Orange Zucchini Bread

Because I think it would be a travesty in this time of prolific zucchini growth to only have one tried-and-true zucchini bread recipe in which to use the humble green veggie, I’ve got your back today with a unique and absolutely delicious variation on zucchini bread that will make you wish you had 13 zucchini plants in your garden.

I happened to plant the worst garden of my life this year. Thanks to living in a new house/location and misjudging our soil quite badly, we, as in the garden, got overrun with a ferocious weedy ground cover (I need to consult my book of Idaho’s Noxious Weeds my neighbor left on my doorstep; is that a bad sign?) that literally sprang up overnight and choked out all of our budding produce. It’s been very sad. And all the wasted growth is now being eaten by two pigmy goats we are babysitting (and who incidentally have escaped their pen a bazillion times which leads me to life lesson learned #43: chasing goats is my least favorite activity in the history of ever). All I’m really trying to say, goats and bad gardening aside, is that I’m literally begging produce off my friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and yes, even strangers. I’m not above that.

Orange Zucchini Bread

It should speak volumes that since I may be the only person hoarding zucchini when everyone else has it coming out their ears, I’d gladly give up one of the green beauties for this glazed orange zucchini bread. That hint of orange, enhanced with a yummy glaze, is perfect for an otherwise fairly classic, moist zucchini bread recipe. My Aunt Laurie’s been making this bread for years (she adds coconut which is delicious, too, but optional if it’s not your thing) and it’s no wonder people clamor for the recipe. Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I adapted the guts out of it – using a bit less sugar, experimenting with whole wheat flour, adding in applesauce to compensate for oil, and changing up a few other things here and there.

And it’s fabulous. That’s all.

In case you have zucchini on your brain (and coming out your ears), my zucchini Pinterest board has some shockingly good inspiration. Go get ’em.

One Year Ago: Epicurean Chicken Salad with Creamy Honey Lime Dressing
Two Years Ago: Fire Roasted Mac and Cheese with Feta
Three Years Ago: Summer Couscous Salad

Glazed Orange Zucchini Bread

Yield: Makes two loaves of bread

Glazed Orange Zucchini Bread

You can sub several different things for the coconut oil (melted butter or a flavorless oil like canola or vegetable). The applesauce is in the recipe to compensate for oil - if you don't have it, you can sub it with the same amount of oil (so it would be 1 cup oil total in the recipe). I've made this bread with 100% all-purpose flour, 100% white wheat flour and a combination. My favorite is half unbleached all-purpose flour and half white wheat flour. As written, the glaze is lightly sweet and fairly thin. If you want it sweeter/thicker, simply add more powdered sugar.

Also, the recipe makes two 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch loaves but they aren't super tall - you could play around with adding the batter to a larger 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan (or maybe that size of pan + a mini) if you want a higher loaf.


  • Zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups (9.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (see note above for substitutions)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups lightly packed shredded zucchini (about 10 ounces)
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose or white wheat flour (or a combination - see note above)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (3.5 ounces) coconut (optional)
  • Glaze:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (plus more to taste)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch pans and line the bottoms with parchment (optional but helps the bread not stick as much).
  2. In a large bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar with your fingers until it is fragrant and combined. Add the eggs, coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla and stir until combined. Stir in the zucchini. Add the flour, salt, soda, baking powder and coconut, if using, and mix until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pans for 10 minutes. While it cools, make the glaze by combining the coconut oil or butter and orange juice and heating on the stovetop or in the microwave until the coconut oil/butter is melted (don't overheat the mixture). Whisk in the powdered sugar, adding more if you want the glaze sweeter and thicker.
  4. Spoon the glaze over the warm loaves and let the bread rest for 5-10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe Source: adapted from my Aunt Laurie (after a kind reader, Kira, emailed it to me saying she couldn’t believe I hadn’t made it yet since it is a family recipe!)

