Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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This rich chocolate zucchini bread makes the perfect afternoon snack whenever you’re in need of a chocolate fix.

Loaf of chocolate zucchini bread with the end sliced off.

This chocolate zucchini bread makes the perfect afternoon snack whenever you’re in need of a chocolate fix. It has a deep chocolate flavor from unsweetened cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips, yet it’s not so sweet that it tastes like dessert. Plus, it’s loaded with zucchini, so there’s some virtue in it.

What you’ll need to make Chocolate zucchini Bread

Bread ingredients including cocoa powder, zucchini, and eggs.

How to make Chocolate zucchini Bread

Begin by grating the zucchini. I use a food processor as it’s a bit quicker, but you can also do it by hand with a box grater.

Food processor of shredded zucchini.

Next, melt the butter in a large mixing bowl.

Bowl of butter.

Add the brown sugar.

Butter and brown sugar in a bowl.

And stir until smooth.

Fork mixing butter and brown sugar.

Stir in the eggs and vanilla, then set aside. (Note: it’s important to stir the brown sugar into the melted butter before adding the eggs, as the hot butter alone could cook the eggs.)

Eggs and vanilla in a bowl with a brown sugar mixture.

Next, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

Whisk in a bowl of unmixed dry ingredients.

Add it to the wet ingredients.

Dry ingredients pouring into a bowl of wet ingredients.

And stir to combine — it will be very thick.

Bowl of chocolate dough.

Next, add the grated zucchini and chocolate chips.

Zucchini and chocolate chips in a bowl with dough.

Stir until well combined. It will still be very thick — that’s okay.

Batter with zucchini and chocolate chips.

Transfer the mixture to a greased loaf pan, and spread the batter evenly with a spatula.

Bread pan with chocolate zucchini bread batter.

Bake for about an hour, then let the loaf cool in the pan for about ten minutes.

Loaf of chocolate zucchini bread in a loaf pan.

Turn the loaf out onto a rack to cool completely. It’s delicious right out of the oven but it’s best to wait at least an hour to slice it, otherwise it may crumble a little. Enjoy!

Loaf of chocolate zucchini bread on a wire rack.

Note: My starting point for this recipe was this recipe from King Arthur Flour. I replaced the vegetable oil with butter, swapped out the honey for more brown sugar, and reduced the salt.

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This rich chocolate zucchini bread makes the perfect afternoon snack whenever you’re in need of a chocolate fix.

Servings: One 8½ x 4½-inch loaf
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⅔ cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with a knife
  • ⅓ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (ok to substitute natural cocoa powder)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, gently packed (you'll need about 2 medium zucchini; do not wring out the liquid)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees and grease an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the butter in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl and microwave for one minute, or until just melted. Stir in the brown sugar until completely smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until incorporated. (Be sure to add the eggs after the brown sugar is mixed in, as the hot butter alone could cook the eggs.)
  3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and instant coffee (if using) in a medium bowl. Add to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. It will be very thick.
  4. Stir in the shredded zucchini and chocolate chips. (It will still be thick -- that's okay.)
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (save for perhaps a smear from the melted chocolate chips). Let the loaf cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, wrap it securely in aluminum foil, freezer wrap or place in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (16 1/2-inch slices servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 231
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 33g
  • Sugar: 21g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 184mg
  • Cholesterol: 41mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • First I love your recipes and have made sooo many of them! I also have your cookbook and have tabs on almost every page! I just doubled this recipe and made 2 loaves. I couldn’t wait beyond the 10 minutes so tried it as soon as I got it out of the pan. This is a total winner, So much depth and not overly sweet. Love Love Love!!

    • — Jessica Bryan on March 4, 2024
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  • Delicious and just right! I made 4 loaves and am working on another 4 to put into the freezer and give as gifts. This recipe is like chocolate cake. Yum!

    • — Kathy Owensby on October 24, 2023
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  • Made this vegan (swapped vegan unsalted butter instead of cow butter and 2 generous flax eggs instead of large chicken eggs, dark chocolate chips instead of semi sweet) and gluten free (swapped Bob mills 1-to-1 GF for the white flour). And this was AMAZING! Great recipe, turned out with a beautiful crust and fudgy yummy inside!

