Zucchini chocolate chip pecan cookies are chewy, buttery, and made entirely from scratch. Chopped pecans and rich chocolate chips are a perfect pairing for the holidays.
Cookies are one of my favorite ways to use up that extra garden zucchini. So far, I've made lemon cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and pumpkin cookies - all moist and delicious. The best part? You can't even taste the vegetables hiding inside!
Finely shredded zucchini adds structure and moisture, as well as Vitamin A, fiber, and antioxidants. Due to the addition of zucchini, I've reduced the amounts of butter and egg in this recipe.
The dough base is the same as my zucchini chocolate chip cookies, but with the addition of crunchy pecans, making them perfect for the holidays. Serve them on your next cookie tray for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter - Unsalted butter can be substituted with salted butter (omit the salt listed in the recipe).
- Sugars - I used a combination of granulated and brown sugars in this recipe for a classic chewy chocolate chip cookie texture.
- Egg - Adds structure and moisture to your cookies.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor to your cookies.
- Flour - Adds structure to your cookies. I've only tested this recipe with all-purpose flour, so I can't say how your cookies would turn out using an alternative. Baking is an exact science, so substituting ingredients can change the structure and texture of your baked goods.
- Leavening - Baking soda is needed for this recipe to provide the proper lift.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your cookies.
- Zucchini - You'll need about 1 cup of finely shredded zucchini (measured including the liquid) for this recipe. This equals about 135 grams before squeezing the liquid out, and about 70 grams after squeezing the liquid out. I recommend using finely shredded zucchini because it will more easily combine into your cookie dough while baking.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips - I prefer semi-sweet chocolate chips in my chocolate chip cookies, but any flavor of baking chip works as a substitute. White chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or milk chocolate chips are great choices.
- Pecans - Pecans can be substituted with walnuts, cashews, or macadamia nuts. They can also be omitted entirely to make a classic zucchini chocolate chip cookie.
Can you taste the zucchini?
Zucchini has a mild, neutral flavor that you can't taste in baked goods. Tiny green flecks throughout the cookie dough are the only signs of zucchini you'll notice.
Make sure you're using zucchini, not other green vegetables (like cucumber) that do have a strong flavor.
Not sure which one you have on hand? Check out my post - Zucchini vs cucumber - what's the difference?
Do I need to squeeze the liquid from my zucchini?
Yes, for this recipe you need to squeeze the liquid from your shredded zucchini before adding it to the dough.
If you forget to squeeze the zucchini out beforehand, your cookies will turn out cakey and puffy instead of chewy.
Cookie tips and tricks
Room temperature ingredients cream together seamlessly to make an even, consistent dough. Place your butter and egg on the counter top about an hour before beginning. Cold ingredients can leave lumps in your dough that bake up inconsistently. Melted ingredients make your dough spread too much in the oven.
Properly measured flour is the most common issue I see in baking. Scooping flour directly from a bin with a measuring cup compacts flour into the cup, adding up to 25% extra flour to the recipe. Instead, I highly recommend measuring your flour by weight (this is the only method I use), or using the spoon and level method (gently spoon flour into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife).
Use parchment paper or a silicone mat to line your baking sheet. Grease on the baking sheet can cause your cookies to spread more while baking.
Squeeze the liquid from your zucchini before adding to the dough. Extra liquid can cause your cookies to spread more in the oven, or puff up and get cakey/gummy from the excess liquid.
Storage and freezing
Zucchini chocolate chip pecan cookies will keep for up to five days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
To help your cookies stay fresh longer, place a slice of bread in your cookie storage container (and replace as needed). While the bread dries out, your cookies stay fresh and moist.
Cookie dough, as well as baked cookies, can be frozen for up to three months in a tightly sealed, freezer safe container. To thaw, place on the countertop for 1 hour.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (160 g) brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (70 g) finely shredded zucchini, measure before squeezing liquid out
- 11 ounces (311 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (114 g) chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add room temperature butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. With a hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat until creamed and fluffy, about a minute. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy, about a minute.
- In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add to butter mixture and stir to combine (do not overmix).
- After measuring zucchini, wrap in a few layers of paper towel or a kitchen towel, then squeeze firmly over the kitchen sink to remove excess moisture. Do not skip this step, excess moisture will make your cookies cakey and/or soggy.
- Add shredded zucchini, chocolate chips, and pecans to dough and stir to incorporate.
- Scoop dough using a medium cookie scoop or shape by hand into 1.5 inch balls. Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until lightly browned across the tops. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Measure 1 cup (135 grams) of finely grated zucchini, then squeeze liquid out (about 70 grams) before adding to the dough.
- Baked cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. Cookies (and dough) can be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
- Pecans can be substituted with walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, or can be omitted entirely.