Follow along on Instagram and use the hashtag #melskitchencafe to show me the recipes you’re making from here. It’s like the next best thing to cooking and baking (and chatting up a storm) in the kitchen with you!

47 Responses to Glazed Orange Zucchini Bread

  1. Rebekah says:

    I have made this Zucchini Bread many times, and love it! It is one of my favorite breads to make!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Great recipe! I baked this bread this morning, and it was a hit! A great twist on the typical zucchini recipes.

  3. AndreaW says:

    This bread was awesome. Came out perfect. I now want to zest orange into sugar for all kinds of recipes!! Maybe sugar cookies? hmmm. I loved that I didn’t really feel like I was eating the typical heavy dark zuchinni bread. This was light and flavorful.

  4. V says:

    This zucchine bread was fantastic. The orange zest was certainly the special ingredient to make this bread a favorite.

  5. Carine says:

    Hi Mel,
    I tried your recipe, but I wasn’t sure of the result : in France, we never use zucchini in dessert or sweet meals. And … ? We should !!! this cake is absolutely fabulous. My little girl said : “Mom, now you know that zucchini is a fruit, not a vegetable. So stop to serve it like side dish, make me cakes !!!!”
    Thank you for this yummy recipe, and carry on surprising us with this kind of recipe.

  6. Heidy A says:

    YUM! Thanks! I just finished my first warm piece! Great new recipe.

  7. Elio says:

    I love all your recipes!

  8. Michelle says:

    I have this baking in the oven right now. I can’t wait to try them! The orange zest smells heavenly! 🙂

    The recipe is pretty similar to a recipe I’ve been using for years, but instead of coconut and orange this one adds cinnamon and chocolate chips. The other ingredients are about the same though! I did try making yours with 3 cups of zucchini instead of 2 (since that’s what I do in mine, plus I had a bunch of shredded zucchini!). I’ll update in the morning when I try it! Here’s mine:

    • Michelle says:

      Okay, update time. This was so, amazingly delicious!! I couldn’t believe how light and orangey it tasted. 5 star recipe for sure! My only alterations, if anyone is curious, are that I used 3 cups of shredded zucchini, bumped the baking powder to 1 tsp, and baked it at 325 for 65 minutes (to match the time/temp of the other loaves I was baking). Great!!!

  9. Kim in MD says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your garden and goat issues this year, Mel! I hope next year will be a better year for you after you research your soil and weeds! This zucchini bread looks delicious. I never thought to use orange. I’m excited to try this recipe!

  10. Aunt Laurie! says:

    My theory is if your using zucchini then it doesn’t hurt to have the other ( not so good things like white flour, sugar, and oil) in it. Right! Seriously it is my all time favorite zucchini bread and when I take it to people they die over it. I make it in muffins and freeze them since there are only two of us now.

  11. Aunt Laurie! says:

    So funny you posted this today. I was just starting to make it. I think I will try my original and then revised and see which I like best !!!!!!

    • Mel says:

      I’m guessing this revised version won’t meet up to your standards since you’ve been making the original for decades! 🙂 But if you make it, let me know what you think.

  12. Laurie says:

    Some of my other zucchini bread recipes call for squeezing the liquid out of the zucchini after shredding it. I don’t see that in your recipe so am assuming it is not necessary?

    • Mel says:

      Laurie – great observation. Zucchini recipes range across the board – wringing out zucchini is recipe-specific (or should be). Some recipes say to drain it until dry and others don’t say. For this recipe, I don’t wring it out – I think it helps the bread stay moist. However, other recipes on my site state to wring it out due to a different ingredient makeup.

      • Janelle says:

        So I squeezed all my zucchini assuming it needed to be done for both of your zucchini bread recipes. If I freeze it to use later do you think it would work for orange zucchini recipe?

  13. Alicia says:

    Can you omit all the oil and use only applesauce?

