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This lemon zucchini bread is incredibly moist with a bright citrus zing! Bake it up and top it with a zesty glaze.

Lemon zucchini bread
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Here’s a surprise favorite in our house when it comes to zucchini recipes: Lemon Zucchini Bread! We’ll make this instead of classic zucchini bread every time. This loaf is incredibly moist, super zingy from the lemon zest and topped with a flavor-popping sweet glaze.

Cut it into thick slices and it’s extremely irresistible. I’m a huge chocolate person, but this is my favorite variation on zucchini bread (though this Chocolate Zucchini Bread is an extremely close second).

Ingredients in lemon zucchini bread

This lemon zucchini bread is a spin on our classic zucchini bread, using lemon juice, zest, and and a sweet lemon glaze. But it tastes even greater than just a citrus variation: it transforms its entire character from comforting and homey to bright and zippy! We could not stop sneaking bites of this one. The glaze absolutely makes the flavor, so don’t be tempted to leave it out. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Zucchini
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • All-purpose flour
  • Unsalted butter
  • Neutral oil
  • Granulated sugar and powdered sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
Lemon zucchini bread

Rubbing the zest enhances its flavor

This recipe uses a trick for enhancing the lemon flavor. Instead of adding the lemon zest right to the recipe, you’ll place the zest in the sugar and use your hands to rub it into the sugar for a minute or so. This activates the essential oils in the zest, helping it to taste more lemony than it would without this step.

Tips for baking lemon zucchini bread

If you’re a zucchini bread fan, you’ll know it’s simple to mix up: mix the wet and dry ingredients, pour in the pan, and bake! Here are a few tips for making the perfect bread:

  • Zest your lemon first before juicing it. Lemons are difficult to grate once they’re juiced, so don’t forget the zest. A microplane grater makes quick work of it; it’s a handheld grater with small sharp holes that’s easier to use and clean than a box grater.
  • Use an aluminum baking pan for best results. Ceramic and glass pans don’t cook as evenly for quick breads. Use aluminum if you can! We recommend a 9-inch loaf pan, but you can use an 8-inch pan too: just increase the bake time slightly.
  • Don’t overmix! This is extremely crucial when making a zucchini bread. Overmixing a quick bread batter leads to holes in the texture of the crumb. Mix until the batter is combined and there are no dry spots remaining.
Lemon glaze

For the lemon glaze

What makes this lemon zucchini bread is the glaze, which infuses a huge citrus burst. It brings the flavor to just the right pop, so we think it’s required here. Here’s what to know about the glaze:

  • Wait until the bread is cool prior to icing. Otherwise, the icing will melt into the bread.
  • Use a fork! A fork makes the best drizzly lines: with a spoon it’s a bit too chunky.
  • Use less if desired. You can make a half recipe of the icing if you’d like to cut the sugar.

Storage info

This lemon zucchini bread is best stored refrigerated because of the lemon glaze. Refrigerate wrapped in aluminum foil for up to 10 days, then bring to room temperature before enjoying. You can also freeze un-iced bread for up to 3 months: slice it into pieces and wrap it in plastic wrap then a freezer-safe bag or container.

Lemon zucchini bread

More lemon recipes

This lemon zucchini bread is one of our top favorite quick breads, for its moist texture and zippy flavor. We couldn’t get enough of it! Here are a few other favorite lemon recipes:

Dietary notes

This lemon zucchini bread recipe is vegetarian.

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Lemon zucchini bread

Lemon Zucchini Bread


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x

Description

This lemon zucchini bread is incredibly moist with a bright citrus zing! Bake it up and top it with a zesty glaze.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Bread

  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest (2 large lemons)
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup neutral oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, packed (about 3/4 pound or 2 medium zucchini), grated with large grater

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Place the lemon zest in a large bowl with the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it is fragrant (this activates the flavor of the zest). 
  3. Whisk in the melted butter, oil, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon juice. Use a spatula to mix in the flour and zucchini until just combined. 
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake 60 to 65 minutes (insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf: if it comes out with a few clinging crumbs, it’s done!) 
  5. Cool the bread in the pan for 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and invert the loaf onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully to room temperature, at least 1 hour or more.
  6. Mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until it comes together into a smooth icing (if it is too runny add a bit more powdered sugar; if it’s too thick add a few drops more liquid). Use a fork to drizzle the top of the bread with the icing. Allow the glaze to dry for 15 minutes, then slice into pieces and serve.
  7. The bread lasts 3 to 4 days at room temperature wrapped in aluminum foil or refrigerated for 10 days wrapped in foil (bring to room temperature before enjoying). You can also freeze un-iced bread for up to 3 months (slice it into pieces and wrap it in plastic wrap then a freezer-safe bag or container).
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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12 Comments

  1. Gail Jensen Summers says:

    Can I make this gluten free by substituting gluten free flour, and does it come out as well as the recipe above? I had it the way it is and love it, but I want to make it for a dear friend who can’t tolerate gluten. Thanks, Gail

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! We have not tried this recipe with gluten-free flour. In general, you can often substitute 1 for 1 gluten-free flour in recipes, but it can sometimes make them very dry. You’re welcome to try it: let us know how it comes out!

  2. Angela Winegarden says:

    Hi Sonja,
    A good friend gave me a zucchini from her garden and I was not sure what to make with it. It needed to be somewhat simple since working full-time leaves me fatigued and without much spare time…
    Anyway, I baked your Lemon Zucchini bread recipe and it is Delicious!! Thank you!






    1. Carla Swanson Krupanski says:

      I made the lemon zucchini bread with fresh zucchini. And it was delicious! I would like to make the brownies and I have frozen,grated zucchini in my freezer. Will that work? There’s always so much more water after you freeze it.






      1. Sonja Overhiser says:

        Good question! We haven’t tried it with frozen grated zucchini, but it should work! Just make sure to KEEP all the water that drains off of the zucchini and use it in the recipe too. Let us know how it goes!

  3. Liz Romano says:

    Does the shredded zucchini need to be squeezed dry?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      No!

  4. Missy Beier says:

    What changes would I do to make muffins?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! You can make these using the same recipe: divide between 12 muffin cups and bake at 375F for about 20 to 26 minutes until a toothpick comes out with just a few clinging crumbs. The cool time should be quicker too and you can use the same glaze!

  5. Pam Schrader says:

    Could you substitute yellow squash for the zucchini?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! We have not tried it but it should work similarly! Let us know how it goes.

  6. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!