Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Although most of the U.S. experiences an abundance of zucchini this time of year, that was not the case while I was in Aruba.

I was coming across so many zucchini recipes on blogs and in the food magazines I brought with me, and I was craving it fiercely.

I wandered into a local Aruban grocery store and asked the clerk who spoke Chinese, Papiamento, and broken English for a zucchini. There was another woman who spoke Spanish, broken English, and broken Chinese.

No one could communicate with anyone and we all just stared at each other blankly.

Had I asked for beer, a bathroom, or to buy fireworks, that would have been easy. Zucchini? Not so much.

I found cucumbers, held one up, and kept saying zucchini. Zucchini. Zucchini.

A lightbulb finally went off and the two women both exclaimed at the same time, ZUTCH-ahh-Knee!

They disappeared and about ten minutes later came out with a zucchini the size of something very x-rated. I asked them for a smaller one because I wanted to make one loaf of bread, not seven.

More confusion, more disappearing, and they reappeared with three small ZUTCH-ahh-Knees. Good enough.

I went home and made this bread. Consider it Part Two of Banana Bread Fest.

From a flavor perspective, this is banana bread with zucchini incorporated rather than zucchini bread and a hint of banana. I find bananas have a way of dominating all other flavors when they’re present.

They also have a way of making everything softer, tender, and moist. Between the bananas, zucchini, yogurt, and little packet of pudding mix I tossed in, this is the moistest and softest zucchini-based bread I’ve ever had.

Unfortunately, I’ve eaten my fair share of dried out and tasteless zucchini bread that makes cardboard seem like a delicacy.

It’s also a fast and easy, one bowl, whisking ingredients together (no creaming or mixers required) recipe.

Scott, who is not a fan of zucchini, or he thinks he isn’t, exclaimed that this was,”The best chocolate banana bread he’s ever had.”

I replied, “Babe, there’s no chocolate in it.”

He said, “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m positive. That green stuff is zucchini, not chocolate.”

He said he thinks it made the bread taste like chocolate and it’s the best banana bread he’s ever had. Okay, I’ll go with that.

I personally don’t think it tastes like chocolate but whatever mind games work for him, work for me.

I didn’t want to mask all those healthy flecks of greenery with artery-clogging browned butter cream cheese frosting for the photos, but in reality I was clogging my arteries plenty.

Really good bread, with a liberal application of browned butter cream cheese frosting, became even better.

This bread is long gone and just looking at the pictures makes me want to make another loaf and I won’t even have to stand on my head and tap dance just to obtain a ZUTCH-ahh-Knee.


Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf (Note: I made as one 9-by-5-inch loaf but you may wish to divide batter among two 8-by-4-inch loaves and reduce baking time by about 10 minutes; or bake as 3 or more mini loaves, bake in a 9-inch square pan, as 10-cup Bundt cake, or as muffins; adjusting baking times as necessary)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

6 ounces vanilla or plain yogurt (one standard-sized small container; Greek yogurt preferred, or sour cream may be substituted – do not use fat free or light yogurt or sour cream)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup grated zucchini, loosely packed

1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (1 large or 2 small very ripe bananas)

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes, optional (I didn’t use)

one 3.4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve), optional see notes below

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

Preheat oven to 325F, spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray with flour (I use Pam for Baking) or grease and flour the pan(s)s; set aside.

In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. To the melted butter, add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the zucchini, bananas, optional coconut, and stir to incorporate.

Add the dry pudding mix, and stir to combine (Note: You are not making pudding; simply add the mix as a dry ingredient. You don’t have to use pudding mix but it creates wonderful moisture and flavor in the bread. If omitting, you may wish to add an additional 1/4 cup granulated sugar and an additional 1/4  to 1/3 cup flour, based on taste preference and how your batter looks). Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bread will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 60 to 65 minutes (this is for one 9-by-5-inch loaf), or until top is golden and set, and a wooden skewer, cake tester, or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If bread is browning a bit fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 300F midway through cooking, at about the 30-minute mark if your oven runs hot or tent the pan with foil in approximately the last 20 minutes of cooking. Allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes just over 1 cup frosting

1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of one stick)

4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste

You can brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heating over medium heat. Swirl the pan or stir frequently for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. Watch it closely so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.

Or, brown the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl by heating it on high power, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. The same rules apply in the microwave as on the stovetop; watch it closely and start checking it every 15-to-30 seconds starting at about the 5-minute mark, so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.

