I thought I had this zucchini muffin recipe in the bag. Make my favorite zucchini bread batter, divide into muffin cups, bake for less time—nope. The increased surface area produced slightly dense and dry muffins, which were fine for “healthy” muffins. However, I wanted fluffy, moist and thoroughly delightful muffins that just-so-happened to be healthier.
So, I cross-referenced the zucchini bread recipe with my all-time favorite blueberry muffins in my cookbook. I adjusted the leavener, upped the amount of milk and switched to buttermilk for a more tender crumb. Success! These zucchini babes will make everyone happy.
Cookbook launch week has been a thrill. I’m overwhelmed, honestly. I’m so excited that you’re excited about the book, flattered by my fellow food bloggers’ kind words, and thankful for friends who took the time to say cheers. All that, and I’m still a little apprehensive about sending my book baby into the world. Is this what it feels like to send a child off on a school bus for the first time?
Thank you for your comments, notes and reviews; they mean so much. I hate to ask for more, but if you’ve had a chance to make recipes from the book already, would you mind leaving a review on Amazon to share your experience soon? That might seal the deal for people who aren’t familiar with my blog already.
If you haven’t gotten the book, I have more details about Love Real Food over here. I’d be glad to answer any questions you might have in the comments. Lastly, I promise I won’t go on and on about the book forever. ♥
What makes these zucchini muffins healthy?
Granted, “healthy” is a subjective term, but here are a few reasons why I consider these muffins to be more nutritionally redeeming than most:
- Unlike standard zucchini muffins made with refined all-purpose flour, these are made with white whole wheat flour. That means they’re made entirely with whole grains, but you can’t taste them because white whole wheat flour has such a mild flavor.
- Coconut oil or olive oil replace butter (olive oil is composed of more monounsaturated fat, and is considered to be more heart-healthy)
- Real maple syrup replaces refined sugar, so these muffins are naturally sweetened.
- Combined, you end up with hearty and delicious zucchini-flecked muffins.
These muffins are easily adapted to vegan and gluten-free diets, too! See my recipe notes for details.
Watch How to Make Zucchini Muffins
More Muffin Recipes to Enjoy
- Healthy Banana Muffins
- Healthy Blueberry Muffins
- Healthy Carrot Muffins
- Lemon Raspberry Muffins
- Strawberry Oat Muffins
Please let me know how these muffins turn out for you in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Healthy Zucchini Muffins
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 16 mins
- Total Time: 36 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
- Category: Baked good
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
These healthy zucchini muffins are naturally sweetened and made with whole wheat flour! They’re fluffy, moist and absolutely delicious, too. Recipe yields 1 dozen muffins.
- ¾ cup roughly chopped raw walnuts or pecans (optional)
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil*
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup buttermilk (or ⅔ cup milk of choice mixed with 2 teaspoons vinegar, allow to rest for 5 minutes before using)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini (you’ll need 1 small-to-medium zucchini, about 7 ounces—working in handfuls, gently squeeze out excess moisture from the grated zucchini over the sink)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, grease all 12 cups on your muffin tin with butter or cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and doesn’t require any grease).
- Toast the nuts (if using): Once the oven has finished preheating, pour the chopped nuts onto a small, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are fragrant and toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring halfway.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and honey. Beat them with a whisk until they are combined. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk to combine, and set the bowl aside. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 30 seconds in the microwave.)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Using a big spoon, stir to combine.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the dry and stir just until combined (a few lumps are ok!). Add the zucchini (be sure to squeeze excess moisture out of the zucchini first) and toasted nuts, if using. Gently fold the zucchini and nuts into the batter, being careful not to over-stir.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Bake muffins for 16 to 19 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. If you have leftover muffins, store them, covered, at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze leftover muffins for up to 3 months.
Recipe adapted from my zucchini bread and the blueberry maple muffins in my cookbook, Love Real Food.
*Oil options: I love coconut oil here. I used unrefined coconut oil and can hardly taste it in the final product. Olive oil might lend an herbal note to the muffins, if you’re into that (I tested with California Olive Ranch’s “Everyday” variety and couldn’t even taste it). Vegetable oil has a neutral flavor, but the average vegetable/canola oil is highly processed, so I recommend using cold-pressed sunflower oil or grapeseed oil if possible.
Change it up: Use chocolate chips or small/chopped dried fruit instead of the nuts.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey, replace the eggs with flax eggs and choose non-dairy milk, such as almond milk.
Make it dairy free: Choose non-dairy milk (I used almond milk).
Make it egg free: Replace the eggs with flax eggs.
Make it gluten free: Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose gluten-free mix works well.
Make it nut free: Just omit the nuts, and don’t use nut milk.
Make it lower in fat: I would argue that this bread contains a healthy amount of fat, but you can replace the oil with applesauce if you’re following a low-fat diet.
Update 9/23/20: I’ve modified the method slightly, to use two bowls instead of one. The recipe comes together more intuitively this way and bakes up a bit nicer.
