Crazy for Crust

Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins

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Do you still have zucchini in your garden? Or sitting on your counter? These muffins are the perfect way to use it up!

Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins - a fast and easy breakfast recipe! Throw one in a lunchbox for back-to-school!

Oh my gosh. School starts in a week and a half! How did it become August so soon? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sooooo looking forward to school. It means a regular schedule for everyone and a lot less yelling from me.

School is going to save my vocal cords. #keepingitreal

Why do I yell? I get angry. Why? Because I swear no one listens to me.

I cannot wait for the peace and quiet and order that school brings. Even if it means that I have to make lunches again every evening. It’ll be worth it.

Can I get a heck yeah?


Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins - a fast and easy breakfast recipe!

Speaking of lunches, and breakfasts for that matter, did you know that muffins are perfect for lunch boxes? It’s like getting a healthy cupcake for lunch. Getting a muffin in their lunch makes kids a rockstar in the cafeteria.

Pretty much that means you should make these muffins and send them to school with your kids. They’ll be a rockstar and come home excited and they’ll do their homework without complaining because of the rockstar status and then we’ll all live happily ever after.

Well, maybe not happily ever after. But at least through the car ride home.

Is that enough incentive to make these muffins? I mean, they use up the zucchini bats you have on your counter and they’re healthier and they’re filled with a cheesecake-like cream cheese filling.

Those are all good things, if you ask me.

Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins - a fast and easy breakfast recipe!

These muffins are very easy to make. These muffins are the marriage of my zucchini bread recipe and my pumpkin cream cheese muffins. Turn the bread into muffins (they bake faster!) and then add a cheesecake-like cream cheese filling. The only difference between these muffins and the others is that the cream cheese is inside the muffin.

The cream cheese is a little surprise when you’re eating the muffins. Well hello, cheesecake-inside-muffins. What a pleasant surprise!

This recipe makes 12 hearty muffins. The batter for the zucchini bread comes together in one bowl and uses a hefty dose of applesauce instead of lots of butter or oil. They stay moist with a great texture, like you’d expect a muffin to be. The zucchini and cinnamon give the muffin a nice flavor that’s very similar to carrot cake. If you were so inclined, you could just replace the zucchini with carrot and poof, it would be like spring again.

The cream cheese filling is just two ingredients – cream cheese and sugar – and it’s spooned into the middle of the muffins when you layer the batters in the muffin tin. Simply bake, cool, and eat.

The other thing I love about muffins: they freeze well. They are perfect for quick mornings, or throw one in a lunchbox and it’ll be defrosted by lunch.

And your kid will loooove you for it!

Fast and easy Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins! Perfect for leftover zucchini, these freeze well for easy breakfasts!

No yelling over lunches. Priceless!

5 from 1 vote
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Servings: 12 muffins

Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins

Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins - these easy zucchini muffins are filled with a cream cheese mixture. Like eating a cupcake for breakfast, only healthier!


  • 3/4 cup + 6 tablespoons granulated sugar — divided
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons sour milk — 1 teaspoon vinegar plus enough milk to make 7 tablespoons or you can use buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 4 ounces cream cheese — softened


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Stir 3/4 cup sugar, oil, and applesauce in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in eggs, milk, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly stir in flour, then stir in zucchini.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir cream cheese and 6 tablespoons sugar until smooth.
  4. Place about 2 tablespoons of batter in the bottom of each of 12 muffin cups. Top with equal portions of cream cheese (about 1 tablespoon per muffin) then equally divide remaining muffin batter over the top.
  5. Bake for about 18-24 minutes until the muffins are golden brown. Cool before eating. Serve warm or cold! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days for freeze for up to 1 month.

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  1. These muffins look gorgeous, Dorothy! I’ve never actually baked with zucchini before, so I’m loving this creative twist!

  2. When you were a teacher, did you look forward to school starting again?
    Exaaaaactly. 🙂
    I’m not giving these the kids. They look way to good, so all for me, please!
    Enjoy contemplating your upcoming relative freedom. I’ll be going back to work and very jealous.

  3. Oh man, these are mouth watering!!! Yum!!!! =D

  4. I played around with a zucchini recipe last night. But these muffins look so much better than the cupcakes I made!! Love the cream cheese center!

  5. School’s here already?! So crazy. If I was in elementary school, I’d probably be complaining right now about summer ending. But. These muffins probably would simmer me down, because let’s be honest, baked goods cure pretty much everything. These look amazing! 

  6. These look delicious! Love the tangy sweet flavor from the cream cheese 🙂

    • What would you suggest to omit the dairy of the soured milk? I use a dairy free cream cheese but wasn’t sure if I could substitute almond, coconut, oat milks and add vinegar to sour those?

      D Rich!

      • They won’t sour really with the vinegar, but you may want to add some vinegar (maybe about 1/2 teaspoon) or lemon juice to activate the baking soda! I’ve done that with banana bread (but not these muffins). Let me know how it works!

  7. The zucchinis are never ending from my garden! I’ve made like four loaves of bread!! Back to school means back to work for me, I’ve still got some time though 🙂

  8. Wow – your schools start early. We don’t begin until after Labor Day, and we start Kindergarten this year! Love the cream cheese surprise in these muffins!