Transfer hot butter to medium-sized mixing bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Based on desired frosting consistency and taste preference, add the cream or milk one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, playing with sugar and cream ratios as necessary. (I only use butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla in this frosting, no cream). Drizzle or spread frosting over the top of the bread before slicing and serving; or slice, serve, and frost each piece individually. I prefer to use the frosting like butter and spread it liberally on the interior surface of a slice. Store extra frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Store unfrosted bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or store frosted bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Unfrosted bread can be frozen for up to 3 months.


Related Recipes:

Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze from Week 1 of Banana Bread Fest

Peanut Butter Banana Bread (vegan, GF) – no mixer required, batter can be made in a blender

Banana Bread Cake (vegan, GF) – no mixer required, batter can be made in a blender

Banana Nut Muffins (vegan, GF) – one bowl, no mixer required, make by hand

Strawberry Banana Bread

Raw Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon & Herb Dressing (raw, vegan, GF) – the zucchini tastes like pasta, even to doubtful white-pasta-loving family members

Do you like zucchini bread or have a favorite recipe using zucchinis?

Do you have a quick bread recipe you love from banana to pumpkin?

Please link up your favorite recipes and have a great week. Happy Labor Day to those celebrating it.


97 Responses to “Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Aimee @ ShugarySweets — September 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm (#

    This looks delicious. I love zucchini bread! glad they were able to find a few for ya!

  2. Heather (Where's the Beach) — September 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm (#

    I’ve never had zucchini bread if you can believe that one. I love love zucchini too. And I really had to laugh that Scott thought it had chocolate. Too funny.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm (#

      Zucchini is so flavor-neutral that aside from the green color from the skin, if you peeled it and just put it in, you would probably never even know it’s in there. It’s this moist, white pulp (sounds lovely, eh? lol) but it really does a bread some good.

  3. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — September 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm (#

    After scrolling down through all the pictures of this awesome bread, I now want banana bread like crazy! Good thing I have plenty of brown ones sitting on my counter right now…but no zucchini.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm (#

      Well ANY kind of banana bread is fine in my book, whatever you have on hand :)

  4. Erica — September 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm (#

    hahhaa- both the purchasing and Scott stories were awesome :) I do love bananas- they work miracles with baked goods!! I will have to give this “chocolate” bread a go :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm (#

      I need to give your cheesecake a go! I was reading your post and came back and realized you had commented on mine. Hope you and the fam are having a great holiday!

  5. sally @ sallys baking addiction — September 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm (#

    Hahahhahaha I would’ve been going CRAZY in that Aruban grocery store, Averie. When I’m grocery shopping, I tend to be in and out as fast as I can. Sometimes I like to peruse, but most of the time I’m on a mission! I would have lost my patience!

    I thought that I’ve never had actual zucchini bread in my life before until my mom told me the other day I was wrong. I clearly don’t remember ever trying it but your banana bread WITH zucchini looks and sounds fantastic! Still want to make my own zucchini bread one day though!! I’m glad you used the pudding mix trick again here and the whole “chocolate” thing makes me crack up. Kevin exclaimed that he loved the peanut butter taste in my white chocolate macadamia nut cookies….? I don’t even know.

    And browned butter cream cheese frosting sounds like a DREAM come true. A cherry on top of… banana zucchini bread… if you will ;)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm (#

      we were just commenting on each other’s blogs at the same time! psychic :)

      The thing about zucchini is that it’s so flavor-neutral. Aside from the green color from the peel, if you peeled it and just put it in, you would probably never even know it’s in there. It’s like this moist, white pulp (sounds lovely, eh? lol) but it really does a bread some good.

      Scott has been trying to get better lately with his descriptions. “Good”. “Flavorful.” That’s not going to work anymore. Flavorful? You mean like Pop Rocks flavorful, like black licorice flavorful, like cayenne pepper? I need more. After almost 4 years at this, he’s FINALLY getting it, a little. But still confused :)

  6. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — September 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm (#

    The browned butter cream cheese frosting puts this bread over the top for me – love!

  7. Paula — September 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm (#

    I love any quick bread but banana is my favorite. I also love zucchini bread and sometimes sub in sweet potato or butternut squash for pumpkin. Seriously–that frosting is over the top!! I love the browned butter glaze (and cream cheese frosting) so this is the best of both worlds! One of my patients gave me a giant zucchini last month. It had to be at least 6 inches in diameter and a foot long….I made chips in the dehydrator out of it.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm (#

      Well at least you put that monster to use and made zuke chips! And pumpkin…hmmm, I just may have something coming up :)

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — September 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm (#

    Zucchini banana bread is one of my all time favorites! This looks like such a fabulous combo!

  9. vanillasugarblog — September 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm (#

    needs more frosting on my slice. LOL

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm (#

      you’d be appalled (or proud of me?) with how much I REALLY put on each slice :) Just for the camera, it looks like a hot mess so I don’t but after the camera goes off….