    • — Andrea on September 21, 2023
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  • I made 2 loaves this afternoon. One was with regular flour and one with gluten free flour.
    Went exactly by the recipe. Looked totally like your pictures. But I’m sorry to say how very disappointed I was. I found them to be dry and nowhere near sweet enough for my taste. My aunt used to make the most wonderful chocolate zucchini bread. So moist and delicious. And yes sweet like a dessert. I’m afraid her recipe died with her. Never to replicate that taste again. So sad.

    • — Ed Duncan on September 17, 2023
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  • Try Use 1/2 hot chocolate instead of half of the brown sugar (which is sugar)

    • — William Top on September 12, 2023
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  • Delicious recipe thank you!
    I doubled the recipe, got a little worried about how thick the batter turned but it was perfect after I added the zucchini! I used mini semi sweet chocolate chips as well. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

    • — Riley on September 10, 2023
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  • I’ve never made any zucchini bread until this year when someone gave me a largish tender zucchini from their garden. In total, it made 5 loaves of zucchini bread: 2 traditional zucchini bread, 2 banana zucchini bread and this one, chocolate zucchini bread, which is my new favorite and go to from this day forward!! While not a trained chef, I am an experienced cook and baker. I followed this recipe 98% changing 1 cup of chocolate chips for 1/2 cup chocolate chips & 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Once all ingredients were combined, yes, the batter was quit thick. So I grabbed my EVOO bottle and poured in about 1/4 cup and stirred it into the stiff batter. It came out of the oven at 55 minutes. Once barely warm to the touch I wrapped it in foil and resisted the temptation to cut into it until the next morning (about 8 hours). It is so wonderfully moist, not too sweet or over chocolatey. Everything about this loaf is “just right”!!
    I have been following Once Upon A Chef for a couple of years now and can honestly say never has a recipe ever disappointed. Having a starting point for a recipe is what the thrill of cooking/baking is all about. Thank you so much for this tweaked recipe!! 😋😋

    • — Mary from Mio MI on September 10, 2023
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  • I’ve made this MANY times and love that it uses more zucchini than most recipes. I omit the choc. chips and add just a pinch extra of cocoa and instant coffee. Made in loafs, muffin tins, and mini muffins. And it’s never dry!!

    • — Sue Draper on September 8, 2023
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  • This recipe is delicious!!! I had to a near 4 lb zucchini to deal with, and in the interests of efficiency, tripled it- that’s also the quantity the zuch provided, 6 cups. I pulled out a mini-muffin mold, 4 small loaf pans, a medium loaf pan, and one the size recommended. This method was FAR from efficient, as cooking time and temperature varied vastly. In the future, I would do one recipe at a time, much easier to adjust time & temp that way. I followed the recipe to the letter. A rarity for me 😉

    • — Shannon on September 6, 2023
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  • I have made this so many times and it’s just the absolute best! Sometimes I slice the cake in half (lengthwise and add a layer of vanilla ice cream and thinly sliced strawberries in the middle. Then top with the other cake half. Then I pop in the freezer for a few hours, slice and serve. It’s so delicious!

    • — Ginger on September 1, 2023
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  • Very disappointed, the batter was so thick it was more like cookie dough, and the loaf came out very dry and crumbly. Wouldn’t make again.

    • — Rebekah on August 28, 2023
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  • Outstanding recipe!

    • — Nancy Asin on August 26, 2023
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  • This is one of my all time top 5 baking recipes. It’s one of the few that I swear by. I have made this bread several times now, and each time I am blown away by how utterly delicious it is. Thank you so much for creating this recipe and sharing it with us.

    • — Karolina on August 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • I want to say first that I really love your recipes and have never found one I didn’t like till now. This looks amazing out of the oven and because of the comments that it was dry I used oil instead of butter but it just doesn’t have any flavor. I personally think it need more sugar and to use both white & brown sugar. Will try it again with some sugar adjustment.

