Now you can make the best gluten-free zucchini muffins using these easy baking tips! Here you will learn how to make zucchini muffins with gluten-free flour with perfect moist, light, and fluffy results. Follow three simple steps – blotting zucchini, letting the batter rest, and baking at a lower temperature – to become an effortless gluten-free muffin expert!
how to make Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins
Summer is here, which means peak-season fresh zucchini will be bountiful in my garden, at farm stands, and the local grocery store. When deciding between my favorite gluten-free zucchini recipes, it’s hard not to come back to these fluffy, moist gluten-free zucchini muffins time and again.
What makes this recipe stand out above all others? While most zucchini muffin recipes are quick and simple, many don’t account for the extra moisture zucchini adds, particularly throwing off the balance in gluten-free muffins.
To counteract this, I turned to some of my favorite techniques for gluten-free baking, many which make these gluten-free strawberry muffins so successful as well! Simple tricks, such as letting the batter rest, baking at a lower temp, and squeezing the zucchini slightly dry give a taste and texture identical to traditional recipes!
Below I share more on why this method works, as well as many more baking, storing, and freezing tips. Also, be sure to check out the included modifications, turning this gluten-free zucchini muffin recipe into many more creative versions. It’s all here!
While the ingredients and notes mirror a gluten-free zucchini bread recipe, the magic happens in the technique. Below I share any workable substitutions and how the ingredients contribute to the recipe’s success.
- Zucchini – Grate with box grater or a grater disc on a food processor with the skin on. Soak up extra moisture by blotting grated zucchini dry with paper towels or a dish towel before adding to batter. For more tips on using zucchini in recipes, see this helpful zucchini prep guide.
- Egg – For a vegan version, use an egg replacer, such as flax egg.
- Brown sugar – Adds a caramel flavor and slight chewiness. Can reduce slightly for less sugar or replace with coconut sugar.
- Canola oil or coconut oil – Because no butter is used theses muffins are dairy-free as well! Be sure to use a dairy-free all-purpose gluten-free flour and non-dairy chocolate for zucchini chocolate chip muffins.
- Gluten-free all purpose flour – I highly recommend Cup4Cup gluten-free flour for best results. However, this variety is not dairy-free because it contains milk powder. For dairy-free, gluten-free muffins, King Arthur Measure-for-Measure is recommended.
- Mini chocolate chips – If you would like to make gluten-free chocolate chip zucchini muffins, I highly recommend using mini chocolate chips so the chocolate disperses evenly. Regular baking chips have a tendency to sink to the bottoms of the muffins.
Tip one – Blot Zucchini
Rather than grating the zucchini and immediately adding it to the batter, first gently blot, squeezing in paper towels or a clean, lint free dish towel. Why is this step crucial when making gluten-free muffins?
GF flour starches already struggle with absorbing moisture and zucchini is made primarily of water. Removing some of zucchini’s excess moisture means a light, moist crumb, but without being overly dense and heavy.
Tip Two – Let Muffins rest before baking
When I began experimenting turning this zucchini bread made with gluten-free flour into muffins, I prepared the batter identically and distributed it a muffin tin. After they were pulled from the oven, the muffin tops shriveled and looked overly wet.
Why did this happen with the muffins but not the bread? Zucchini bread has a much longer cook time than muffins, giving time for the starches to fully hydrate and soak up the liquids. Therefore, letting the batter sit before baking gave the extra time needed for them to bake up round and fluffy.
Therefore, prepare the batter and pour it in the muffin pan. While the oven preheats let them sit for 15-20 minutes, which gives a head start on absorbing the liquids. Do not let them sit much longer than that or they will become too dry or may not rise.
Tip three – baking at a lower temperature
Typically muffin recipes use a higher oven temp between 375ºF-400ºF. This helps them rise quickly and set the upper crust. When trying this with gluten-free muffins, they looked beautiful in the oven, but then quickly deflated.
While a lower oven will not give quite as dramatic of domed top, a longer, gentler bake time solidifies the muffins shape so they do not shrink once you pull them from the oven. It also adds additional cook time, which helps the GF flour fully emulsify with the liquids, yielding a soft, fluffy crumb.
If you would like something besides gluten-free chocolate chip zucchini muffins, try one of the suggestions below. Stir these in after the dry ingredients have been added.
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or nuts
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped raisins
- 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
The ingredients in these muffins are also dairy free since it contains no butter, milk, or sour cream. However the recommended flour, Cup4Cup, does contain milk powder. Substitute your preferred DF gluten-free flour blend.
Also, if you are making gluten-free zucchini chocolate chip muffins, be sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips.
Storing and freezing
Once they have completely cooled store in an airtight container up to 2 days at room temperature. Do not store in the fridge, or they will dry out.
For optimal freshness, I freeze gluten-free muffin leftovers right away since they don’t stay fresh as long. Wrap the muffins in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag up to 3 months.
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Perfect Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins (Easy Tips)
- 2 cups grated zucchini about 1 medium
- 1 egg
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup canola oil or coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup all purpose gluten free flour Cup4Cup brand is recommended – see recipe notes for dairy-free
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (optional) miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Line standard-size muffin cups with paper liners or grease with nonstick cooking spray. The oven preheats later while the muffin batter rests. (This allows time for the gluten-free starches to soften and hydrate with the liquids.)
- Grate zucchini and lay in a double layer paper towel or dish towel. Squeeze gently to soak up excess water and set aside.2 cups grated zucchini
- In a large bowl whisk together egg, sugar, packed brown sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extracts. Stir in slightly dried zucchini.1 egg,½ cup granulated sugar,½ cup packed brown sugar,¼ cup canola oil or coconut oil,2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir until very well combined, and no flour pockets remain. If using chocolate chips, stir in.1 ½ cup all purpose gluten free flour,1 teaspoon baking powder,½ teaspoon baking soda,1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon,½ cup (optional) miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is preheating, use a large trigger scoopto distribute the batter between the muffin cups or fill each cup about ⅔ full. The muffins should sit 15-20 minutes before baking.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes, our until the tops are set and lightly spring back when touched. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.
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Dairy-Free NoteThe ingredients in these muffins are also dairy free. However the recommended flour, Cup4Cup, does contain milk powder. King Arthur Measure-for-Measure makes a good runner up. Also, if you are making gluten-free zucchini chocolate chip muffins, be sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips.
Storing and FreezingOnce they have completely cooled store in an airtight container up to 2 days at room temperature. Do not store in the fridge, or they will dry out. For optimal freshness, I freeze gluten-free muffin leftovers right away since they don’t stay fresh as long. Wrap the muffins in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag up to 3 months.
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