This simple zucchini bread recipe is super moist from the addition of sour cream and some extra warm and bright flavor from fresh orange zest and cloves. It’s a staple in the summer months when zucchini is plentiful, but wonderful at any time for a cozy snack! If you love zucchini bread, you might also love my popular Chocolate Zucchini Bread, or this Bundt Cake Version.
You’ll see all the familiar players here: zucchini, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, etc. It’s the additions that take this bread over the top.
- Spices – A touch of cinnamon and cloves give this bread rich, warm flavor.
- Sour Cream – Sour cream keeps this bread tender and moist. Full fat is best, but reduced fat will work. Avoid fat free.
- Orange Zest – Use fresh zest here (make sure to wash your orange first!), not dehydrated or freeze dried.
- Toasted Pecans – These are totally optional. If you like nuts in your sweet breads, go ahead and toss them in! I personally don’t like the texture they take on once baked, so I prefer to leave them out.
- Topping – This is where the good stuff is. Sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon create a sweet, crunchy crust on top of the zucchini bread that’s hard to beat.
How To Make Zucchini Bread
- Pre-heat oven and line loaf pans with parchment or grease and flour them.
- Place shredded zucchini in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside to allow and excess moisture to drip off.
- Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside. Combine your topping ingredients in another small bowl and set aside.
- Beat a couple of eggs with with some oil, sugar, brown, sugar, and vanilla. Then mix in sour cream and orange zest.
- Squeeze out any excess moisture from zucchini, then add it to the batter and mix in gently.
- Add dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter between your pans and sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the tops. Bake until a knife comes out clean, and then allow your loaves to cool in the pans, on a cooling rack, for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove from the pan or it will come out in chunks!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this ahead of time? This bread is delicious as soon as it’s cool enough to eat, and perhaps even more delicious the next day! Feel free to make it ahead of time and store, covered, on the countertop until ready to serve.
Can I freeze this bread? Yes! Sweet breads freeze great. Allow your loaf to cool completely, then wrap tightly first in plastic wrap, then in foil. Label the foil with a sharpie, pop in a plastic zip top bag if desired, and transfer to the freezer where it can stay fresh for up to 3 months. A frozen loaf will take anywhere from 2-4 hours to fully thaw on the countertop, so keep that in mind when you are ready to take it out of the freezer.
If you like this zucchini bread, you will LOVE this Chocolate Zucchini Bread. This Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake is another incredible option. Looking for some other sweet breads? Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze and Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread are some other great choices.
Did You Make This?
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A sweet, moist quick bread using fresh zucchini and orange zest.
2 1/4 C flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
zest from one large orange
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups grated zucchini
optional: 2/3 cups chopped pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 smaller (8×4) loaf pans and set aside. Or you can do a larger 9×5 loaf pan and a couple of mini loaves.
Place shredded zucchini in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside.
Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Beat eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla for about 30 seconds. Add sour cream and orange zest and beat to combine. Very gently press down on zucchini in strainer and discard extra liquid. Mix zucchini into batter.
Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Divide batter between 2 pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over tops. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
Make sure to let your loaf rest on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before you try to remove it from the pan or it will come out in chunks!