Today it’s all about this gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Because it’s that time of year when the zucchini vines overfloweth. We don’t have a vegetable garden, but I’ll gladly take a zucchini now and then. I’ve even purchased them from the grocery store occasionally, but somehow that just never feels right. You know what I mean?
There are just so many zucchini out there looking for love and a good home. Zucchini that need to be turned into recipes like today’s gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Bread and more.
We had our support group meeting—a cookout/picnic type event—at the very “green” farm (green as in low impact to our Earth) of one of our member families this past Sunday. We were only a few feet from their impressive garden and their chickens roamed freely while we ate. It was a lovely gathering of gluten-free friends.
As the meeting was ending, I asked my friends who hosted the meeting, DeLaura and Steve, if they had any zucchini to spare. After a quick trip through their garden, Steve returned with three that were just the perfect size for tender goodness without lots of seeds—ideal for baking!
I’m a fan of both savory and sweet zucchini dishes. When making savory zucchini recipes, this Cheesy Chicken Zucchini Bake from last year is still one of my favorites. I’m trying out some “Squashcchini” (shown below) in this recipe this evening and, of course, keeping at least part of it dairy free.
That’s what I was told it’s called—a cross between yellow squash and zucchini—but found no mention of this name online. I’m told it’s sweeter than typical zucchini. (Has anyone used it before? What do you call it?)
Typical zucchini also shines in stir fry dishes, and, it’s always fun to make a veggie lasagna using zucchini. But when it comes to a sweet zucchini recipe, this gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Bread is my favorite.
Long before I was married, a friend passed on her Classic Zucchini Bread recipe (which I later adapted to be gluten free—recipe here). It was delicious—a moist bread with lots of cinnamon that one could enjoy on its own, with a cup of tea, or as a dessert.
However, somewhere along the way, this Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe made its way to me and it trumped the other recipe without question, not because there was anything wrong with the original recipe at all. But, well, chocolate.
Game over. So the original, classic recipe got filed and pushed to the back of the recipe box.
After I happily toted my gift zucchini home the other day, I almost went into a panic when I couldn’t find the recipe for the Chocolate Zucchini Bread. I went through my recipe box (coming across the classic recipe in my search under “Breads”). I went through several cookbooks (even though I didn’t remember it coming from a cookbook).
I hurriedly flipped through “my pile” of recipes (printed out from the computer, pulled from magazines, etc.). I knew it wasn’t in the pile, but I still had to look. (Have you done that?)
Finally, the next day I found the Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe, in plain sight—just not where I was looking. It was behind the Cakes tab in my recipe box.
Ahhh, the recurring question—is it bread? or, is it cake? When I discussed this same issue regarding my Molasses Banana Bread recipe, most gfe readers said the label didn’t matter as long as the end result was good. The same holds true for this recipe.
I want to make a couple of points regarding this recipe and adapting recipes in general. First, when I did find this chocolate version, out of curiosity, I compared the ingredients to that in the non-chocolate recipe.
The only differences were the fact that ½ cup of the flour had been replaced with cocoa powder and less cinnamon was used in the chocolate version. It surprised me that the two recipes were so similar, but there’s a lesson there. If you have have already a favorite zucchini bread recipe that you’d like to turn into a chocolate rendition, just make that change.
The same guidance will also probably work for other baked goods, like cookies, cookie crumb crusts, and the like (although amounts may vary according to total amount of flour used; keep it proportional). If you don’t eat chocolate and have been looking for a good zucchini bread, just use 3 cups of flour mix, skip the cocoa, and add 2 more teaspoons of cinnamon. (See the complete Classic Zucchini Bread recipe.) The original bread is still very, very good.
Next, this is a recipe that previously contained gluten. I simple replaced the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour mix and added some xanthan gum for binding. I often skip xanthan gum in recipes, but I prefer adding it in this one.
When figuring out how much xanthan gum to add to a recipe, I usually add ½ tsp per cup of flour used. At ½ tsp per cup of flour, that would mean 1 tsp of xanthan gum. But, I used 1 ½ teaspoons. Why?