  14. Grace says:

    Yum! I was just about to make zucchini bread, Mel! Hmmm…. Should I try this recipe (minus the Orange) or your other zucchini bread recipe? What’s the taste/texture difference? Would you suggest one recipe over the other? Thanks!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Grace – if you haven’t made the other zucchini bread recipe (the classic version), I’d say start with that one. This one is delicious but definitely a variation on a really great classic.

  15. Sandra says:

    I am looking forward to baking this. I might even share it with my family!

  16. Laurel says:

    I am speechless right now. My mom totally made this yesterday!!! She wanted zucchini bread and thought coconut orange would be yummy to use. Only wanted to use half the oil, so she subbed applesauce. she calls me “Laurel i just experimented and made the best bread ever. You have to try it” the only thing is she doesn’t have the super, brilliant, genius, brain you do and didn’t think to add that divine looking glaze. Now I really do have to try it. If mom AND Mel say it’s to die for within hours of each other I’m thinking sitting here typing is a waste of time and i need to be in the kitchen right now.

    • Mel says:

      Ha! Great minds think alike (you know I had to say that!). That’s such a funny coincidence! I bet your mom’s was delicious. You should combine the recipes and I bet you’ll get the epic best version. 🙂

  17. Lesli says:

    I think you are experiencing the dreaded pursulane in your garden. We live in South East Idaho and it is always a contest to see who will win in our garden-us or “The Weed”. We have tried spraying it , pulling it and hoeing it, all to no avail. Once we totally sterilized the ground, thinking that surely that would do the trick. That process did kill all of our Canadian thistle and numerous other noxious weeds…but not the pursulane. My husband now cuts out each little plant with a knife, puts them all in a bucket, and put them in the burn barrel. Burning it is the only way to dispose of it without spreading it even further. It is more under control now, after only 32 years. If it’s any consolation, the pursulane is probably the most nutritious thing in your garden–even better than Kale–and some naïve folks actually send away for starts to plant. They have to plant it in a container though. Otherwise they will experience what we have. Actually there’s probably a movie in that .”The Weed That Ate Idaho” . Keep at it and get it while it is small. Good luck!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Lesli. Our weed issues are more of a really, really thick ground cover weed that is nearly impossible to pull up but I think we may have the pursulane, too. It scares me it’s taken 32 years to get it under control! Aaaah!

  18. Heather O says:

    Weeds are kinda my thing…really. Like, my real life job is doing weeds research with USU. So…if you post a picture on insta, or email me, I can totally help with the identification (and hopefully a solution!). In the meantime, I think I will definitely have to try this zucchini bread!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Heather! I’ll go snap a picture and email you. I’m suddenly happier than I’ve ever been to “meet” a weed expert.

  19. Sally says:

    Do you use refined or unrefined coconut oil? Thanks!

  20. Oooo! I’m loving the idea of the zucchini + orange! I would have never thought of that, but it sounds delightful. Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  21. Liz says:

    I love zucchini all sorts of ways and I don’t have a garden … every year I say: “Next year I’m going to do a small container garden”.

    BUT, I do have a neighbor that has a wonderful garden and also chickens (fresh eggs!!). And I have a new ice cream machine even though I’m not a huge ice cream person – though this summer and with homemade that is changing and I mentioned this to my garden & chicken neighbor and now we are doing a very nice trade: ice cream for eggs and garden produce. I think I got the best side of the deal and she things she did so everyone is happy.

    I have another neighbor who has a backhoe so we are trading ice cream for backhoe work (I have 8 wooded acres).

    Sorry about the goats – they are a mess!

