Trade in your packaged lunchbox snacks for one you bake yourself. These muffins are cheesy and delicious. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

This story was first published in May 2015.

By this time in the school year, everyone is ready for a break from waking up early, doing homework and packing the same lunches week after week. Although we can’t make the end of school arrive sooner, we have a suggestion to perk up your lunch. It’s a snack you may not have tried: a savory muffin.

The new “Complete Children’s Cookbook,” published by DK, offers a few recipes for muffins that aren’t sweet. They usually include cheese and a vegetable or herbs. We chose one that features zucchini, a squash that you may have eaten in lasagna, quiche or a sweet bread. (Zucchini has a very mild flavor, so don’t worry about it taking over your muffin.)

The finished product is a moist, cheesy snack. After biting into one, you may want to ditch the packaged pretzels and granola bars forever. Or at least until the fall.

Zucchini Cheese Muffins

These take less than an hour to make, start to finish. If you have never used a box grater, ask an adult to show you how.

The muffins recipe comes from DK's “Complete Children's Cookbook,” published in 2015. (DK)

MAKE AHEAD: The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or individually wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.

Hands-on time: 25 minutes

Total time: Just under 1 hour

Makes: 12 muffins

Tools: 12-hole muffin pan, 12 paper liners, sharp knife, box grater, large mixing bowl, sieve or sifter, spoon, pitcher, fork, oven mitts, cooling rack


2 medium-size zucchini (12 to 13 ounces total)

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup packed, grated sharp cheddar cheese

2/3 cup low-fat milk

2 large eggs

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) lightly salted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the wells of a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners.

Trim the ends of the zucchini, then cut each one in half. Grate them using the large-holed side of a box grater. The yield is about 21/2 packed cups.

Holding a sifter or fine-mesh sieve over a mixing bowl, pour in the flour and baking powder. Sift into the bowl, then stir in the sugar, salt and pepper. Add 3/4 cup of the grated cheese and all of the grated zucchini.

Pour the milk into a liquid measuring cup. Add the eggs, then use a fork to lightly whisk them together. Whisk in the melted butter, then add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just enough to form a lumpy batter and making sure the cheese and zucchini are well distributed.

Divide the batter evenly among the paper liners. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until golden and firm.

Carefully turn out the muffins onto a wire rack to cool, turning them right side up. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition | Per muffin: 190 calories, 6 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat,
40 mg cholesterol, 420 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

Recipe tested by Toni L. Sandys; email questions to