Remember the cocoa powder had replaced part of the flour amount, so I added another ½ tsp for that as well, with the final amount of xanthan gum being 1 ½ teaspoons. (FYI—I’ve read that a higher proportion of xanthan gum is needed when making yeast breads, but I have no experience in that area.)
If you want to attempt to convert one of your old recipes to gluten free, make these changes and see how it goes. (Note: The only recipes that I’ve not been able to “convert” using this method are recipes for waffles and pancakes. I’ve made successful versions of both, but they usually require different measurements and different flours and flour mixes. Buckwheat flour is the easiest to use, but I also have a sensitivity to buckwheat.)
I mentioned the other day that my doctor recommends four fats/oils for cooking. I emphasize the four because I left one out the other day, olive oil. So, to restate, my doctor recommends: organic butter (unless you’re dairy intolerant, of course), grapeseed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil.
Tomorrow is my actual birthday–yippee! I’ll be away at our mountain property with Mr. GFE, Son, and Son’s crew, but I’ll have up a trifecta of giveaways up some time this weekend. That way we can all celebrate! And, I might be able to squeeze in one more special post on my main page for my extended birthday week. Next week, it will be back to normal (I think). After all, I will be a year older … I might need to take it easy.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe
Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread
At our house, this Chocolate Zucchini Bread trumps regular zucchini bread every time! It's gluten free and naturally dairy free, too.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil (I used ½ cup extra virgin olive oil], ¼ cup [grapeseed oil, and ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 ¾ cup coconut sugar plus ¼ cup granulated sugar)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups shredded, peeled zucchini (about one zucchini, medium sized)
- 2 ½ cups gluten-free flour mix (I use my Two-Ingredient Gluten-Free Flour Mix)
- ½ cup cocoa powder] (or [raw cacao powder)
- 1 ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp salt (I use this sea salt)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla.
- Add in zucchini; mix.
- Add dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour into two greased loaf pans.
- Bake for one hour or until bread tests done (check using toothpick method). Cool. Slice.
Yield: Two regular-sized loaves.
You'll notice I grate my zucchini the old-fashioned way, but you can use a food processor if you like.
FYI, despite applecauce's reputation for making baked goods moist, I think the addition of applesauce makes this bread just a little bit drier than if all oil were used.
Originally published July 16, 2010; updated April 24, 2019.
Heidi Kelly says
Such a wonderful and informative post Shirley! Squashcchini, I have been wondering what those are called! I keep getting them in my CSA box, but all my newsletter lists them as is “summer squash.” I really like them, but haven’t made any baked goods with them yet, I will have to try your chocolate zucchini bread recipe, it’s one of my faves (I am brewing some of your homemade vanilla extract as we speak!).
Thanks for the link love, I really appreciate it, as well as the kind words. I always question myself before I make such an “open” post, but in the end, I agree with you. If only one person is helped by sharing our stories, then it is all worth it. I loved your post yesterday and will be commenting on it tomorrow. My ADD got the best of me today when my GIG group leader sent out an email saying that the Gluten Free Bisquick had been spotted in town. 4 hours and 6 Super Walmarts later, I found it, but, as always, I screwed up my plan *sigh* for the day. The sun will come out tomorrow… :0)
I hope you have a magnificent birthday my friend, you definitely deserve it.
Hey Heidi–Thank you, dear! 🙂 Well, my friends said that’s what was shown on the package of seeds, but I’ve not seen that term elsewhere. But, I really like them, too. Woohoo on brewing vanilla extract! I need to start another batch for myself. 😉
I think you were bewitched by Bisquick and that’s all I’m sayin’. LOL
Birthday was great … I’m still celebrating! Mr. GFE says I have a birthmonth, not a birthday or birthweek. Thanks for all your wonderful wishes!
Heidi @ adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com says
Awesome chocolate zucchini bread recipe, I baked some last night to bring on our vacation and Luke has already had 3 slices! Thank you so much, I love to see that smile on his face. 😉
Oh, Heidi, you’re a true doll for reporting back with your success. That news makes me sooo happy! 🙂 I know exactly what you mean about seeing the smile on the face of a loved one when they eat your gf baked goods. It’s all the thanks that’s needed, isn’t it?