  9. I’ll give ya a heck yeah to school starting so the yelling can end!  I feel the same way, no one listens to me unless I use my mean voice!  I hate it!  Now- I do have some zucchini and cream cheese that need used up so this is the perfect solution!  However, I may end up keeping them all to myself! 🙂

  10. Is there supposed to be baking soda in this recipe?  Where is the leavening. 

  11. Now this is the best zucchini muffin I have ever seen! 

  12. Omg genius! Best use ever of zucchini I think!! The muffins look so fluffy and soft and that cream cheese just seals the deal! And they’re healthy so I can eat the whole batch, right 🙂

  13. I love zucchini bread, so I’ll be itching to try this. And I love the cream cheese in the middle. Sounds like a little pocket of happiness. 🙂

  14. Well, we disagree on the weather and school starting. I just want summer to go on foreeeever. BUT we definitely agree on these muffins. I’ll take a dozen! You delivering? 

  15. I made these muffins tonight and they did not bake properly- they were still raw inside and bake on the out side, toothpick came out clean. i did use the silicon muffin cups, not sure if that was the issue. I tried baking them again after removing them from the silicon, but it didn’t help. They did taste great even raw. I will try these again without using the silicon muffin cups. 

    • Possibly they needed to bake longer? I know that I didn’t test these with a toothpick because of the cream cheese (it would be super gooey inside anyway) but went by how they looked on the outside. Check your oven temperature too – sometimes that’ll cause things to darken before they’re fully baked (if it’s too hot). I’ve never used silicone, so I’m not sure how it would affect them!

  16. Hold it. Did I just read that you used to be a teacher? Or did I already know that and forget it? That’s what happens when you get old. You forget stuff. Just to warn you 🙂 I used to be a teacher, too! But that’s a whole other story! I really wish we had planted zucchini in our tiny garden instead of counting on the generosity of others whose gardens are overflowing with zucchini. I have been waiting and waiting, but no zucchini has been forthcoming. Alas, I may have to actually BUY some, but it would be worth it for these muffins!

  17. Wow, can’t believe how quickly school starts, mine doesn’t start until after Labor Day. I would love to find these in MY lunch box, they look incredible! Love the cream cheese center!

  18. Oh man.  Screw the kids. I need these in my life.

  19. LOOOVE the addition of cream cheese to this awesome muffin.  Pinned! 

  20. Yay for school almost being here and for zucchini muffins full of cheesecake!!!  As much as I will miss summer, I need that school routine to be here.  I’m so out of focus right now…which is not good when you have a bazillion things to do.  But I do have zucchini on the counter, so I’m thinking muffins first!!!

  21. No kiddos here but I am totally packing these for ME! That cream cheese center is calling my name!!

  22. Love the cream cheese filling! Perfect way to use up the abundance of zucchini right now!

  23. I crown you the Zucchini Queen, I love all of your Zucchini recipes.

  24. Just made these, but I think they need baking powder or soda, there no fluffy consistentsy. Do you put either of those in your recipe? 

    • OMG! Thank you. I’m so sorry! I can’t believe I forgot that, it’s totally in my notes. 🙁 It’s edited now, thank you again! 1 teaspoon of baking soda. 🙂

      • Just seeing this. Oh thanks! I was so disappointed bc I had to throw them all out, and cream cheese doesn’t come cheap and it’s not something I always have on hand . Thanks for responding! If I get around to making them again I’ll make sure to let you know how they turn out. 

  25. I think all baked goods should have a cream cheese filling 🙂

    • Just seeing this. Oh thanks! I was so disappointed bc I had to throw them all out, and cream cheese doesn’t come cheap and it’s not something I always have on hand . Thanks for responding! If I get around to making them again I’ll make sure to let you know how they turn out. 

  26. I made these over the weekend for a BBQ party. I totally cut down on the sugar, used 2/3c. in the muffin and 3 T in the cream cheese, I think i could have cut it even more. They took a long time to cook, at least 30 minutes. The texture after they cooled was a bit weird I’ll admit very dense but they tasted yummy. The cream cheese did leak out the top so next time I’ll put 1 T muffin mixture first then 1 T cream cheese then 2T more on top to help keep the mixture in. I also forgot buttermilk, so I used 1 cup almond/coconut milk with 1T lemon juice, let it sit for 5 minutes and just used what I needed. Had several people comment on how good they were. Thanks!

  27. These are fab! Do you need to refrigerate these to keep?

  28. These are delicious, the recipe is a keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing it!
    There’s still a point I’d like to bring though: I’m really not sure why there would be 6 tablespoons of sugar in 1/2 cup of cream cheese. I only put 2 tablespoons of sugar and it was sweet enough.
    Also, I modified the recipe a bit to fit my breakfast needs: I changed the white flour for some wheat and other grain flours (I don’t remember which ones). Finally, I subsituted half the zucchini for carrots because I didn’t feel like using all my zucchinis, which are quite expensive over here.
    Anyway, overall, lovely muffins. I truly like them!!!

  29. Can these be made with almond or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour?

    • I’ve never used almond/coconut flour, so I’m not sure how they interchange with AP. If you’re looking to make it GF, you can use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour for substituting!

  30. You are officially my first recipe comment of the thousands I have read and few I have actually tried. I used this recipe, although WITHOUT the cream cheese part, to make whoopie pies! It made exactly 12 perfect pies using a whoopie pie pan. I used a different recipe than yours for the cream cheese filling but the cakes are fantastic especially using unsweetened applesauce in lieu of butter! It only took one large zucchini to make the whole 2 cups and it’s even better that it is Not required to extract the zucchini liquid! I gave these whoopie pies to my Meals on Wheels clients and they were a hit! I’ll be sharing this for sure!

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