You’ll love these easy zucchini muffins because they pack a lot of wholesome flavor and only require about 30 minutes start to finish. Enjoy cinnamon, vanilla, and sweet brown sugar in a moist yet fluffy crumb. (And you can’t even taste the zucchini!)
I bake zucchini bread often in the summertime and recently made a couple small tweaks to my usual method. This zucchini bread comes from an award-winning recipe and is now updated with a little more volume (taller 9×5 inch loaf!) and moisture. It’s better than ever!
You could turn the quick bread recipe into muffins or try today’s muffins recipe, which is quite similar.
Here’s Why You’ll Love These Zucchini Muffins
- The batter comes together quickly.
- No mixer required.
- Easy way to use a plentiful summer vegetable.
- Perfect balance of moist, hearty, and soft.
- Dairy free if using dairy-free milk.
- Adaptable to your liking with any add-ins you love in a muffin.
BONUS: Zucchini muffins are vegetable delivery vehicles that even picky vege-skeptics will love. You can’t taste the vegetable because the zucchini takes on the flavor of the cinnamon-spiced batter. Hop on over to my zucchini cake and chocolate zucchini cake recipes… you can’t even see that sneaky vegetable inside! For even more inspiration, here are 20+ of my favorite zucchini recipes.
Zucchini Bread vs Zucchini Muffins
As I was experimenting with ways to perfect my zucchini bread recipe, I also wanted to get the muffin version just right. Muffins usually have a thicker batter and heartier texture than quick bread. If a quick bread batter is too thick, your bread may easily dry out during the long bake time. Additionally, quick bread slices can become flimsy and fall apart if you stuff the batter with too much, but the compacted muffin shape welcomes extras.
Comparing today’s muffins and the quick bread version, here are 3 differences:
- I use a little more zucchini in the muffin batter.
- I slightly reduce the brown sugar in the muffin recipe (you could successfully do the same quick bread recipe though).
- I use a touch of milk to thin out the muffin batter. In the zucchini bread, I use applesauce. You could use applesauce instead of milk in the muffins, but I do not suggest milk in the bread recipe because the bread will be too moist.
Key Ingredients You Need & Why:
In addition to baking powder, baking soda, and salt, the following ingredients are imperative for the success of this recipe:
- Whole Wheat Flour or All-Purpose Flour: Like these applesauce muffins, healthy apple muffins, bran muffins, and morning glory muffins, today’s zucchini muffins taste wonderfully wholesome with whole wheat flour. You can use all whole wheat or all all-purpose flour or a combination of the two.
- Vanilla, Cinnamon, & Nutmeg: Use all 3 for unbeatable flavor.
- Oil & Eggs: Oil adds moisture and eggs give the muffins structure.
- Brown Sugar & White Granulated Sugar: Brown sugar not only sweetens the muffins, it adds flavor and moisture. Using all brown sugar weighs down the muffins, so use a combination of brown and white sugars, just like in these pumpkin muffins. If you’re curious about using unrefined sugar, try substituting both the brown and white sugars with coconut sugar, or you may enjoy turning this Greek yogurt zucchini bread into muffins instead.
- Milk: Like banana muffins, this batter needs some liquid to help thin it out. Dairy or nondairy milk work wonderfully. Orange juice works too; it sounds odd but I swear by it when making pumpkin bread!
- Optional Add-ins: Chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and raisins are favorites.
And of Course… Shredded Zucchini
Zucchini adds flavorless moisture. It’s truly a magical ingredient in your baked goods—just wait until you try this zucchini crumb cake, chocolate zucchini bread, or a batch of zucchini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
- Shredding Zucchini: I use and love this box grater because it’s easy to use, grates quickly, and has held up well with regular use. No need to blot the shredded zucchini before adding it to the muffin batter, unlike when you’re making zucchini fritters. (Where moisture is NOT a good thing!)
All you’re doing is whisking the dry and wet ingredients together separately, and then combining everything. Expect a thick batter. If desired, sprinkle coarse sugar on top of the muffins before baking. It adds a sweet crunch that also happens to make homemade muffins look like they came from a bakery display case. 🙂
Can I Add Crumb Topping?
Absolutely! Feel free to top the muffins with the crumb topping used in these apple cinnamon muffins. Or you can swirl the muffins with the same streusel used in these banana chocolate chip streusel muffins.
Plain or chocolate chip are the favorite varieties around here. You might also love these slightly different (but just as marvelous!!!) cream cheese zucchini muffins with a thick cream cheese swirl hiding inside.
Flavorful and moist, these zucchini bread muffins are an easy summertime baking staple. No need to peel the zucchini before shredding, but you certainly can if you’d like. See Notes for freezing instructions.
- 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour (or mix of both), spooned & leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk (dairy or non dairy)
- 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) shredded zucchini (no need to blot)*
- optional: 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped nuts, raisins, etc)
- optional: coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk together. Whisk in the shredded zucchini. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk or stir until just combined. Fold in any add-ins you want to include, if any. Avoid over-mixing. Batter is thick.
- Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C); then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce heat to 350°F (177°C) and continue baking for another 15–17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20–21 minutes, give or take. (For mini muffins, bake 11–13 minutes at 350°F (177°C) the whole time.)
- Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling, or enjoy warm.
- Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days, then transfer to the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, freeze the muffins for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then heat up in the microwave if desired.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 12-count Muffin Pan | Cupcake Liners | Box Grater | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Cooling Rack
- Zucchini: I do not peel the zucchini before shredding, but you certainly can if you’d like. I like to use a box grater for shredding zucchini. Zucchini can vary in size, but 1-2 medium zucchini are plenty for this recipe.
- Can I reduce the sugar or oil? You can absolutely slightly reduce either or both, but understand that sugar and oil help produce moist, tender muffins and the results may be disappointing. For the oil, feel free to swap *some* for applesauce. You could also try substituting all or most of both sugars with coconut sugar. Or you may enjoy this Greek yogurt zucchini bread as muffins instead.
- Can I add a crumb topping? Absolutely! Feel free to top the muffins with the crumb topping used in these apple cinnamon muffins.
- Why the initial high oven temperature? Like I do for most muffin recipes, bake the muffins for 5 minutes at a very hot temperature. Then, keeping the muffins in the oven, switch to a lower temperature for the remaining bake time. This initial high temperature will quickly lift the muffin tops so they’re extra high, then the centers will bake during the lower temperature bake time. This trick makes beautiful bakery-style muffins every time.
Keywords: zucchini muffins