Chocolate Zucchini Bread

You may have heard me talk about my recipe search for “the one.” What’s the one? It’s the recipe. The one that trumps all the others you’ve tried for that particular thing and ends your search to find the best. It’s the one that you make over and over again until the page in the recipe book gets ingrained in your head. I have a huge list of things I’m still on a quest for and others that have happily settled in their spots as “the one” in my book. That’s not to say that everything that is perfection to me is going to be perfection to anyone else, so I’ll never say something is the best, but it might be the best for me.

This recipe turns out bread so light and moist and chocolatey that it’s pretty much cake in a loaf pan. But calling it bread and putting a vegetable in it makes it sound hip and healthy and appropriate for things other than dessert. But just so you know, you could totally eat this for dessert. With ice cream 🙂 If fact I made a cake out of it, here.  This is the one! Go eat your veggies, kids!



the best chocolate zucchini bread recipe There’s no surprises here, you’ll mix up some dry ingredients, and I include a little cinnamon in there with the cocoa.  It doesn’t make it taste cinnamon-y, it just adds a great depth of flavor and enhances the cocoa.

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipeI also use sour cream to make it super moist but keeping it tender.  If you’re ever making this and find yourself out of sour cream, you can sub Greek yogurt (or even regular yogurt).

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipeAnd of course the zucchini.  I made this several times in a row just to see how much I could push the quantity of zucchini.  I included as much as I could while still keeping it awesome.  I will say that zucchini sometimes has different levels of moisture.  Some are really “wet” and others on the dry side, which is why sometimes you can make recipes like this and have them turn out a little different each time.  If I notice my zucchini looks a little water-logged, I just place the grated pieces in a strainer while I prep the recipe and press out a little water.  But usually I just grate and toss right in. 

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipeYou’ll bake it for 50-60 minutes, but I set my timer for 45 minutes and then keep an eye on it for the remainder. Ya never know how different ovens handle things.  One of the best parts about this recipe is that I sprinkle on a little sugar mixture before baking that creates a crackly crust that’s SO good.

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipe

You’ll want to pick it off, guaranteed.

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipe

When it’s done a toothpick or skewer should come out without goopy batter on it and the top will be gorgeous and cracked with sugar.

Let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove from pans. You definitely have to eat a slice warm (but not hot, or it will fall apart.)  And slathered with butter. When you call it a quick “bread” it’s okay to slather it in butter, when it reality it’s like slathering a piece of really good chocolate cake in butter. Just do it. It’s bread. And vegetables.

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipe

And the best part is that this recipe makes two loaves of bread so you can give one away (or not, I won’t judge). A great way to package breads like this is just to wrap a piece of parchment around the middle and tie with a ribbon. So much cuter than shrink-wrapping the stuff in plastic, don’t you think?

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipe
Hopefully some of you still have zucchini coming out of your ears so you can give this a shot. And if you didn’t grow your own zucchini, this is totally worth buying some for!

the best chocolate zucchini bread recipe

It makes fantastic muffins as well. I used papers in the muffin tin and cooked them at the same temp. Set your timer for 10-12 minutes and then keep an eye on them (cuz I can’t remember exactly how long they took!) I made 12 large muffins, 12 mini muffins, and one small loaf- so you definitely get a bunch!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

5 from 5 votes
Our favorite zucchini bread recipe, perfect for - let's face it - all day snacking. And all 3 meals. (Hey, there's zucchini in it, so it counts!)


  • 3 C grated zucchini
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 3/4 C mini chocolate chips
  • optional: zest from one orange


  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T white sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside. Set shredded zucchini in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside. Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Place flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • With a stand or hand mixer beat oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.
  • Gently press down on zucchini in strainer and discard any excess liquid. Add zucchini to batter (and zest if you're using).
  • Take a spoonful of the flour mixture and stir in with the chocolate chips (that will help keep them evenly distributed.) Add the remaining flour mixture to the batter and stir just until combined.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans, and sprinkle topping over each.
  • Bake in your preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.
  • Let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pans.


Great tips

  • After greasing pans, wipe 1" edge clean with a paper towel all along the top of the pan. This will prevent the batter from "slipping down", and give you a perfectly crowned loaf every time.
  • When baking, put loaf pans on cookie sheets for easy moving.
  • To test for doneness, insert toothpick and ensure it comes out clean. If it comes out goopey and covered in batter, continue baking for another 5 - 10 minutes.
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Hello,

    Made the chocolate zucchini bread earlier this afternoon and LOVE it. Made one change, substituted applesauce for the oil to save some calories and fat. Do you think that yogurt could have taken the place of the sour cream? I am interested in great taste but also want to trim calories wherever possible.

    The pictures on your site are also helpful. Must be alot of extra work but very appreciated out here.

    Thanks, Pat

  2. After checking a bunch of sites for an appropriate recipe I picked yours which I will make tomorrow. I love the way you present the recipe so personal and the tips that you include as well. Thanks so much.

  3. I am just wondering if you would mind sharing your pumpkin bread recipe? I am still looking for “the one” 🙂

  4. I have made this several times and it’s awesome, but HOW do you get the bread flipped out of the pan without losing the yummy sugary top? Mine always falls off.

  5. I’m so excited to try this recipe. Did you use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar? Or does it even matter?

  6. When you grate the zucchini, do you wring out any liquid afterwards? I am thinking if you don’t squeeze a little bit of the liquid out the bread will be too wet and soggy.

    1. Nope, no squeezing, the whole point is to add all of that moisture in there, the recipe is designed for that!

  7. I’m about to make loaves and muffins, and wondering if anyone has frozen them? I’m not sure the zucchini would freeze well…? Also, how many days will it keep fresh for company? Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Yes, they should freeze just fine. It’s best eaten fresh, but if you wrap it well and store it in an airtight container it should be fine for a few days.