    • — Carol L deSousa on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi there. This recipe sounds great, as do all of your recipes I’ve made. I have one question. In the description you have written about using bitter-sweet chocolate chips, but in the recipe it says semi-sweet chocolate chips. Which is preferable?

    • — SusanB on August 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, Sorry about the confusion! You really can go with either one, but I’m going to align those so they both mention semi-sweet chocolate. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • Oh my! This was great. 5 stars from me and also from the six others in my quilting group. Many went back for seconds. I weighed the flour and removed it from the oven promptly and had no trouble with dryness. The bread was moist and very chocolatey. Absolutely delicious.

    • — MP on August 20, 2023
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  • Hi Jen!
    I love all your recipes. I was wondering if I can make your chocolate zucchini bread substituting the butter with oil and applesauce to lighten up the calories?

    • — Linda Parisi on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, you can use oil in place of the butter. If you want to use applesauce as well, I’d use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • Perfect! Loved it even though I didn’t put coffee in. I had white and chocolate chips so mixed both. Definitely will make again!

    • — Jeannie on August 15, 2023
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  • If I use frozen zucchini, should I squeeze out the liquid? I see it says not to squeeze out liquid when grating fresh but for frozen…?

    • — Denise Wolff on August 13, 2023
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    • Hi Denise, I’d just use the zucchini as is. Don’t squeeze out any liquid. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 14, 2023
      • Reply
    • I just used frozen zucchini and poured out about half of the liquid since there was so much more than using fresh zucchini. No squeezing, though. Turned out great! I’m glad I can make it with either fresh or frozen.

      • — Susan D. on December 3, 2023
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  • Thanks for this most perfect chocolate zucchini bread recipe. I have made this over and over since 2017 – multiple batches yearly, double and even triple batches – absolutely perfect every time, and shared this recipe with many. The only problem is the intentional overproduction of zucchini (by my husband) to make SURE he gets his favourite zucchini bread…;) This recipe a keeper – Cannot be beaten. Freezes excellently.

    • — Lexy on August 7, 2023
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  • This looks like a delicious way to use some extra zucchini. About how many mini loaves would this make? Maybe 3? Thanks!

    • — Kay on August 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kay, it should make 3 smaller loaves or 2 slightly bigger ones. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 7, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was fantastic! I didn’t use the coffee because I didn’t have it and still was great.

    • — Lori on August 1, 2023
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  • Hi, Jenn,
    Every single Jenn recipe I ( my neighbour too) make are winners.
    This one looks fabulous with, per usual, so many 5⭐️’s.
    A few do mention their cake was dry.
    Before I make this, do you have a suggestion to be sure it’s not?
    I alway scale my ingredients which I know is very important.
    Thanks — an extra thanks to you for always making MY baking Happy!!!

    • — Sally W on July 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sally, I’m so glad you like the recipes! I know some readers have commented that this has come out dry for them. I wonder if they’ve wrung the liquid out of the zucchini (which will lead to a dry finished product). It sounds like you already weigh your ingredients, so that’s good that you know you’ll be using an accurate amount of flour. The one other thing that can cause dryness is overbaking so just make sure to remove it from the oven as soon as a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (keep in mind that you may get a smear on the tester from a melted chocolate chip). HOpe that helps and that you have success with it!

      • — Jenn on July 31, 2023
      • Reply
      • Jenn,
        Biggest thanks for such a quick and thorough response back to me.
        Perfect timing too – my CSA today included gorgeous green zucchinis –
        we bake tomorrow (or maybe Wednesday)
        I’ll get back to you with what I am sure will be another 5 plus star studded review!

        • — Sally W on July 31, 2023
        • Reply
    • Wow! Wow! Wow! my husband kept saying as he devoured his first piece of this amazing loaf and looking for more.
      Per your suggestion, I was careful not to over bake so started checking at 55 min (oven temps can vary). Done to perfection at 59 minutes.
      Pure deliciousness!!! Another winner, Jenn!

