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Red Velvet Cookies slathered with lots of cream cheese frosting are irresistibly soft and chewy, just the way red velvet fans love them. This recipe makes a big batch for lots of smiles all around.

Red velvet cookies on a counter with a cooling rack behind them.

Originally, red velvet flavor came about as an offshoot of devil’s food cake. “Velvet cake” was more of a soft, smooth-textured chocolate cake served during the Victorian era. When wartime rations made ingredients like chocolate scarce, the cake was made with cocoa powder and beetroot, to add moisture and color.

Fast forward to Steel Magnolias, when red velvet became even more popular as a southern dessert staple. I like the cookie version because it’s easy to make and even easier to share.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Red Velvet Cookies Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for red velvet cookies.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Red food coloring: Red food coloring comes in liquids, gels, and powders. The red coloring adds visual appeal but not flavor or function. So if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. You could also try 1 tablespoon beet powder in place of the food coloring for a slight red hue.
  • White vinegar: A little extra acid helps the baking powder do its job, but it also interacts with the cocoa powder and helps brighten the color of the cookies. No vinegar? Use lemon juice.
  • Vanilla extract: I’ve been making my own lately, and you can, too.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Butter creamed ina. mixing bowl.
  1. Scrape down the sides of the bowl along the way, if needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well in between each, then add the food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Red velvet cookie dough in a silver mixing bowl.
  1. After all the wet ingredients are blended, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Occasionally, scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. (At this point, if you’re adding chips, they get added right after the flour.) When mixed throughly, the dough is ready to go. With a cookie scoop (OXO cookie scoop, size 40 portioner, or one heaping tablespoon at a time) roll out the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Then place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart—for approximately 12 cookies per baking sheet.
Balls of cookie dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  1. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees, until the edges are slightly golden brown. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
Baked red velvet cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

To make the cream cheese frosting:

  1. To make the cream cheese frosting, wash out that mixer bowl; you’ll need it. On medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until very creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Cream cheese frosting being made in a silver mixing bowl.
  1. Next, add the vanilla and the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl down when necessary.
Cream cheese frosting being made in a silver mixing bowl.
  1. Spread the frosting on the completely cooled cookies, then sprinkle any sugar or sprinkles over the fresh frosting.
Red velvet cookies on a cooling rack.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 48 Red Velevet cookies. You can adjust the yield by making larger or smaller cookies (but your baking times will change, too).
  • Storage: Store extra cookies covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Make ahead: Make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator up to 3 days before you bake the cookies. Without frosting, the baked cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Room temperature ingredients: Cookie dough is always better when you start with room temperature ingredients, especially butter, eggs, and cream cheese. If you forgot to leave the egg out, warm it up by placing it in a cup of warm water for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Chill the dough: If you like loftier cookies that don’t spread out as much, chill the dough. Make the dough the day before and pop the bowl in the refrigerator. Or better yet, scoop or roll the cookies into balls and freeze them on a sheet tray for an hour or two before baking.
  • Chocolate chips: After all, red velvet is sort of, kind of a chocolate dessert. Add up to 2 cups (per batch) of white, milk, or semi-sweet chocolate chips to the dough.
  • Peppermint cookies: A recipe made the same way but with peppermint extract instead of vanilla.

Peppermint Cookies

A gorgeous plate of red velvet, cream cheese-frosted Peppermint Cookies is exactly what Santa’s hoping for. Leave some of his favorite Christmas cookies out this year, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a little…

30 minutes
View Recipe

More delicious desserts

Red velvet cookies on a countertop.

Red Velvet Cookies

Red Velvet Cookies slathered with lots of cream cheese frosting are irresistibly soft and chewy, just the way red velvet fans love them. This recipe makes a big batch for lots of smiles all around.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 48 cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 171

Ingredients 

For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons red food coloring (see note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar (see note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (see note 3)

For the frosting:

Instructions 

To make the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Add eggs and beat well. Beat in red food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Working with 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and lay on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (I use the OXO medium cookie scoop, a size 40 portioner, and do 12 scoops of dough per baking sheet).
  • Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks. Repeat with remaining cookie dough (Yield: about 48 cookies).

To make the frosting:

  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled cookies. Store in the refrigerator or store unfrosted cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Red food coloring: Red food coloring comes in liquids, gels, and powders. The red coloring adds visual appeal but not flavor or function. So if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. You could also try 1 tablespoon beet powder in place of the food coloring for a slight red hue.
  2. White vinegar: A little extra acid helps the baking powder do its job, but it also interacts with the cocoa powder and helps brighten the color of the cookies. No vinegar? Use lemon juice.
  3. Vanilla extract: I’ve been making my own lately, and you can, too.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about 48 Red Velevet cookies. You can adjust the yield by making larger or smaller cookies (but your baking times will change, too).
  5. Storage: Store extra cookies covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  6. Make ahead: Make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator up to 3 days before you bake the cookies. Without frosting, the baked cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 171kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 123mgPotassium: 25mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 328IUCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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