I would really like to make them into muffins as another reader did, but I’m just not brave enough to turn on the oven in this heat. 😉
xoxo —> you,
Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free says
Awesome post, Shirley. Great round-up of the goings on in the gluten free blogging world, as usual.
I am just posting a zucchini recipe tonight as well, as I have been on a quest for my son to eat it in a form other than my zucchini pineapple bread recipe.
Looking forward to hearing all about your birthday weekend!
Thanks, Kim! Your zucchini fritters will get made tomorrow night most likely. They’ll be the side to a new pork chop recipe. 🙂 Now that I’ve had my chocolate zucchini bread fix, I’d love to try your zucchini pineapple bread recipe next. Hope you’re going to post it!
BD weekend was great … as I told Heidi, I’m still celebrating, and will be for a while. 😉
p.s. Just saw you are going to post your bread recipe–yippeee!
Heidi Kelly says
Zucchini Pineapple bread? Oh my goodness, what an interesting combination Kim! Is that recipe on your blog?? 😀
Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free says
Heidi, it will be in the blog soon since I have so many darn zucchini lately (and it is in the app)! I just posted my Zucchini Fritter recipe tonight that my kids loved! I was trying to decide if I should use the zucchini to make the bread or the fritters, but decided to do the fritters instead (by the way, though, the bread tastes amazing)!
So much interesting info. in one little post! I have a question: I live in southern Italy and I have not been able to find xanthum gum (even at health food stores). Is there anything else that can substitute for it?
Happy birthday tomorrow!
Hi saretta–I’ve heard of guar gum being more readily available in Europe. That can be used, but usually in a different amount than the xanthan gum would be used. I’ve also read about unflavored gelatin being used. You have to use twice as much gelatin as xanthan gum. I’ve also heard of flax seed meal and chia meal being used. With the liquid in recipes, they make a binding gel. The recipes I’ve seen use more of these latter two than the amount of xanthan gum, so for the 1 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum here, you’d use 1 tbsp of the flax seed or chia meal. I’ve never used any of these substitutions I’ve mentioned, but I have read good reports. Good luck! Please let us know if you try them. And, please note that there are many recipes here at gfe that don’t call for any xanthan gum.
Last, thanks so much for the birthday wishes!! 🙂
What a grand post, dear Shirley!!
I so love your chocolate version of a lovely zucchini bread!! I must make this version soon,…I so love all of your pretty & tasty recipes,…Thanks for all of the other info too,…!!!
Kisses from Brussels!
Hi Sophie–You’re such a sweetheart! Your comments always make my day and give me a boost. 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe if you give it a try!
Shirley (from steamy Virginia)
Erin Elberson says
Happy Birthday Shirley!
We have zucchini coming out of our ears down here as well. Thankful that it’s such a versatile veggie!
Thanks for the kind words and mention of the giveaways. I do try to provide easy to implement and common sense advice, as you mentioned. If you can’t use it/do it it doesn’t do you much good…
I loved Heidi’s story. I told her it was like a great movie, I laughed, I cried…
Looking forward to trying the zucchini in some chocolatey goodness!
Hey Erin–Thank you for the birthday wishes! I’m still milking it, but not in a horrid way. 😉
I love your adventurous spirit with zucchini … that’s how we come up with some of our best recipes.
Heidi’s comments and posts tend to be very movie-like and I mean that in the best possible way. 🙂
I’m so excited to be offering your e-book to folks. Thank you so much for doing that, dear!
ahh, but most things in life are made better with chocolate, are they not? sounds wonderful 🙂
Cara–Yes, exactly! 😉 Thanks. 😉
Yum! I’ll take this any day!
Hey Alta–Thanks … I know I wish I had some right now. Late night snack. 😉
Can I just say how much you inspire me? Thank you so much for writing such kind things about Celiebo and my spastic vlog on your website – it is so greatly appreciated. I can’t tell you how many people keep asking me if they can come over and have a Crab Claw – they have become VERY popular! And why wouldn’t they be? Also, I am so glad to get so much great gluten-free info all in one place – talk about gluten-free EASILY – makes my life much easier!
