Cookies Holidays Winter

Red Velvet Sugar Cookies (and a mint version!)

This post is sponsored by Nordic Ware, a valued partner of The Vanilla Bean Blog.

As you probably know, I love making cookies (and have a whole cookbook, 100 Cookies, dedicated to them), and while chocolate chip always has a number one spot in my heart, sugar cookies are right up there. I spent quite a bit of time working on these cookies; I wanted a red velvet cookie with the cream cheese baked in, so I didn’t have to spend time waiting for cookies to cool and then frosting them. I originally had tried to make them with my pan-banging sugar cookies, but they never turned out quite right. So I moved on to sugar cookies, and I was thrilled when they turned out as I had imagined.

What does a Red Velvet Cookie Taste Like?

The cookie base is my favorite sugar cookie: soft with crispy edges. It’s vanilla and chocolate, with a hint of cocoa in them for a traditional red velvet taste, and the cream cheese swirl adds a nice creamy bite (as cream cheese frosting is typically used for red velvet cake), and tanginess to cut the sweetness.

Since we are now officially in “holiday season”, I also came up with a green-mint version that’ll you find in the recipe card below, using the same swirl technique, and both cookies would look lovely on a holiday dessert platter.

Baking Cookies With A Half Sheet Pan

Over the last decade of making cookies, I’ve come to rely on Nordic Ware for almost all my baking pans; their half sheet pans are not only beautiful, but durable and well-made, and they always bake evenly. I have found cheaper-made pans just don’t hold up as well over time, buckling or warping, and my baked goods often suffer. I have never had that experience with my Naturals pans and they are a great life-time investment.

I love the Naturals® Bakeware collection, which is made of pure aluminum for superior heat conductivity and produces consistent evenly browned baked goods every time. I truly only have these sheet pans in my house for cookie baking, and have never been disappointed with them.

I also love Nordic Ware pans because they are a local company! Not only are these pans made in the USA, but they are also made right here in Minnesota. I have even been to the Nordic Ware factory to see how the pans were made (and I highly recommend going if you live in Minnesota or are here visiting).

They also make great gifts – they are truly the first company I turn to when buying kitchen items for friends with new houses or holiday gift giving.

More Christmas Cookie Recipes:

red velvet sugar cookies on parchment
red velvet sugar cookies on parchment

Red Velvet Sugar Cookies

Servings: 20 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
These chewy red velvet sugar cookies are the best cookie version of red velvet cake, with cream cheese swirl. A delicious Christmas cookie!
Sarah Kieffer
4.94 from 16 votes
Print Pin Rate


Cream Cheese Swirl

  • 6 oz [170 g] cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Sugar Cookie

  • 2 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon [364 g] all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup [2 sticks or 227 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups [350 g] granulated sugar, plus ½ cup [100 g] for rolling
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-process or Black cocoa powder


For the cream cheese swirl

  • Combine the cream cheese and the sugar in a small bowl until smooth.

For the dough

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [180C]. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 ¾ [350 g] of the granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and the yolk and beat on low until combined. Add the vanilla, red food coloring, and cocoa powder, and mix again on low until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
  • Place the remaining ½ cup [100 g] of sugar in a medium bowl.

To assemble

  • Place 1 teaspoon of cream cheese in the top of a 1 ½ oz cookie scoop and use the back of spoon to spread it slightly over the inside of the scoop. Fill the scoop with sugar cookie dough (see note below if you don’t have a cookie scoop) and drop the dough into the bowl of sugar. Gently roll the dough around (it may be a bit sticky) to cover, and place on one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the remaining cream cheese and dough, putting 8 cookies on each sheet pan.
  • Bake one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set, the centers are puffed and starting to form cracks, 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


