Red Velvet Sugar Cookies are soft and chewy, with a deep red color and light chocolate flavor. Perfect for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or just because.
These red velvet sugar cookies are so easy to make and eye catching for your next holiday cookie tray. They’re perfect for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, or any time your sweet tooth strikes.
Just like a traditional sugar cookie, these red velvet cookies are rolled in granulated sugar to give them a crunchy sugar crust. Red velvet cookies are made with just a hint of cocoa, giving them a soft chocolate flavor, and tinted red with food coloring.
What is red velvet?
Have you ever wondered, what exactly is red velvet cake? Red velvet is a red or red-brown chocolate cake, usually lightly flavored with cocoa powder and some sort of acid, like buttermilk or vinegar.
The word “velvet” was used to describe the soft and velvety texture of the cake. Older red velvet cake recipes may call for beetroot to give the cake its red hue, but many modern recipes now call for red food coloring.
Looking for more information on the history of red velvet cake? Wikipedia: Red Velvet Cake
If you don’t have food coloring on hand, or don’t want to use it, feel free to omit it from the recipe. Food coloring will not affect the outcome of your recipe, but your cookies will turn out a medium brown color, instead of the deep red color shown.
Looking for a chocolate sugar cookie recipe? Try my Dutch Cocoa Cookies
I have not tried this recipe with alternative coloring methods, like beetroot. If you do give it a try, let us know how it turns out in the comments below!
Tips for baking cookies
Room temperature ingredients will help your cookies have a consistent, creamy, and even dough. When beaten, the eggs and butter form an emulsion, which traps air in the dough, which bakes up into a soft and fluffy cookie.
Properly measuring flour is an issue I see frequently. If you have issues with your cookies not spreading, or turning out extra thick and tall, you probably measured too much flour into your cookie dough.
To properly measure flour, use a spoon to add flour to your measuring cup, then level off with a knife. By scooping flour directly from a container with your measuring cup, you’re compacting the dough into the cup. This can add up to 25% more flour to your dough.
Using parchment paper helps prevent your cookies from spreading too much while baking. A greased baking pan will guarantee your cookies spread more than they should. So, I always suggest parchment paper (or a reusable baking mat) instead.
Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon red gel food coloring
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar for rolling
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until mixture looks fluffy, about a minute. Add red gel food coloring and milk, stirring to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk (or sift) together the flour, cocoa salt, and baking soda.
- Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined.
- Cover bowl or wrap dough in wax paper. Chill for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator. Refrigerating will help the flavors meld and also create a firmer dough to roll into balls.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Scoop dough using a 1.5 tablespoon scoop or shape by hand into 1.5 inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar.
- Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies begin to crack on top. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Your cookies will keep for 5-7 days in a sealed container. To help keep cookies fresh, you can place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed.
- You can keep raw cookie dough in the refrigerator for 3 days. Cookie dough balls (and baked cookies) freeze well, up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container or freezer bag. Allow frozen balls to thaw for up to 10 minutes on the baking sheet before baking, or add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.
- Red food coloring can be omitted if desired. However, cookies will turn out a medium brown color instead of red as shown.