Zucchini-Coconut Muffins: tropical zukes


Zucchini. Coconut.

Not a familiar pairing, you say?

Well, maybe not to those of us who grew up knowing only enough about zucchini, a.k.a. “summer squash,” to dislike it.

And those whose only thought of coconut was a Mounds bar.

But for the younger foodies out there, zucchini and coconut go together as naturally as strawberries, bean sprouts, and avocado.

Or chocolate and gingerbread. Lime and mint.

How about pumpkin and Parmesan?

Charlotte, our newest test kitchen baker, is one such young foodie. She’s added a fresh, 20-something perspective to the recipes you see printed in our Baker’s Catalogue – which are, for the most part, her creations.

The flavor combinations listed above have appeared recently in our catalogues, or will do so soon.

I urge you to give any and all of them a try; you’ll see just how nicely they play together, when balanced in an imaginative bread, scone, cake, cookie, or sandwich.

Let’s start with these Zucchini-Coconut Muffins, shall we?

Go coco-nutty!

Coconut lovers, you’ll want to try all of our delicious coconut ingredients, including (clockwise from top left) flavorful shredded unsweetened coconut; extra-strong coconut flavor; crunchy toasted coconut; and coconut milk powder, a great way to add coconut flavor to all kinds of dishes.

We use all of the above in these muffins, but you can skip any you wish – except the shredded coconut. Substitute regular sweetened coconut, if you wish; the muffins will be a bit sweeter, obviously.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

First, grate some zucchini, skin and all. You’ll need about 2 cups, lightly pressed; which is about 1 medium (8-ounce) zucchini. A food processor makes short work of this.

Next, beat together the following, until smooth:

2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon coconut flavor, optional but tasty

Add the following, stirring just to combine:

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Stir in the grated zucchini, and 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or sweetened shredded coconut.

Lightly grease a standard popover pan, mini popover pan, or standard 12-cup muffin pan, which I’m using here.

If desired, line the pan with papers, and grease the papers; this is a good idea if you’re taking the muffins to a bake sale, or otherwise transporting them somewhere.

Scoop the batter into the wells of the pan: 1/2 cup for a popover pan, 2 tablespoons for a mini popover, and 1/4 cup for a muffin pan.

I found a muffin scoop, filled level, yields just the right amount of batter for each of 12 standard muffins.

The muffin cups will be just short of full; maybe a touch more than 3/4. Take the time to even them out if some have much more batter than others.

Here’s a handy tip: When I want to make muffins that are all the same size, I weigh the batter, and divide by 12. I then place my muffin tin on a scale, and dollop that amount of batter into each cup – (usually) remembering to tare the scale between each scoop of batter.

How do you weigh your batter, you say?

Well, I know the weight of my KitchenAid mixing bowl (1,017g – see?). So I just weight the bowl, batter and all, then subtract the bowl’s weight.

Bake the muffins for 24 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

Remove them from the oven, and as soon as you can, tilt them in the pan, so their bottoms don’t steam. Cool like that for 10 minutes…

…then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Once the muffins are cool, you can ice them with this tasty glaze, if you like.

Sift together the following:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons coconut milk powder, optional; for added flavor
pinch of salt

Yes, SIFT – unless you don’t mind lumps in your glaze. Trust me, this extra step is worth it.

Mix in 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, enough to make a thick but still pourable glaze.

Dip each muffin top in the glaze. The deeper you dip, the more “runover” you’ll have.

Garnish with toasted coconut, if desired.

These aren’t quite sweet enough to be termed a cupcake, but they come close. If you want to impress your younger friends, tell them you’ve discovered a great new recipe for coconut cupcakes – they may wonder what the tiny green shreds are but sssshhhh, they’re your secret ingredient…

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Zucchini-Coconut Muffins.

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. HMB

    Here’s a tip for those who like to weigh their batter and have trouble remembering the tare weight of their bowls and pans — write it on the bowl or pan with permanent marker. Then you don’t have to remember that your bowl is 1,017g, etc.

