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I was craving an indulgent treat, so I loaded them up with chocolate chips. Otherwise, these chocolate muffins are refined-sugar free and you can always add less chocolate chips. You may also make them with whole wheat flour or regular flour as I have tested both.
Ingredients for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
I kept the ingredients super simple for this chocolate zucchini muffins recipe, so you can enjoy them whenever the mood strikes.
- Egg: It binds ingredients together.
- Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce keeps the muffins moist and adds sweetness without saturated fats.
- Honey or maple syrup: These natural sweeteners are great when making any healthy muffin recipes. Each yields a slightly different taste, use whichever one you prefer. I like maple syrup a tad more.
- Milk: Use your milk of choice. This time I used whole milk but it truly doesn’t matter because the amount is small.
- Oil: Adds moisture. I used avocado oil but any oil like grapeseed oil or even extra virgin olive oil will work in this recipe because the amount is small.
- Baking essentials: For flavor and airy texture. Pure vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Cacao powder or cocoa powder: Cacao powder and cocoa powder are different only in nutrition values. Both make these double chocolate zucchini muffins fudgy and delicious!
- Zucchini: Any color squash will work, garden zucchini or store bought zucchini. Make sure it’s finely shredded, not squeezed and packed.
- Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour.
- Dark chocolate chips: For double chocolate flavor. You can use mini chocolate chips, regular chocolate chips or sugar-free chocolate chips.
How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Made in one bowl, minimal prep time, and ready in 30 minutes, whip up this chocolate zucchini muffins recipe any time.
- Prep: Use a box grater to shred zucchini and do not squeeze afterwards. Preheat oven to 375 F and spray muffin pan with cooking spray or use muffin liners.
- Mix: Add egg, applesauce, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Then add cacao powder and whisk until smooth with no lumps.
- Finish muffin batter: Add in zucchini first and stir, then add flour and gently mix just enough to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Bake: Use a regular ice cream scoop to evenly distribute the batter between 12 muffin cups. Bake muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool: Remove muffins from oven and let them cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool off more.
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips and tricks for the best chocolate zucchini muffins!
- Don’t squeeze zucchini: Zucchini adds the perfect amount of moisture, do not squeeze out the excess water.
- Make them less sweet: I wanted an indulgent chocolate muffin, if you’d like them less sweet use 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
- Don’t overmix the batter: Make sure to mix the muffin batter just enough to combine the ingredients. This way you’ll have light and fluffy muffins.
- Don’t over bake muffins: An over baked muffin equals a dry muffin. Take zucchini chocolate muffins out of the oven as soon as the toothpick comes out clean.
How to Shred Zucchini for Muffins?
Save time and don’t peel the zucchini. The skin is thin, light, and edible, and you won’t taste the difference.
I like to use a box grater to shred zucchini. Shred on the smaller size side, the one below the largest holes. This makes it easier to hide the zucchini and makes for prettier muffins.
You could also use the pulse function and a shredding disc on a food processor but be careful not to over shred the zucchini, the result will be a watery mess.
Substitutions and Additions
There are many variations you can try with these chocolate zucchini muffins, here are a few.
- Use yogurt: Plain regular yogurt or Greek yogurt can be used instead of applesauce in this recipe because the muffins are quite sweet.
- Add nuts: Add crunch and flavor with up to 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or almonds.
- Swap applesauce for mashed bananas: Mashed ripe bananas will give a different taste and still provide moisture. Use the same amount.
- Mini muffins: Make cute healthy treats! Follow the same recipe, cut the baking time in half, and check doneness with a toothpick.
- Making muffins gluten free: I have not personally tried gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins, but you can try swapping cup for cup all purpose flour with gluten-free flour.
- Egg free: My fans have had success with a flax egg or chia egg.
- Add extracts: Add a hint of lemon flavor by mixing in the zest of 1 lemon and 1/2 lemon juice. Or add a small amount of almond extract for a nuttier taste.
How to Store
Store: Moist muffins are best stored at room temperature for 1-2 days. Cover them with a towel and set on a counter. On day 3 refrigerate in a glass airtight container for 2-3 more days.
Freeze: Once the muffins are completely cooled, place them in an airtight container or large Ziploc bag, letting the air out, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
No, you don’t have to squeeze excess water from zucchini for this recipe. There are some recipes that will require you to squeeze the excess moisture out, but this is not one of those times because the liquid is needed for successful outcome.
No, you don’t have to peel zucchini for muffins. The skin is thin, light, and edible. If you prefer to peel them, you can.
Yes, you can use frozen zucchini but let them thaw first on a counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight. Then use in the recipe and include all the liquid.
You can use all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour to make chocolate zucchini muffins. I have not tested this recipe with almond flour, coconut flour or oat flour. You may use cup for cup all purpose gluten-free flour. Other flours will need major recipe adjustments.
More Zucchini Recipes to Try
- Zucchini chocolate chip muffins
- Healthy zucchini bread
- Healthy lemon zucchini muffins
- Carrot zucchini muffins
- Healthy zucchini banana bread
- Healthy lemon zucchini bread
- Almond flour zucchini bread
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup any milk
- 2 tablespoons any mild tasting oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini not squeezed and packed
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or 1 cup + 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Cooking spray I use Misto
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray non-stick 12 muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add egg, applesauce, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk well to combine. Add cacao powder and whisk until no lumps are left.
- Add zucchini and stir. Add flour and gently mix just until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Distribute batter evenly between 12 openings of a tin (I used regular ice cream scoop) and bake for 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let muffins cool for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely.
- Store: Day 1-2 covered with a towel on a counter. After refrigerate in a glass airtight container for 2-3 more days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Swap the applesauce: For the same amount of mashed bananas for a slightly different flavor. Or replace with yogurt but muffins will be less sweet, which in this case is OK because these are sweeter muffins.
- No need to peel zucchini first. The skin is thin, light, and edible.
- Mini muffins: Cut baking time in half, check for doneness and either remove or add 1 -2 minutes extra time.