Make this amazing Lemon Zucchini Bread with Walnuts in just over an hour! It's crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. You'll love this moist zucchini bread with delicious flavor from lemon, walnuts and cinnamon!
It wouldn't be summer (or fall) without a loaf of my Lemon Zucchini bread with Walnuts! I've been making this for years, and can honestly say it's the best zucchini bread I've tried.
You're going to want this recipe, folks.
But, to be clear, this zucchini bread tastes like quick bread, not like cake. It's crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and just sweet enough.
The lemon, walnut and cinnamon flavors are exquisite. I love all of my quick bread recipes ― like Brown Butter Banana Bread with White Chocolate, Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins with Olive Oil, and 5-Ingredient Beer Bread ― but this Lemon Zucchini Bread with Walnuts is my absolute favorite!
Zucchini: One small zucchini should be enough for this recipe, which makes one loaf. You don't need to peel the zucchini. Just rinse it and pat it dry.
If you're using part of a large zucchini from your garden, remove the big seeds before shredding the vegetable, because they'll be bitter.
Flour: This recipe is delicious using either all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour. You could even use a 50/50 combination. I used all-purpose flour for these photos, but have made whole wheat zucchini bread several times for a healthier option.
Walnuts: Zucchini bread with walnuts tastes so good, but you could skip them if anyone is allergic. If tree nuts aren't a problem and you need a walnut substitute, try pecans.
Cinnamon: This brings a warm spice flavor without being overpowering like nutmeg can be.
Lemon extract: This is critical to bring a pop of lemon flavor to the zucchini bread. A little bit goes a long way, and it brings the X-factor to this recipe!
I always keep lemon extract (affiliate link) in my pantry, because it works wonders for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Lemon Blueberry Pancakes, lemon cakes and other baked goods.
Lemon zest: This brings a bright, fresh lemon accent to the walnut zucchini bread. You'll need the zest from about two lemons. I use this zester/grater (affiliate link).
Oil: Use a mild cooking oil such as vegetable oil, canola or even regular olive oil (not extra virgin).
How to shred zucchini
I always use a food processor to shred zucchini. My new Kitchenaid one (affiliate link) works really well for this.
You also could use a box grater (affiliate link) and choose the larger holes for shredding.
How to make zucchini bread
See the card at the end of this post for the full recipe, but here's an overview.
- Shred the zucchini and add it to a large mixing bowl with an egg, sugar, oil lemon zest and extract.
- Stir to combine.
- Whisk the dry ingredients and add them to the zucchini mixture.
- Stir the batter just until combined, then gently stir in the walnuts.
- Pour the zucchini bread batter into a greased loaf pan and bake.
- The zucchini bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- For best flavor, wait to serve the bread until it has fully cooled off after baking.
- No glaze is needed, but sprinkling on confectioners sugar adds a nice hint of sweetness and a decorative touch.
How to serve it
You can serve this Lemon Zucchini Bread with Walnuts plain or dusted with confectioners sugar. But, we really love a slice topped with butter!
After the bread has been sitting for a day or two, it's delicious slightly warmed in the microwave first. This will also help soften it. Then, don't forget the butter....yum!
Frequently asked questions
Tightly wrap the zucchini bread in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature for up to two days, for best quality. I don't recommend refrigerating it, because it will dry out. It's better to freeze it.
Yes! You can freeze a whole loaf of zucchini bread by wrapping it tightly in plastic or foil, then placing it in a zip-top bag. You also could slice it into portions and freeze them in a zip-top freezer bag. Consider baking two loaves so you can serve one and freeze one!
More ways to use zucchini
- Italian Zucchini Fitters
- Marinated Zucchini with Mint
- Pasta with Zucchini
- Italian Zucchini Bake
- Roasted Chicken Thighs and Vegetables
If you try this Lemon Zucchini Bread with Walnuts, be sure to leave a comment and a rating!
Lemon Zucchini Bread with Walnuts
- 1 cup shredded unpeeled zucchini (from 1 small zucchini)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (from about ½ cup of walnut halves)
- confectioners sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x4x2 loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Rinse the zucchini and pat it dry. Trim off and discard the ends. Shred the zucchini in a food processor or using a box grater, until you have enough to measure one cup.
- For the lemon zest, rinse and pat dry two lemons. Use a lemon zester to scrape the lemon peel until you have one tablespoon.
- Add the shredded zucchini and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl. Add in the sugar, oil, egg and lemon extract. Stir until mixed.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Whisk them to blend.
- Add the flour mixture to the large bowl with the zucchini batter. Gently stir to combine. Chop up some shelled walnuts until you have ½ cup. Stir the chopped walnuts into the batter.
- Transfer the batter to your loaf pan and bake, uncovered, for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the pan rest for ten minutes on a wire rack before inverting the zucchini bread onto a cooling rack (wear oven mitts.) Flip the zucchini bread over so that it is right-side up and let it finish cooling off. The bread tastes best when it has cooled to room temperature.
- Once cooled off, store the zucchini bread at room temperature for up to two days, wrapped in plastic. I don't recommend refrigerating it, because it will dry out. It's better to freeze it. (See notes.)
(Recipe Source: Inspired by the Zucchini Bread recipe in Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1989, p. 56. I tripled the lemon zest, added lemon extract, and eliminated the nutmeg. Originally published on July 15, 2016 and updated now with new photos and additional information.)
The zucchini bread was so delicious! I ate it plain. It didn’t need anything!
Hi Anna Marie - I'm so glad to hear that!
Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser
$6.99 you say????? Sign me up for a half dozen if you please...xoxoxoxo
You got it! 🙂
Elena @ happykitchen.rocks
This bread looks amazing! I'm going to make it today. Will keep you updated about the result 🙂
I hope you enjoy it, Elena!
Elena @ happykitchen.rocks
Oh yes, I did! I posted a picture of it on FB and mentioned your page. Thank you so much for the recipe! The only thing I changed was the amount of sugar (I put about a half) and it was still too sweet for me. We ate it with soft goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes in oil. I guess if you eat it as a dessert, sweetness is not a problem 🙂
Thanks for reporting back, Elena! If you serve the zucchini bread with savory toppings, it makes sense to reduce the sugar. In the United States, we eat zucchini bread for breakfast or a snack with some butter, the way we would eat a muffin, so it is meant to have some sweetness.
Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
Zucchini and lemon are a match made in heaven. A slice of this cake, adorned with just a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and some lemon shavings would be divine.
That sounds delicious, Ksenia! I've been slathering on butter, and that's good too. 🙂
jacquee | i sugar coat it!
Our zucchinis haven't grown in as yet, but when they do this is likely to happen!
Oh yes, Jacquee! I hope you enjoy it.
Lisa | Garlic + Zest
This sounds like a real treat! And there's so much zucchini in the garden now.... it's practically a must!
Feel free to send some zucchini my way, Lisa! This bread is a pretty healthy treat, except for the sugar.
This looks amazing! Sometimes it can be hard to make whole wheat flour work in baking, but you make it look easy!
Thanks, Sarah! With quick breads, it's a simple substitution. And, I always use white whole wheat flour, instead of red whole wheat flour. The white whole wheat is more mild-tasting.
Love that this only calls for 1 zucchini, becasue that is exactly how many I have in my garden. I have a black thumb haha.
At least you have a garden! I'm impressed. We have too many deer to grow anything. 🙂