Zucchini Brownies – The BEST zucchini brownies that are EASY, made in one bowl, and no mixer required! Soft, fudgy, and almost taste like rich chocolate cake. They’re filled and topped with mini chocolate chips to add even more fabulous chocolate flavor. And NO, you cannot taste the zucchini at all – promise!
Easy Zucchini Brownies Recipe
If you’re wondering what to do with all that zucchini that you have on your hands from our garden or have bought in the markets, this easy zucchini brownie recipe with chocolate chips is fabulous!
The texture is more along the lines of a dense, rich, and fudgy cake. If you want instead a classic chewy brownie recipe with a crisped top, my Boyfriend Brownies are perfect. Because the zucchini brownies are definitely soft and cakey.
I added mini chocolate chips into the brownie batter and also sprinkled some on top before baking. They add an extra oomph of chocolate to the brownies.
A unique fact about these brownies is that there are no eggs and no butter. That’s right, they’re egg-free and dairy-free. They’re made with oil instead of butter and the zucchini and baking soda keep them soft and a bit fluffy, no eggs required.
Finally, I make them in one bowl, and don’t use a mixer. Can you say easy-peasy!
Can You Taste the Zucchini?
This is the 64,000 question isn’t it that inquiring minds want to know?
The answer is no, you cannot taste the zucchini. Not even a little bit. There is no hint of zucchini or vegetable-like flavor.
The grated zucchini strands with their green and white flesh totally disappear during the baking process and you cannot even see green flecks in these cake-like zucchini brownies.
There is potentially a tiny bit of texture from the shredded zucchini but the chocolate chips also add texture as a confounding factor.
So feel free to sneak in all the extra veggies you can with these brownies. Neither you nor your unsuspecting friends or family will ever guess!
Ingredients in Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Chips
To make these fudgy and rich easy zucchini brownies, you’ll the follow common and easy-to-find ingredients including the following:
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make the Best Zucchini Brownies
This is such an easy dessert recipe that takes advantage of summer’s bounty of zucchini.
It’s a one bowl, no mixer recipe – the best kind!
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, oil, and vanilla.
Step 2: Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and fold with a spatula to combine all the ingredients. The batter is very sandy and dry which is normal.
Step 3: Grate the zucchini with a box grater, do NOT wring it out, and add 3 cups of it to the chocolate sandy mixture.
Step 4: Allow the zucchini to release its natural moisture and water into the batter for 20 minutes, tossing and stirring the mixture every 5 minutes or so with your spatula.
Essential Tip for Brownie Batter
If there is one singular yet absolutely essential recipe tip that I can provide it’s that you need to be patient and WAIT when you’re mixing the batter up after you’ve added the grated zucchini.
You need to wait about 20 minutes AFTER you’ve added the grated zucchini into the chocolate batter and have initially stirred it in.
This is because the zucchini will release its natural moisture and water into the batter, and you need this water because the “batter” at this point is very sandy and crumbly and desperately needs the moisture from the zucchini.
Every 5 minutes or so, give it a stir, and you’ll notice that the zucchini keeps releasing a bit more water, bit by bit. And then after 20 minutes the batter will still be very thick and fudge-like, but not sandy and you can spread it out into your baking pan and bake it.
Step 5: Add 1 cup of mini chocolate chips into the now thick and fudgy batter.
Step 6: Turn the batter out into the baking pan and bake.
Step 7: Wait until the zucchini brownies are cool for slicing and serving!
How to Grate Zucchini For Zucchini Brownies
When grating zucchini for any recipe that calls for it, I do the following:
- Slice off the “eye” or little brown circle on one end of the zucchini.
- Use the other end like a “handle” and grab it firmly.
- Use the coarsest blade of a large box grater and grate away.
Do not use a food processor, blender, or any other device. Just do it by hand. It literally 3 to 5 minutes to grate 3 cups of zucchini.
You’ll need about two average-sized zucchini for this recipe.
Should I Wring Out the Water?
No, you should not wring out any water.
Just add the grated zucchini straight into your mixing bowl without wringing out or removing any of the natural moisture. You need it! Read the Essential Tip above!
Serving Suggestions for Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
I truly don’t think these chocolate chip zucchini brownies “need” ice cream, whipped cream, Cool whip, frosting, or anything else!
However, feel free to add any of the above if you do.
I used the layer of chocolate chips on top as a way to avoid needing to make frosting. But if you are looking for a great chocolate frosting, this Chocolate Frosting is wonderful.
How To Store Zucchini Brownies
I store the easy zucchini brownies airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Airtight Storage a Must!
Make sure the brownies are store in an airtight container or baking pan with a lid. Even in the 45 minutes I had them sitting out taking photos of them, the edges and sides that were exposed to air were crumbly and dry.
Zucchini Brownie FAQs
No there are not. Therefore, this is a dairy-free and egg-free recipe.
I do not know if you can make it gluten-free and use gluten-free flour intended for baking instead of all-purpose flour without making any other adjustments to the recipe.
