Spreading depolarization (SD) is a feed-forward wave that propagates slowly throughout brain tissue and recovery from SD involves substantial metabolic demand. Presynaptic Zn2+ release and intracellular accumulation occurs with SD, and elevated intracellular Zn2+ ([Zn2+]i) can impair cellular metabolism through multiple pathways. We tested here whether increased [Zn2+]i could exacerbate the metabolic challenge of SD, induced by KCl, and delay recovery in acute murine hippocampal slices. [Zn2+]i loading prior to SD, by transient ZnCl2 application with the Zn2+ ionophore pyrithione (Zn/Pyr), delayed recovery of field excitatory post-synaptic potentials (fEPSPs) in a concentration-dependent manner, prolonged DC shifts, and significantly increased extracellular adenosine accumulation. These effects could be due to metabolic inhibition, occurring downstream of pyruvate utilization. Prolonged [Zn2+]i accumulation prior to SD was required for effects on fEPSP recovery and consistent with this, endogenous synaptic Zn2+ release during SD propagation did not delay recovery from SD. The effects of exogenous [Zn2+]i loading were also lost in slices preconditioned with repetitive SDs, implying a rapid adaptation. Together, these results suggest that [Zn2+]i loading prior to SD can provide significant additional challenge to brain tissue, and could contribute to deleterious effects of [Zn2+]i accumulation in a range of brain injury models.