Zucchini Brownies {Vegan + Dairy-Free but you’d never know!}

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Zucchini Brownies are moist and chocolaty with a simple frosting. They also happen to be dairy-free/vegan. You’ll never know there’s zucchini hidden in them!

stack of three chocolate frosted zucchini brownies.

Zucchini Brownies

My first job was at a retirement home in the kitchen/dining room. One of my many tasks was shredding carrots for the salad bar. I hated shredding carrots. For one, it’s pretty boring. But it also turns your hands orange and is kind of messy. It was better than peeling hard boiled eggs though. 

Man, I loved that job. Old people are the best. 

overhead shot of frosted brownies sliced on parchment paper.

This recipe requires you to shred zucchini. It’s still not my favorite thing to do but at least it doesn’t stain your hands. Plus, it’s worth it. 

I went to the Farmer’s Market last weekend with my mom & brother and picked up some green beans and zucchini. I made roasted green beans & zucchini but made sure to save enough for a dessert.

Usually my go-to zucchini recipe is Paula Deen’s zucchini bread.

However, I saw Dorothy at Crazy for Crust make zucchini brownies and knew I had to try my version.

sliced, frosted brownies in front of zucchini.

Zucchini Brownie Ingredients

These actual brownies are vegan / dairy-free. The frosting does call for butter but it can be swapped for coconut oil to keep them vegan.

  • Flour
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Zucchini
  • Hot Water
overhead shot of ingredients laid out to make zucchini brownies.

Do I have to peel the zucchini?


Many people wonder if you have to peel zucchini before you use it in baked goods and the answer is no, you don’t. Just give the zucchini a wash then grate it, leaving the skin on, with a box grater. That’s it!

They’re all kinds of delicious. They’re very moist and chocolatey. Everyone that has tasted them has said “these have zucchini in them?!”.

I don’t like frosting on brownies so I just drizzled it over the top & they were still plenty sweet.



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Zucchini Brownies are moist and chocolaty with a simple frosting. They also happen to be dairy-free/vegan. You'll never know there's zucchini hidden in them! | www.persnicketyplates.com

Zucchini Brownies

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
Zucchini Brownies are moist and chocolaty with a simple frosting. They also happen to be dairy-free/vegan. You’ll never know there’s zucchini hidden in them!
4.83 from 28 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 160 kcal


For the brownies

For the frosting

  • 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or butter) melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • cup water
  • splash of vanilla extract


To make the brownies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and stir.
  • Fold in the zucchini.
  • Add in 2 Tablespoons water and stir. If your mixture is still powdery, add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until it comes together. The batter will be crumbly, but shouldn’t be powdery.
  • Spread evenly into your prepared baking dish.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until the brownies spring back when gently touched.

To make the frosting

  • Add melted coconut oil (or butter) and cocoa powder to a small bowl, stir and set aside.
  • In another small bowl, add the powdered sugar, water, and vanilla. Stir together.
  • Stir in the cocoa mixture.
  • Spread over cooled brownies.


Serving: 1gCalories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 175mgPotassium: 70mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 50IUVitamin C: 1.8mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.8mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!

Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying/pasting and/or screenshots of full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Content and photographs are copyright protected.

Photos updated August 6, 2017; originally published September 30, 2012

More ways to use up zucchini…

Classic Zucchini Bread filled with pecans (and sometimes chocolate chips!) is a simple but delicious way to use up your summer zucchini crop. | Persnickety Plates

Classic Zucchini Bread

Apple Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins - a muffin with fruit and vegetables so you don't have to feel guilty about eating 3. | Persnickety Plates

Apple Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins

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  1. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says

    I loved that you liked them! I really need to make them again. 🙂 Now, I’ve had it all of 2 days, but I love my Nikon D3100 so far. I had lots of recommendations for it from others too. 🙂

  2. {Steph} says

    These look delicious! I’ve pinned your recipe for the not-too-distant future. 🙂

    ~Steph @ Silver Boxes

  3. Sherri says

    5 stars
    These turned out to be the best vegan brownies I’ve made! We loved them!

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yay! So happy to hear that. Thank you for reporting back!

  4. Lyn says

    5 stars
    I love the idea that you can triple the recipe with a press of a button and what a delicious recipe

    • Melissa Williams says

      Oooh tripling them sounds like an excellent idea 😉

  5. Mojo says

    Do these need to be refrigerated???

    • Melissa Williams says

      No, they’re fine at room temp, but keep them covered.

  6. Cheryl says

    These look delicious! I’m going to try them this week. How many small zucchinis would you say I need to get 2 cups shredded?

    • Melissa Williams says

      They’re so good 🙂 Size is so subjective with zucchini but I would say 2.5-3 smallish zucchini. Let me know how you like them when you try!

  7. Carole says

    No eggs in the zucchini bread?????

    • Melissa Williams says

      Nope. I have plenty of zucchini bread recipes & brownie recipes that do include eggs, but not in this one.

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