Food & Drink

Grandma’s Zucchini Bread

Charleston, South Carolina, chef Nate Whiting shares the recipe for his grandmother’s sweet summertime treat

Photo: Jacqueline Stofsick

Nate Whiting’s grandmother always made loaves of her spiced zucchini bread when the summer squash boom hit gardens—and it paired perfectly with Whiting’s childhood love of sweet cream butter. “I remember myself as a little kid always stealing and eating gobs of butter—bad habit or young gourmand?” laughs the chef at Juliet in Charleston. “My grandmother was always trying to find things for me to eat with the butter. Her zucchini bread—and of course, lots of butter—was one of my favorites.”

Photo: Courtesy of Nate Whiting

Nate Whiting and his grandmother picking berries in 1982.


    • 2 cups grated zucchini (you'll need about 2ea/1 pound of zucchini)

    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

    • ½ cup vegetable oil

    • 3 large eggs

    • 2½ cups sugar

    • 1 cup nuts, chopped *optional

    • 1 cup raisins or dried fruit *optional

    • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

    • ½ tsp. baking soda

    • 1 tsp. baking powder

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • 3 tsp. cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Butter the inside of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, and lightly dust with flour. Knock out the excess and set aside.

  3. Split the zucchini in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Discard the seeds. Using a grater or a food processor, grate or pulse the zucchini flesh until it looks like slightly chunky applesauce. Measure 2 cups of the grated zucchini and place it into a large mixing bowl along with the vanilla extract, vegetable oil, eggs and sugar. Whisk the ingredients until smooth and homogenous.

  4. In a separate bowl, add the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Using a dry whisk, dry blend the ingredients to evenly disperse them.

  5. With a whisk, gradually add and mix the flour mixture into the bowl containing the wet (zucchini) ingredients. Mix until homogeneous and completely blended. If using, fold in the nuts and dried fruit.

  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake on the center rack for approximately 20 minutes. Turn the pan and continue to bake until finished, 20-30 more minutes. Use a toothpick and check the center until it comes out clean. Or to remove any subjectivity, use a probe thermometer, and bake until the internal temperature reaches 200ºF. Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack, as desired.

  7. Notes: For a crisp crust, allow to cool uncovered. For a moist crust, immediately wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and let cool. For a denser bread, cool overnight in the fridge.