Zucchini Nutella Swirl Muffins

Zucchini Muffins Nutella Swirl

Baking Drama produces Zucchini Muffins with Nutella Swirl.

Life and baking are one and the same. There are firm rules and other areas that offer plenty of room for interpretation. There are moments of triumph and toothsome rewards. There are devastating failures that you can’t fully grasp the depths of until the very end. Baking, like life, is a delicate balance of methodology and creative out-pour. Dangerous, yet sweet.

I often find little life lessons in my interaction with food. In many ways, cooking has taught me to:  be resourceful, stay open-minded, learn from my mistakes, and trust the process.

The latter I find to be the most difficult.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

There is something deep within me that often wants to fling “the process” off a cliff and not look back. But if I did that, I wouldn’t be “learning from my mistakes” would I?

In baking, as with life, the process matters. You can disagree with the process all day, but you’ll never win that Pillsbury Bake-Off.

This zucchini muffin recipe in particular, was a refresher course in “trusting the process.” I’m embarrassed to tell you I made them FOUR times. IN THE SAME DAY. Because I was certain my “tweak” wouldn’t result in the failure I knew was a guaranteed outcome. Why did I make faulty tweaks three times? And why did I keep making additional batches of Zucchini Muffins with Nutella Swirl? I’m stubborn. Really stubborn.

Zucchini Nutella Muffins

So now that my flaws are out on the table, let’s discuss what I did wrong.

Batch One. I over filled the muffin tins. Of course, I KNEW my muffins were bound to spill out in the oven, but I wanted to get all the batter in 8 liners. The muffins also needed a little boost in flavor.

Batch Two. I over filled the muffins AGAIN–10 this time. I added too much Nutella, so the tops were a complete mess.

Batch Three. In effort to build the flavor, I added almond extract, trying to play off the nuttiness of the hazelnuts in Nutella. They were ok, but not blog-worthy. And oh yes, I overfilled the muffin liners AGAIN. Swears!

Batch Four. Finally, I paired back the size of my recipe and added lemon zest, instead of almond extract. Tasty Success!

These Zucchini Muffins were light, moist, and flavorful with a decedent chocolatey top. They were worth the wait.

How to Make Zucchini MuffinsHow to make Zucchini Bread

So if you don’t want to remake the same recipe 4 times, don’t break the concrete rules of baking. It’s important to think of baking as chemistry. Each step of a recipe is an important part of the scientific process, and if adjusted, WILL result in a different outcome.

Be sure to MEASURE, mix your wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, add your eggs one at a time, take the extra few minutes to cream your butter and sugar until fluffy, and for the love of God, don’t overfill your muffin liners.

zucchini and chocolate


Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Zucchini Muffins with Nutella Swirl


1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 extra large egg
1 cup grated zucchini
Zest of one lemon
½ cup Nutella


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flour salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Whisk well.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add the egg; beat in.

Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until just combined.

Stir in the zucchini and lemon zest.

Use a ¼ cup scoop to evenly distribute the batter between the muffin liners. They should be 2/3 full.

Dollop 1 teaspoon of Nutella on top of each scoop of batter and swirl with a toothpick.

Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Check the centers with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out clean before removing the muffins from the oven.

*This recipe can be made in two loaf pans. Bake for 35-50 minutes.

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126 Responses to “Zucchini Nutella Swirl Muffins”

  1. #
    Lucy Burdette — June 29, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    Hmmm, I would have thought the almond extract was just the thing! but I’ll trust your process:)


  2. #
    Jean Soo — June 29, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    wow, zuchini and chocolate!! sounds so refreshing! this is such an inno~licious bakes! (innovative + delicious)


  3. #
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table — June 29, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    They cetainly look like they are worth the effort! I’m buzzing/sharing/and bookmarking these immediately… 4th of July = muffins, no? :)

    One question… what did you do with the “fail” muffins?


  4. #
    Chrissy — June 29, 2011 @ 9:45 am

    That’s awesome. I love your 4 batch baking adventure. I must say you have a heap of patience to wait THAT long to nom on such a delicious muffin! Thanks for sharing, I love zucc and nutella and together I am sure they are a match made in heaven!