  10. Emily @ www.main-eats.com — September 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm (#

    I would VERY happily eat 8 loaves of that, right now! …by myself!

  11. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — September 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm (#

    I love the idea of adding coconut. I will definitely be trying that the next time a few zucchinis become a little too aged.

  12. Ellen — September 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm (#

    I love the story about language barriers! I’d never even heard of papiamento. Which my spelling autocorrect seems to think is lapis mento, haha.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm (#

      They have 2 official languages there: Dutch & Papiamento but they are also taught English. And it comes up red-underlined in my spell check, too.

  13. Alicia Orozco — September 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm (#

    I have never been a Zucchini fan…but that bread looks so good I want to try it! Also great job on jumping the language barriers! My personal trick…lots of hand signals!

  14. Michele Sparrow — September 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm (#

    I have a recipe for zucchini bread that was given to me by a friend many years before I was even married and it is the only one I have ever used. It’s fantastic! The boys loved it when they were growing up, hot out of the oven with butter on it and fresh, cold milk. I love the way your bread looks! And that frosting…omg. A bowl of frosting and a side of bread, please!

    I love zucchini and like to spiralize it for the main part of my meal with a raw tomato sauce. So good!!

    As for banana bread, I have my grandma’s recipe and it is outstanding. WIsh I could link up to that! :-)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm (#

      Your bread sounds awesome! The thing about zucchini in my experience is that it’s so flavor-neutral and so it has to be doctored up to really ‘taste’ like anything, if that makes sense. It’s a great base on which to play for moisture and texture. And your grandma’s bread, or my grandma’s, wish I could have a loaf of those, too!

  15. Meghan @ After the Ivy League — September 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm (#

    I’ve been eyeing all the zucchini recipes too lately! Dying to bake something with it…. now I’m adding another one to the list!

  16. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — September 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm (#

    Hahaha, oh jeez. I think I would have lost it in that grocery store! I definitely know what it’s like to have a craving and be on a mission for the ingredients and not find something anywhere (like my scenario with candy corn a couple days ago–seriously?!). So irritating! At least you got your fix :)

    I also think it’s hilarious that Scott thought there was chocolate inside the bread. Funny how some people taste flavors that aren’t even there, or are reminded of other foods/flavors by things that aren’t even related, like chocolate and zukes. Either way, mission accomplished for having him love this bread so much!!

  17. Katie — September 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm (#

    I just made chocolate zucchini bread for my family and they were great, although my niece said they were too chocolatey for her. I’m pretty sure her and I aren’t related. :D

  18. Daniela @ food recipes HQ — September 4, 2012 at 2:33 am (#

    Zucchini and banana together? Sounds weird but looks very nice. Definitely different, I’ll try it!

  19. Lesley — September 4, 2012 at 4:21 am (#

    Love the browned butter cream cheese frosting idea! When I was younger we used to eat browned butter noodles all the time, but never had it in a frosting. Must try!

  20. shelly (cookies and cups) — September 4, 2012 at 4:46 am (#

    That zucchini bread looks amazing on it’s own, but browned butter cream cheese frosting? Over the top!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 4, 2012 at 11:58 am (#

      I’m still thinking about your apple thingey with white choc & cream cheese!

  21. katie @ KatieDid — September 4, 2012 at 6:06 am (#

    hahaha what a good story, and scott’s comment made me laugh.. men are easily impressed with food huh! Good way to sneak in veggies apparently.

  22. claire @ the realistic nutritionist — September 4, 2012 at 8:27 am (#

    I haven’t made ONE zucchini recipe this summer. shameful. I should make this!

  23. ally — September 4, 2012 at 8:27 am (#

    your posts are always a joy to read – such fun & wonderful stories! this looks perfect averie, brilliant as ever!

  24. carrian — September 4, 2012 at 9:17 am (#

    There’s something about browned butter that we all just can’t get enough of. Seriously, it makes every single dish better.

  25. Deirdre — September 4, 2012 at 10:13 am (#

    That cream cheese frosting on a spoon looks, how do I put it? OMGDelish!??!?!

  26. Laura Dembowski — September 4, 2012 at 10:56 am (#

    I am on a huge zucchini kick, and this looks mouth watering. The fact that your husband thought it tasted like it had chocolate in it is the main selling point for me. I’m allergic to chocolate and the thought of something tasting like it sounds soooo yummy!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 4, 2012 at 11:56 am (#

      He samples so many things I make that I think some days he’s just confused :)

  27. Hannah — September 4, 2012 at 11:04 am (#

    The lengths we’ll go through for a recipe! You mad zucchini hunt story is so funny, and I could completely see it all unfolding as you told it.

