Lemon zucchini bread is a moist and tender quick bread that's filled with bright citrus flavor. A great way to use up that summer garden zucchini!
Looking for a new flavor twist on classic zucchini bread? If you love lemon desserts, you'll want to give this lemon zucchini bread a try. It's made with simple, easy to find baking ingredients and makes the perfect less-sweet dessert or snack.
Today we're using the zest and juice of one lemon, which adds the perfect amount of citrus flavor to our quick bread. Poppy seeds add a bit of crunch and nutty flavor.
Shredded zucchini adds moisture and structure, as well as fiber, Vitamin A, and antioxidants. The best part? Zucchini has a mild flavor, so you can't even taste it in the baked bread.
Lemon zucchini bread makes a great breakfast or brunch addition, and can even be served as dessert. Optionally, dust the top with confectioner's sugar before slicing and serving.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need 1.5 cups of finely grated zucchini (before squeezing out the liquid). We're squeezing out the liquid because we're utilizing the lemon juice for added flavor and don't want to add too much moisture (this would cause the bread to turn out gummy and/or dense).
- Lemon - You'll need one large lemon for this recipe. We're using both the zest and juice of the lemon. Most of the flavor comes from the zest, so I don't recommend omitting it. Lemon juice adds fresh citrus flavor and moisture to your bread.
- Sugar - Granulated sugar adds sweetness and moisture to your zucchini bread. I do not recommend using brown sugar in this recipe, the bread crust would turn out a bit too dark. As written, this bread turns out lightly sweetened. For a sweeter bread, add an extra ¼ cup of granulated sugar.
- Vegetable oil - Adds moisture to your bread. Canola oil or light olive oil can work in a pinch.
- Eggs - Add moisture and structure to your bread.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor to your bread.
- All-purpose flour - Adds structure to your bread. I have not tested this recipe with other types of flours, so I don't suggest making any substitutions. Baking is an exact science, and altering main ingredients can change the density and texture of your bread. Instead, search for a recipe that includes the flour you'd like to use.
- Leavening agents - This recipe uses both baking soda and baking powder. They cannot be substituted for one another - you'll need both to get the proper amount of lift.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your bread without making it "salty".
- Poppy seeds - Optional. Adds crunch, texture, and nutty flavor to the bread. Can be substituted with chia seeds.
How to grate zucchini for bread
I recommend shredding zucchini using the small or "fine" side of a box grater. The smaller pieces melt right into the zucchini bread as it bakes.
If you prefer, you are welcome to use the large side of a box grater - this gives your bread a more noticeable texture.
If you have a food processor with a grating disc, this is a great time saving way to shred zucchini.
Do I need to squeeze my zucchini out?
Yes, for this recipe I highly recommend squeezing the liquid out of your zucchini. Each recipe varies, but for this recipe, we're also utilizing the lemon juice for extra flavor. This means that we need to squeeze the liquid from our zucchini to prevent adding too much moisture, which makes your bread gummy and wet.
Storing zucchini bread
For detailed information on storing zucchini bread, check out my full post: How to store zucchini bread
Room temperature - Zucchini bread can be stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Refrigerator - If your bread is extremely moist/wet, you may want to store your zucchini bread in the refrigerator instead. Zucchini bread will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week in a tightly sealed container.
Freezer - Zucchini bread can be carefully wrapped in plastic wrap/foil (either the entire loaf or single slices), then stored in a freezer safe bag or container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Set out on the counter top for 1 to 3 hours to thaw to room temperature.
Lemon Zucchini Bread
- 1.5 cups (220 g) finely grated zucchini, after measuring, squeeze liquid out
- 1 large lemon
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100 g) vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease one 9x5 loaf pan (or line with parchment paper) and set aside.
- Measure 1.5 cups (220 grams) of grated zucchini, then place into a few layers of paper towels, or a kitchen towel, and gently squeeze over the sink to remove excess liquid.
- Zest and juice one lemon into a large bowl. Add finely grated zucchini (with liquid squeezed out), granulated sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until evenly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add poppy seeds and stir until incorporated.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 48 to 55 minutes, OR until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean/with dry crumbs, or bread reaches 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit in the center (baking times will vary based on your oven and type of pan used).
- Allow bread to cool completely on the counter before removing from pan and slicing.
- Leftover zucchini bread will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If your bread is very moist/wet, I recommend refrigerating.
- Zucchini bread can be frozen for up to 6 months. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap/foil and store in a freezer safe bag or container. Thaw on the counter top for 1 to 3 hours.