These red velvet cake-inspired chocolate chip cookies marry the velvet-soft texture and light cocoa undertones from the popular cake flavor with the gooey goodness and crisp edges of classic chocolate chip cookies. Combining brown sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and buttermilk, these aren’t just cookies tinted red—they truly capture the flavor and appearance of both iconic desserts.
I originally published this carefully tested recipe in 2013.
Is red velvet a mystery flavor to you? It used to be for me, and I really didn’t understand the hype. I don’t make red velvet treats often, but when I do, I always try to get these 4 flavors into every bite:
- Mild cocoa
- Tangy buttermilk
- Sweet vanilla
- Rich butter
When done right, these 4 flavors are outstanding together! And today’s red velvet chocolate chip cookies nail it.
Here’s Why You’ll Love These Red Velvet Cookies
- Soft and chewy in the centers with buttery-crisp edges
- Crimson hue is festive for holidays like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, 4th of July, or if your team’s colors include red
- Simple to make
- You can use white or semi-sweet chocolate morsels, or both
- The vibrancy of red is up to you; use as much or as little coloring as you want OR skip it entirely for a light brown cookie
If you’ve ever tried my cream cheese-stuffed red velvet cookies or white chocolate-dipped red velvet cookies, you’re familiar with this cookie dough. Today’s red velvet chocolate chip cookies were the original red velvet cookie I developed and published, and I based the dough off of my double chocolate chip cookies dough.
Grab These Cookie Ingredients:
As you can see, you need some chocolate chip cookie basics including flour, egg, vanilla, brown sugar, and regular granulated sugar. A kiss of cocoa powder and a little buttermilk help move us in the flavor direction of red velvet cake. Between chocolate chips and white chocolate morsels, I think I sway more towards the white chocolate in these cookies, which is usually not the case!
Both are obviously delicious, though.
Tinting the Dough
Tinting the cookie dough red is optional. If you skip the food coloring, the cookies will be light brown.
For the pictured cookies, I use 3/4 teaspoon gel food coloring. You can control how vibrant the red color is, so use more or less depending on the color you’d like. You can find gel food coloring in craft stores, some grocery stores, or online. (I like Americolor Red Red or Super Red.) Liquid coloring is fine in a pinch, but you need more of it for the color to actually show up. If you’re looking for a natural alternative, use 2 teaspoons of beet powder. The color stands out a lot more in cookie dough than in cake batter, and you won’t taste it.
Expect a sticky cookie dough:
Chill the Cookie Dough, Briefly
Like with many cookie recipes on my website, I recommend chilling the cookie dough in the refrigerator before baking it. This is a sticky dough, and letting it firm up in the refrigerator will help your cookies hold shape and maintain wonderfully soft and chewy centers.
I usually only refrigerate the cookie dough for about 1 hour. I find the longer I chill this particular dough, the thicker the cookies will be. If your cookies aren’t spreading at all, you may have chilled the dough for too long; in that case, lightly press down on them with the back of a spoon towards the end of bake time. Easy fix.
You can use a medium cookie scoop to measure 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, or weigh the dough balls to be about 30–35g each.
While the baked cookies are still warm, I press a few more chocolate chips into the tops. This is only for looks!
So this recipe sounds pretty easy, right? It is! Just your basic chocolate cookie recipe with a bit less cocoa, some vanilla, buttermilk, and a sprinkling of chocolate chips. A quick cookie dough chill and boom! You’ll have red velvet cookies from scratch in about 90 minutes.
Yes, absolutely. If you’d like to do that, you can keep or skip the chocolate chips in the dough. If you skip them, I recommend refrigerating the cookie dough for at least 2 hours. (They spread more without add-ins.) Roll the dough into 1.5 Tablespoon-size balls (about 30 to 35g each), and then roll each into confectioners’ sugar. 1 cup (about 120g) is enough confectioners’ sugar. Bake time is the same.
For more festive Valentine’s Day dessert recipes, try my Valentine’s day cookies, sparkle sweetheart cookies, and these Nutella-filled Valentine’s Day cupcakes!
These are soft-baked red velvet chocolate chip cookies made from scratch. Be sure to refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour, and feel free to skip the food coloring for light brown cookies.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the milk and food coloring, and then mix on low speed until everything is combined. The dough will be sticky. If you want a more vibrant hue, beat in more food coloring a little at a time. Add the chocolate chips and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). I recommend just 1 to 2 hours, otherwise the cookies won’t spread much. If chilling for longer than 2 hours, allow dough to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Scoop and roll cookie dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons (30–35g) of dough each. (A medium cookie scoop is helpful here.) Arrange on the baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake for 11–13 minutes or until the edges appear set. Centers will look very soft. If the cookies didn’t spread, simply press down on the warm cookies with the back of a spoon to slightly flatten. If desired, lightly press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the warm cookies.
- Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cover and store leftover cookies at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (See step 4.) Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. They won’t spread much, so press down on the warm cookies with the back of a spoon as directed in step 6. For more information, here are my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Baking Sheet | Silicone Baking Mat or Parchment Paper | Medium Cookie Scoop | Cooling Rack | Americolor Red Red or Super Red or Beet Powder
- Food Coloring: You can control the vibrancy of the red color. Or, if you wish, skip the red coloring altogether because it’s only for looks. I use and recommend 3/4 teaspoon of gel food coloring. You can find gel food coloring in craft stores, some grocery stores, or online. (I like Americolor Red Red or Super Red.) Liquid coloring is fine in a pinch, but you need more of it for the color to actually show up—around 1 Tablespoon. If you’re looking for a natural alternative, use 2 teaspoons of beet powder. The color stands out a lot more in cookie dough than in cake batter, and doesn’t taste like beets.
- Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies: If you’d like red velvet crinkle cookies, you can keep or skip the chocolate chips in the dough. If you skip them, I recommend refrigerating the cookie dough for at least 2 hours. (They spread more without add-ins.) Roll the dough into 1.5 Tablespoon-size balls (about 30 to 35g each), then roll each into confectioners’ sugar. 1 cup (about 120g) is enough confectioners’ sugar. Bake time is the same.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Keywords: red velvet chocolate chip cookies