Zucchini season is here and absolutely nothing tastes better than these moist and tender Zucchini Bars spiced with cinnamon and topped with a creamy, tangy, dairy free cream cheese frosting and handfuls of chopped walnuts. These bars and frosting make for an unforgettable combination and delicious treat.
Sweet breads such as zucchini bread are our family jam. The problem is they don’t last more than a day around our home.
Is this the case for you, too?!
Needless to say we needed a recipe with the same classic cozy taste of zucchini bread, and way more of it!
So we’re sharing our 9×13-inch baking pan Zucchini Bars recipe with you. It’s not only a family favorite, but it’s also the perfect size to enjoy because it lasts more than a day.
And this bread isn’t just a family dessert recipe– nope. Nada. Enjoy preparing this recipe for your next brunch or picnic, and it’s perfect for special occasions such as baby showers and bridal luncheons too.
zucchini bar ingredients
Here’s the ingredient list. You’ll notice you most likely have the basic baking staples on hand already in your pantry. So grab fresh zucchini and let’s bake.
- eggs— room temperature
- brown sugar— packed
- vegetable oil— we use grapeseed oil
- vanilla extract
- gluten free all-purpose flour— we use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-1 Baking Flour; purchase it in bulk here to save money. This mix blend does contain xanthan gum. Use the spoon and level method when measuring.
- xanthan gum— omit if your all-purpose flour contains this or guar gum in the blend
- baking soda— this loses its potency after being opened for 6 months. We suggest labeling the container when opened.
- kosher salt
- ground cinnamon— this adds a nice warm, cozy flavor and aromatic scent to the bars. Always double check spices are gluten and dairy free. The McCormick brand is known to be safe.
- ground nutmeg
- grated zucchini— 2 medium zucchinis, washed, grated, lightly dried with paper towels, and lightly packed in the measuring cup
- optional— add in finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the zucchini batter
- dairy free butter— we like using the Earth Balance Buttery Sticks; the red box is soy free
- dairy free cream cheese— room temperature; we use Kite Hill Cream Cheese
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- optional— top the cream cheese frosting with a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans
- 9×13-inch baking pan with lid— we’ve been using these Pyrex pans every week for years. You can use any kind of 9×13-inch pan; however bake times may vary. We poke a cake tester in the middle of the bars. Pull the tester up and if it’s clean, the bars are baked through and can be removed. If there is zucchini batter on the cake tester, allow to bake longer.
- electric stand mixer or handheld mixer
- cheese grater— this will give you perfectly grated zucchini
- angled spatula— you’ll notice we use this spatula all.the.time. in our recipe posts. It’s ideal for frosting anything in a pan because you can evenly coat the bars with frosting easily– even in the corners.
- serving spatula— again this is a popular kitchen gadget in our home for easily serving dinner and dessert helpings
most asked questions
do you peel zucchini
Nope. Don’t peel the zucchini even though it’s tempting to remove the zucchini’s skin, but there is no need. Zucchini melts into the bread, so peeling is just an unnecessary step. And the peel is nutritious.
how many zucchinis is two cups
You’ll need 2 medium zucchinis for this recipe. Keep in mind leftover grated zucchini can be frozen.
how do I store fresh zucchini
Store zucchini in the fridge, keep the squash whole, dry and unwashed. Store in a plastic or paper bag with one end open to encourage air circulation. They’ll keep there for 1 to 2 weeks, but eventually you’ll see the skin start to shrivel over time.
can these bars be baked ahead of time
Yes. Actually for the best flavor bake these bars, top with the cream cheese frosting, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 days ahead of time. The bars and cream cheese flavors taste best when they’ve had time to meld together.
The bars do need time to cool completely before frosting.
And plan on the cream cheese frosting needing at least 20 minutes to firm up in the refrigerator prior to icing.
do these bars need refrigerated
After the bars have cooled completely, cover with a lid and set on the countertop up to 2 days. After the bars have been frosted with cream cheese frosting, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keep any leftovers covered and refrigerate up to a week.
cake recipes you’ll love
- chocolate loaf cake— rich and fudgy, this is a chocolate lover’s dream. And it’s topped with a decadent 2-ingredient homemade chocolate ganache.
- carrot cake bars with brown sugar cream cheese frosting— 9×13-inch pan bars packed full of fresh grated carrots, crushed pineapple, chopped nuts, and golden raisins, topped with a rich brown sugar cream cheese frosting everyone loves
- carrot cake with cream cheese frosting— round 3-tiered cake that’s flavorful, soft, moist, and absolutely mouthwatering
- lemon poppy seed bundt cake— this cake boasts lemon cream cheese frosting that perfectly complements the delicious fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and nutty poppy seed flavors of the cake.
This time of year we can’t keep our hands off all the fresh zucchini. Whether it’s from our own garden, the farmer’s market, a generous friend, or the grocery store, it’s a late summer must-buy.
There are countless gluten and dairy free ways to enjoy zucchini. And the best way is with this homemade Zucchini Bars recipe packed full of moist and tender flavor, with just a hint of cinnamon and spice lathered in a safe cream cheese frosting.
It’s unbelievable that this recipe is gluten, dairy, and soy free.
Plus here is a bonus frosting option– try this heavenly Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting recipe atop your homemade zucchini bars.
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Wet Batter Ingredients
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1½ c brown sugar packed
- 1 c vegetable oil suggestion in post
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Dry Batter Ingredients
- 2 c gluten free all-purpose flour spooned + leveled, suggestion in post
- ½ tsp xanthan gum omit if your gluten free all-purpose flour contains this or guar gum
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 c grated zucchini washed, dried, grated, pat with paper towel, lightly packed
- 1 c optional– finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz dairy free cream cheese room temperature, suggestion in post
- ½ c dairy free butter one stick, suggestion in post
- 3 c powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- optional- top with a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat the eggs until frothy.
- Add in the oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Then combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl; omit the xanthan gum if already in your all-purpose blend.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
- Add in grated zucchini and nuts if desired and stir by hand.
- Transfer the batter to the baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl with an electric stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Then add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and cream again until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or overnight to allow frosting to stiffen and flavors to taste their best.
- With an angled spatula, evenly frost the top of the zucchini bars and top with chopped nuts.
- Once the cake has been frosted, cover and refrigerate. For leftovers, cover and refrigerate up to a week.
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