This healthy Lemon Zucchini Bread recipe is the ultimate quick bread duo! It’s equal parts lemon poppyseed bread and healthy zucchini bread.

It’s moist, tender, and full-flavored! And because I love all things healthy baking, this lemon poppyseed zucchini bread is packed with good-for-you ingredients. It’s 100% whole-wheat, made with olive oil, naturally sweetened with honey, and filled with zucchini!

Overhead photo of lemon zucchini bread on a cutting board with a slice on a white plate

The Key to MOIST LEMON ZUCCHINI BREAD

Just a few common ingredients are needed to make THE most moist and delicious lemon zucchini bread. Maybe the greatest thing about this bread is that it’s healthy through-and-through and is still addictively delicious.

The key ingredients to make super moist whole-wheat lemon zucchini bread: 

  • Shredded zucchini 
  • Honey 
  • Olive oil 

Shredding the zucchini on a box hole grater is key to evenly dispersing the zucchini throughout the bread. Additionally, pressing the shredded zucchini between towels to absorb excess liquid is essential to achieve the ideal texture (tender not stodgy).

Honey and olive oil, healthier alternatives to white sugar and butter, also add moistness. If you prefer, you can use grapeseed or canola oil in place of the olive oil.

If you opt to use olive oil (I highly recommend it!) you can use whatever kind you have on hand. I like the flavor of extra-virgin, but regular olive oil works fine too.

A SIMPLE GLAZE

I love, love, love to finish this bread with a 2-ingredient lemon glaze. Yup, two ingredients is all you need for this glaze. The beauty of the glaze is that it’s made with ingredients you’re already using, which keeps things simple and streamlined. Just the way we like it!

The glaze is simple—whisk together 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and honey, zap quickly in the microwave then brush or drizzle over the baked bread. A simple sweet finish! 

DOES THIS LEMON ZUCCHINI BREAD TASTE LIKE ZUCCHINI? 

Since the zucchini used in this bread recipe is shredded, it gets evenly distributed and nearly melts into the bread. Zucchini add moisture and texture, not flavor. So you don’t have to worry that this bread will taste like squash!

a hand picking up a piece of lemon poppyseed bread off of a stack of slices

Storage

Store the zucchini bread wrapped in parchment paper (the paper used during baking works just fine) and foil, or in a zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 2 days. (It can keep for up to 3 days but I find 2 to be the best). If you need to store it longer, pop it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

If you do refrigerate the bread, I recommend giving individual slices a quick reheat in a nonstick skillet. And if you’re looking to treat yourself, add some unsalted butter to the skillet too.

FAQ about this recipe

What’s the deal with the whole-wheat pastry flour?

I find the texture of whole-wheat pastry flour to be ideal in quick breads and muffins. It’s lighter and more fine in texture than regular whole-wheat or white whole-wheat flour.

I have not tested this with all-purpose flour or regular whole-wheat flour. If you would like to use all-purpose flour, swap it in for the same cup amount called for in the recipe. If you would like to use regular whole-wheat flour, swap it in for the same weight called for in the recipe (this will be more accurate that swapping just by cup amount), and add one tablespoon cornstarch.

Tell me about the lemon extract.

Lemon extract adds a boost of flavor that can’t be added with lemon zest of juice alone. It also adds that quintessential flavor that you get in many bakery lemon poppyseed breads.

Should I peel the zucchini?

Not necessary! Zucchini have such tender skins, and once grated they’re almost intractable. Plus, the skin adds gorgeous green flecks to the bread.

Overhead photo of lemon zucchini bread on a cutting board with a slice on a white plate

Quick Bread Recipes to Love

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make this Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread recipe! 

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Overhead photo of lemon zucchini bread on a cutting board with a slice on a white plate

Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 ¼ hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf (10 servings) 1x
  • Category: Breakfast/Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Light, fresh and full of wholesome ingredients, this healthy lemon poppyseed zucchini bread is the perfect breakfast or snack.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (7 ¼ ounces; 204 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemon zest, packed 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract 
  • 1 small zucchini (8 ounces), trimmed 

Honey-Lemon Glaze 

  • 1 tablespoons honey 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

Instructions

Heat oven to 350°F with rack set in middle position.

Coat an 8½ × 4½-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides; coat paper with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, and salt.

Whisk together honey, eggs, oil, zest, juice, and extract in a separate bowl.

Shred zucchini on a large hole box grater. Squeeze shredded zucchini between kitchen towels to absorb excess moisture. 

Fold honey mixture and zucchini into flour mixture just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

Let bread cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes, then turn bread out on to wire rack to cool. 

Microwave 1 tablespoon each honey and lemon juice together in a microwave-safe bowl on medium power for 30 seconds; whisk to combine then brush glaze over top of bread. 

Let bread cool completely.



Notes

Store bread wrapped in foil or in a resealable zipper-lock bag at room temperature. Bread is best enjoyed within the first three days of baking but will last up to one week.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 165
  • Sugar: 19g
  • Sodium: 132mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 33mg

Keywords: Lemon Zucchini Bread, Lemon Poppy Seed Bread, Heathy lemon poppy seed bread, healthy zucchini bread

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This recipe and article were updated on June 3, 2021. They were originally published on August 1, 2019.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. Hi. I’d really like to make this recipe today but I’m a bit confused about the recipe. You have said that buttermilk is a key ingredient but it’s not included in your ingredient list or in the method.

    1. Hi Billy, gosh so sorry about that! The recipe is correct as written. I had tested it multiple times with buttermilk and in the end decided to remove the buttermilk altogether and increase the honey. Buttermilk is a key ingredient in most of my quick breads, but for this one I opted to remove it in favor of more sweetness. I will make that change to the article. So sorry for the confusion!

    1. Hi Anna,
      I have not tried my breads with almond meal. If the flour is replaced completely with almond meal, I predict they would come out dense and gluey. Partially using almond meal might work out OK, but I can’t say for certain. I can add it to my test list! Are you looking to make these gluten-free? Would you be open to using a gluten-free flour blend? I can text that too!

  2. Very flavorful quick bread. Definitely a keeper. Treasure trove of wonderful recipes! Thanks so much for this awesome blog.