chocolate chip zucchini brownies.

are you ever skeptical of a recipe when you first read it?

like, “how can this actually work? and how is it possible that the end result actually tastes good?!”

that’s how i felt when i first spied a recipe for zucchini brownies.

now you’re skeptical too, huh?

well i’m here to tell you that zucchini brownies aren’t scary. or weird. they’re uber-moist, decadent, and quite possibly the most delicious new way to sneak more vegetables into your diet!

i’d been hankering to do some vegetable baking when i stumbled across the idea to make zucchini brownies. what the eff is vegetable baking, you might ask?

vegetable baking = making sweet and tasty baked goods using veggies. think carrot cake, squash bars, or zucchini bread.

actually, i was considering making zucchini bread first. then i thought of making zucchini muffins. my mind then drifted to chocolate zucchini cake.

as you can see, my mind does a lot of bouncing around.

my fiance Ryan is obsessed with brownies, so i figured i’d try my hand at kitchen sorcery and make him zucchini brownies.

i approached this brownie-making process very scientifically. my hypothesis was that Ryan would have no clue that the brownies had any trace of vegetables in them i had a test subject (the fiance), and the stimulus (the brownies), and in order to elicit a non-biased response, i kinda sorta maybe didn’t tell him the brownies had zucchini in them.

not only am i a baker, but i’m a damn good scientist, too!*

*i haven’t actually taken a psychology class since freshman year of college, so i may or may not be recalling how to properly run a scientific experiment. also, i’m not really a scientist. don’t tell anyone.

my hypothesis was proven correct when Ryan polished off two brownies in a matter of minutes, only pausing between bites to say things like “these are so good!” and “holy shit, these are the moistest brownies ever!”

ha! he never knew what hit him!

also, is moistest a word? it doesn’t look like a word. i mean, i know it’s a word, but it sounds weird. then again, i think ‘most moist’ sounds strange, too. oh, English language, you and your words!

i eventually told him that the incredibly moist, chocolatey, rich brownies he’d enjoyed were chock full of grated zucchini. and boy, was he shocked.

i’m pretty sure he was just wowed by my baking prowess. naturally.

these zucchini brownies are actually healthier than you might imagine. they’re packed with a whopping two cups of grated zucchini, and i used applesauce in place of butter or oil. they’re brownies you don’t have to feel super-guilty about!

surprisingly, the grated zucchini doesn’t contribute any weird or stringy texture to these brownies at all. instead, they’re cakey, fudgey and downright addictive.

these zucchini brownies are a great way to use the great summer bounty of zucchini from your garden, CSA box, farmer’s market or grocery store. make ’em today!

chocolate chip zucchini brownies

Yield: one 8" x 8" square pan brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (you can use an equal amount of vanilla bean paste if you have it)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup smooth applesauce (you can use an equal amount of vegetable oil or cooled melted butter if you want!)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (regular pastry flour works too, or use all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (i love vietnamese cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 large zucchini; i washed and trimmed the ends off my zucchini, then grated it on the smallest holed-side of my box grater)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, bittersweet, white, a combination of all three...your choice!)


preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.

line an 8" x 8" square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper so the paper edges drape over the sides of the pan. spray the parchment and the pan with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, applesauce (or butter or oil, if using) and salt until combined.

sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom. using a silicone spatula, mix until dry ingredients are dissolved and incorporated. the mixture will be on the thick side.

fold in the grated zucchini so that it's uniformly mixed into the batter.

add the chocolate chips and fold in so they're incorporated well.

pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap lightly on the edge of the counter to release any air bubbles.

bake the brownies at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.

allow the brownies to cool in the pan on a wire baking rack completely before slicing.

the brownies will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

you can also wrap the cooled brownies in plastic wrap and store in an airtight zip-top plastic bag in the freezer for up to 4 months. to defrost, just remove however many brownies you want and allow to defrost in the fridge overnight before enjoying.

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65 Responses to “chocolate chip zucchini brownies.”

  1. #
    Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups — July 27, 2011 at 7:30 am

    The first thing I noticed from the photo is how moist the brownies look. I love the “blind taste test.” I would do the exact same thing to my boyfriend.

  2. #
    Samantha — July 27, 2011 at 8:08 am

    hooray for being a scientist! My original statement of these sounding bad ass was correct. I’m not at all skeptical after seeing these pictures.

  3. #
    leaf (the indolent cook) — July 27, 2011 at 8:27 am

    They look incredible!

  4. #
    ErinsFoodFiles — July 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I am DEFINITELY baking these when I get my next CSA box! Fingers crossed for big fat zucchini!!

  5. #
    Evan Thomas — July 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve never made zucchini brownies before because I thought they would be “healthy” and bland; these photos have completely changed my mind. Now I have to try zucchini brownies.

  6. #
    Maria — July 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I love zucchini brownies! Great way to use up the summer produce!

  7. #
    Katherina @ Zephyr Runs — July 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    These look so decadent!

