Frosted Sugar Cookies | Red Velvet Sugar Cookies - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Cookies | Dessert

Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

June 11th, 2019
4.15 from 7 votes
4.15 from 7 votes

Easy cut-out Red Velvet Cookies are soft and brilliantly colorful, perfect for Fourth of July, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or anytime you're craving that red velvet flavor! Add simple cream cheese frosting for extra deliciousness!

Yield: 24 cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Red velvet + cream cheese frosting just belong together!!
Texture: The cookies are slightly crunchy at the edges but still a little soft in the middle.
Ease: Not quite as easy as drop cookies but all the more fun 🙂
Pros: Festive twist on sugar cookies.
Cons: These require 1 1/2 hours of chilling time.
Would I make this again? Yes! I’ve been making these for years.

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I have to admit I’m not always a fan of red velvet flavored anything.

Why? Because I’m a total chocoholic.

So the fact that red velvet has just a hint of chocolate is just not enough for me!

red velvet cookie dough and cookie cutter

But recently I’ve come around more to the idea. That plus it seems to be a favorite among so many of my friends, family, and readers!

What’s red velvet without cream cheese frosting? I just had to add it to this recipe to really take the flavor situation to that next level. That’s where I get excited. Check my recipe tips below for insights into the frosting, as well as other options.

red velvet cookies from scratch on a cooling rack

I’m publishing this recipe in the summer so I can’t wait to make these cookies for Independence Day. But seriously with the right cookie cutter you could make these for so many holidays. I hope this recipe becomes a family favorite!

How to Make Homemade Red Velvet Cookies

Be sure to read the recipe all the way through before baking these cookies. That way, you know how much time to set aside for chilling and rolling out the dough. Also take a peek at the bottom of this pink box to see exactly what products I love to use for this recipe.

What is the best food coloring for red velvet cookies?

For brilliant red velvet cookies, I like to use gel food coloring. Specifically, Americolor Super Red gel coloring. It’s available on Amazon or at some speciality and cake decorating stores.

If you can’t find that, then Wilton’s gel food coloring is the next best option. You want to make sure to get the pot of Wilton food coloring that says “concentrated paste,” not the ones that are in little squeeze tubes. Those aren’t as vibrant.

And you definitely want to avoid using decorative red icing, which is meant as the final icing product and not as an ingredient to color icing.

How to Roll Out Cookie Dough

My least favorite part of rolling out cookie dough is the mess and having the dough stick to the work surface and rolling pin.

So instead, I placing the dough between two large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and roll the dough out that way. It’s SO much cleaner and easier. You could also use silicone baking mats but you’ll be limited to their size so you may need to divide the dough into 3 portions before rolling out instead.

Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. If you want thicker softer cookies, go slightly thicker than that.

If the dough is too firm to roll out, let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before rolling. If it becomes too soft, pop it in the fridge or freezer until it’s firmed up.

Using a tall round metal cookie cutter helps to get the cleanest shapes. I like to stamp out the shapes them use the bottom parchment piece to help peel the dough away without damaging the shape at all.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

I have two tips for ensuring perfectly smooth, creamy, and delicious cream cheese frosting. Number one – make sure your cream cheese and butter are completely softened to room temperature. Use a high quality cream cheese.

Number two – sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the frosting. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. These two steps will prevent any lumps. If you want a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar.

If you want a decorative frosting instead, check out my easy cookie icing recipe. If you’d prefer classic buttercream instead, just click here.

Get all my tips for the best cream cheese frosting here.

You could also use a more generous layer of cream cheese frosting and create sandwich cookies instead!

How to Make Red Velvet Cookies Ahead of Time

Unfrosted cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Once the cookies are frosted store them at room temperature for up to 1 day.

You can also freeze the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Just make sure they don’t get stuck underneath something heavy where they could break. Cut-out cookies are best stored already baked. That’s the opposite from drop cookies, which I like to store as frozen balls of dough.

Products Used to Make Red Velvet Cookies:

red velvet cookies from scratch with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles

More Cookie Recipes

4.15 from 7 votes

How to make
Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Easy cut-out Red Velvet Cookies are soft and brilliantly colorful, perfect for Fourth of July, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or anytime you're craving that red velvet flavor! Add simple cream cheese frosting for extra deliciousness!


For the cookies:

  • 3 cups (381 grams) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 21/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cups (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted (don't skip sifting!)


Make the cookies:

  1. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed for 2 minutes, or until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the vanilla extract and food coloring until thoroughly combined. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, pat into a disk shape, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  3. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the chilled dough in between two large pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a work surface. Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. If the dough is too firm, let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before rolling. Using a tall round cookie cutter carefully cut out rounds from the dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Chill baking sheets in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Remove the baking sheets from refrigerator and prick dough all over with the end of an instant-read thermometer or the blunt end of a skewer. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers in freezer for up to 1 month.