I hope you have a wonderful and beautiful birthday tomorrow! Thanks again Shirley!
Hugs & Crab Claws,
Hi Tinsley–Awww, now that’s an overly kind thing to say–thank you so much! Oh, how funny that everyone wants you to make them Crab Claws. Let me know if any relationships develop or are enhanced because of my Crab Claws. 😉
Your vlog is a delight, dear. Keep up the great work!
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes …. they’re working … I’m still happily celebrating (hence my delay in replying to comments). 😉
Happy belated birthday! And I think you answered your own question about whether it’s bread or cake…definitely bread since that’s where you looked for it.
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, Iris! And, you’re so smart on the Chocolate Zucchini Bread … yep, must be bread. 🙂
My kids and I picked a bunch of zucchini yesterday morning, I read your post, and voila! we made your bread. I used better batter for my flour and I added about 1/4 cup extra sugar because I tasted the batter and didn’t think it sweet enough for my kids. And, I left the peel on the zucchini. We made muffins instead of loaves- they are moist and fluffy and very good. Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Laura–So nice to see you again, especially since you have a review for me! How terrific that this recipe made great muffins for you and your family. And, I’m rather honored that you felt the need to add sugar. I know that sounds odd, but maybe my sweet tooth is diminishing a bit. 😉 Leaving the peel on is a great way to ensure more nutrition. I’ll try it the next time I have a zucchini with a tender skin. (I think the squashcchini that I’ve been baking with might have too thick a skin.) Thanks so much for sharing your success with us, Laura! 🙂
Hi Shirley. Happy Birthday – to many more.
Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
It never fails that you give us a post loaded with important information and you did it again. Thanks for all that you do.
Hey Chaya–Your feedback is always appreciated! 🙂 Thanks, too, for the birthday wishes! I’m still celebrating. Hoping to get up another post in the next week that was actually inspired by you. Stay tuned. 😉
Is it possible to sub. the eggs. Has anyone tried it with flax & water replacing the eggs?
Hi Bobbi–Welcome to gfe! 🙂 I haven’t personally tried flax seeds in this recipe, but I think it will work. It might make the bread a little more dense and because of the stronger flax seed taste, more sweetener might be needed. I hope someone else will share if they have used flax seeds. Please let us know the results if you give it a go! 😉
[email protected] A Blog Party says
Thanks for linking up!
Thanks, Liz! Your Blog Party is certainly a lot of fun. 🙂
WOW! This is super chocolatey! I don’t know that I’d even have zucchini in the title because this is definitely chocolate bread! I really like the texture, though I was really worried because the batter was extremely stiff. I think next time I’ll try to smooth it out in the pan; when it baked, it kept the very lumpy look that it had when I scooped the batter in the pan. But looks aren’t everything – flavor and texture are WONDERFUL! Thank you for another winning recipe!
Hi Kathy–So good to see you again! And, big 🙂 on your comment—thank you so much for your kind words! Well, you know … there’s truth in advertising and all that, but that’s why there was the “is it cake? or bread?” discussion. Plus, I had to let folks know that it was another way to use zucchini. Now as far as what you call it when you serve it to your family, that’s entirely up to you. LOL So glad you enjoyed it so much! I have some more zucchini in the freezer so I can make it this winter when I love using my oven. 😉 Yes, you make a good point about it retaining the look from when it’s placed in the pan. I’ll go update my post to let folks know to make it as pretty as they want it at that time.