  22. Helen says:

    I have to tell you that I heaved this giant sigh of relief when I read your garden commentary… I have 2 huge garden spots in my yard, one of which is normally dedicated solely to pumpkins and squash.. Including zucchini and is typically loaded with produce, the other normally has everything else…. Well except for this year…. This year I got nothin’.. They are both 2 giant weed patches, sending off a missionary in mid-July and trying to get a house ready to sell, for me, do not mix well with gardening.. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy that you don’t have a beautiful garden… I,like you, am super grateful to take any and all extra produce for all neighbors and friends who even suggest they have something to share.. And, I too, am hoarding it. I just find myself always trying to follow your lead in all things food related, and knowing that I am not alone in my terrible garden year just made me feel a little less guilty for not trying harder to make my garden happen. I hope that makes sense.. Still wish we could be neighbors and garden together … On the upside I have a zucchini sitting here on my counter (from my neighbor) just begging to be made into this bread. Thanks for another great post, another great recipe, and for helping me feel a little better about mysel today ..

    • Helen says:

      P.S. I made the bread and it is divine… Also made the no bake cookies this afternoon. Love them !!! And sorry about what I said about the garden … After re-reading my comment it probably didn’t come out the way it was intended to be … Cyber communication problems … And sometimes my fingers move faster than my brain!! Hope you know I find everything you do amazing !!

    • Mel says:

      Don’t be sorry, Helen! I am relieved to know that hopefully people don’t think I’m a horrible person for being a lousy gardener. Can I confess a secret? I’ve had gardening guilt for years. Meaning, guilt because I don’t love gardening. I love the produce that comes from it and all the fresh food, but I don’t think gardening lives in my soul. When I finally said it out loud, I felt liberated. 🙂 It might be a phase of life thing, too – I’ve had so many little kids for so many years, gardening hasn’t been a priority (other than teaching them how to weed and take care of living things). You and I can commiserate together for a bad gardening year (drown our sorrows in chocolate??).

      • Helen says:

        Oh, the lovely garden guilt !! Even on years when I do end up planting it never gets proper attention… Let’s just say my gardens usually involve an over abundance of black plastics .. Try as I may I have been quite unsuccessful at giving myself or my children a passion for weeding. It does feel good to say it out loud ( if this counts) .. I’m all for the chocolate idea !!

  23. Charlotte Moore says:

    Oh how delicious this looks. We had plenty of yellow squash bot my husband didn’t plant zucchini. Maybe I should try using the yellow squash. I love orange and coconut.

    • Charlotte Moore says:

      Just got this out of the pan. Could not wait to have a warm slice. I did use all hard white whole wheat flour that I ground just before making it. you do need to measure by weight or you will not use enough flour. It will be much lighter in weight when you first grind it. I learned that the hard way. HA!!! I used coconut oil that had coconut taste. Also used all oil because I was out of applesauce. I also used a natural sugar that is bigger grains. Last, I used yellow squash since that is all I had. I wanted to make it today while I hammer time. It was very good warm. I do think it will be a little drier after it gets cold. I may use half unbleached and half whole next time and use Smart Balance oil just to see the difference. I love the coconut in the bread. I really didn’t taste the orange zest though. I sure could sample another piece right now though. HA!!

  24. This has to be amazing! Never thought to pair zucchini with orange. Gotta try Mel!

    Happy Monday!

  25. Barb says:

    Hey Mel- you’re not alone. This was not our best year for a garden either, just due to our jobs and busyness, etc. The few plants we did have were wiped out when a tree fell on them. Its a saying here in Michigan that you can tell its a lonely person if you see them buying a zucchini .

  26. Teresa says:

    What a yummy looking bread, perfect for summer. I love the addition of the orange glaze. Can’t wait to try it. I like the idea of the parchment, especially on the breads with higher sugar that stick. I recently purchased the bakers release spray that Williams-Sonoma sells and it has revolutionized my baking. Nothing sticks anymore, even cakes using my intricate bundt pan. No hydrogenated oils in it. Only thing, it sprays kind of wide, so I usually spray over the sink, or even outside, on a nice day.

  27. Sheila says:

    Your pictures make this zucchini bread look like the best one ever! I don’t have mini pans but I might try making this in a 9″ loaf. Excited about the changes you made.

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