DNX FOOD Recipes Zucchini cheese muffin slab

Zucchini cheese muffin slab

Zucchini cheese muffin slab post thumbnail image

This is a savoury zucchini cheese muffin in slab form which is a handy big-batch zucchini slice recipe to serve lots of people without fussing with muffin tins (I know you hate cleaning them too!). Economical. Hidden veg. 5 day shelf life. CHEESE. I challenge you to think of a reason not to make these immediately! 🙂

Zucchini cheese muffins ready to eat

Zucchini cheese muffin slab

Adapted from my Zucchini Cheese Loaf, this is a recipe that came into existence when I was shamelessly baking for the staff at the animal hospital when Dozer was in for surgery. Who me, bribing the doctors and nurses with baked goods to ensure Dozer got extra care and attention?? Never! 😇

Truthfully though, after 3 batches of muffins I lost the will to clean yet another muffin tin (paper liners just seem out of place with savoury muffins?) and flipped over to what I christened a zucchini slab-muffin. So much easier to make one big slab then cut it into pieces than using muffin tin after muffin tin!!

Though the initial versions were just fine, over the past few weeks I’ve been tweaking the recipe to make it even better (thank you team RTM for your brutally honest feedback!) to make the crumb softer and fluffier, and extend the shelf life to 5 whole days. I’m so happy with the end result, and I hope you love it too!

Freshly baked Zucchini cheese muffin-slab

Ingredients in Cheesy Zucchini Muffin Slab

Zucchini is the key ingredient in this muffin slab. It’s not just about sneaking in extra veggies or the lovely little green bits inside. It’s also keeps this muffin-slab fresh for up to 5 days, thanks to the moisture in the zucchini!


I use 3 zucchinis in this recipe. Two are grated and stirred into the batter, after sweating out excess water using a little salt. Zucchinis are over 90% water! The third is used to decorate the top.

I haven’t tried other vegetables in this recipe because my gut tells me the crumb will be a little drier than ideal. Even after squeezing out the excess water in the zucchini, there is still plenty of water in it which gets leeched out into the batter as it bakes. In fact, you’ll notice that the batter is a bit thicker than typical muffin batters – that’s to allow for residual zucchini moisture!

Zucchini cheese muffins

Dry ingredients

  • Plain flour (all-purpose flour) – Not self raising flour which already has baking powder built in. Generally speaking, cakes and muffins don’t rise as nicely and the crumb is not as soft. Better to add your own rising agent, like baking powder.

  • Baking powder and baking soda (bi-carb) – This recipe specifically uses both because it makes the softest crumb with an even rise (rather than a big dome). I know it’s irritating to have to use both, but it really does give the best result. I tried all sorts of combinations! However, if you’ve only got baking powder, you can substitute the baking soda with an extra 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, though the crumb will be a touch less tender (it will rise almost as well though).

  • Plain white vinegar – Acidity that gives the baking soda a kick start on the rising! You can’t taste it at all, it’s just to activate the baking soda. Either vinegar or something else with acidity in it (like yogurt or sour cream) is fairly standard in most of my baking recipes that use baking soda. I use regular white vinegar but any clear(ish) vinegar will work just as well. Don’t use balsamic vinegar!!! 🙂

  • Cheese – Use your favourite melting cheese like cheddar, tasty, colby (this is my everyday cheese), Monterey jack (this was, but difficult to find in Australia these days), gruyere (if your wallet stretches to this) etc. PS Pre-shredded is fine for this recipe!

    Mozzarella is not recommended because it does not have much flavour. If I were to use mozzarella, I’d probably use 150g / 5 oz mozzarella plus 75g / 2 1/2 oz parmesan.

  • Milk – Full fat cow milk is best, though low fat works too.

  • Large eggs, at room temperature – 55-60g/2oz eggs from a carton labelled “large eggs”. Make sure they are at room temperature not fridge cold. More on eggs for baking here (including a quick way to de-chill them).

  • Oil and butter – Oil keeps cakes and muffins moist whereas butter adds flavour. Muffins that dry out the next day really bother me, so I was adamant that I wanted to use a bit. However, I missed the flavour of butter when just using oil. So I landed on a combination of both! Use any neutral flavoured oil.

  • Garlic – I love the hint of garlic flavour in this muffin-slab! Use fresh garlic cloves (not dried), crushed using a garlic crusher or finely grated using a microplane. If using a knife, finely mince it then use the side of the knife to smear it into a paste.