  5. #
    giordin — June 29, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    oh my goodness, i can’t wait to make these! what a wonderful idea. i got a bunch of delicious, fresh zucchinis in my CSA box this week! now i know exactly what i’m going to do with them!


  6. #
    ClickandCookRecipes — June 29, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    I love how honest you are about your cooking and the trial and errors. Makes me feel better about the trouble I have with baking! LOL These look wonderful and I’m excited to try them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  7. #
    Chef Dennis — June 29, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    I do have to try these muffins, I love savory muffins and always have an over abundance of zucchini
    I’m glad you were so persistent!


  8. #
    Kate@Diethood.com — June 29, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

    I.Must.Make.These. This is taking chocolate and zucchini to a whole new, crazy-delicious level! I love it!! Then again I love everything you make. :)


  9. #
    sensiblecooking — June 29, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

    That is the best muffin recipe ever. Who would have thought of zucchini and nutella together? I am so making it tonight.


  10. #
    Cookin' Canuck — June 29, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

    That opening shot is stunning, Sommer. I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to stop eating these pretty muffins.


  11. #
    Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} — June 29, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    Wow! What an amazing combination. I would most certainly have to guarantee they would get eaten right away so I didn’t eat the whole batch!


  12. #
    elle marie — June 29, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    The green really comes out, I really like the contrast in colors! Awesome! Hope you are having a wonderful summer so far.


  13. #
    Eileen — June 29, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

    Holy cow – look at the number of comments these little beauties generated. They are beautiful. I can even convince my self they are healthy because they have Zucchini in them. Must try soon!


  14. #
    Baking Serendipity — June 29, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    I definitely appreciate your dedication to this recipe…the fourth batch looks fantastic! I love chocolate in zucchini bread, but never thought to use Nutella…it sounds fantastic!


  15. #
    Erin@TheFoodMentalist — June 29, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

    These look so delicious and moist! I am definitely going to try these. Thanks for the post :)


  16. #
    something_good — June 30, 2011 @ 1:37 am

    Since joining Foodbuzz I was overwhelmed by all Nutella & Oreos recipes, so I succumbed myself in making variations :) . I stumbled upon a perfect spread, called Gianera, that beats Nutella (pls don’t kill me) so I will try and make these muffins with it.
    They look excellent!


  17. #
    Reese@SeasonWithSpice — July 1, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    Hi Sommer, that’s great that the lemon zest did the trick. The magic of adding a bit of spice.

    Happy 4th of July weekend to you and your family!

    Reese & Mark


  18. #
    Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) — July 2, 2011 @ 12:47 am

    These look delicious. Stumbled, here and on Bella Nutella :D


  19. #
    kita — July 5, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    We don’t do zucchini in this house because the BF wont stand for it – but if I could sneak it in as a muffin…. with nutella – I’m sure it could change his mind!


  20. #
    April Hunter — July 5, 2011 @ 10:14 am

    Making these tonight for house group….bought the smallest jar of nutella available so i would not gorge myself!!!!


  21. #
    claudia lamascolo — July 6, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    oh yes I am soooooo trying this one!


  22. #
    Heather — July 13, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    These were great. I needed a touch more liquid, so added a second egg at the last minute – perhaps I had small eggs (yes I didn’t follow the specificity of chemistry), however they turn out lovely and were delicious! This recipe is a keeper.


  23. #
    Lynn Bolser — July 14, 2011 @ 8:27 am

    Just popped these in the oven. Emily loves Nutella and nobody saw the zucchini so we will see!


  24. #
    Leslie — July 17, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    I have zucchini coming out my ears since my neighbor and dad have been giving me part of their crop. I made zucchini bread this past week (adding semi-sweet choco chips instead of the traditional raisins and pecans). I have a recipe I’m going to try this week for zucchini cakes (by The Pioneer Woman) and I want to try this too. Yumm! Love me some Nutella too. ;)


  25. #
    Ann — July 20, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

    I made these last night and they are delicious! It’s the first time I’ve tried Nutella. After all the comments I was curious so I opened the jar on the way home from the store to try it. Amazing! I even got the kids to eat zucchini this way.


  26. #
    Jessica — August 4, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Oh. My. Gosh.