      • — Sally W on August 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made these today and they are great! I used dark Cocoa powder and half the dark chocolate chips and added 1 cup nuts. In muffins they made 22 muffins and 25 minutes in oven. I will make again….soon!

    • — Karen on July 29, 2023
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  • This made an absolutely delicious loaf! It’s hard to let it cool…but definitely slices more easily & holds together better once cooled. I wonder if people having issues with the moisture are using too much flour and/or too little zucchini. I shred mine super fine & pack in the measuring cups (for the zukes). I used Bobs Red Mill 1 for 1 gluten free flour & did everything else by the recipe & it came out delicious! Will definitely make again.

    • — Marta on July 25, 2023
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  • I just finished making 2 loaves and it tastes INCREDIBLE!! I can’t believe it has so little sugar and the instant coffee adds that cherry on the cake!! Thank you for sharing…

    • — Emily on July 24, 2023
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  • Is this 350 convection? If it is regular should I put it on 325 convection?

    • — Leeanne on July 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • No, I always develop and publish my recipes using the regular setting on my oven. And, yes, if you’re using the convection setting, reduce the temp to 325. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2023
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  • Hi Jenn, is there any way to convert this recipe to a 23 x 12.5-cm loaf tin? Loved your chai banana bread using this tin, and wanting to try your other loaf recipes! Thanks so much for your help x

    • — Mel on June 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mel, So glad you liked the banana bread! For a 23 x 12.5-cm loaf pan, you’ll need to make 1.5 times the recipe. Baking time is likely to be a bit longer. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious and the house smelled like Hershey Pennsylvania 😜

    • — Kelly Smith on June 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe is pure perfection. My daughter loves it.

    • — Kevin on June 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • PERFECTION! Just made this beautiful loaf today and for the very 1st time in my short baking career (2020) this is the only loaf I’ve succeeded with. I used King Arthur all purpose GF flour, zucchini were a bit large so probably more like 21/2 cups, 1.5 tsp espresso powder, baked for 80 minutes, covering with foil last 10. The loaf rose beautifully and is wonderfully moist. Jenn has yet to let me down in any recipe of hers. Thank you so much. I feel like today was a huge accomplishment.

    • — Jill C on April 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was the first time I tried this recipe and found this recipe dry and crumbly, unlike other recipes I’ve tried. I admittedly do not measure (flour for example) by swiping a knife across the the measuring cup so it’s an exact cup but have never had this issue before. Not sure I’d make it again.

    • — Shan on April 11, 2023
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    • I had the same problem, and i do measure carefully. Very dry.

      • — Amy on July 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • Ive made this recipe before with ApF and its amazing. But has anyone tried making this with Gluten Free Flour? I’m baking for someone with celiac. And they love chocolate Zucchini bread. Would love to try this with GF flour but I wanted to see if anyone else has tried it and has any tips or advice. Thanks kindly!

    • — Rachel on March 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Rachel, I haven’t made this with gluten-free flour, but a few people have commented that they have successfully. A number of readers have mentioned they have good luck with King Arthur gluten-free flour and Cup4Cup gluten-free flour. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • This recipe is very dry. The taste wasn’t terrible but I’ve definitely had better. Makes me wonder about all the great reviews ? I like really moist zucchini breads, almost dessert like, this definitely wasn’t.

    • — Melanie on February 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • I used applesauce in place of butter, and added a heaping tsp of instant coffee in place of the espresso. Turned out beautifully!

    • — Scott Freundschuh on February 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe but did not have a loaf pan so I used a bundt pan then made a vanilla glaze and drizzled it over top after taking it out of the pan it was delicious.

    • — Marcia on November 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • I got this recipe from onceuponachef and it was delicious!! My husband, who is not a zucchini fan, loved it!
    So did My Ukulele Therapy group!!
    Definitely, a keeper!

    • — Hazel Jordan on October 24, 2022
    • Reply
    • How did you find a ukulele therapy group?! I love this idea!

      • — Lisa Fausty Roberts on July 26, 2023
      • Reply

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