How to make Zucchini Cheese Muffin Slab

I know it’s tempting to skip the zucchini sweating. I tried. And regretted it. The batter just got too soggy and didn’t cook through!

If you really short on time, you can reduce it to 10 minutes sweating time but use a tea towel to wring out the excess water (you’ll get more out than using hands).

  1. Sweat 20 minutes – Sprinkle the grated zucchini with salt and toss. Set aside for 20 minutes to draw water out.

  2. Squeeze out excess water using your hands. Just grab handfuls and squeeze. There’s no need to remove every single last drop (to do that, I’d ask you to use a tea towel) because the batter is deliberately designed a little thicker than typical as we will rely on residual water in the zucchini to add moisture as it bakes. But please make a bit of effort during this squeezing step!

    How much you need – We need 2 very tightly packed cups of squeezed out zucchini. A little more of less is fine, the recipe is pretty flexible. But if you have, say, 3 cups, that will weigh down the batter a little too much.

  1. Decorative topping – Slice the third zucchini thinly however you’d like (I do lengthwise then halve, coins is also nice). Then toss with a little oil and pepper (not salt, it makes it sweat, we will salt later).

  2. Whisk dry – For the batter, it’s delightfully straightforward as most muffins as. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt).

  1. Whisk wet – Then whisk all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Important to have all ingredients at room temperature else it won’t combine smoothly. For example, a jug of cold milk added into melted butter will make the butter solidify!

  2. Combine – Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until the flour is mostly incorporated, but not fully. Stop mixing when you can still see some bits of flour.

  1. Add-ins – Then add the cheese and zucchini and mix them through. Stop mixing once the zucchini and cheese is dispersed. Over-mixing will make the crumb less soft than it should be!

  2. Spread into a 23 x 33 cm / 9 x 13″ paper lined pan (I grease with butter).

  1. Top with the zucchini slices.

  2. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let it cool for a bit, then it’s ready to eat!

Stack of Zucchini cheese muffin-slab

Serving and storage matters

This is one of those foods that has a place from morning to night, whether it’s a breakfast on the run, a filler for your lunch box, after school snack or taking into the office to share with co-workers. I also particularly like that it’s “grab and go” without the need to fuss with plates for serving. Just a napkin, if you’re feeling civilised!

It will stay fresh for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge, though if it’s not too warm where you are then you can even just leave it in the pantry. The crumb stays moist thanks to the moisture in the zucchini as well as the oil in the recipe. And even at the tail end of its shelf life, a quick little toast in the oven is all it will take to rejuvenate.

Love to know what you think if you try this! In particular, I’d love to know what people use it for. Feeding hungry teenagers? Morning tea in the office? Book club?? Tell me, I want to know! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Zucchini cheese muffins ready to eat

Zucchini cheese muffin slab

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4.96 from 24 votes
Servings15– 20 people
Tap or hover to scale

Recipe video above. This is a zucchini loaded savoury cheese muffin in slab form which is a handy big-batch recipe to serve lots of people without fussing with muffin tins (pain to clean!). Consider it like a zucchini slice, but more like a muffin than a frittata. Excellent shelf life of 5 days, economical to make, this will easily serve 15 to 20 people and is great to tuck into lunch boxes or serve for morning tea. Don’t be alarmed by the thickness of the batter, it gets a lot of moisture from the zucchini as it bakes! (PS Next time, try the pizza version!)


  • 2zucchinis(300g / 10 oz, ~17cm/7″ long) (Note 1)
  • 3/4tspcooking salt / kosher salt
  • 2cups (tightly packed)shredded cheese at room temperature, like cheddar, tasty, colby, I use pre-shredded (Note 2)

Decorative topping:

  • 1medium zucchini
  • 1tspextra virgin olive oil
  • Pinchblack pepper
  • 2pinchessea salt flakes(optional, for sprinkling at end)

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 3/4cupsflour, plain/all purpose
  • 3 1/2tspbaking powder
  • 1/2tspbaking soda / bi-carbonate of soda(Note 3)
  • 1/2tspcooking salt / kosher salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2garlic cloves, crushed using a garlic crusher or finely grated using a microplane
  • 1cupmilk, preferably full fat, at room temp (I microwave 20 sec)
  • 50g / 3 tbspunsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • 3tbspneutral oil(canola, vegetable, peanut)
  • 2large eggs(55g/2 oz each), at room temperature
  • 1tspwhite vinegar(Note 4)



