When it rains, it pours. At least, that seems to be the case for those who grow zucchini (or have neighbors who do). Zucchini is a pretty bland vegetable, which makes it ideal for many recipes. It can be sliced, shredded, or chopped for a variety of savory or sweet recipes. My personal favorite is this cinnamon swirl zucchini bread! This is truly one of my favorite recipes on my blog. More about this bread later...
This year I planted a simple garden consisting of mostly plants that vine out. It probably wasn't the smartest because they are overcrowded for the space, but I have gotten several nice zucchini already! I hopefully will be able to get lots of cucumbers soon. The pumpkins and butternut squash will be ready for harvest in the fall. Unfortunately, the rabbits have found their way under our fence and have annihilated my green beans. I am pretty annoyed by this because I didn't have this issue last year. Gardening is all about learning though I suppose.
To those of you who don't have a garden, I always recommend local farmers markets near you. There is something so satisfying about buying beautiful produce and supporting local farmers. To my Iowa friends, I highly recommend Willhoite’s Family Orchard and Produce. This lovely farm is located just a few miles from my childhood home near Fort Dodge, Iowa, where my parents still reside. This is a family-owned farm that is operated under the leadership of my dear friend Chester. It is incredible how much work Chester and his family do each day throughout the year as growers—and in the winter months, too! You can learn more about them on Facebook and where to buy their produce here. Now that I am living in Illinois, my trips are a bit limited, but I love catching up when I am able!
From left to right is a photo of me, Chester, and my sister Jolene holding her son Brady.
Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread Recipe Tricks
This cinnamon swirl zucchini bread is insanely moist, tender, and packed with cinnamon flavor. It features a cinnamon in the batter, in a swirl layer in the middle, and even cinnamon sugar on top that creates the most delicious topping. I love it best warm from the oven but it is still delicious once cooled. A little melted butter is extra nice if you really want a treat!
For the best bread, here are some of my top tips:
- Peel the zucchini before grating so the bread isn't speckled with green throughout
- Drain the zucchini really well before adding to the batter. To do this, place the grated zucchini in a fine mesh sieve or colander to let drain. Press gently to remove any excess liquid.
- Do not add extra zucchini. Even though it may be tempting, too much zucchini will result in an unpleasant texture that is gummy and dense.
- When adding the batter on top of the cinnamon swirl layer, pour very gently as not to keep the cinnamon swirl layer as even as possible.
- Do not overfill your pans. The pan should be no more than ⅔rds of the way full, and I have given three recommendations for baking pans below. If you have extra batter, bake in a small separate pan or as muffins.
- Leftover bread can be stored at room temperature for up to two days in an airtight container. Beyond that, store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer, tightly wrapped.
This recipe is so well-liked by family and friends that I usually make a double batch! It also freezes nicely, so it can be enjoyed later in the year too. I have had many zucchini bread recipes in the past that were just blah. However, the cinnamon swirl is a huge upgrade from your typical zucchini bread and really makes it tasty! Trust me, you will see this bread disappear before your own eyes.
Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Bread
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup peeled and grated zucchini see note below
Cinnamon Swirl Ingredients
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup chopped pecans optional
- Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare pans. Grease or spray either two 7-⅜ x 3-⅝ inch loaf pans, four mini loaf pans, or one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
- Peel and grate your zucchini. Let drain in a fine mesh strainer and press gently to remove excess liquid. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla until the mixture is combined and smooth. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix until combined. Gently stir all dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the grated zucchini.
- Prepare the cinnamon swirl by mixing the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. If using pecans, do not add the pecans to this mixture. The pecans should only be added to the middle layer.
- To assemble the loaf or loaves, add about ½ of the batter into the bottom of each loaf pan(s), depending on which size you are using. Carefully sprinkle a little over half of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture over the bottom batter layer of each loaf pan(s).
- If using pecans, evenly distribute the chopped pecans over the filling of each pan.
- Gently spoon or pour the remaining batter over the filling. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.
- Bake in preheated oven until center is firm and a tester comes out clean. For the small loaves, this may be about 25-30 minutes, 40-45 minutes for medium loaf pans, or one hour for a large loaf pan.
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