  28. dragonmamma/naomi — September 4, 2012 at 11:09 am (#

    I was at a Labor Day block party yesterday, and somebody brought a zucchini cake that could possibly have been this recipe. It was very good.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 4, 2012 at 11:56 am (#

      Well glad me and that person are on the same wavelength – and that you enjoyed it!

  29. Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — September 4, 2012 at 11:28 am (#

    We really are on some sort of weird mind meld: all I can think about lately is summer squash, browned butter, and cream cheese-based frosting. And then you come along and add banana into the mix?!? For texture alone, and then TASTE!! Brill. Just brill.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 4, 2012 at 11:56 am (#

      And to think that I lived in Phx for 10 mos and you’re there, too….the fun we could have had cooking together!

  30. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — September 4, 2012 at 11:46 am (#

    How did you know I wanted to use up my zucchini for an awesome baked good?!

  31. Ellie@Fit for the Soul — September 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm (#

    holyyyy mollyyyyy!!! are you trying to give me a heart attack?! This looks so so goooooood and although I just had my fair share of orange dark chocolate, now I want more sweets haha. Great recipe, and I’m pinning this!!! :D

  32. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — September 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm (#

    Browned Butter Frosting is the only way to have zucchini bread. Love this twist on banana bread!

  33. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — September 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm (#

    i must try this! I saw it on pinterest and can’t stop thinking of it

  34. luvwhatyoudo — September 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm (#

    I need to remember to start frosting my breads. This one looks incredible! Zucchini bread is one of my all time faves, but I do love that banana strawberry bread of yours too!

  35. Marina@Picnic at Marina — September 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm (#

    Averie, I love your husband’s reaction to the zucchini bread, lol… It looks amazing, no wander he thought it had chocolate. :) My fav zucchini recipe would be simple grilled or mixed with pasta. Kids love fried zucchinis, those are delicious too. :)

  36. Michele Sparrow — September 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm (#
  37. Meghan — September 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm (#

    Love that you added coconut! I must make this for brunch!

  38. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — September 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm (#

    That does look like super moist bread! I love all the green flecks, not sure I would ever thing they were chocolate though :) Zucchini bread is one of my favorites, and with the cream cheese…..mmmmmm

  39. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — September 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm (#

    HAHA, that story is hilarious. Language barriers can be so burdensome but when you take a step back and think about it, it’s such a wonderful thing — communicating with people who are clearly from another culture. Anyway! Love love that ingredient list since it includes Greek yog :) The bread looks amazing, I can only imagine how moist it is between the yogurt, bananas, AND zuch-ahh-knee!

  40. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — September 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm (#

    I have never made zucchini bread, but I absolutely LOVE the stuff!

  41. Jenni — September 14, 2012 at 2:05 am (#

    Nice recipe :)
    I also like the below banana bread recipe.
    Thanks for sharing,

  42. Grumeau — February 4, 2013 at 9:05 am (#

    Great post Avery ! I had never heard about browned butter cream cheese, this looks very very tempting. How different is the taste compared to regular butter cream cheese ?

  43. Lisa Malcolm — September 1, 2013 at 11:38 am (#

    Your recipe sounds so awesome I would love to make it in a bundt pan. Should the cooking time be the same as 9 x 5 loaf pan (60 – 65 min)? Thanks!

    • Averie Sunshine — September 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm (#

      With any baking, you have to watch your cake/bread/cookie/said item, not the clock. Bake until it’s done :)

      No way for me to know if the baking time will change because I haven’t made it that way. Because water content of fruits and veggies can be so variable (zucchini can vary tons) – just bake until it’s done. Test with a toothpick and there you go. Enjoy! LMK how it goes for you. I do find that baking times in loaf pans and Bundt pans tend to be similar, not always, but often times they are.

  44. Laura — September 12, 2013 at 9:26 am (#

    Any idea how to adapt this to high-altitude baking? Mile High city is a bit higher than sea level!!

    • Averie Sunshine — September 12, 2013 at 9:29 am (#

      Since I never bake at altitude, I don’t know off the top of my head. I’d do similar things with the baking time and or flour/baking soda that you’d normally do when baking at altitude. On the King Arthur website, they have lots of info. Or google away!

  45. Brisa — September 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm (#

    Hi! Great recipe, it looks divine! I was wondering if there is something you can use to substitute the yogurt? My mom’s lactose intolerant. Thanks!

  46. Susan - ofeverymoment — November 7, 2014 at 6:59 am (#

    I tried your Zucchini-banana bread recipe yesterday, and it was fantastic. Featured it, with the link, on my blog today. Thanks for all your great recipes!

    • Averie Sunshine — November 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm (#

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for linking back & have a great weekend!

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