    This is, hands-down, the best zucchini bread recipe EVER! Even the anti-zukes in my household love them!

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


  27. #
    Gigi — August 23, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    These would be perfect if they had less butter. I made them, but they taste too much like butter.


    • Sommer — August 23rd, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

      Hey Gigi, The butter is what makes them extra moist. You could always substitute shortening or oil. Although oil would make the batter runny and the Nutella would probably sink! :)


    • JT — December 20th, 2013 @ 9:20 am

      I used 3/4 of a stick of butter and spelt flour and they are delicious! My gluten free friends were SO impressed! Giving these as Christmas gifts at the office today =)



  28. #
    Gigi — August 30, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    Thanks Sommer! Might try to sub half the butter with virgin coconut oil next time. The muffins did freeze perfectly. Guess it depends what mood I’m in since I had another one the other day & didn’t mind all the butter.


  29. #
    Jill — September 19, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

    Warming the nutella for a few seconds in the microwave made it easier to swirl. I also added about 1/4 cup of flaked hazelnuts to the muffins to ‘tie’ the muffins and nutella together. Might use chocolate chips next time for the same purpose!


    • Jill — September 19th, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

      Oh No! The nutella sank into the muffins as they cooked. Is the batter supposed to be quite solid or is it like a regular muffin batter? I’m trying to adapt the recipe to a gluten-free version.


      • Sommer — September 19th, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

        Hey Jill, the batter is usually just a tad thicker than traditional muffin batter. My guess is that heating the nutella caused it to sink. If it’s at room temp, the batter has a little extra time to cook in order to keep the nutella up. Could also have something to do with gluten-free flours, but since I don’t know what you used I can’t say for sure. …Oh well-they should still taste good. :)

        • Jill — September 22nd, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

          I didn’t warm it the first time I tried them – it was just a thought that occurred to me after I tried swirling the room temp nutella. My favorite GF flour mix is bean flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch and cornstarch with xanthan gum added to give it some binding power. The flopped attempted does taste lovely and I will give it another try.

  30. #
    Leesha — September 21, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

    *bookmarking* Can’t wait to try these!!


  31. #
    Jeannie — October 10, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    LOVE these muffins!!!! Yummy to the tummy! :D


  32. #
    Jenni MacArthur — February 9, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    Totally making these for my Dad’s birthday brunch next week. Such an unexpected combination and it sounds divine!


  33. #
    Steph — February 9, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    what an amazing combo! cant wait to try these


  34. #
    Jan — February 28, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    I made these last night. EXCELLENT. The lemon zest was brilliant.


  35. #
    Lyndsay — March 13, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    My batter came out pretty thick and I had a hard time getting the Nutella to swirl. Should I warm the Nutella up first? Other than the look of them – not a pretty as yours :) – they were absolutely delicious!


  36. #
    Vicky — June 10, 2012 @ 6:02 am

    These really look amazing. What a great idea! My son will eat anything if it has Nutella in it… so thank you!!


  37. #
    Diana @ a girl, a dog & an oven — July 24, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    I made these today to try and make a dent in the huge amount of zucchini I have….wow! They’re delicious!! Thanks for what I’m sure will be a much repeated recipe!


  38. #
    www.johnbuckart.com — June 7, 2013 @ 8:32 am

    Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!


  39. #
    ashleyallyson.com — June 7, 2013 @ 9:20 am

    Hi, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!


  40. #
    Emily — July 21, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    I can’t wait to try this out on my kid! Anything with Nutella is a hit in our house, and I wanted something different from the usual zucchini bread I bake when in season.


  41. #
    Christine — August 3, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

    I made these tonight… And they came out absolutely wonderful! Thank you!!!


  42. #
    Karla — February 12, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

    Can I substitute regular flour to almond flour?


  43. #
    Connie C — June 20, 2014 @ 9:39 am

    Just made these. WOW! I added a dash of cloves because that’s what I usually put in my zucchini bread. Running to the store to buy more zucchini as when my teenagers arrive home, they’ll be gone in a nanosecond.


  44. #
    Mira — September 19, 2014 @ 5:34 pm

    Great recipe! Pinning!



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