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I’ve been making these Zucchini Brownies for years and I’m just gonna say it: they are the BEST. With the perfect balance of fudgy and cakey, plus a thin layer of chocolate frosting, these brownies are totally irresistible!
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today. Why? Because of all the things I make, these zucchini brownies are one of my most requested summer desserts. When I’ve made them for neighbors, they inevitably text me with something like: “OMG these are SO GOOD! Please send me the recipe!” And when I take them to potlucks? Fuhgettaboutit. My husband once joked I should print the recipe out and carry it with me as a calling card. But putting the recipe online so I can send folks a link is much better!
What Makes These the Best Zucchini Brownies?
I’m confident calling these the best zucchini brownies for a few reasons:
- They have the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy.
- The frosting is super quick! You make it in the microwave in less than 2 minutes. When it cools, it gets this shiny sheen and will crack when you bite into the brownie. Oddly satisfying!
- These brownies use a nice amount of zucchini. If you’re a home gardener like me, you know what it’s like to have too much zucchini in the fridge! It can really get out of control. This brownie recipe uses 2 whole cups of shredded zucchini, which is about 2-3 zucchini depending on their size.
- You can’t taste the zucchini. In fact, most people don’t even know these are zucchini brownies unless I tell them. Which I always do, because the look on their faces when they realize that ultimate deliciousness they’re eating has veggies is priceless.
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make these zucchini brownies. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.
For the brownies:
- Olive oil – You can also use vegetable oil or melted butter.
- White sugar
- Pure vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – I like Trader Joe’s cocoa powder.
- Baking soda
- Kosher salt
- Shredded zucchini – This recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded zucchini, which is about 2-3 zucchinis, depending on their size. There is no need to salt the zucchini and remove excess liquid. In fact, do NOT do this.
For the frosting:
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Butter – A vegan alternative also works
- Milk – Plant based milk works just fine.
- Confectioners’ sugar – Don’t try and use regular sugar for this. You need powdered sugar for the frosting.
- Pure vanilla extract
Can I Make these Vegan Zucchini Brownies?
You sure can. I have made these brownies vegan for friends on several occasions. Since this recipe doesn’t have any eggs, it’s just a matter of subbing your favorite vegan butter alternative for regular butter, then using a plant based milk. I have made these brownies with almond milk, soy milk, oat milk and the SoDelicious coconut milk.
How to Make Zucchini Brownies
Making these brownies is super easy. Here’s how to do it:
- Prep your tools. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper or grease with PAM. The parchment paper just makes it easier to de-pan the brownies later.
- Mix the wet ingredients. In a large bowl combine the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended.
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl combine the flour, ½ cup cocoa, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir just until everything is combined.
- Fold in the zucchini and mix well.
- The batter will be very dry and you’ll think you should add eggs or milk, but don’t do it! This brownie recipe uses the moisture from zucchini to bake up perfect brownies. If you add more liquid to the batter you will get a soggy mess.
- Add the batter to the prepared pan. Spread into the prepared pan, gently tapping the mixture down.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven. The brownies are done when they spring back if gently touched with your fingertips. Once they have finished baking, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the frosting.
- Make the frosting. Melt together the cocoa, the butter and the milk in the microwave for about 40-60 seconds. Stop halfway through to stir things around a bit. Once everything has melted, mix well with a spatula or metal spoon. Allow to cool slightly, then add the vanilla and the confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing well between additions.
- Frost the brownies. Spread the frosting over the brownies once the brownies have cooled. Allow to set for an hour before digging in.
Tips for Success
These zucchini brownies are incredibly easy to make, but there are a few tips I highly recommend:
- Do not add eggs or extra liquid to the brownie batter. The batter for these brownies is very dry looking so it is tempting to add something to make it look more like a traditional brownie batter. DO NOT DO IT. The shredded zucchini will provide all the moisture the batter needs.
- Use fresh zucchini. Because the liquid in the zucchini itself is an important part of this recipe, always use fresh zucchini. From the garden is best, from a farmer’s market is also great. If you buy it at the grocery store look for medium sized zucchinis that don’t have any marks on the skin, then use them within a day of bringing them home.
- Use small or medium zucchinis. Sometimes I will find giant zucchinis hiding in my garden, and while they are amazing in muffins they don’t perform a well with this recipe because they don’t have as much moisture. My definition of a large/giant zucchini is about the size of a baseball bat. If you don’t think you could knock a burglar out with your zucchini then it probably isn’t too big.
- Don’t skip the frosting. When you pull the baked brownies out of the oven they will have a cobblestone look that doesn’t resemble regular brownies. This is normal. This is also why we frost them. The frosting takes these brownies from really good to I-dare-you-to-eat-just-one.
How to Store Homemade Brownies
I like to store these brownies in the fridge. Let them come to room temperature, then cover the pan with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator. You can also cut up your brownies and place those in an airtight container. These brownies will technically keep for 3-4 days but we always eat them before then.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes! In fact, I usually freeze several batches of these brownies over the summer so I can indulge over the winter. To freeze these brownies, let them come to room temperature, then cut into squares. Wrap each square in a couple layers of saran wrap, then place them all in a freezer safe airtight container. They will keep for 6 months.
To defrost, simply place the number of brownies you want to eat in the fridge to defrost overnight. You can also thaw them on the counter for a few hours, or if you’re really fixing to eat a brownie stat, you can remove the saran wrap and microwave each brownie individually for 30 seconds.
Irresistible Zucchini Brownies
For the brownies:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups shredded zucchini, 2-3 zucchinis
For the frosting:
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup butter or vegan alternative
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prep your tools. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper or grease with PAM or your preferred baking spray.
- Mix wet ingredients. In a large bowl combine the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a medium bowl combine the flour, ½ cup cocoa, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just to combine. Fold in the zucchini and mix well. The batter will be very dry and you'll think you should add eggs or milk, but don't do it!
- Spread into the prepared pan. Gently spread it with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The brownies are done when they spring back when gently touched. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Make the frosting. Melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa, the butter and the milk in the microwave for about 40-60 seconds. Mix well with a spatula or metal spoon. Allow to cool slightly, then add the vanilla and the confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing well between additions.
- Spread the frosting over the brownies once the brownies have cooled. Allow to set for an hour before digging in. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.