Should you squeeze the water out of zucchini for zucchini bread?

Zucchini bread is a quick bread made with shredded zucchini, eggs, oil, and various other ingredients. It’s a moist, tender loaf that’s perfect for breakfast, snacking, or dessert. But when making zucchini bread, many bakers wonder if they should squeeze out the excess water from the grated zucchini before adding it to the batter.

Why do people squeeze water out of zucchini?

Fresh zucchini contains a lot of water. When you shred or grate raw zucchini, it releases some of that moisture. If you don’t remove this excess water before baking, it can make your zucchini bread batter wet and prevent the bread from baking properly. Squeezing removes that excess liquid so your batter bakes up light and fluffy rather than dense and soggy.

Should you squeeze water out of zucchini for zucchini bread?

Whether or not to squeeze zucchini before making zucchini bread is a matter of personal preference. Here are the pros and cons of squeezing out excess moisture:

Pros of squeezing zucchini:

  • Removes excess moisture so the bread bakes up lighter and airier.
  • Prevents a gummy or soggy texture.
  • Allows you to add more zucchini without making the batter watery.
  • Intensifies the flavor since you remove some of the mild watery liquid.
  • Makes it easier to mix the wet and dry ingredients without over-mixing.

Cons of squeezing zucchini:

  • Time consuming extra step.
  • Can result in a slightly denser, more compact texture.
  • Removes some nutrients from the zucchini.
  • Alters the moisture balance in the recipe.

How to squeeze water out of zucchini

If you opt to squeeze your zucchini, here are some easy methods:

Paper towel method

This is the most popular technique. After shredding or grating the zucchini:

  1. Place zucchini in a bowl lined with 2-3 layers of paper towels.
  2. Gather the sides of the paper towel up around the zucchini and squeeze firmly to remove excess liquid.
  3. Open towel and add fresh dry paper towels. Wrap zucchini again and squeeze out more moisture.
  4. Repeat as needed until zucchini is sufficiently dried.

Cheesecloth method

For a slightly more hands-off approach:

  1. Lay a large piece of cheesecloth flat.
  2. Place grated zucchini in the center.
  3. Gather up the sides and corners of the cheesecloth.
  4. Twist gently to wring out liquid from zucchini bundle.

Food processor method

If you have a food processor:

  1. Place zucchini in processor and pulse to shred.
  2. Transfer zucchini to a mesh strainer or colander lined with cheesecloth.
  3. Let drain over a bowl or sink for 10-15 minutes, letting gravity pull out moisture.

How much water should you squeeze out?

There’s no perfect amount of liquid to remove – it depends on the recipe, personal preference, and moisture content of the zucchini. Here are some guidelines:

  • For very wet zucchini, remove 2-4 tablespoons (30-60 ml) liquid per cup of grated zucchini.
  • For moderately moist zucchini, extract 1-3 tablespoons (15-45 ml) liquid per cup.
  • If zucchini is only slightly wet, you may only need to remove 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) liquid per cup.

Test the moisture level by squeezing a bit in your hands. If it feels very wet and dripping, remove more liquid. Stop when the zucchini feels moist but not soggy.

Can you skip squeezing zucchini?

Absolutely! Skipping this step simplifies the process with very little downside. If your zucchini isn’t very wet or your recipe contains enough dry ingredients to absorb the excess moisture, you can grate the zucchini straight into the batter without squeezing.

To help compensate if not squeezing, you can:

  • Pat zucchini dry with paper towels after grating.
  • Let zucchini drain in a colander after shredding.
  • Blot up any excess wetness in the bottom of the bowl with paper towels.
  • Add a couple extra tablespoons of flour to the batter.
  • Bake zucchini bread 5-10 minutes longer to help moisture evaporate.

How does squeezing affect nutrition?

Removing liquid from zucchini does result in some loss of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins. However, zucchini is low in these nutrients compared to fruits and vegetables like citrus, tomatoes, leafy greens, beans, and whole grains.

The amount of minerals lost by discarding zucchini water is also minimal. Zucchini flesh retains most of its nutritional value, including antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin K, and manganese.

Overall, squeezing out a couple tablespoons of liquid per cup of zucchini only slightly reduces its nutrition – the impact is insignificant compared to the benefits of eating antioxidant-rich zucchini bread!

How does it affect texture?

Removing excess moisture can make zucchini bread lighter and fluffier. But it also concentrates the vegetable flavor and fibers, resulting in a more dense, compact crumb.

If you prefer a dense, moist texture, skip squeezing. But if you like a fluffy loaf that rises higher, squeezing helps remove moisture that can inhibit gluten development and rise.

Key Points

  • Squeezing zucchini removes excess moisture that can make zucchini bread gummy and dense.
  • However, squeezing is an optional extra step that impacts texture but not drastically nutrition.
  • To squeeze, wrap grated zucchini in paper towels or cheesecloth and wring out liquid.
  • Remove 1-4 Tbsp (15-60 ml) liquid per cup zucchini, depending on wetness.
  • Skip squeezing if you don’t mind a denser, more compact zucchini bread.
  • You can also reduce wetness by patting zucchini dry, letting it drain, or adding extra flour.

Recipes With and Without Squeezing

To highlight the texture differences, here are two classic zucchini bread recipes – one that squeezes the zucchini, and one that doesn’t:

Zucchini Bread with Squeezed Zucchini


  • 2 1/2 cups (312g) flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups (260g) grated zucchini, squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or raisins (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Mix in sugars, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Stir in zucchini. Then add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in walnuts or raisins if using.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 55-65 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely before slicing. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Squeezing the zucchini makes this bread lighter and fluffier with a tighter, more uniform crumb. The moisture is balanced so it bakes up tender without being gummy.

Zucchini Bread without Squeezing


  • 2 cups (250g) flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260g) grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup raisins or walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Mix in sugar, oil, and vanilla until blended.
  4. Stir in zucchini. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in raisins or nuts if using.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 55-65 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Allow bread to cool completely before removing from pan. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

With un-squeezed zucchini, this bread has a denser crumb with visible shreds of zucchini. The texture is very moist, almost gummy. The loaves bake up shorter without excess liquid removed.


Can you use too much zucchini in bread?

Yes, adding too much zucchini can make your bread soggy and prevent it from baking properly. Aim for no more than 2-3 cups grated zucchini per loaf. Squeeze out moisture if using larger amounts.

Should you shred or grind zucchini?

Shredding with a box grater is best. It yields flat, ribbon-like strands that incorporate well. Avoid grinding zucchini into a mush – it alters the texture.

Is zucchini bread healthy?

Zucchini bread provides beneficial nutrients from zucchini like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. But with eggs, oil, and sugar it’s more of an occasional treat food rather than health food.

Can you freeze zucchini bread?

Yes, zucchini bread freezes well for 2-3 months. Let cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Can you substitute applesauce for oil?

Yes, you can replace some or all of the oil with unsweetened applesauce. Use a 1:1 ratio, swapping each cup of oil for 1 cup applesauce.

The Bottom Line

Removing moisture from zucchini before baking yields a lighter, fluffier zucchini bread with a tighter crumb. But squeezing isn’t mandatory. Skipping this step creates a bread with a dense, moist texture and pronounced zucchini flavor.

Consider your texture preferences and the wetness of the zucchini. Adjust the recipe as needed to get the right moisture balance. With extra flour or baking time, you can make great zucchini bread with or without squeezing.

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