I made this recipe today, using whole wheat flour, honey, and 1% milk with apple cider vinegar. I think the whole wheat flour definitely gives a certain density to these–not really “light and fluffy,” so I recommend using a mix of white and whole wheat flour instead. They’re definitely more of a hearty breakfast option (I plan to use these for grab-and-go breakfasts on my workdays). I didn’t have any problems with the cook time that other reviewers had–I was careful to squeeze out the zucchini multiple times with paper towels, until it was as dry as possible. If anything, I could have cooked them a minute or two less (I went for 18 minutes, and they were a little dry—whoops). In any case, I would absolutely try this recipe again, but change up the flour and add more sugar for my tastes. Also, I did put toasted almonds on top of half of these, just for a fun garnish (I did not put nuts in the batter), and that was a winner! I like the added crunch.
Delicious. Used canned coconut milk & egg replacement powder.
I made these today and they were perfect! Thoroughly enjoyed and can’t wait to make again! I read all the helpful notes and only change I made was to use a combination of whole wheat & white flour. Excellent.
That’s great! Thank you for your review, Janet.
These are amazing! So fluffy and indulgent, even with the white whole wheat flour.
I have to admit they are even more indulgent with the addition of chocolate chips. :)
Made these exactly as the recipe states with the one exception of using 2% milk with the two teaspoons of vinegar. So good! I love the earthy texture.
That’s great to hear, Liz! I appreciate your review.
I’m in love with these muffins! Replaced the coconut oil with olive and honey instead of maple syrup, and pecans. Added a little more cinnamon and nutmeg, and used whole wheat pastry flour. These are the bomb – moist with perfect texture. Eat them warm with a bit of butter! ❤️ Thank you
You’re welcome, Sie! I appreciate your review.
Love this! Used extra cinnamon and a bit extra of yogurt and coconut oil! Thank you
You’re welcome, Lisa! Thank you for your review.
I am just eating one right out of the oven and they are really tasty! I used maple syrup instead of honey, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free flour, Oatly Oatmilk Barista blend with white vinegar. I used pecans instead of walnuts because that is what I had. I also threw in some raisins. Baked for about 20 minutes on 375 in convection oven. Brown on the outside and soft in the middle. Thanks Kate and Cookie for helping me use a giant zucchini that from the garden. These may be healthy but they are delicious too!
Thank you for sharing how you made these gluten free, Carolyn! I appreciate your review and comment.
Since we’re growing zucchinis this summer, I figured I had to make muffins with the extras! This recipe was perfect–easy to follow and healthy ingredients, like many of Kate’s tasty baked goods. I used a (clean!) muslin towel to wring the excess moisture from the zucchinis–quick and easy without waste.
Delicious!! I used butter for my fat and only did a quarter cup. Used blueberries instead of nuts, added lemon zest and omitted the spices. Lemon juice does the same thing as vinegar and added some extra lemon flavor. I mixed gently (as to not develop gluten) and let the batter sit while I grated my zucchini. The texture came out perfect!!! I baked at 350 for 25 min. I find a lower temp works well for me at high altitude.
After reading some comments, I thought it might be good to note that whole wheat flour sucks up a lot more moisture than white flour. So, if you substitute ALL the whole wheat flour for white flour, either increase your flour slightly or decrease your liquid so the batter is not too moist.
Muffins didn’t cook properly and I made sure to squeeze the heck out of the zucchini. I’ve never had a fail with Kate’s recipes. :(
Hi Desiree, I’m sorry to hear that. I appreciate your feedback.
These were so much better than I was expecting! I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand and I went the vegan route. These were flavorful but not too sweet and very fluffy (I followed the recommendation to swap half AP flour). I doubled the batch so I could use more squash. 10/10 will make again.
Hooray! That’s great to hear.
Oh my goodness. These are wild. Thank you for a wonderful and healthy recipe. Will be making these often!! Thanks from New Zealand!
Just made the muffins today and they are delicious! The estimated nutritional information is not displaying. Are you able to provide? Thank you
Hi! I’m sorry to hear that. It’s working for me. Have you tried it again? Sometimes it can take a second to load.
I’ve cooked zucchini cake for my kids since they were children and as adults they still love it. I wanted to make zucchini muffins for my valentines boy’s 32nd birthday, but didn’t know how to adapt the cooking time. Found your recipe and love the natural ingredients you use. I mixed it up using chick pea flour for more nutrition. They’ve cooked up beautifully, but you’ll have to wait for the verdict tonight.
Think about putting Celsius temperature as well as Fahrenheit and metric measures in your recipes (although cups and spoons seem to be the same), as US and UK are the only countries using those systems. The rest of the world is metric.
Just made these and they are delicious!!! I made them gluten free, with no added sugar impact and no oil or butter used. I subbed allulose syrup for the honey, applesauce for the oil, and I used gfJules gluten free flour (my favorite). I took the suggestion of others and after squeezing the water out of the zucchini, I placed it on paper towels while working on the rest. I also added back the zucchini liquid as part of the “buttermilk” (1% milk & apple cider vinegar). I’m so glad I discovered your website. Your cookbook in my bookcase! :)
Wonderful to hear! Thank you for sharing how you made it, Laurie.
I just made a batch of these muffins for the first time, and they are soo moist and delicious. I used the olive oil instead of coconut oil, and I used 11/4 cups of whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. I also used 1 percent milk instead of buttermilk.
I will be making these muffins on a regular basis.
Thank you for posting this recipe.
You’re welcome, Sylvorne!
Grace Van Dyck
I made these muffins yesterday and they are delicious! They are not as sweet as I am used to but I used honey, not maple syrup. The recipe really brings out the zucchini flavor. I am definitely making these again!!