100% whole wheat zucchini chocolate chip bread: when the horn of plenty becomes the horn of too much

whole wheat zucchini chocolate chip bread

Paula Deen does it.

Allrecipes.com does it.

Taste of Home, cdkitchen, and food.com all do it.

Even LiveStrong does it.

But sometimes, King Arthur Flour just does it better.

Or at least with more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

And “it” is…?

Zucchini chocolate chip bread. 100% Whole Wheat Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread, to be exact.

Quick breads – you know, those batters that you just stir together, pour into a pan, and bake – are the ideal place to substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose.

This is especially true for quick breads made with fruit (or, in this case, zucchini): whole grains need more liquid than all-purpose flour. The liquid in fruit helps soften wheat’s bran, making it less likely to produce a crumbly loaf.

Unlike yeast bread, these baking powder breads don’t rise mightily; they just casually poke their heads up over the rim of the pan.

And that’s just fine; no one expects your typical banana bread, cornbread, or date-nut loaf to look like the Goodyear Blimp.

A gently curved top is just fine, thank you; no rainbows required.

And that’s one big reason whole wheat flour is perfect in these breads. With the bran in whole wheat doing its best to destroy a rising loaf’s gluten, it takes some skill to make a 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf rise to towering heights.

Not so 100% whole wheat banana bread. Or this whole wheat zucchini chocolate chip bread, both of which receive a  “quick-n-easy” tag on our new recipe site

It’s all about managing expectations, right?

When you bake this bread, expect a moist, pleasantly dense, flavorful loaf, packed with zucchini and chocolate.

You won’t be disappointed – we promise.

So long as you’re not looking for that famous blimp…

Preheat the oven to 350°F; lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses or honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat until well combined.

Add the following:

2 cups (8 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix until well combined.

Add the following:

2 cups (8 to 12 ounces) shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 small/medium zucchini)*
1 cup chocolate chips (or raisins, or dried cranberries, if you don’t like the chocolate/zucchini combination)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

*Zucchini weight varies a lot, depending on how juicy it is and how tight you pack it. Anything between 8 and 12 ounces will be fine.

Stir just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the top with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired. It’s pretty, tasty, and adds lovely crunch to each slice.

Bake the bread for 55 to 60 minutes.

When done, a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean, save for perhaps a smear of chocolate.

Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack.

Cool completely before slicing; if you slice the bread warm, the chocolate chips smear and look kinda messy.

See the sugar on the crust? Moist, soft bread; crunchy sugar; dark chocolate… and 100% whole wheat. YES!

One final hint: If possible, wait a day to serve this bread. An overnight rest softens the bran further, ensuring crumble-free slices.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. maccourt

    Hi PJ. Not to say this doesn’t sound wonderful as is, but I’m wondering what you think of substituting applesauce for the oil to try and make it a bit more calorie-friendly? If I were to try, would I use a straight sub – 1/2 cup applesauce instead of the oil? Thanks!

    You can try that substitution, for sure – I think the only difference is the bread may be a bit tough/chewy, rather than moist/tender. But go for it, see how you like it – PJH

  2. Margy

    We make zucchini bread every year to give at the holidays (we shred and freeze the garden zucchini blimps–you know, the ones that hide for the sole purpose of growing to gargantuan size and planning to take over the whole garden, Bwahaha!;D). This looks like a great twist on an old favorite.

  3. joycethebaker

    I know this is hard to believe, but I have a husband that is not real fond of chocolate. How do you think the zucchini bread would be with cinnamon chips?


    I think it would be just fine, Joyce – sounds delicious. Go for it! PJH

  4. bunter10936

    What would maple syrup do to this balance of flavors, if I tried that instead of honey? Any other modifications?

    No modifications necessary – should be fine if you like the maple syrup/chocolate flavor combo… PJH

  5. skeptic7

    I lost and recreated my whole wheat zucchini bread this summer. Its much like yours as it has 2 cups whole wheat flour.
    I went from blueberries to chocolate to currants to vegan. I was going to do gingerbread zucchini bread when I found I was out of zucchini. Its the end of the zucchini season, so I might have to postpone this to next year. I bake it in a 7 inch cast iron frying pan and cut it into wedges, I tell everyone that this is South Beach diet safe scones unless they are fellow bakers where upon I confess its a muffin recipe variant.

