By Vanessa Greaves

Don't quash that squash!

Zucchini bread is a miracle of baking. Even though the main ingredient is squash, the bread doesn't actually taste like squash. In fact, moist and tender zucchini bread might be one of the sneakiest ways to disguise a wholesome vegetable as a guilty pleasure. Read on to get tips to bake the best zucchini bread from scratch and top-rated recipes to try.

How to Make Zucchini Bread: Top tips

1. Use small to medium zucchini.

When it comes to choosing the zucchini you bake with, smaller is better; supersized zucchini are much too dry and bitter to use for zucchini bread. Smaller zucchini have more moisture and sweetness—exactly what you want in your bread batter. Better to save those giant zukes for robust recipes like Italian Meatloaf in Zucchini Boats.

2. Don't bother peeling the zucchini.

Unless you really dislike seeing tiny flecks of green in your bread, you don't have to go through the extra step of peeling zucchini; the peel is thin enough to eat. Just be sure to scrub the squash well before you use it to wash away any soil or other impurities.

3. To seed or not to seed?

If you take my advice and use small to medium zucchini to make your bread, then the seeds should be small enough to disappear into the batter. If you want to remove them anyway, you can do that by slicing the zucchini in half lengthwise and scooping out some or all of the seeds with a spoon or melon baller.

4. Grate, don't chop.

Cut off the ends of the zucchini and rub it against the shredder side of a box grater to make a pile of squash that's perfectly sized for baking zucchini bread. You can also use the shredder blade in your food processor to quickly shred zucchini.

Photo by Meredith

5. Squeezing is optional.

Some recipes tell you to remove extra moisture from the grated zucchini by squeezing it in a clean kitchen towel. But unless your zucchini is excessively juicy, squeezing the squash could be removing some of the moisture you really do want in the bread. It's up to you, though. Squeeze for lighter, drier bread. Leave it as is for denser, moister bread.

6. Mix lightly.

Whether you're making zucchini bread, banana bread, pumpkin bread, waffles, or pancakes, you always want to mix the dry ingredients together first, then mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Finally, you'll gently stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture with a spoon just until everything is moistened. Overmixing these kinds of quick bread batters makes them toughen up as they bake.

Photos by Meredith

a. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
b. Combine the wet ingredients.
c. Pour the wet into the dry.
d. Stir gently with a spoon until moistened.

7. Line the baking pan with parchment paper.

Yes, your recipe may say to grease and flour the baking pan, but adding a layer of parchment paper helps ensure your bread comes out of the pan cleanly. After baking the bread, set it on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the pan and let it finish cooling completely on a metal rack before you slice it.

Favorite Recipes for Zucchini Bread

Video: Mom's Zucchini Bread

Watch this top-rated recipe come together easily.

Top-Rated Zucchini Bread Recipes to Try:

More: Get 20 of our favorite zucchini bread recipes.