Gluten free zucchini muffins are the answer to all of your snacking needs. Moist and light, they make a great afternoon treat or breakfast on the go. Not too sweet, with a full cup of vegetables - they're also a great addition to lunch bags everywhere!
Whip up a batch in just over a half hour!
Why you should make this recipe
Muffins are a huge hit in our house. Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip are our favourite (mainly because I always have a freezer full of ripe bananas), but this gluten free zucchini recipe is a close second. The kids know if I come home with zucchinis on grocery day - it’s muffin time!
Here’s why we love this recipe and why you will too...
- You only need 1 bowl. Dirty dishes are my arch nemesis. Fight them by adding all the wet ingredients into a bowl, mixing well, then adding in the dry ingredients. It’s the best (and easiest) way to make muffins!
- They are freezer friendly. After baking and cooling, store muffins in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to a month. Future you will be thankful.
- They are made with vegetables! Sure, there’s sugar and butter in there too, but by using 1 cup of grated zucchini, we can all pretend these are healthy gluten free zucchini muffins, right?
- They have a subtle taste. Vanilla and cinnamon are the primary flavours in these, since you can’t really taste the zucchini. They are light, sweet, and perfect for picky eaters.
- It's easy to change the recipe. Here are some ideas:
- Replace ½ cup of the zucchini with ½ cup of grated carrot and make some amazing gluten free carrot zucchini muffins!
- Add in ½ cup chocolate chips for a gluten free chocolate chip zucchini muffin.
- Include ½ cup chopped nuts for a gluten free zucchini muffin with nuts!
- Unsalted butter: softened. Use a dairy free alternative, if you need one - there are lots of suggestions in this post on butter.
- Granulated sugar
- Eggs: just 2
- Milk: dairy or dairy free, the choice is yours!
- Vanilla extract
- Zucchini: grated, with excess moisture squeezed out, because no one likes a mushy muffin...
- Gluten free flour: I use a homemade blend of white rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour - get the recipe here. You can certainly use your preferred blend, but please keep in mind that results may not always be the same.
- Baking powder: helps make our gluten free muffins fluffy!
- Xanthan gum: if you’re using a commercial blend that already contains it, omit from the recipe.
Dairy free version
Skipping out on dairy? You can still make dairy free gluten free zucchini muffins! Here’s how:
- Substitute the unsalted butter for a non dairy alternative. I’ve used Earth Balance in the past with great success, but there are other great alternatives out there.
- Replace the cow’s milk with a non-dairy version. We use a lot of almond milk around here, but you could use cashew, rice, soy, oat (make sure it’s gluten free)
To make vegan gluten free zucchini muffins, follow the instructions for the dairy free version (above), plus you’ll need to do the following:
- Replace the 2 beaten eggs with two flax eggs. Combine 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and 6 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken before adding into the muffin batter.
Do you keep the skin on the zucchini?
You don’t have to remove the skin when baking with zucchini. Just make sure it’s properly washed, slice an end off, and get grating! The skin has lots of beta-carotene (good for you) and the green looks great in the finished muffins.
Got a picky eater? You can remove the skin to get rid of any traces of green, or grate the zucchini on the finest setting.
Can you taste zucchini in the muffins?
Zucchini is a mild-tasting summer squash that doesn’t add any sort of distinct flavour to the muffins - you won’t be able to taste them in the recipe. They are full of moisture, though. The water-rich zucchini is what helps make these muffins moist.
Are these zucchini muffins savoury or sweet?
Zucchini is a bland vegetable that takes on whatever flavour it’s being cooked with. Handy, since it can be paired with ingredients like cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic to create a savoury recipe.
In this recipe, we’re all about the sweet flavours! Granulated sugar, vanilla and cinnamon give these muffins a sweet and spicy vibe.
Isn’t zucchini such a versatile little vegetable?!
How to make this recipe
The steps involved in making these gluten free zucchini muffins are simple. Begin by preheating the oven to 375℉.
In a medium to large-sized bowl, mix together the unsalted butter and sugar until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and zucchini then mix to combine.
Into the same bowl, add all of the dry ingredients: gluten free flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Mix the batter until incorporated and no lumps remain.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill each one to the top of the paper liner. Bake muffins in an oven preheated to 375°F for 18-20 minutes.
You’ll know the muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan, cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!
Tips for making the best gluten free zucchini muffins
Making this recipe is super easy, but here are some tips to make sure your muffins are perfect every time!
- Use fresh baking powder. Baking powder is essential for fluffy muffins. If it’s been exposed to air, it will lose its effectiveness. Always use freshly purchased baking powder or make sure it’s stored in a well-sealed package or container.
- Squeeze excess moisture from the grated zucchini. This tip is mentioned right in the recipe directions, but I thought I would mention it again since it’s so important. If your zucchini is really damp when added to the mixture, it can cause soggy muffins. (And no one wants those!) Squeeze out as much water as you can, using either a clean dish towel or a few sheets of paper towel.
- Fill the paper liners fully before baking. Gluten free flour doesn’t often rise as much as it’s wheat-based cousin. To get a full-sized muffin, the batter will need to completely fill the liner.
- Remove the muffins from the muffin pan before cooling. If you let the muffins cool in the pan, the excess moisture will cause the paper liner to stick. There’s nothing more annoying than a muffin that gets half stuck to the paper, so to avoid it - let them cool outside the pan on a wire rack.
Gluten Free Zucchini Muffins
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ cup (125g) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (95g) grated zucchini squeeze out excess moisture by placing between paper towels or a clean dish cloth
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons (250g) gluten free flour (see note)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (10g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (4g) salt
- ½ teaspoon (2g) xanthan gum (if using a commercially available gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum, omit this from the recipe)
- Preheat the oven to 375℉ and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a medium to large-sized bowl, mix together the unsalted butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. (Use the backside of a spoon, spatula or a mixer with a paddle attachment.)
- Add in the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and zucchini then mix to incorporate.
- Add in the gluten free flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Mix the batter until everything is fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
- Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, fill each well with batter, almost to the top of the paper liner.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 18-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the muffins on a wire rack before serving.
- Gluten free flour: I used a blend of 50% white rice flour, 30% tapioca starch, and 20% sorghum flour. You can blend your own by following this recipe: Gluten Free Flour Blend (All Purpose). Another blend can be used; however, results may not be the same.
- Storage: Keep muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to a month.
- To make dairy free: substitute the unsalted butter for a dairy free alternative and replace the milk with a non-dairy version.
- To make vegan: follow the dairy free instructions, plus replace the eggs with 2 flax eggs (Combine 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and 6 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken before adding into the muffin batter.)
- Optional add-ins:
- For chocolate chip zucchini muffins, add in ½ cup chocolate chips
- For nutty zucchini muffins, add in ½ cup of chopped nuts
- For gluten free carrot zucchini muffins, replace ½ of the zucchini with ½ cup of grated carrot.