  2. lynnmrogers

    These look fantabulous, but I’m writing with an emergency question because the live chat AND the Baker’s Hotline are both down and I can’t get anyone! I’m making a coconut cream pie for my son’s 21st brthday and I have no whole milk. I DO have half and half and skim milk, however. Can I substitute half and half for the milk in the cream pie filling or do I need to cut it with skim milk or water? Sorry for cutting in n the blog!

    To replace the whole milk, use a 50:50 blend of Half & Half and Skim. Frank @ KAF.

  3. Swathi

    My hubby is not a fan of zucchini in baked items, but we are COCONUT LOVERS, may I am thinking of trying this one with carrot or pumpkin. I think I can’t imagine a like without coconut.

    Carrot would be wonderful, but be careful about pumpkin, unless it’s shredded, not puréed, OK? Canned pumpkin would change the texture. Enjoy! PJH

  4. Sue

    I want to make these today but no honey! Any sub ideas or should I just wait until tomorrow? thanks!!

    You may substitute, 1:1, with either corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Frank @ KAF.

  5. Runnergirl

    Is the coconut extract stronger tasting than extract found in stores? Is the coconut milk powder sweetened? This recipe looks great – I’m going to try subbing coconut sugar for the regular sugar.

    Yes, the coconut extract is about 4X stronger than what you’ll find at your local grocery. The coconut milk is not sweetened. Good luck with your project. Frank @ KAF.

  6. empressqueenb

    Just made these & they were so good plain, they were half gone before I could make the glaze! I added some Cake Enhancer & Hi-Maize & used the coconut extract. Moist & delicious!

  7. marthahaynes

    Why do you spray the pan if you are using a liner, and why do you spray the liner? Doesn’t it just peel off the cupcake? And, finally, why is “this is a good idea if you’re taking the muffins to a bake sale”? Thanks.

    Spray the pan to prevent any shoulder of batter from sticking to the top of the pan. Spray the liners for easy release. No, not all paper liners just “peel away” on their own. We think making sure the muffin is easy to eat, with no waste due to a sticky liner, is a good idea in general but essential for a successful Fundraiser. You want folks to keep coming back. Frank @ KAF.

  8. Ashley

    These are amazing! I added some shredded coconut on top before baking and it turned into toasted coconut. Definitely making these again!

  9. ponygirl

    These are wonderful! I made mine with golden egg zucchini so there where no green flecks :-) The only thing I didn’t have was the coconut milk powder but I may have to order some soon! I made them both in a popover pan (kind of big) and a muffin tin (just right). Since there is just two of us I wrapped each in a Baggie and froze them. They thaw quickly and the glaze stayed nice. My hubby loves to take one with him for a quick breakfast as he drives into the office.
    Sounds like a fantastic baking day to me. :) ~ MaryJane

  10. invenanet

    These look wonderful (and I do have zucchini to use upj). I don’t have the whole wheat flour. Will I get the same results with two cups of all-purpose flour?

    This recipe is counting on the bran in the whole wheat to help carry some of the moisture. if you convert to all white flour, I suggest you increase the flour by 1 tablespoon per cup to help carry the liquid in the zucchini. Frank @ KAF.

  11. Angie

    Absolutely loved these muffins! I used melted virgin coconut oil instead of butter and they were delicious. Everyone in my family likes them, and it’s the only way my 2-year-old likes zucchini :)

    Thanks for sharing your get-the-children-to-like-their-veggies tip! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  12. jjkbofoz

    Made a gluten free version of these yesterday with the surplus of zucchini and yellow squash from my CSA. I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and subsituted 1 cup of sorghum flour and 1 cup of garbanzo flour for the white and whole wheat. I didn’t even glaze them (mostly because I burnt the coconut that I was trying to toast that I was going to top them with).
    Definately a keeper of a recipe.

    Thanks for sharing your GF version! This is always helpful to our other customer/bakers – Happy GF baking! Irene @ KAF


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