Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva was handed his first start in almost two years, but his presence, coupled with opportunities for Alexandre Pato and Lucas Moura, failed to inspire any goals for the Brazilians during the first half.
The half-time introduction of Chelsea midfielder Oscar changed Brazil's fortunes, though. The substitute broke the deadlock just before the hour mark when his deflected strike from 20 yards out found the net.
The contest was then put out of Zambia's reach in the 66th minute when Cruzeiro defender Dede rose highest inside the area to convert Neymar's cross for what was his first goal at international level.
Oscar had the chance to add a third for the South American giants in the closing stages, but he failed to score from 12 yards out.
The result means that Brazil have won 11 of their last 12 matches.