    I like that twist – South Beach-safe scones! Also the frying pan/wedge technique. Thanks as always, Skeptic – PJH

  6. jowolfe

    YUM! And YAY!! I really needed something other than zucchini muffins to make, as I just picked 15 lbs. of zucchini from my 2 plants this afternoon and that was only 2 zucchini! And I stumbled over another one that was hiding under the leaves of a nearby pumpkin plant, and I don’t even want to know how big that one is, but it is almost 3 feet long. Thanks!

    Wow, Jo – maybe you can find a zucchini contest to enter those monsters into! The way to use the most zucchini right now, especially those big ones, is probably just cut into chunks and oven-roast in olive oil. Freeze and add to pasta sauce this winter. Oh, but save out enough to make zucchini bread, too! PJH

  7. pammyowl

    I found it to be too sweet. What modifications would I need to make, as the honey adds to the moisture, which was great?, Simply do not use the brown sugar?

    Consider less chocolate chips which may help as well! Irene @ KAF

  8. Laurel

    I’ve always been skeptical of the zucchini/chocolate combination, but I gave your recipe a try yesterday, and it is so, so good! You’re right, the bread is even better the next day — I’m munching on a piece as I comment! Thanks so much for the recipe.

  9. larrym17

    I made this zucchini/chocolate bread for the first time and I must tell you that it gets better as it ages. I was a bit skeptical of the combination but I took it to a women’s meeting and they just raved and raved about it. I wish I had more zucchini to make more and freeze. It’s delicious.

  10. jeanne

    I followed the recipe to the letter! But when i turned it out, half of it stuck to the bottom! what did i do wrong? i used 9 x5 pan and greased with vegetable shortening. :(

    Sorry to hear of the difficulty. When a loaf “sticks”, it could be for a couple of reasons. The more common reason is that the loaf was too warm to unmold. I prefer to always cool the loaf in the pan on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before attempting to unmold. Another cause can be how the pan has been previously used. If your pan does double duty for meat loaf (the meat proteins change the way the pan will release baked goods), you can expect baked goods to stick a little more than usual. You might try lining the length of the pan with a strip of parchment paper next time. Frank @ KAF.

  11. Lynn

    I just made this but substituted applesauce in place of the oil (equal amnt), added 1/4 cup of unsweetened pumpkin and a handful of raisins, then cut the amount of choc chips in half. It was super moist & the perfect amount of sweetness. Definitely making this recipe again!

  12. dixiebel

    Has anyone tried to subsititute agava, or stevia in this receipe? I am trying to reduce sugar.

    If only we had enough time in our test facility to check all ingredient substitutions we could think of. We hope one of the readers of this blog or recipe will chime in with their successful sugar substitutions. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  13. Jenn H


    I made this recipe and it didn’t turn out, unfortunately. It was far too wet on the inside. I’m thinking it was because of an error in the listed ingredients. You list 2 cups of grated zucchini, but state 8 ounces in brackets, which is equivalent to 1 cup. Is it supposed to be 1 cup or 2 cups of zucchini? I added two and the outside of the loaf was burned before the inside was fully cooked.

    Thanks for the catch – right now, the recipe lists 12 ounces of zucchini = 2 cups, while the blog lists 8 ounces zucchini – 2 cups. We’re working to resolve this for you and other quick bread bakers. Happy Baking! Irene
    @ KAF

  14. Jen R

    So – is it 2 cups of zucchini or 1?

    Jen, that would be 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 small/medium zucchini). Sorry for any confusion. PJH

  15. margaret thompson

    I want to try this recipe with my new KAF tea loaf pan. It just arrived, but I am a little unsure of the baking time adjustment. Would 45minutes be about right?

    40-45 minutes should be a relatively safe range for a baking time!-Jon


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