  8. #
    Kaitlin — July 28, 2011 at 5:21 am

    I had my first slice of zucchini bread about two years ago and I couldn’t believe what I’d been missing out on. It’s incredible how well it works in bread, and I can only imagine how awesome it would be in brownies! Thanks for the recipe :)

  9. #
    krissie — July 28, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Any idea what changes I’d need to make to make muffins? I bet these would be fantastic as muffins for breakfast… Maybe I’ll play around in the kitchen a little…

    By the way, zucchini pancakes are awesome too.

  10. #
    Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls — July 28, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I only eat my veggies when they are covered in chocolate so clearly I’ll be baking this asap! Looks soooo yummy~

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  11. #
    jessica lynn — July 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

    totally making these. Awesome!

  12. #
    Aggie — July 28, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I would totally enjoy eating these babies! And my son would love them too…and have no clue :)

  13. #
    Elizabeth — July 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I’ve been telling my hubby that all the zucchini in the garden has to go into cake or a loaf or something, but now I’m thinking these brownies might just be the perfect way! Genius!

  14. #
    Katie — July 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Yum! I love zucchini in baked goods…a few months ago I made some zucchini chocolate chip cookies, and they were awesome! The zucchini totally makes them moist and fluffy…mmmm

  15. #
    asli — July 29, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Definitely will try these with zillion zucchinis coming from my CSA.
    A question: Do you drain the water of the zucchini before adding into the batter? I know they may get really watery, I had some problems with that before in baking…

  16. #
    beth — July 29, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I made these for my family last night and they LOVED them! I caught my daughter getting another one after lunch today, and she explained that it was okay because it was really just another serving of veggies!

  17. #
    jaclyn — July 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    i didn’t drain any of the water out, but you definitely could if you wanted to! your brownies might just be a teeny tiny bit less moist, but trust me, they’ll still be very moist and delicious!

  18. #
    jaclyn — July 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    thanks Mary! i’m glad you found me! anytime i can sneak more veggies into my diet i’m happy, especially if chocolate and sugar are also involved!

  19. #
    jaclyn — July 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    hi Krissie! you could certainly portion this batter into a muffin pan and bake little brownie cupcakes. if you wanted to make muffins, i would do the following:

    -drain as much water out of the shredded zucchini as you possibly can
    -replace the baking soda with 1 tablespoon of baking powder
    -add 1/4 cup milk to the recipe

    you can bake the muffins at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes!

  20. #
    Gail — July 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I made these today and whoa boy they are killer. Very moist and chocolately. I could slightly taste the zucchini but it doesn’t bother me. I like that there is no fat and the recipes uses whole wheat flour. I did leave out the carmadon because I don’t have this spice. Makes feel like I am eating something healthy!!!

  21. #
    Anita Menon — July 31, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Gorgeous brownies. Lucious and devilishly yummy- these are my favourite. Zucchini twist seems very interesting. Bookmarked

  22. #
    Peggy — July 31, 2011 at 7:10 am

    These brownies are genius! Definitely a great way to be sneaky with some zucchini =) Might have to try this experiment on my own fiance!

  23. #
    Turbo the cat — July 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I made these yesterday for a friend’s BBQ and they were a smash hit!! So good :) thanks for the awesome recipe!

  24. #
    Baltic Maid — August 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I made these today and they taste incredible… Thanks for sharing!!!

  25. #
    Adina @ Gluten Free Travelette — August 1, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Hi! I adapted these to be gluten free tonight and they are amazing!

    I just subbed 140 grams of GF all purpose flour and used some safe vanilla and chocolate chips.

    Glad to have found your site and I’m looking forward to trying more recipes!

  26. #
    sara — August 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I made these with a few adjustments to make them gluten free, they’re great! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll for sure make them again ~

  27. #
    Lauren — August 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Hiya! Great recipe. I just made a batch! One question though, mine seem a bit more like a delicious zucchini chocolate cake rather than a brownie. Is this because I used AP flour? Or maybe because I drained my zucchini before adding it? Let me know. I still love them, just wondering how to make them more “fudgy” like a brownie! THANKS!

  28. #
    Sarah, The Petite Gourmet — August 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Made these last night and they are delicious!! I was skeptical when I was putting them together, but when I took my first bite, I was in love. I could eat these forever; bye bye boxed mix. They turned out more cake-like, as Lauren describes above but I don’t really mind. I also tried to find the most natural applesauce possible to cut down on the sugar. I can’t taste the zucchini at all, nor do I even notice its presence. Thanks for the recipe!!

  29. #
    Ali — August 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I just made these with gluten-free baking flour for my mom and they were absolutely delicious. The whole family devoured them. We’ll be using this recipe again. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  30. #
    Hayley — August 4, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I made then left the uncut brownie block for 3 days in the fridge before having it as dessert at a dinner with friends. Mmmmm. It was so fudgy and beyond scrumptious. I loved how it neither had the gummy texture of most reduced-fat goods nor the uber-heaviness that I don’t like in some brownies. In fact I liked this so much that I am going to try a lemon-poppyseed cake version. I will report back!

  31. #
    Feral Cook — August 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    We made these yesterday! Thank you!!