If you don’t have a cookie scoop, you can roll the dough into a ball, then dollop a scant teaspoon of cream cheese on the top of each cookie, using the back of a spoon to spread it over the top slightly. 
VARIATION: Green Mint Sugar Cookies
Add 1 teaspoon mint extract (more or less, depending on your preference) along with the pure vanilla extract. Replace the red food coloring with green. I used Wilton’s Leaf Green gel-based food coloring, and was able to keep the cocoa powder in and still keep the cookie a vibrant green color. If you are using a liquid-based green food coloring, you will need to omit the cocoa powder, or your cookies will turn a brownish color. When using gel-based colorings you also don’t need as much food coloring, so start out with just a little and then keep adding until the desired color is arrived at.
  • Reply
    Karen Campos
    Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    5 stars
    Recipe worked perfectly and was a hit at the office. I did up the chocolate to 3 TBL because this was intended for someone at work that has red velvet obsession. Will be making again shortly!!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    5 stars
    I made these the other day and they were great! I reduced the sugar to about 320g and it had the perfect sweetness. The cream cheese swirl technique is genius and my cookies looked very similar to the ones posted. Definitely recommend.

  • Reply
    Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    Can I use the red velvet emulsion rather than the red food coloring for this recipe? I bought some for your other red velvet crinkle cookie recipe.

  • Reply
    Friday, September 16, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    5 stars
    SOOOOOOO good! I’ve made so many of Sarah’s cookies and all have been amazing. These did not disappoint at all!

  • Reply
    Friday, February 25, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    What size disher do we use ?! For the 1.5 ounce size cookie ?!

  • Reply
    Monday, February 14, 2022 at 11:23 pm

    4 stars
    Inspiring cookie…after trying original recipe, i decreased sugar in dough, added white chocolate chips, kept cream cheese mixture, omitted rolling in sugar and just sprinkled on top, then chilled/froze dough balls for 30 mins before baking so they wouldn’t flatted so thin…result was more crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle, with pops of creamy white chocolate for the win from my loved ones!

  • Reply
    Linda Tauber
    Friday, December 31, 2021 at 3:13 am

    Hi, is it possible to freeze the dough and bake them later?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 10:48 am


  • Reply
    Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve made these cookies twice and they’re amazing! ??
    Quick question… does this recipe double well? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at 5:35 pm

      Yes, you can easily double this recipe!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 12:54 am

    5 stars
    These are ridiculous good!!! And so much fun to make! Definitely gotta try out the green mint ones for the next holiday cookie rotation! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Melton
    Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    5 stars
    This cookies were so fun to make!! They not only tasted amazing but they look snow kissed. They’re such a magical cookie, especially to make around the holidays. Can’t wait to make the mint version in the future. Another amazing recipe for Sarah.

  • Reply
    Paula B
    Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    I was wondering what kind of food colouring you use – the liquid grocery store stuff? If I have gel, how much would I use? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 6:32 pm

      I used the liquid grocery store food coloring. If using gel, I would start with just a little bit, and then add more until the desire color is reached.

  • Reply
    Lis Moriarty
    Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    5 stars
    These are definitely going into our yearly holiday/Christmas cookie rotation! So delicious

  • Reply
    Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    5 stars
    We made the red velvet for our cookie box this year. They were a hit!

  • Reply
    Carlo's Bakery
    Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Amazing recipe of Red Velvet Sugar Cookies. I really like the mint version. Thank you for sharing such a nice recipe.

  • Reply
    Jenny H.
    Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 10:31 am

    These look delicious! Do you think that these are freezable?

    • Reply
      Samantha Prouty
      Friday, December 10, 2021 at 9:42 am

      5 stars
      I froze them and they defrosted fine!

      • Reply
        Sarah Kieffer
        Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 10:48 am

        great news!

  • Reply
    Patty Robinson
    Friday, December 3, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Can you recommend a color that is natural based no red dye in it?
    I love your books and have turned many onto them. Thank you

  • Reply
    Friday, December 3, 2021 at 9:46 am

    5 stars
    June made the red velvet cookies last week from the new cookbook and they were AAAAMazing!! I’ve never liked red velvet anything and I loved these.

  • Reply
    Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Recipe looks amazing. Cannot wait to try. Do you think I can freeze the cookie dough or should this be baked as soon as the dough is made?

  • Reply
    AndreA Marshall
    Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    Can you make the dough a day ahead and put in the fridge??

    • Reply
      Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 1:32 pm

      5 stars
      I did this and it was perfect!

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