How To Freeze Shredded Zucchini For Quick Breads

freezing zucchini
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When a friend blessed us with about 36 pounds of zucchini the other day, I considered how I would put it to use. The only way we really eat zucchini is baked with cheese and spices, or in Zucchini Bread. We don’t really like it canned, dehydrated, or even in soups, really. But we all really love it in a quick bread.

There seems to always be an overabundance of zucchini at the middle to end of summer, and it can be tough to preserve. It spoils quickly when left out in the open air, and when you freeze, can, or dehydrate it, it often loses its texture and turns into a mushy, tasteless mess.

We did grill some, which turned out yummy. But there was a ton to use, and it wasn’t going to last more than a couple of days before starting to rot. What to do?

And then I had an idea. Why not shred it and freeze it for future quick breads? After a little search online, sure enough it can be done.

This is definitely my new favorite way to ‘put up’ a bunch of zucchini. And I know we’ll use it.

How to Freeze Shredded or Chopped Zucchini Step by Step

Step 1: Pick the Right Zucchini

First, get your hands on some good, small to medium sized zucchini. You don’t want a humongous zucchini ’cause it’ll be very seedy and dry.

Although the moisture content of the zucchini doesn’t matter as much when you’re freezing it, the seeds can pose a problem because you don’t want to bake them into your bread, and they can be tough to sort out after they have thawed. The best zucchinis for freezing are those that are young and thin.

Step 2: Wash It

Wash and dry the zucchini well, then chop off each end. You don’t have to peel them, but you can if you so choose. The taste and texture of the frozen, shredded zucchini is roughly the same with or without the skin.

Shredded Zucchini

Step 3: Shred the Zucchini

Using a cheese grater, shred up the zucchini. I use a medium shred because it makes the work go by more quickly, but you can do a fine shred if you prefer. If you have a food processor, you can make quick work of this process and feed all of the zucchini in, one at a time.

Using a food processor presents another advantage in that you don’t have to worry about accidentally shredding your knuckles, plus you can customize the size of the shreds to very small or very large, depending on your preferences and the way you intend to use the zucchini.

frozen zucchini in Ziploc freezer bags

Step 4: Fill Freezer Bags with Zucchini

Fill Ziploc freezer bags with however much zucchini your favorite bread recipe calls for. I filled my bags with about two cups of zucchini, twice as much as my zucchini bread calls for, so that I can make a double batch of bread each time around. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags to prevent freezer burn, and also to make the bags easier to store.

If you have a food sealer device, like the one made by FoodSaver, you’re in luck. Using a sealer is a way to preserve your vegetables for even longer, as it forms an airtight seal that is impossible to obtain using traditional plastic (Ziploc) bags.

However, keep in mind that if you are using a food sealer, you may add an extra step because you will need to constantly drain the machine of the excess liquid that is leached out of the zucchini as it seals.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – as you will need to strain the excess water later on – but does add a step in the initial preservation process.

Regardless of the process you choose to use, make sure you store all the bags flat in the freezer. When you initially freeze the bags, place them in a single layer.

This will allow for more even distribution of the cold air, making them freeze faster and more evenly. Once they have frozen solid (check back in twenty-four hours), you can rearrange and stack them to make more room for other frozen food.

Frozen zucchini should be used within twelve months, although sooner is obviously better. You don’t really run the risk of contracting a foodborne illness with eating older frozen zucchini, but the taste will be seriously impacted the longer it sits in the freezer.

That being said, if you use a food sealer, you may be able to extend the longevity and overall quality of your frozen zucchini just a tad bit longer.

Just make sure you label all of your bags with the date you froze the zucchini, as well as the contents of the package (believe it or not, it will become hard to figure out what’s inside after a while!).

A common mistake that many people make when freezing zucchini is to freeze an entire zucchini – or even sliced zucchini spears – whole, without shredding, dicing, spiralizing, or cubing it.

This does save you an initial step in the preservation process, but adds a whole new headache in that zucchini frozen in this manner becomes a soggy, sodden mess.

It is very difficult to do anything with it at that point – even shred it – besides pureeing it, and it also loses a lot of flavor. To avoid this, make sure you cut your zucchini up in some way before freezing it.

When you freeze zucchini, it does make it more watery upon thawing, but this isn’t a problem when adding it to a recipe.  Just be sure to thaw it and drain off any excess liquid before using it in a recipe (or even while cooking).

While zucchini bread is definitely my favorite way to eat thawed shredded zucchini, it can also be used in pastas, stir-fries, smoothies, casseroles, or soups. Experiment until you find the recipes that work best for your family’s tastes, schedule, and budget.