  • Sweat zucchini – Grate 2 of the zucchinis using a box grater. Toss with the salt then set aside for 20 minutes. Grab handfuls and squeeze out excess liquid (no need to be super forceful here but make a bit of effort!). You should have 2 very tightly packed cups. Set aside.
  • Decorative zucchini – Finely slice the 3rd zucchini however you want, to decorate the surface. I cut the zucchini in half then into long strips. Thin coins is also nice. Toss with the oil and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan-forced). Lightly grease a 23 x 33cm / 9 x 13″ metal pan with butter. Line with paper with overhang (so you can lift it out later).


  • Batter – Whisk the Dry ingredients in a large bowl using a handheld whisk. Make a well in the centre. Whisk the Wet ingredients in a separate bowl until combined. Pour the Wet into the Dry ingredients. Mix using a wooden spoon until the flour is mostly incorporated but there’s still flour visible.
  • Add-ins – Add zucchini and cheese then mix through. Some flour lumps is fine. Minimise mixing else the crumb will be tough. The batter will be thick – the zucchini will sweat more in the oven.
  • Bake – Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Top with the zucchini slices. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool – Sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use the excess paper to slide the slab onto a cooling rack then remove the paper. Cool for at least another 10 minutes.
  • Cut into pieces (3 x 5 pieces, or 4 x 5). Nobody ever says no to a smear of butter either, especially if served warm!

Recipe Notes:

1. Other veg – I haven’t tried this with carrot and other vegetables because my gut tells me it will be a little too dry. Because even though we sweat the excess water out of the zucchini (don’t skip this step), even more comes out as it bakes. Zucchinis are 90%+ water!!!2. Cheese – I know it sounds weird to ask for room temperature cheese! But this batter is quite thick and if the cheese is fridge cold, it will really bring down the temp of the batter so it won’t rise as well. PS I use pre-shredded. No need to grate your own for this recipe.Mozzarella – Doesn’t have enough flavour for this recipe, so if you use this, add 1/2 cup shredded parmesan.3. Baking soda –  This really is best using both baking powder and baking soda (I tried all sorts of combinations to try to use just one instead of both). But it really is better using both – baking soda makes the crumb a little softer. However, still VERY good using only baking powder, use an extra 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and no baking soda.4. Vinegar – Gives the baking soda a kick start to make the muffin rise. Similar effect that yogurt, buttermilk and sour cream has in cakes etc. You can’t taste the vinegar. Plain white vinegar is best but any neutral clear vinegar will work.5. Storage – stays fresh for 3 to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container, but serve at room temp or better yet, warm. Can be stored 2 days in the pantry as long as it’s not too hot in your house. Freeze for up to 3 months.Nutrition per serving assuming 15 servings.

Life of Dozer

His first visit back to Bayview dog beach after his surgery. Look at that smile. ❤️

I know that photo is wonderfully upbeat. And it truly does capture a moment that made me so happy! But the reality is, he didn’t swim. He just broke out into a trot for a brief moment and I happened to snap a photo. 😂

The truth is, he is still very much on a path to recovery. I’m learning to be patient and to lower my expectations for the pace and how much fitness/strength etc he will manage to regain. He is still a shadow of what he was 3 months ago before his laryngeal paralysis came on so swiftly. But I’ve taken him in to see a canine physiotherapist who has given me exercises to help strengthen his muscles (it’s amazing how much muscle mass he has lost in 3 months) which will help let him enjoy being out and about more.

He gets out and up more than did pre surgery, but still spends the vast majority of each day resting.

In good news though, high-value food does pique his interest enough to get up and get in the way once again, like he used to! Here he is at a photoshoot yesterday – that’s Rob Palmer (professional photographer) on the left and our Chef JB on the right.

And here are a few more snaps of Dozer over the Easter break. Babysitting the slow roasted lamb:

Ah yes, and his worried face at the sight of the Easter hats…. 😂

And I’m not quite sure if this is his tolerating face (from the bear hug) or relaxing face (from the belly scratches)!

Thank you once again for all the wonderful messages of support, cheering on Dozer’s recovery! I hope to be able to continue to bring positive news, and I promise to remain completely dedicated to his rehab! Nagi x

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