These Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies are fudgy, dense, and have slight hints of vanilla and chocolate flavor. The cookies are rolled in powdered sugar in order to create those beautiful crinkle tops once baked, making them fun and festive!
This recipe was originally published in March of 2021, but was updated on Feburary 17, 2022 with newer content and fresh pictures.
Red velvet is such a fun and delicious flavor. What sets this flavor apart from just a normal chocolate cookie is the addition of vinegar, buttermilk, and of course, red food gel.
The acidic notes from those first two ingredients complement the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt that are also included in the batter. These cookies are also a holiday favorite for both Christmas and Valentine's Day!
Looking for more red velvet recipes? Then check out these red velvet cupcakes.
Why These Are The Best Crinkle Cookies
- They're thick and chewy.
- They're super soft and have a brownie-like texture.
- You can taste both chocolate and vanilla.
- The red velvet color is bold and vibrant.
- There is no chilling needed before baking!
These easy red velvet cookies are like biting into a soft pillow! They're just so fluffy, while also being chocolatey. Best of all, they don't have to chill before baking!
The vibrant red color comes from using red food gel, NOT the liquid kind. Gel just creates a deeper color without having to use so much food coloring. With liquid, you'll have to use twice as much in order to achieve the same color.
Expert Baking Tips
- Measuring Flour: To help ensure you don’t add extra flour, follow these three simple steps: 1) Fluff up the flour using a fork. 2) Spoon the flour into your measuring cup. 3) Scrape a knife across the top of the measuring cup to level out the flour.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: You want your butter and eggs to be at room temperature before baking. I recommend removing them from the refrigerator 1 hour before you want to bake.
- Food Coloring: Use red food gel, not liquid food coloring. The gel creates a more vibrant red color for red velvet.
- Cookie Dough: Roll the dough in powdered sugar twice before baking. This helps to evenly coat the cookie and to have a great crinkle top. Also, I used my 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop.
- Don't Overbake: Be careful not to overbake the cookies. Once they've puffed up and cracked on top, you'll remove them from the oven (about 10-12 minutes). The cookies will be very soft, but they'll firm up a bit more as they're cooling.
For this recipe, do not substitute any of the ingredients. They are all important for the baking process and for tasting like a classic red velvet dessert.
- Cocoa Powder: Sift the cocoa powder to avoid any lumps in the dough. I used Hershey's cocoa powder.
- Leavening Agents: Both baking powder and baking soda helps the cookies to puff up and spread when baking.
- Butter: Unsalted, room temperature butter is what you'll need.
- Sugars: Using a combination of both granulated and brown sugar helps to create a chewy cookie.
- Buttermilk: Adds creaminess and an acidic note to the cookies.
- Food Coloring: I recommend using red food gel.
- Vinegar: White distilled vinegar adds a touch of tanginess.
- Powdered Sugar: Used to roll the cookie dough balls in and to create a crinkle top.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make these cookies.
Step 1: Dry ingredients. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Step 2: Wet ingredients. Cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the buttermilk, red food gel, vinegar, and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
Step 3: Add the dry ingredients. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Use a silicone spatula to fold together any remaining loose ingredients.
Step 4: Scoop the dough. Fill a small bowl with the powdered sugar and take a cookie scoop to scoop out the dough. Generously roll the ball in the powdered sugar, roll the ball in your hands, and then roll the ball in the sugar again. Place onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the cookie dough.
Step 5: Bake. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have puffed up and cracked. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them over to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Keep any leftover cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days. They will stay soft and chewy for several days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Crinkle cookies are cookies that have been rolled in powdered sugar before baking. As they bake in the oven, they crackle and crinkle on top, creating a beautiful design.
Red velvet is different from other chocolate desserts because of these three ingredients: red food gel, vinegar, and buttermilk. In my opinion, these three ingredients must be present in order for a dessert to be called "red velvet."
They taste like a thick and chewy brownie that has both chocolate and vanilla flavors mixed throughout.
I have not used any other milk besides buttermilk in this recipe so I'm not sure how they would turn out. If at all possible, use buttermilk, because it's one of the main ingredients in red velvet desserts.
More Cookie Recipes
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- Baking Sheets
- Silicone Baking Mats
- Electric Stand Mixer
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- ½ tablespoon red food gel (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar, for coating
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on med-high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one (low-medium speed).
- Add the buttermilk, red food gel, vinegar, and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating on low speed, just until combined. Be careful not to overmix! Remove the bowl from the stand and use a silicone spatula to fold together any remaining loose ingredients.
- Fill a small bowl with the powdered sugar and take a cookie scoop (I used my 1.5 tbsp) to scoop out the dough. Generously roll the ball in the powdered sugar, roll the ball in your hands, and then roll the ball in the sugar again (we will coat the cookie dough with powdered sugar twice). Place onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the cookie dough.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have puffed up and cracked (the cookies will be soft when you remove them). Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them over to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Keep any leftover cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days.
Yum! I've never had red velvet cookies, but I'll definitely need to try. These remind me so much of the chocolate crinkle cookies that my grandma used to make and I loved them, so I'm sure these will be equally delicious!
Oh yes, they're just like those classic chocolate crinkle cookies, but red velvet!
These look amazing and so aesthetically pleasing. Thank you so much for the baking tips, these are often ignored but so important to follow.
Thank you so much, Gabriela!
This recipe and cookie looks so cool! Just wondering if there if buttermilk can be substituted with anything? It’s just hard to find where I live.
Hi Renata! You could try substituting the buttermilk with either 2 % or whole milk. I haven't tried it yet, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. 🙂
Could the cocoa powder be omitted?
I wouldn't recommend it since I have never done that before. So I'm not sure how the cookies would turn out.