Make the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light, creamy, and smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy.
  2. Spread frosting over each cookie with a small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Serve store in an airtight container in a single layer, or between pieces of parchment paper, for up to 1 day.
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : christmas, fourth of july, valentine's day

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Kate — February 4, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    Hi! It’s bake sale time at school again, and I plan to make the red velvet cookies in heart shape with the cream cheese frosting and maybe some red sprinkles on top. I would like to know what kind of cocoa powder to use? Natural or Dutch process? I watched your video about the difference, but I’m still confused. Thanks!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — February 6, 2023 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Kate! This recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder, which is the same as natural cocoa powder. I hope that helps, and I hope your cookies are enjoyed by all at the bake sale 🙂 Happy baking!

  2. #
    [email protected] — November 28, 2022 at 5:53 am

    hello there, very silly question to ask, but sometimes, especially with baking you just never know. anyway, I have cream cheese flavored white chocolate chips, could I use those instead of the frosting and just do a drop cookie type of deal with these?
    thanks for all the great recipes insight and resources

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 28, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Elyse! We haven’t tried these cookies as drop-style cookies, so we can’t guarantee that they’ll turn out as well like that – but you could definitely give that a try if you prefer! Just be sure to chill the dough balls before baking, as the recipes states, to prevent too much spreading. As for your cream cheese-flavored chips, I don’t see why that wouldn’t work – just keep in mind that they will have more of a ‘snap’ to them, with chocolate like that on top, rather than the soft cream cheese frosting. I hope that helps! 🙂

      • #
        Elyse — December 29, 2022 at 6:21 pm

        Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Thank you so much for the response to my prior question. Now moving forward and getting ready for the valentine’s day season, I wanted to try a red velvet cookie recipe with cream cheese chips, which recipe would be best to use. this one or the red Velvet crinkle cookie recipe and instead of rolling in powder sugar, just mix in the chips.

        • #
          Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — January 6, 2023 at 10:22 am

          Hi Elyse! We hope you had a great holiday too! We haven’t tried either of those cookies with chips, but either should be delicious as you described! Let us know how it goes 🙂

  3. #
    Tori — December 30, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    I was in a rush when baking these so I didn’t chill the cut out dough for long, only a couple minutes and the cookies spread quite a bit but they tasted great. I would definitely make sure you have the time to chill if you’re wanting them to hold their shape better.

    • #
      Emily — January 3, 2022 at 12:06 pm

      Yes, chilling is important for this recipe! So glad your cookies still tasted delicious, thanks for taking the time to let us know 🙂

  4. #
    nagybakeryyy — July 7, 2021 at 9:37 am

    I made these for the 4th of July holiday (added red, white, and blue sprinkles of course!) and they were so good! My first batch was a bit burnt due to a mistake I made (rolled out the dough too thin!) so just be aware of that before you cut out the shapes. Flavor was awesome, they were the perfect combo of chewy/crunchy edges. Frosting was amazing paired with this cookie.

  5. #
    Dayris Andrade — April 24, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Hi, I already baked the cookies … the flavor is incredible, but the frosting was very soft .. too soft and I don’t want to add more powdered sugar because it is very sweet, I would like a contrast of flavor, that it was more salty or acidic. Could I add lemon juice? .. or salt to the frosting? .. thanks Tessa ..

    • #
      Tessa — April 27, 2021 at 9:30 am

      I haven’t tried either of those, but you’re welcome to give it a try! Good luck!

  6. #
    777 — February 12, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    A decent recipe. I didn’t have any issues with cracking, and didn’t need to poke them with a toothpick or anything. Increasing the cocoa + reducing the sugar definitely makes them on the drier side, even after adding a few tablespoons of milk, so anyone who has less of a sweet tooth like I do should be aware, and maybe add some more butter, or milk, to keep things moist.

    I didn’t use frosting, so I can’t attest to its quality.

  7. #
    L W — January 23, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    I made these cookies and they were mediocre at best. The red velvet base lacked flavor and the cream cheese frosting had too much vanilla and not enough sugar. Recipe needs adjustment.

  8. #
    Neeta — December 20, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Hi Tessa,
    I would like to ask one question how to check the thickness ,like how to check whether it is 1/4 th inch?

  9. #
    Violet Moscovici — November 26, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    hi Tessa
    I always wanted to know (this is my issue with the red velvet cake) how to avoid baking any red velvet recipes without having brown streaks from cocoa through the cake layers or cookies..I am sifting the flour with cocoa more than 3-4 times….any bakers secrets you could share?
    thanks, Violet

  10. #
    google street view — September 4, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    I made these cookies today, and they were amazing! They turned out exactly like your pictures. They’re probably my new favorite cookie!

  11. #
    Rosamonde Simone @ KetoBotyToneAvis — August 15, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Your recipe of ‘red-velvet-cookies-with-cream-cheese-frosting’ looks very delicious and tasty. I will try it, thank you for sharing it.

  12. #
    Sabrina — June 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    yum, cream cheese frosting in a red velvet cookie, great idea, thank you

  13. #
    Maddie — June 11, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    What does pricking the dough do?

    • #
      Tessa — June 13, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      It helps prevent the cookies from puffing up while baking so they maintain their shape 🙂

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