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Kendra
About Kendra 1104 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

126 Comments

  1. I make up my favorite zucchini bread recipe and put the batter in foil bread pans and freeze. I thaw them and bake as usual whenever I need them

  2. I used the bigger zucchini to freeze. I cut length wise and scoop out big seeds. Scrape down to white part and shred the rest. Works fine for freezing.

  3. I shredded and froze zucchini for the sweet zucchini bread the family enjoys. When I defrosted and used it the bread always fell in the middle. I used the liquid coming from it since I knew it was from the zucchini. Do others have the same problem with the bread sinking in the middle when using the frozen zucchini?

    • Hi Patricia, that happens for two reasons. One, too much liquid…you should drain the zucchini well by squeezing out or using lots of paper towel to absorb the liquid. Two, often bread will sink in middle if you mix it to quickly or vigorously because it creates unstable air bubble that make it rise but then later collapse when it cools because the air bubbles were not stable. Try to mix more slowly. Hope that helps!

  4. I’ve been shredding and freezing zucchini for quite sometime. I let it thaw and have never drained off the liquid. My bread is always moist but I also add crushed pineapple.

  5. I have been shredding and freezing zucchini for many years, however I put mine in a vaccum seal bags and they last a full year…It sucks all the air out and thus, no freezer burn. I vac seal almost everything that goes into my freezer, it saves me tons of money

  6. thank you this is my first time freezing zucchini. and all of my books tell me I have to blanche it,but i’m glad I don’t. so thank you for your help

    • You can also make it into “crab cakes” by using your favorite crab cake recipe and sub in the zucchini for the crab. Makes a nice side dish if sautéed.

      • Water bath canning zucchini is dangerous. You are putting yourself and whoever consumes it at risk of death from botulism. Please don’t try water bath canning zucchini unless you’re pickling it.

      • Anonymous,
        I have been canning for the last 25 years and am a Master Food Preserver. Yes, you can safely preserve your squash and zucchini for later consumption by using a pressure canner. Preserving low acid fruits and vegetables requires the use of a pressure canner; water bath canning is not sufficient to insure a safe to eat product. Simply get either an electric or stovetop pressure canner and follow the instructions that come with the canner. Whatever you decide to preserve, I would recommend getting a Ball canning cookbook, it can answer all the questions you could ever have about preserving just about anything.
        Happy preserving ?

  7. i have been spiralizing zucchini with the bigger blade and throw in ziplock bags and freeze. Just add to pasta sauce for reheating. I also slice them lengthwise to make lasagne without pasta noodles. I fan them in a freezer bag for freezer storage.

  8. I froze my freshly grated zucchini and left it with the natural juices to freeze. I froze it in generous 2 cup portions. Once defrosted and juice squeezed out it was only 1 cup, barely. I’m assuming that since there is a considerable amount of moisture when you grate it fresh, it loses it’s “plumpness”? Any thoughts?

  9. Do I throw away the seeds or can I grind them up? If I get an older zucchini it has a lot of seeds in the middle and I just throw them away and use the outside of the zucchini. What do you do?
    Thank you, Toby

    • I have found that the bigger zucchini seeds are tough. The smaller ones you can use the whole zucchini. I’ve done this for years. There’s also some recipes that use zucchini to make a fake crushed pineapple and a strawberry jam. These are done by using flavorings. I’ve only used Watkins flavorings though.I’ve also made a zucchini relish that I use on hot dogs, hamburgers, tuna salad. My favorite relish.

  10. Quick question for everyone. Have you tried draining/squeezing the excess moisture out of the zucchini before freezing it? There is always so much liquid from the thawed zucchini that my baked goods are too gooey. Just wondering if anyone has tried that/ if it worked better. Or do you just drain all that liquid off before adding the zucchini into your recipe? Thanks a bunch!

    • I don’t drain it before freezing because it isn’t usually dripping liquids after I grate it. If the recipe calls for a liquid I don’t drain the thawed zucchini, but substitute for that liquid instead. Does that make sense?

      • I grate my zucchini too and freeze in zip locks but also like to make zucchini sticks and bake them in the oven. Dredge the sticks in flour, then beaten egg ánd then mix of panto bread crumbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bake on cookie sheets in 400° oven for 15 to 20 min. They come out nice and crisp and delicious with ranch dressing as dip.

    • You can also make fritters by adding some egg, Panko, Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Then fry them up in patties.

