Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
Filed Under: Christmas | Cookies | Dessert

Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

December 11th, 2022
4.67 from 6 votes
4.67 from 6 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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These Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are about to be the most popular cookie on your Christmas party table!

a cooling rack with the baked cookies on top, one already topped with cream cheese frosting.

I love that these cookies are a fun new take on a classic Christmas cut-out cookie.

The creamy, tangy cream cheese frosting really brings these adorable cookies to a whole new level.

These Red Velvet Sugar Cookies are super versatile, too. They’re perfect to add a beautiful splash of color to any Christmas cookie platter. Ideal for your 4th of July cookout. Or anytime you need a cute dessert for a potluck that’ll please adults and kids alike!

I hope this recipe becomes a family favorite!

red velvet sugar cookie dough rolled out, with cute shaped cut out of the dough, ready to transfer to a baking sheet and bake.

How to Make Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Do I Have to Chill Red Velvet Cookie Dough?

Yes – but not for a long time. Chilling this dough for an hour or so, and then again as the oven preheats, ensures these cookies keep their shape and prevents them from spreading. They’re worth the wait, I promise!

What is the Best Food Coloring for Red Velvet Cookies?

  • For brilliant, vibrant Red Velvet Cookies, I like to use gel food coloring. Specifically, Americolor Super Red gel coloring.  It’s available on Amazon or at some specialty 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.
  • Don’t use ‘decorative red icing’, which is meant as the final icing product and not as an ingredient to color icing.
  • Avoid using liquid food coloring. It isn’t as concentrated and will add a lot of excess liquid to your cookie dough, changing the consistency of the final product.

The Best Baking Pans for Cookies

I ALWAYS use an unlined aluminum half-sheet pan, like this one, for baking cookies. Additionally, I always use parchment paper for baking cookies. Never use dark-colored pans to bake cookies, as they tend to overly brown or even burn the bottoms of the cookies. Learn more about the best (and worst!) baking pans for cookies in my post here.

Tips for Rolling Out Red Velvet Cookie Dough

  1. Place 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 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.
  2. Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. If you want thicker, softer Red Velvet Cookies, go slightly thicker than that.
  3. 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.
  4. Using a tall metal cookie cutter helps to get the cleanest shapes.
  5. I like to stamp out the shapes then use the bottom parchment piece to help peel the dough away without damaging the shape at all.

Can I Make Drop Cookies with This Recipe?

This recipe was designed for cutting out shapes, but if you want drop-style cookies, give my Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies a try instead.

Tips for Making Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

  1. Make sure your cream cheese and butter are completely softened to room temperature.
  2. Use high-quality, full-fat bricks of cream cheese, and don’t use cream cheese in tubs meant for bagels.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the frosting.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
  5. If you want a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar.
  6. You could also use a more generous layer of cream cheese frosting and create sandwich cookies instead!
  7. Get all my tips for the best cream cheese frosting here.

Can I Use a Different Icing? 

Sure! If you’re looking for a frosting to pipe and decorate like a classic cut-out sugar cookie, check out my easy cookie icing recipe. If you prefer classic buttercream, use my Best Buttercream Recipe instead.

How to Make Red Velvet Cookies Ahead of Time

Unfrosted Red Velvet 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. If you need to prep these Red Velvet Cookies further in advance, check out the freezing instructions just below.

How to Freeze Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cut-out cookies are best stored already baked; unlike drop cookies, which I like to store as frozen balls of dough. Freeze the baked, cooled Red Velvet Cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 month. I prefer a sturdy airtight container for freezing baked cookies, to protect the cookies from other items in your freezer and prevent the cookies from breaking. 

a stack of Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting, with one star-shaped cookie turned to face the camera.

More Recipes You’ll Love:

4.67 from 6 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 cool room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at cool room temperature
  • 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. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the vanilla extract and food coloring until combined. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just 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 metal cookie cutter, carefully cut out shapes from the dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.

  4. Chill the cookie dough on the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.

  5. Remove the baking sheets from refrigerator and prick the 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, christmas cookies, fourth of july, red velvet cookies, valentine's day

This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated with additional recipe tips. 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. #
    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?

  8. #
    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

  9. #
    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!

  10. #
    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.

  11. #
    Sabrina — June 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm

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

  12. #
    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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