Recipes that get passed down from generation to generation are so special because even after a loved one has passed on, mixing together ingredients can bring them back in some small way. The freshly baked aroma of zucchini bread coming hot out of the oven takes me back to my mother and grandmother’s kitchens, but I also make it because it’s damn delicious.
I’m especially proud recreating this recipe today because I grew the zucchini in my own garden, just like my grandmother used to do. This moist bread is the perfect way to use up all of that summer squash! Plus, the pineapple brightens it up perfectly. This recipe makes two loaves so you can give one away to someone who will undoubtedly consider themselves quite special and very lucky.
Zucchini bread is good at any time of day. Eat it for dessert, breakfast, or as an afternoon snack. I especially love it warm out of the oven or nuked in the microwave for 10 seconds with a spread of butter.
Wipes drool from keyboard
Before Ree Drummond was a pioneer; before Ina Garten went barefoot in her contessa; Ruth Hughes was baking this pineapple zucchini bread for her four children and seven grandchildren (including yours truly). Without further ado, I present to you, my Grandma Ruth’s well-loved recipe for pineapple zucchini bread.
Grandma’s Zucchini Bread
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (2 med size)
- 1 8 oz can well-drained crushed pineapple
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- 1 cup chopped currants or dates
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- two 9×5-inch loaf pans
- two mixing bowls
- box grater
- wooden spoon or rubber spatula for stirring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour loaf pans, or spray with baking spray.
Combine eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla then beat until thick and foamy.
Stir in zucchini and pineapple.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts, and currants or dates.
Pour wet ingredients into dry, stirring to combine.
Divide batter evenly between loaf pans. Bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn out on wire rack to cool.
Do I need to peel the zucchini?
No need to peel the zucchini before you shred it, just chop the ends off. Some recipes say to let the zucchini drain, but I think moist zucchini makes for a more moist loaf.
Nuts & Dates
Take ’em or leave ’em. I leave out the chopped walnuts and dates because I’m not a big fan of the texture.
If you can only find a 20oz can, just drain it and use half (10oz) of the pineapple.
Loaf Pan Size
The original recipe says to use a 9×3-inch loaf pan, but I updated it to 9×5-inch which is standard these days. Whatever size you have on hand will work as long as you fill it two-thirds of the way full.
Can it be frozen?
Mine always gets eaten or given away, but zucchini bread will keep in the freezer for two to three months. I store it wrapped in foil, so I would just pop it in a freezer bag from there, but you could wrap it in plastic wrap and then foil to freeze then just set out to defrost.
My grandmother’s beautifully written recipe has obviously gotten a lot of use over the years.
To avoid holes on top like mine above (oops!), gently drop the loaf pan on the counter a couple of times before baking to get the air bubbles out of the dough.
If you don’t have any pineapple, applesauce will do in a pinch.
Instead of currants or dates, you could try adding dried cranberries or half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
To make muffins instead of a loaf, pour into muffin tin instead of a loaf pan and bake for 20-22 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Trisha Yearwood’s recipe is quite similar, but instead of pineapple, she adds shredded coconut and instead of dates or currants, Trisha uses maraschino cherries.
Make this already vegetarian recipe vegan by substituting 3/4 of a cup mashed ripe banana, silken tofu, or vegan yogurt for the three eggs.
How Can I Make it Healthier?
It won’t taste like Grandma’s, but you can make this recipe healthier by substituting agave, honey, maple syrup, or even molasses for the sugar.