    • That juice is intended to be there . The recipe takes that into account .
      It may look different after you freeze it but will be no less or more after it is thawed. It is airtight, there’s no way for it to change the amount that u put in there. Even when using fresh zucchini I always put a lot extra in my recipe. Also I never cook it until it is complete Rey some I take it out when there is still a very small amount on the toothpick.
      My zucchini break turns out soooo moist and delicious every single time🙂

  11. You can do anything to a zucchini that you can do to cucumbers. Love them as pickles and no one knows the difference.
    I have also used the shreds in tossed salads and coleslaw. And the last time I made macaroni salad I mixed in some shreds of Zucchini too.

  12. Thank you ladies for posting this, I have a basket full of zucchini from my garden and need to freeze it for Chocolate Zucchini Cake for the winter. I also use it in my stir fry’s and I like to make triangle’s for this. I will try to cut up some pieces and freeze them just like that and I hope it works. Also love the recipes. There was another site that said par boil your zucchini, but I thought there was a simple way and you posted it. Thanks so much ladies. Happy Gardening :))

      • DEATH BY CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE….this is awesome.

        EASYSERVES: 6
        INGREDIENTS

        1/2 c. melted butter, plus more for brushing pan
        1/2 c. cocoa powder, plus more for dusting pan
        1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
        1 tsp. baking soda
        1 tsp. cinnamon
        1/4 tsp. kosher salt
        1 c. sugar
        1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
        1 tsp. vanilla extract
        2 c. grated zucchini (from 1 large or 2-3 small)
        2/3 c. chocolate chips
        Flaky sea salt, for garnish
        DIRECTIONS

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and dust a loaf pan with cocoa powder.
        In large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
        In another large bowl, stir together sugar and egg and egg yolk until smooth, 1 minute. Add melted butter and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add zucchini, then add flour mixture in 3 additions. Fold in chocolate chips.
        Transfer batter to prepared dish and bake 50 minutes.
        Let cool slightly in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve.

        • This recipe is awesome! My daighters boyfriend who refuses to eat vegetables and said there was no way I could make zucchini taste good ate a whole loaf!!

    • Gloria, I am going to try something different this year to keep my zucchini for stir fry and other recipes more like fresh. My husband and I were watching an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats and he talked about freezing berries and veggies and he said the best way to keep them from turning to mush when you thaw them is to flash freeze with dry ice then bag and throw in the freezer this keeps fewer ice molecules from developing. We are going to give it a try.

  13. I shredded and froze green zucchini and some yellow squash. Can I make bread with the yellow squash? Will it taste much different than the green?

    • Yes you can, I just made some muffins with zucchini and yellow squash. Turned out great with great color. I almost always double the amount of zucchini a recipe asks for too. Leaves everything super moist and enhances the flavor.

    • I make lemon blueberry zucchini bread with the yellow zucchini it’s just as good I actually think it’s more moist

    • You can put it with leftover cornbread add egg, sauteed celery and onions, and I like pepper and sage then bake like cornbread dressing

      • You can make squash cakes by canning squash in chunks in pints. Hot water bath just to seal. Taste good in winter time. Make like potato cakes. Squash casseroles are great too with fresh squash.

    • I just made yellow squash jalapeno bacon cheddar bread using yellow squash it was two thumbs up found the recipe on Pinterest and changed it to my liking

  14. I use shredded zucchini to make fritters. This year I decided to plant zucchini this year and they are rolling in fast. Will the frozen zucchini still be good for a fritter.

    • I would say no because you have created more surface area. Which will cause it to retain more water once defrosted. So in my opinion I wouldn’t because they will be too soggy

  15. We do the same thing except we use a food processor to shred it and we drain as much of the liquid out as we can before hand. We gave some yummy zucchini recipes at our site if you want to check it out. Great post!

  16. My question is after I freeze the shredded zucchini and I decide to make some bread later in the year,do I thaw the zucchini or put in frozen??

    • I agree I have done it this way and let it thaw,but then the middle of the bread sinks as it bakes, I looked it up to see what the matter is and it says it is too wet ,well how do you keep it from being to wet when you freeze it.

      • Well when it is thawed, I would wring it out with a towel and then just use as normal. you may need to thaw more Zucchini to get the right amount though.

      • I grate my zucchini and spread it on a dish towel. Blot it with paper towels and let it sit out for ten minutes. I would think you could do that also with thawed zucchini. ,

      • I read you should put the zucchini in a strainer and sprinkle salt on it. Let it set there for 20 mins. And drain excess moisture. Then rinse with water to get salt off and ring it in a cheese cloth. Spread out to dry on baking sheet and then put in freezer bag

        • I would recommend against salting your zucchini as it could make it mushy. At least that’s what I’ve been told. You may want to make two very small batches – one salted and the other not to test it out:)

    • I’d say thaw it because it wouldn’t take much time and you can drain liquid out of it again by letting it sit in a strainer a bit.