Yes you probably could however I have always used vegetable or canola oil with great luck and in baked goods like brownies, muffins, and most cakes, I prefer the texture of the finished product when it’s made with oil.
I used good old fashioned Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. It’s common, easy to find, been around forever, and it’s inexpensive as cocoa powder goes. If you have a “fancier” cocoa powder you love, you can use it instead of course. You don’t need to use Dutch-processed.
I use Nestle Mini Chocolate Chips and I strongly recommend mini chips rather than full size because they distribute better within the batter and don’t sink. And they also are more delicate and visually appealing in my opinion on the top.
However, you could in theory use full-size chips, knowing they will be more “clunky” to bite into and could sink, too.
Tips for The Best Zucchini Brownies
I provided lots of tips and answers to the most commonly asked questions above in the FAQ section but here are a few final parting tips so your fudgy zucchini brownies are the best!
By Hand or Use a Mixer? – Unless I am making cookies or sometimes a cake, I never break out a mixer. You could, but I don’t bother because you can whisk and stir everything together than you need for this zucchini brownies with chocolate chips recipe. I don’t like mixer equipment – either stand mixer or hand mixer – but it’s up to you if you want to use a mixer.
Reducing the Sugar – I use 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar. Some recipes call for 1 1/2 cups. I think you could go down as low as 1 cup and still be fine.
Brown Sugar – I haven’t ever experimented with adding brown sugar because it’s denser and will make the brownies even softer which they really don’t need.
Do Not Wring The Water – I have mentioned this many times in the post but you should NOT wring out or try to remove any of the water from the zucchini. It’s necessary to moisten the batter and provide a spreadable (rather than dry and sandy) brownie batter.
Batter Still Very Dry? – Since zucchini is a natural ingredient and within natural ingredients whether it’s a strawberry or an orange or a zucchini, they can vary in moisture levels.
It’s potential (although not likely) that after 20 minutes of waiting and folding the grated zucchini into the batter that it simply isn’t helping the batter to moisten sufficiently and you’ve still got lots of white clumps of flour and an unsightly mish-mash of ingredients that just aren’t combining.
Adding Water – If that happens, you can add from 1 to 4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, until your batter is sufficiently moist to fold with your spatula or stir with a spoon to get it to a fudge-like state that you can spread into your baking pan.
Baking Time – Any time you’re working with moisture-filled ingredients and baking with them such as with blueberries in my Best Crustless Blueberry Pie or with ripe bananas in Six-Banana Banana Bread, or my Blueberry Banana Zucchini Bread, there’ll be variance in moisture levels which in turn effects baking time.
Baking times in recipes are guidelines. They are not absolutes. It’s up to you as the baker to watch your item and decide when it’s done.
Therefore, if you notice that your zucchini brownies are jiggly and unset in the center, or a toothpick is coming out pretty wet after 30 minutes of baking, bake it longer until it’s done! Very easy!
2 hours 10 minutes
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from about 2 medium zucchini)
- 10 ounce bag mini chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat oven to 350, optionally line a 9×13-inch pan with foil for easier cleanup, spray generously with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, cocoa powder, oil, vanilla, and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Add the flour, salt (Tip – do not omit the salt, it helps the zucchini release water which is instrumental), and mix with a rubber spatula, turning and folding, and repeating. Note – The batter is extremely dry and crumbly at this point which is normal, do not worry; set bowl aside.
- Using a the coarsest blade of a large box grater, grate the zucchini. Slice off the “eye” end, grab the other end like a handle, and grate. Tip – Do NOT wring out the zucchini.
- Add 3 cups to the sandy batter and use your rubber spatula to fold, flip, and turn it in. Tip – Measure the zucchini loosely piled in the measuring cup and not packed in.
- Wait for about 20 minutes to allow the zucchini to release its natural moisture into the batter. Every 5 minutes or so, flip and turn the batter with your rubber spatula and you’ll notice the batter getting more fudge-like and less sandy as time passes. Note – If for some reason your batter is still very sandy and isn’t fudgy, you may need to add water. Add between 1 to 4 tablespoons, as necessary to get it to a thick and fudgy consistency. It really should not be necessary, but use your judgment and add water if you truly think you need to.
- After about 20 minutes and the batter is thick, fudge-like and spreadable, add 1 cup of the mini chocolate chips and stir to incorporate; reserve the remainder.
- Turn the batter out into your prepared pan. It’s very thick and dense and a little tricky to spread, but do your best to finesse it with your rubber spatula.
- Evenly sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips from the bag, about 2/3 to 3/4 cup, over the top of the batter.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until brownies are set in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs but no batter. Start checking at 25 minutes. Tips – Rotate your pan once midway through baking to ensure even cooking. Bake for as long as is necessary so that your brownies are set and done. Because all zucchini, moisture levels, baking pans, climates, ovens, etc. vary, baking times will vary as well so bake as is necessary and use my timeline as only an estimate.
- Allow brownies to cool in the pan for about 30 to 60 minutes, or as necessary, until you can slice and serve. Extra brownies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 280Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 273mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 3gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g
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