Zucchini bread is a delicious and slightly sweet baked goodie that’s easy to make, and you can enjoy it anytime. Its original version is already a healthy treat, but if you’re looking to maximize its health benefits, try the zucchini bread with no sugar version.
Read on to learn more about this version and other alternatives.
Is Zucchini Bread Supposed To Be Sweet?
Traditional zucchini bread is slightly sweet because of all the sugar. Sugar also keeps baked goods moist and soft—two characteristics a zucchini bread has.
Since sugar is a crucial ingredient in making zucchini bread, you may wonder if it’s possible to create this delicious bread without the refined sweetener we’re so accustomed to. Trust me, it’s possible.
There are many sugar substitutes you can use for your zucchini bread without compromising its traditional taste. I’ve listed down some common sugar substitutes that you can use—not just for zucchini bread, but also for your other baked creations.
1 – Honey
Humans have been consuming honey for thousands of years because of its natural sweetness, flavor, and aroma.
It’s also a healthy treat, offering antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can use ½ or ⅔ a cup of honey to replace a cup of sugar.
2 – Stevia
A plant native to South America, stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. However, it’s proven to have no calories or impact on blood sugar levels.
The substitution amount depends on the brand you have, so check the label beforehand.
3 – Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is derived from boiling the sap of maple trees, eliminating artificial processes that’ll remove its nutrient contents.
Since it’s sweeter than sugar, use ½ to ¾ a cup of maple syrup as a substitute.
4 – Coconut Sugar
It looks and tastes a bit like brown sugar, but coconut sugar has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar level quickly.
One cup of coconut sugar equates to a cup of white sugar.
5 – Agave Syrup
It’s made from the juice of the agave plant and has a texture similar to honey, making it a perfect vegan option too. It also has a low glycemic index.
Agave syrup is also sweeter than sugar, so ⅔ a cup is enough to replace one cup of refined sweetener.
6 – Monk Fruit Sweetener
Derived from monk fruit or luo han guo, monk fruit sweetener has a zero glycemic index but doesn’t have the bitter after-taste stevia has.
You can buy it in liquid or powder form, but it’s also available in whole-fruit form. Check the label for proper substitution as well.
7 – Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is produced by fermenting brown rice until it reaches a syrup consistency. It’s a great sugar substitute and a vegan option too.
You can replace a cup of white sugar with 1 and a ½ cup of brown rice syrup.
8 – Xylitol
A natural sweetener found in plants, xylitol can prevent tooth decay as opposed to table sugar.
Replace one part sugar with one part xylitol.
9 – Erythritol
Similar to xylitol, erythritol is a natural sweetener found in plants but is lower in calories. 1:1 is the substitution ratio.
Ingredients and Instructions for Making Sugar-Free Zucchini Bread
Here’s a recipe for a healthier version of zucchini bread:
1 – Zucchini
A summer squash rich in vitamins A, C, and K. It’s also a good source of magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Zucchini boasts high levels of antioxidants too, making it a rather healthy addition to your diet.
Prepare 2 cups of grated zucchini for this recipe. Don’t forget to squeeze-dry your grated zucchini to avoid soggy bread as well.
2 – All-Purpose Flour
A finely ground powder usually made from wheat grains; flour is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. You’ll need 2 cups for this one.
3 – Baking Powder and Baking Soda
These are leavening agents. They help your bread rise perfectly while baking.
4 – Cinnamon
A versatile and aromatic spice that’s popular in baking and cooking, and sometimes used as traditional medicine due to its health benefits. This recipe calls for a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
5 – Salt
An essential ingredient in bread-making that enhances the flavor of the final product and balances sweetness. Adding ½ a teaspoon of salt to this recipe goes a long way.
6 – Eggs
Aside from being an excellent source of protein, eggs provide volume, moisture, and emulsify liquid ingredients in a baking recipe. You’ll need two whole eggs for this recipe.
7 – Honey or Maple Syrup
Use honey or maple syrup as a healthier alternative to sugar.
Both are natural sweeteners that don’t require artificial processing that may affect their nutrient contents. This bread recipe requires ½ a cup of either honey or maple syrup.
8 – Banana
A good source of potassium, banana is also naturally sweet, allowing you to reduce or remove sugar from your recipe.
It can also enrich your baked goods because of its nutrient content. Prepare ½ a cup of mashed banana for this recipe.
9 – Vegetable Oil
Fat tenderizes, moistens, and provides additional nutrition to your baked products. This recipe requires ⅓ a cup of vegetable oil.
10 – Vanilla Extract
The use of vanilla in baking is to enhance the flavor of your final product. You only need a teaspoon of vanilla extract for this sugar-free zucchini bread.
How to Make Zucchini Bread Without Sugar
Now that you have all the ingredients, let’s start making this sugar-free zucchini bread:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F or 175°C.
- Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with oil or butter.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk the eggs, maple syrup or honey, mashed bananas, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients, in small amounts, to the wet ingredients to ensure even mixing.
- Once done, fold in the grated zucchini.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf fan.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for up to 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack.
Your zucchini bread is now ready. Enjoy it for breakfast, as a snack, or as dessert, it’s up to you. The best part? It pairs well with either coffee or tea.
Can You Use Brown Sugar in Zucchini Bread?
Absolutely. Brown sugar will add a unique flavor profile because of its molasses content but expect your finished product to have a darker color.
Can You Add Other Ingredients to Your Zucchini Bread?
The answer is yes. You can add nuts like walnuts, cashews, or pecans for texture. If you don’t mind the sugar, you can also throw in raisins, dates, cherries, and cranberries.
You can add cheese, green onions, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg too if you want it savory.
Either way, experiment to discover your preferred version of zucchini bread.
Zucchini bread, no doubt, is a healthy treat even if its traditional recipe calls for sugar. However, sugar shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying this wonderful baked goodie or other baked products.
With a bit of research and experimentation, you can create a version you can enjoy without guilt.
Try one of the substitutes I shared with you if you’re keen on cutting down your sugar intake. Treat yourself to a satisfying, yet healthy no-sugar zucchini bread.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.