Thanks again for all the kudos on this one! I’m working on a recipe right now that will be a pleaser when it’s perfected …
Hi, I would like to use agave in place of the sugar. Would I use 3/4 c instead of 1 C for the sugar? And do I add more of the flour mixture? Thanks for the advise…
Hi Bettina–First, welcome to gfe. 🙂 I’m happy to have you here! I’d probably make exactly that substitution, at least the first time I tried it. I’ve read guidance that says that agave is so much sweeter than granulated sugar that you can replace 1 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup of agave, but I don’t think that would be sweet enough for me. And on the other end, I’ve read guidance that says sub 3/4 cup of agave for 1 cup of granulated sugar just as you’re doing. I’ve also read that you should reduce other liquids and reduce the oven temperature 25 degrees, but first time around, I’d do exactly what you are doing and see how that works. I wouldn’t add more flour mixture. I might reduce the oil a bit. because there can be such a thing as too much liquid. A lot of bloggers don’t offer substitution suggestions because it’s really a guessing game. It’s important for you to get in the kitchen and start figuring out how your favorite ingredients “behave” when substituted. Best of luck! Let us know please! 🙂
I have baked this bread twice now. And love it!
Wonderful for breakfast!
I did alter the recipe just a bit the second time – just to play around and it turned out great.
I used 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of all purpose GF flour and 1/2 cup of almond flour, 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup olive oil, a pinch of cinnamon and a whole cup of cocoa.
I found it less sweet, fluffier and the extra chocolate was nice.
Thank you so much for posting the recipe!
Hi Claudia–Welcome to gfe, and what a great review! Thanks so much. 🙂 I love that you added almond flour to the recipe. Did you use applesauce in place of the eggs or in addition? I love your description of the results for sure. 😉
Thank you! I’m going to give this a try. I have some zucchini I need to get rid of! 🙂
Hi Cathy–It looks like you might be new here at gfe … if so, welcome! 🙂 Sorry for the delay in replying, but did you get a chance to make this recipe? It’s one of our faves, so I hope you enjoyed it if you made it (or when you make it)!
I’m currently making this zucchini bread and I substituted an equal amount of Greek yogurt for the oil! We’ll see how it turns out… So far the batter tastes yummy!
Hi Janelle–Welcome to gfe! 🙂 Please don’t keep us in suspense any longer … did the Greek yogurt work as a substitute? Fingers crossed!
Magic and Mayhem says
This is delicious!!!! I just made it and our whole family agreed it’s awesome. It tastes just like chocolate cake. It has the perfect chocolate flavor, plenty of sweetness (really, I can’t believe anybody felt the need to add more), just the right texture and it held together well.
I made a few small adjustments — guar gum instead of xanthan gum (same amount), half oil and half homemade applesauce, and I pureed the peeled zucchini in the food processor instead of shredding it. For my flour mix, I used a combination of white rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch and sorghum flour.
I’ve pinned this and plan to make it often. Thanks!
Hi Magic and Mayhem!–Yippeee! I’m so glad that my chocolate zucchini bread recipe was one of the recipes you decided to try from my mega zucchini recipe roundup. 🙂 And many, many thanks for your kind review and detailed info on your tweaks! Others are always interested in such variations because that helps them know to adjust recipes if they need to. Thanks so much for pinning and sharing, too!
I love zucchini bread! Can’t wait to get some and give this a try. 🙂 Thanks for sharing it at Savoring Saturdays, Shirley! I’m going to feature it at this weekend’s party. 🙂
Hi Raia–Playing catch up after my gfe retreat! Thanks again for the feature of my chocolate zucchini bread. It is definitely a favorite of many. Chocolate zucchini bread usually excites folks more than the classic kind. There are some times I prefer the latter though. 😉 Have a good week!
i have been making it for some time now but i wonder why plain version without cocoa,just crumbles….hmmm…the chocolate one is so yummie and noone can tell it has zucchini..nobody guessed it!!!hhahahah
Shirley Braden says
Hi Demi–It’s true that the regular version, non-chocolate version, is more crumbly. That’s actually surprising as most baking guidance says that cocoa dries out baked goods and liquids need to be added to compensate for the addition of cocoa. I didn’t do that with the chocolate version though. It could be that the combination of cocoa and zucchini is a special one that adds some binding. Adding a small amount (maybe a tablespoon or so) of yogurt, sour cream, or coconut cream (and, in this case, I’m talking about the thick “cream” that is at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk) to the plain version might make a difference. If I try that soon, I’ll let you know how it goes, Demi. I’m so glad you love the chocolate version and that everyone else you’ve served it to does, too—without suspecting the “secret” ingredient. 😉