Sensory friendly Chocolate Zucchini Muffin
Heidi Hughes

Sensory Friendly Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Sensory friendly Chocolate Zucchini Muffin
Heidi Hughes

Sensory Friendly Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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Sensory Friendly Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are easy to make.  They are also nutritious and delicious.  If you are anything like our family, you or someone you know is sharing the wealth of their garden, or you are enjoying all the farmer’s markets that pop up this time of year everywhere! One thing they all have in common is Zucchini. That fast-growing fruit vine that always seems to produce more than one house can eat.

Sautéing or grilling them is the go-to cooking method in many kitchens. Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) are an interesting alternative for those who want carb- or gluten-free alternatives.  In my home, however, we have a little sensory sensitive little one (my ‘Fox’) from whom we are always trying to find new and fun ways to hide the nutritious produce so that our little Fox will eat it (maybe even some of the adults don’t really care for them either 😉)

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are an excellent recipe for all that zucchini sitting in the back of the fridge taking up space. The recipe below has been modified from a Chocolate Zucchini Bread by Two Peas & Their Pod. These muffins will keep for ~4 days on the counter or up to a week in the fridge. They can be frozen for ~1 month in a refrigerator freezer or ~2-3 months in a deep freeze and defrosted individually for serving. This recipe can also be doubled to handle larger zucchini harvests.

I hope the zucchini haters in your home love them as much as the ones in mine.

Happy Eating! 😋


Sensory Friendly Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time ~25 mins

Total Time 45 mins

Makes ~ 14 muffins

Ingredients for Sensory Friendly Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten free or regular)
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa or unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (or egg substitute)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled (or vegetarian butter/ Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup canola, vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup  packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups packed shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup  semisweet chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Put muffin papers in muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. Grate zucchini on the smallest holes on a box grater or handheld grater. This will allow the zucchini to dissolve while baking making it disappear into the cake of the muffin. If there is a lot of zucchini water, pour off so muffins are not too moist.
  4. In a large bowl, add the eggs/ egg sub, melted butter, oil, vanilla extract, and brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Stir in the shredded zucchini until just combined.  (If you are cooking with kids you can draw a face on the egg with a wax crayon and have the child tap the nose to crack the egg.)
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, don’t over mix.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips. (if you don’t have chocolate chips you can chop up your own chocolate into chip-sized pieces)
  7. Scoop batter into muffin cups (I use a large ice cream scoop). Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out mostly clean, you might have some melted chocolate chips on the toothpick and that is fine. You just don’t want a lot of gooey batter.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Tips and variations

-if you use coconut oil, make sure it is melted and slightly cooled.

-If using egg substitute make sure all the dry ingredients are fully dissolved and it has had time to set up to have a real egg consistency. This also helps it mix in better.


Hope you have fun making this recipe!  ENJOY!


Great gardening reads for kids

The Giant Zucchini by Catherine Siracusa

Zora’s Zucchini Book by Katherine Pryor

About the Author

Heidi Hughes is a mom, nutritionist, and restauranteur living in Baltimore, Maryland. One of her two sons, whom she calls ‘the little fox’ is on the autism spectrum. Heidi is an expert on homeschooling and sensory issues, especially creating nutritious recipes without sensory triggers. She is passionate about helping other parents with neurodiverse children navigate parenting challenges!

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