  32. #
    Christina — August 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Hi! I found your blog through The Kitchn and wanted to say thank you for this amazing recipe! They’re so decadent and moist, and I ended up making a second batch a couple of days later. A keeper for sure!

  33. #
    moofy in shanghai — August 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I have made these amazing scrummy brownies in several different versions so far. The first one I made was close to the original but I added both the 1/4 cup oil plus 1/2 cup grated apple–they were SOOO moist and fudgy–and they stayed delicious in the fridge for a week! As choc chips are expensive here, I smashed up two dark choc bars and used the shards, which is what I also do for choc chip cookies. Then, my mom came up with a variation that is more cake-like by adding more baking powder and flour, but I still preferred your original more fudgy baking soda version (although I’m considering adding 1/2 teaspoon baking powder so it’s not quite SO dense, do you think that would make any difference?). I LOVE these. However, some of my friends have more conventional tastes–they gave me the feed back that they want a sweeter, fattier tasting brownie. I’m going to try again: upping the oil to 1/3 cup, cocoa powder to 1/3 cup, adding 1/4 cup brown sugar and keeping my apple in there, as it worked well the first time. I’m also baking most of this in a brownie pan and some in a mini muffin tray. Hope it works out and thank you so much for this post!

  34. #
    Cindy — August 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Hi! I tried your recipe a few days ago. I adapted it a little and then published a post on my blog.
    Please have a look (Sorry, the picture is really bad quality) !

    Thanks again for the recipe !

  35. #
    Elly — September 5, 2011 at 6:14 am

    These look incredible. I wonder if they would work with beetroot too? I’m planning on making them for my family tonight – like you I’ll save mentioning the key ingredient until the end, can’t wait to see their reactions!

  36. #
    Lauren — October 20, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I just have one question. Cinnamon and Cardamom were both listed in the ingredients list, but I didn’t see them anywhere in the directions. Am I just an idiot who can’t read? When should I have put them in? I didn’t notice till the very end so I just dumped them in then, but I would guess they should have gone in with the flour and cocoa? Or are they even in the recipe at all?

  37. #
    jaclyn — October 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm


    thank you so much for bringing that to my attention! silly me, i forgot to include them in the recipe directions; so sorry for any confusion! you add the cinnamon and cardamom in with the flour and other dry ingredients. no worries if you added them in at the end, the brownies will taste perfect!

    thanks again for letting me know of my silly omission, i’m editing the recipe right now. hope you love them!


  38. #
    Theresa — October 22, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I made these today, but I only had enough zucchini for 1 1/2 batches. The 1/2 batch turned out a lot better because it cooked more evenly where are as the full batch took FOREVER to cook in the middle. I don’t know what happened; maybe it’s my oven, or maybe it’s because the full batch was twice as thick as the 1/2 batch. I’ll never know how the full batch turned out because I made it for a school event, but we did eat the others for dessert and they were absolutely scrumptious!

    I just had one question about the recipe. Do you squeeze out any of the water from the zucchini or add it into the mixture as well? I’m wondering if that’s why the middle of my full batch never fully set. What do you think?

  39. #
    jaclyn — October 22, 2011 at 1:53 am

    hi Theresa!

    so happy to hear that you enjoyed the zucchini brownies! they’re one of my favorite treats i’ve made recently, so i’m always thrilled to hear others love them, too!

    when i make them, i don’t squeeze out any of the water, i just add it all into the batter–it keeps the brownies insanely moist. i suppose the time it took for your full batch to set could depend on the water content of the zucchini you used. zucchini that’s been hanging around in the crisper drawer of the fridge will likely have a bit less moisture than fresh ones plucked straight from the garden (or the grocery store!).

    i’d also invest in an oven thermometer so you can be sure of exactly how your oven is running, because it may not be properly calibrated. i picked my thermometer up at Target for like, $4 and it’s one of the best investments i’ve ever made in my kitchen! i’ve learned that my oven runs WAY cooler than what it’s set for. i’m talking a good 30 degrees cooler!

    if your oven is like mine and happens to run cool, that could very well be one of the reasons the full batch of brownies took 23 years to cook through.

    i hope my insanely long-winded reply to your comment helped somewhat! i’m so glad you like the brownies, and i hope the ones you baked for the school event turned out scrumptious as well. even if they never set completely in the middle, i’m sure everyone still loved them because come on, who doesn’t love a gooey brownie, right? :)

    thanks so much for reading!


  40. #
    Tabitha — October 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Oh, wow. These were really, really good.
    I’d been looking for a zucchini brownie recipe and yours won!
    I had the same trouble as Theresa above, in that my brownies did not set in the middle. The edges are wonderful and chewy, but the middle just didn’t make it after 40 minutes in the oven. I stuck a toothpick in and it came out clean, but when I cut into it, I got oozy chocolately goodness!
    This afternoon, I scooped some of that gooeyness onto a plate and microwaved it for 1 minute. Came out of the microwave perfect!
    I’ll make these again, but may bake them in a 9×13 next time.
    Thank you for the recipe!

  41. #
    Theresa — October 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for responding Jaclyn! I got an oven thermometer so now I’m set for the next time. :) I might bake them in a 9×13 as well to make them not so thick.


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