If you are a fan of red velvet cake, you will love these red velvet crinkle cookies. These soft and chewy cookies are made with cocoa powder for a mild chocolate flavor and colored with red gel food coloring for a bright, vibrant red color. The cookies are rolled in granulated sugar and powdered sugar to create the perfect crinkle top. These cookies are perfect for Christmas or Valentine’s day!
Ingredients for Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- Unsalted butter – Room temperature, unsalted butter.
- Light brown sugar – For sweetness and gives the cookies a chewy texture.
- Granulated sugar – The combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar creates the perfect texture and sweetness.
- Eggs – Large eggs, room temperature.
- Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract adds great flavor to the cookies.
- Red gel food coloring – A few drops of red gel food coloring give these cookies a bright red color. I do not recommend using liquid food coloring for this recipe.
- Cocoa powder – Use regular unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe.
- Baking powder – Helps the cookies puff up.
- Salt – Enhances the flavor and contrasts the sweetness of the cookies.
- All-purpose flour – Provides structure to the cookies.
- Granulated sugar + powdered sugar – For rolling the cookies in before baking to create the perfectly crinkle.
How to Make Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- Cream unsalted butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Add in red gel food coloring, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
- Pour in all-purpose flour and mix on low until a dough forms.
- Portion the cookie dough using a small cookie scoop, place on a parchment-lined pan and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven and prepare baking pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Roll the cookie dough balls first in granulated sugar and then in powdered sugar. Place on the baking pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies Recipe Tips
Red gel food coloring
To achieve a bright, vibrant red color, I highly recommend red gel food coloring. The gel color is highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. It will not change the taste or consistency of the cookie dough. I love using either Americolor or Chefmaster gel color. I do not recommend using liquid food coloring for this recipe as it can change the texture of the cookies and you need a ton to make the bright red color.
For many of my recipes, I love using dark cocoa powder, but for anything red velvet, I stick with regular, unsweetened cocoa powder. My favorite go-to brand is Hershey’s cocoa powder! Red velvet has a subtle chocolate flavor, so this cocoa powder is not overpowering.
Chill the cookie dough before baking
A key step in this recipe is to chill the red velvet cookie dough balls before baking. This helps control the spread of the cookies and also helps to create the soft and chewy texture. I like to scoop the cookie dough, place the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet pan, and chill for about 30 minutes before rolling in the sugars and baking!
Why roll in two different sugars?
Have you ever made crinkle cookies and after you bake the cookies all the powdered sugar melts into the cookies and disappears? I certainly have. A great way to prevent the powdered sugar from disappearing is to roll the cookies two times – first is granulated sugar and then in powdered sugar. The granulated sugar creates a bit of a barrier to prevent the powdered sugar from dissolving. It enhances the contrast between the bright red cookies and the snow-white powdered sugar.
Make the dough ahead
I love making cookie dough ahead of time, especially during the busy holiday season. Simply scoop the dough, chill the dough balls for 30 minutes, and then place the dough balls into a resealable storage bag. Store the cookie dough balls in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to one month. To use, simply remove from the refrigerator, roll in the sugars, and bake! If you are baking the cookies from frozen dough, allow the dough balls to thaw for about 15 minutes before rolling and baking.
Store the red velvet crinkle cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- Stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp red gel food coloring more or less depending on preference of color
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar for rolling
- 1 cup powdered sugar for rolling
- In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream unsalted butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
- Add in red gel food coloring, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add all-purpose flour and mix on low speed until the cookie dough forms.
- Portion the cookie dough using a small cookie scoop. Place cookie dough balls on a baking sheet pan. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and prepare baking pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Roll the chilled cookie dough balls first in granulated sugar and then in powdered sugar.
- Place the sugar-coated cookie dough balls on the prepared baking pan, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges of the cookies are set and the centers are soft.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.