Healthy Spiced Apple Zucchini Bread


Zucchini week may be over but we’re still on a huge zucchini kick over here. Not only do I keep making some version of the grilled veggie orzo (it’s just too good) but I also made you guys the absolute perfect bread for transitioning from summer into fall.

Meet my perfectly moist, fluffy spiced apple zucchini bread with luscious cream cheese glaze. She’s a beauty if I do say so myself.

I knew I wanted to make a twist on my famous healthy zucchini bread and with September around the corner, it’s time for us to get excited for all things fall. SO we’ve got a whole fresh zucchini in this gorgeous loaf, plus sweet chunks of apple and tons of warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Don’t forget the crunchy chopped pecans and, of course, that thick, wonderful cinnamon cream cheese glaze!

Not into glaze? Enjoy a warm slice with a pat of butter on top. OMG so good. I included plenty of options for making this healthier apple zucchini bread gluten free, nut free & dairy free, so be sure to read the full post before baking and devouring. I know you’ll love this one!

What you’ll need to make this apple zucchini bread

Get ready to fall in LOVE with the flavor and texture of this apple zucchini bread. It’s filled with cozy spices and deliciously moist thanks to zucchini and applesauce. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

  • Zucchini: you’ll shred a whole zucchini for this loaf, which adds moisture and packs some sneaky veggies.
  • Applesauce: I love adding unsweetened applesauce to baked goods for even more moisture and subtle apple flavor.
  • Eggs: you’ll need 2 eggs in this bread.
  • Maple syrup: we’re naturally sweetening the apple zucchini bread with pure maple syrup.
  • Coconut oil: a little coconut oil ensures that the bread stays moist over time.
  • Flour: we’re using good old all purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Spices: get ready to ring in fall with warming flavors from cinnamon, allspice, ginger & nutmeg.
  • Baking staples: don’t forget the salt, baking soda & vanilla extract!
  • Mix-ins: add texture and flavor with chopped up apple pieces and pecans. YUM.
  • For the glaze: the coziest, most delicious glaze made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and a little milk to thin.

Easy ingredient swaps

Looking to make some changes? Here’s what I can recommend for substitutes in this apple zucchini bread:

  • Make it gluten free: this bread should work with gluten free all purpose flour.
  • Make it nut free: simply leave off the pecans.
  • Go dairy free: use a vegan butter stick like Earth Balance, and a vegan cream cheese for the glaze.
  • Try it refined sugar free: you can also try my paleo powdered sugar in the glaze if you’d like to keep the bread refined sugar free. Or skip the glaze altogether.

Can I make this bread vegan?

I haven’t tested this zucchini apple bread using egg alternatives like flax eggs, but let me know if you give it a try in the comments! Be sure to also use vegan butter and vegan cream cheese in the glaze.

Our best tips for baking with zucchini

  • Use the small side of your grater so that you get perfect shreds of zucchini. No one will be able to tell there’s a veggie in the bread! Honestly, a simple cheese grater will also work well.
  • Squeeze out your zucchini shreds as much as possible using a cheesecloth, clean dish towel or paper towel to get all of the excess liquid out. This is VERY important so that the bread has the right texture.
  • Shred zucchini first, measure it out then squeeze off excess moisture.
  • Feel free to shred a bunch of zucchini and freeze it for later! Follow my tips and tricks here.

How to store apple zucchini bread

Feel free to store this healthy apple zucchini bread in an airtight container at room temp for one day, then transfer it to the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze it for later

Bake up this gorgeous loaf and freeze it for whenever you want a sweet treat or snack!

  1. To freeze: let it cool completely and either cut it into slices before placing it in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag in the fridge, or freeze the whole loaf for up to 3 months. I recommend glazing the bread before serving.
  2. To serve: let the zucchini apple bread thaw at room temp for a few hours. You can do the same with the individual slices, or you can reheat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Recommended tools

Check out our favorite kitchen essentials here.

More quick breads to try

Get all of our delicious bread recipes here!

I hope you love this delicious spiced apple zucchini bread! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo! 

Spiced Apple Zucchini Bread

Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Beautiful spiced apple zucchini bread made with fresh zucchini, bites of juicy apple and plenty of cozy spices. This fluffy, healthy apple zucchini bread recipe is naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup and topped with a warm, luxurious cinnamon cream cheese glaze! The perfect loaf to transition from summer to fall.

  • Wet ingredients:
  • 1
    cup
    shredded zucchini (from 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1
    cup
    unsweetened applesauce
  • 2
    eggs
  • ½
    cup
    pure maple syrup
  • 1
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • ¼
    cup
    virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled (melted butter will also work)
  • Dry ingredients:
  • 1 ¾
    cup
    all purpose flour (or sub gf all purpose flour)
  • 1
    teaspoon
    baking soda
  • 1
    teaspoon
    cinnamon
  • ½
    teaspoon
    allspice
  • ½
    teaspoon
    ginger
  • ¼
    teaspoon
    nutmeg
  • 1/4
    teaspoon
    salt
  • Mix-ins:
  • 1
    medium apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped into ¼ inch pieces (about 1 cup chopped apple)
  • 1/3
    cup
    chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired
  • For the cream cheese glaze:
  • ​​4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2
    tablespoons
    butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4
    cup
    powdered sugar
  • 1
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • ¼
    teaspoon
    cinnamon
  • 1-3
    teaspoons
    milk of choice, to thin glaze
  • To garnish:
  • Extra chopped pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8 ¼ x 4 ½ inch with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

  2. First, measure out 1 heaping cup of shredded zucchini, then place shredded zucchini in a paper towel, clean dish towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out ALL of the moisture/water. This is very important!

  3. Add shredded zucchini, applesauce, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract to a large bowl and mix well to combine. Next, add in the melted coconut oil and mix again until well combined.

  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger nutmeg and salt. Mix together with a wooden spoon until well combined. Fold in pecans and chopped apples.

  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Mine took an hour, but this will vary based on your oven.

  6. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then remove bread from the pan and place on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

  7. To make cinnamon cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk together on medium speed for a minute or until smooth. If you want a warm glaze, you can warm in the microwave in 10-20 second intervals until warm. Pour or spread over cooled bread. Sprinkle chopped pecans. Cut into 10-12 slices and enjoy!

To make gluten free: I think this bread would be okay with a gluten free all purpose flour.

To make nut free: leave out the pecans.

To make dairy free: use a vegan butter stick such as Earth Balance and a vegan cream cheese for the frosting.

Nutrition

Servings: 12 slices

Serving size: 1 slice (with glaze)

Calories: 270kcal

Fat: 12.7g

Saturated fat: 7.2g

Carbohydrates: 36.2g

Fiber: 1.4g

Sugar: 19.8g

Protein: 3.9g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats



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