  17. My favorite way to eat it is spun into raw pasta with a spiralizer that I bought from Amazon.

    My second most favorite way is sliced into lasagna noodles for low carb lasagna.

  18. If you have alot of green tomatoes you can shred them, drain them and use in any recipe that calls for zuchinni and they freeze great shredded. Zuchinnni dehydrates great and I add it to ground beef when making meat patties, I also buy plain frozen shredded potatoes, dehydrate these and they get added to extend meat patties and sneak in more veggies.

  19. Hello again, I forgot another favorite. Garlic zucchini pickle spears and the parts you have to cut off to make them fit into the jars you just pickle as chunks!! Delish!!!!!

  20. Opps, the only thing from the grocery store is the celery. 🙂
    You can add any veggies, green beans, carrots etc.
    🙂

  21. Hi Kendra, Eric’s right, zucchini relish is the best. You can also make the same relish out of yellow summer squash or even mix zucchini with the yellow. I always have to make alot of it because everyone thinks I need to keep them supplied :). My favorite thing to do is add it to my “base” that I make. My simple version is tomato sauce with diced tomatoes, onions, celery (from the grocery store 🙂 and bell pepper and can it. Then I make more of the same but add bite size pieces of zucchini and/or yellow summer squash (If you cut them into quarters lengthwise it’s easy to slice off the seeds since that’s the part that gets mushy) when the corn is ready you can throw it in too. I don’t add any spices so that I can use the “base” for anything. Season for over pasta or with rice or add water for soup. It’s possibilities are endless and you can use up alot of zucchini.
    Blessings All!!!!!!

    • Sounds delish, Julie!! Thanks! I’ve got tons of celery growing for the first time this year, but the stalks are very small, and have been bitter, unfortunately. I keep hoping they’ll get better, lol. If nothing else, I can let them go to seed and collect those for seasonings 🙂

  22. We like to store shredded zucchini as well. Zucchini bread in the winter time is awesome.
    When I was young, my mom did the mock pineapple with zucchini and I remember that it really did taste just like pineapple. The zucchini really soaks up the flavor.

  23. This is how we use up lots of Zucchini around our Homestead. 3 recipes below. Hope you enjoy – Julie

    ZUCCHINI CANDY
    10 cups zucchini 1/2 inch cubes
    (You could use “worms” about 3 inches long and
    1/4 inch thick and wide.)
    3 cups water
    2 pkgs. unsweetened Kool-Aid (We like black cherry)
    2 1/2 cups sugar

    Peel zucchini. Dice, removing seeds. Mix the liquid syrup together. Add zucchini. Bring to
    a boil and then simmer for 25 min. Drain. Put on dehydrator trays. Dry 14 hours at 125 degrees. Turn pieces over and dry another 4 hours. This will feel dry and not sticky when done. Store in jars or other tightly sealed containers.
    If you dip in sugar when you turn them, they will be more like “gum drops” on the outside.

    ZUCCHINI JAM

    6 cups grated zucchini
    1/4 cups lemon juice
    5 cups of sugar
    1 cups crushed pineapple
    6 oz box Jell-O – any flavor (try strawberry-yum)

    Put grated zucchini in saucepan and boil until tender – about 15 minutes. Add sugar, pineapple, and lemon juice. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add Jell-O. Stir until dissolved and put into jelly jars and seal. Pressure can at 10 pounds pressure for 10 minutes.

    MOCK – PINEAPPLE

    1 gallon zucchini
    1 (46 oz.) pineapple juice
    2 1/2 cups sugar
    1 cup lemon juice

    Peel the zucchini; be sure no green is on it. Squeeze out the water; add the pineapple juice, sugar, and lemon juice. Simmer all together for 20 minutes. Pack hot in jars and process 10 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
    Shred for Crushed pineapple
    Dice for Tidbit Pineapple
    Slice for Whole Pineapple (cut a hole in the center with a cookie cutter to remove seeds)

  24. I’ve been freezing grated zucchini for years. It’s wonderful. One thing you’ll find, though, is that upon thawing a lot of liquid separates. To compensate for it, I double the amount in a bag, figuring half of it will drain away, leaving me just enough for my recipe.

    It tastes the best in February, when the snow is flying. 🙂

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