  8. I love this recipe…I think it’s “the one” for me too! I made it today for my book club but I did it cake style (I put it in a bundt pan and still used the topping but when I inverted the cake after baking the topping was on the bottom). I also made a brown sugar frosting with cream cheese, butter and milk for the top that was perfect with it.

  9. I baked this bread 3 weeks ago and then adapted it to a gluten and dairy free version for my two boys and friend, (I had a lot of zucchini). My wheat free and regular versions were a huge hit!!
    If anyone is intrested this is what I did:
    flour mixture of 1 cup Brown rice flour, 1/2 cup Tapioca starch and 1/2 cup of Quiona Flour.
    For sour cream I opened a can of full fat cocount milk that had been still for a few days and scooped the cream form the top. ( FYI the cream can also be whipped and used instead of cow whipping cream, yummy!)

  10. Love this recipe made it a bunch of times, this time I added walnuts and it was amazing! I also did 1 cup white flour and 1 cup king arthur’s whole wheat flour and you can’t tell a difference, just a way to make it a little healthier. You have to use king arthur’s whole wheat though because other whole wheat flours are to grainy and don’t taste as good.

  11. Just tried out this recipe today, and the bread turned out beatifully! I made one 8″ loaf and two mini loaves. I took the mini loaves out about 10 minutes before the 8″ loaf. My husband loved the first warm slice right out of the oven so much that I don’t know if he’ll let me give away the mini loaves like I was planning. Luckily, I’ve got tons of zucchini from the garden, so I’ll definitely be making more of this recipe! Thanks a bunch!

  12. Absolutely delicious! Your recipes are ones that we can always trust! The directions paired with the pictures inspire us to make them, and the outcomes are always yummy! Thanks for that!

  13. I just made this Chocolate Zucchini Bread tonight, and it was wonderful. My husband loved it, and he is doesn’t like sweets very much. It was very moist, and the topping makes the top nice and crunchy. Thanks!

  14. This receipe is the perfect zucchini bread! My kids were woofing down slices and asking for more chocolate “cake”. 🙂 The texture is great and I enjoyed the addition of chocolate without the bread being too sweet. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  15. Okay, so I’ve made this twice now, and both times confirm the fact that this is the best zucchini bread EVER. Like, period. That’s it. *grin*
    Thanks you so much.

  16. I couldn’t give one away because I know I could eat 2 loaves by my self!! But I’ll probably double the recipe because my family and I LOVE zucchini bread/bananna bread, you name it. 🙂

    Happy Cooking!

  17. OMG!!! I made this for my daughter’s 29th birthday today! I am going to mail her loaf tomorrow….our loaf is half gone! I didn’t think anything could top my regular recipe, but this one did in leaps and bounds. It was a lot of ingredients and mixing and measuring, but it was worth every bit of it! Love your blog…just found it!

  18. I LOVED making this. I made them into muffins and I ate most of them to myself as they were so good. Will be reccommending to my family and friends.

  19. I tried this recipe last night and we love it! I am linking up to it today on my blog –

    Thanks so much for sharing such a yummy treat!

  20. This is THE BEST zucchini bread recipe. We love it! I doesn't last a day in our house. Thanks for sharing ladies!

  21. I have this in the oven right now and cannot wait to taste it! Just read your tip on slathering it with butter. Oh my. Chocolate, sugar and butter! But yes, because it's called a bread and not a cake, then it *must* be healthy! I will post about this on my own blog later and direct people here for the recipe. Thanks!

  22. I made this recipe 2 days before we had the baby and my husband ate both before we came home from the hospital! This was just what we were looking for. Thanks again!


  23. I just put my loafs in the oven….they smell WONDERFUL!!! I am sure they will taste great too, everything i have made from your blog….pasta salad, kabobs, toquites….have been fantastic! thanks for the inspiration!

  24. I made this today and I didn't tell my kids that zucchini was in it (they wouldn't eat the plain zucchini bread I made a few days ago). They devoured this! It was yummy. But I felt like I was cheating. It's probably so bad for us. Does the bad outweigh the good?? 😉 It tasted like the chocolate muffins at Costco.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe and thanks for the tip about the top of the pan. It worked wonderfully!

  25. everythingpinnnk- all good questions!

    The general recommendation seems to be to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees when using a glass pan, but many recipes will tell you to do the same thing when using a dark or coated non-stick metal pan. For general cooking I personally don't think it makes a huge difference, I usually don't adjust my temps and everything always turns out fine. But if you ever have problems with delicate things like cakes getting overcooked on the bottom in a glass pan, you may want to reduce the temp.

    About the ingredient order, yes you'll want to follow the directions as stated in a recipe, that is important. There are exceptions where you can just dump everything in and it won't make a difference, but for most things- like this bread for example- it is very important to mix it as stated in the recipe.

    Hope that all helps, don't ever hesitate to ask questions if you have them!

  26. oh once again you are making me look great. i made this tonight along with the minestrone soup and I am a super star.

    i do have a question. is there a difference in baking in a glass pan or a metal pan? temp or time?

    also does it make a difference in cooking to add the dry ingredients separately then the wet, does the order of a recipe really make a difference? (I am a cooking rookie, so I know this may be a silly question)

    thanks girls!

  27. THIS WAS INCREDIBLE! Wow. I substituted WW flour and left out 1/4 C. of white sugar (I have this weird thing about not going over 1 cup of sugar in a recipe 😉 and it turned out fabulous! I also made it into muffins to make it easier to grab and go and it made a TON of muffins. I honestly don't think I'll make brownies again because this chocolatey treat is so much better!