Spiced Apple Zucchini Bread with Toasted Pecans

Spiced Apple Zucchini Bread is delicious with my morning coffee, for a snack after a workout, for something sweet before bed.....or before dinner (I find excuses to eat it all day long.) As far as zucchini recipes go, I have a hunch that this will become your new favorite. This bread is moist, dense, not overly sweet, and it's just as good freshly sliced as it is toasted. One taste and you just might be inspired to grow your own zucchini plant....so you can make it whenever the craving strikes.

Slices of spiced apple zucchini bread with butter.

Four reasons to Love This Apple Zucchini Bread

I brought this to my daughter's ski race last weekend, and some typically hard-to-please 8-13 year olds called it the "best zucchini bread recipe, ever." I felt like I had won the race!

  • Flavor and texture: Warm spices and brown sugar combine with the zucchini and tart apples to create the perfect balance of flavors. Toasted pecans add a nice crunch to the very moist texture.
  • Super easy recipe!: The most time consuming part of this recipe is grating the zucchini and apples. From that point, you just mix the ingredients together and bake. You can even mix everything in a large mixing bowl if you want to avoid a mixer.
  • Great year round: Apple zucchini bread is the perfect way to use up summer zucchini, but it's also ideal for early fall, mixing that extra zucchini with tart apples and autumn spices. I just made three gorgeous loaves in February, proving it's appropriate any time of year!
  • Healthier option: If you're looking for ways to promote healthy eating for your family, it's great to incorporate fruits and veggies into their sweet treats. Like I said above, pre-teens devoured this bread with enthusiasm, a word that usually isn't heard alongside "teenagers" and "zucchini."
Slices of apple zucchini bread.

My Top Tips for Baking your Best Apple Zucchini Bread

  1. Squeeze out excess liquid: To keep the perfectly moist (but not too moist) texture of this recipe, make sure you squeeze excess liquid from the mixture of the fresh zucchini and grated apples. You can do this over a medium bowl to catch the liquid and then place the apple/zucchini on paper towels, or you can do it over a fine mesh sieve set over your sink.
  2. Follow the baking time: I think the hardest part of this recipe is the long baking time. The batter is not a very thick batter, so it tends to take 65-75 minutes to bake (I know--agony!!) Make sure that you follow recipe cues like a clean knife inserted into the center and a firm, golden brown top to avoid a raw or underbaked loaf.
  3. Use good ingredients: We can't ALL be Ina Garten with a bountiful supply of beautiful, perfectly ripe garden zucchinis out back. So when you are searching for your perfect produce at the grocery store, look for firm, medium-sized zucchini with vibrant colors.

Ingredients and Special Equipment

Please check the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific quantities!

Apple Zucchini Bread Ingredient Notes

  • Zucchini: I used two medium zucchini for 2 cups grated.
  • Apples: I prefer to use tart, firm Granny Smith apples, but you can also use sweet apples, like Fuji. Just make sure that they aren't too soft, as they will be difficult to grate.
  • Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg. To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute an equal amount of a reputable GF flour blend for the AP flour.
  • Wet ingredients: Eggs, canola or vegetable oil, vanilla. Safflower oil, sunflower oil, melted coconut oil, or even a very milk olive oil may be substituted.
  • Pecans: Substitute chopped walnuts or use a blend of the two nuts.
Baking pan and nonstick baking spray.

Recommended Special Equipment

  • Loaf pan: Standard 9X5-inch loaf pans are the best choice for this recipe, but you can use a longer (10X5-inch) pan or even 3-4 mini loaf pans.
  • Food processor or box grater: The best way (and fastest way) to grate your fresh apples and zucchini is by using a food processor fitted with a grating disc. If you don't have a food processor, us a box grater and a little extra elbow grease!
  • Parchment paper: Helpful for lining the loaf pan before adding the batter so that you can lift the baked loaf from the pan without inverting it.

Step by Step Photos and Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉/180℃. Spray a 9X5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottom the pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides by two inches (optional, but helpful--see "Top Tips" section in post.)
  2. Squeeze the water out of the grated zucchini and apples over a sink or a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl.

3. Dry ingredients: In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed for 1 minute.

5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

6. Add the zucchini and apple, separating the pieces so that they are not in clumps. Mix until well combined.

7. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

8. Mix in the pecans.

9. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the top of the loaf is puffed and deep golden brown and a knife or a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf emerges clean, 65-75 minutes.

10. Cool the bread in the pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then either lift it out with the parchment overhang or turn the loaf out onto the rack to cool completely. Slice and serve or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store overnight before slicing (see Top Tips and Storage sections in post.)

Baked loaf of apple zucchini bread.

Recipe Variations

Baking Pan Variations

The next time that you make this recipe, try it in a shape other than a bread loaf. Bake the bread batter in a Bundt pan or turn it into apple zucchini muffins.

Ingredient Variations

Add a cup of grated carrots to turn this into a carrot apple zucchini bread recipe. Mix in mini chocolate chips or coarsely chopped dried cherries. Make this an extra healthy apple zucchini bread recipe by using half whole wheat flour and substituting the oil with applesauce.

Topping Variations

I chose to keep this easy zucchini bread, well, easy, by not adding a topping. But you can absolutely drizzle a lemon, vanilla, or cream cheese glaze over the top or sprinkle it with powdered sugar before serving.

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions

Make Ahead

This delicious zucchini bread is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time, as it stays moist for days. I prefer to make a loaf the day before I plan to serve it, as it becomes easier to slice after it has has a chance to rest. Your basic quick bread recipe will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature and 5-6 days in the refrigerator.

Storage Tips

Store your zucchini apple bread at room temperature or in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. In more humid conditions, the bread will keep longer in the refrigerator. Loaves can also be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to one month. Thaw overnight at room temperature.

Loaf of apple zucchini bread.

Check out some more of my Favorite Baked Breakfast Treats:

Tried this recipe and loved it? Take a photo and tag me on Instagram or give it a review!

Slices of Apple Zucchini Bread with butter.

Spiced Apple Zucchini Bread

Julie Hession
Easy apple zucchini bread is a great way to get your servings of fruits and veggies while satisfying your sweet tooth! Toast a slice of for breakfast, pack it as a lunchbox snack, or enjoy it with your afternoon coffee or tea.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
0 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 273 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 9X5 inch loaf pan
  • Box grater or food processor fitted with the grating disk

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 cups grated zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 2 cups grated Granny Smith apples See Notes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup canola, vegetable, or safflower oil
  • cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350℉/180℃. Spray a 9X5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottom the pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides by two inches (optional, but helpful--see "Top Tips" section in post.)
  • Squeeze the water out of the grated zucchini and apples over a sink or a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Add the zucchini and apple, separating the pieces so that they are not in clumps. Mix until well combined.
  • On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
  • Mix in the pecans.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the top of the loaf is puffed and deep golden brown and a knife or a cake tester inserted into the center emerges clean, 65-75 minutes.
  • Cool the bread in the pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then either lift it out with the parchment overhang or turn the loaf out onto the rack to cool completely. Slice and serve or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store overnight before slicing (see Top Tips and Storage sections in post.)

Notes

  • I leave my apples unpeeled when grating them for this recipe -- it's just one less step to take, and the results are the same.  But you can feel free to peel your apples.
  • This bread will keep, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 6 days.  
  • Loaves can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to one month.  Thaw overnight at room temperature. 

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 92IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
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