Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Love red velvet cake? Try Red Velvet Cupcakes! Top these classic red velvet cupcakes with a tangy cream cheese frosting and serve them at your next birthday party or backyard potluck.

A red velvet cupcake set in a cupcake liner with a bite taken out of it.
Michelle Becker

Red velvet cake is classic Americana cooking with its roots in the South. Deliciously festive, rich, flavorful, red velvet is like yellow cake but with a little kiss on the cheek of chocolate.

Video: How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes


Red Velvet Cupcakes

The Best Red Coloring

The red color can come from beets or even strawberries but personally I unapologetically prefer red food dye and in large quantities as it does a better job of disguising the brown chocolate without altering the flavor.

Be sure to be careful when putting this recipe together as the batter can stain, so you may not want kids putting it together (better to put them on frosting duty).

Side view of red velvet cupcakes frosted and set on a cutting board.
Michelle Becker

How to Serve Red Velvet Cupcakes

Here I've adapted red velvet cake into little red cupcakes and topped with a dollop of cream cheese frosting, they make for a colorful and tasty dessert for late winter picnics and are especially sweet for Valentine's Day or for the Fourth of July if adorned with some blueberries.

How to Store Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • Frosted Cupcakes: You can store the frosted cupcakes at room temperature for a few days. If your kitchen is warmer than 70°F, or your cupcakes have been out for a while, refrigerate them.
  • Unfrosted Cupcakes: Store the unfrosted cupcakes for in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost within 2 days. To freeze baked cupcakes without frosting, wrap them individually in plastic and seal in a plastic bag or tub. For the best favor, use within a month.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:On its own, the frosting will keep refrigerated for up to a week, and frozen for up to 2 months. Give the frosting time to come to temperature before frosting the cupcakes.

If you'd like to freeze the frosted cupcakes, pre-freeze them so the frosting hold its shape. Then wrap each pre-frozen cupcake in plastic wrap and seal in a zip-top bag or plastic tub. For the bast flavor, eat within a month.

Swaps & Substitutions

  • You can use natural cocoa powder for the Dutch processed cocoa.
  • You may use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, though the cupcakes won't be as light and tender.
  • If you don't have buttermilk, adding a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to 1 cup milk and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  • You can use gel food coloring, though use less than the 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid food coloring called for. Stir a dab at a time into the buttermilk mixture until you have a saturated red color.

Try These Other Cupcake Recipes!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 18 to 24 cupcakes

You can make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to milk and letting it stand for about 10 minutes.


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour

  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F:

    Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.

  2. Make the cupcake batter:

    Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.

    Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

    In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.

    Add a fourth of the dry ingredients and mix, then add a third of the wet. Mix until just barely combined to avoid over-mixing. Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.

    Creaming butter and sugar to make the best red velvet cake recipe
    Michelle Becker
    Wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls with a whisk next to it to make the best red velvet cake recipe
    Michelle Becker
    Adding dry ingredients to a stand mixer bowl for a red velvet cupcake recipe.
    Michelle Becker
    Adding red colored wet ingredients to the stand mixer bowl for the best red velvet cake recipe.
    Michelle Becker
    Batter for the best velvet cake recipe.
    Michelle Becker
  3. Divide the cupcake batter:

    Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.

    Batter in muffin tins to make best red velvet cake recipe.
    Michelle Becker
  4. Bake the cupcakes:

    Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking to ensure even baking.

  5. Cool the cupcakes:

    Allow the cupcakes to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Red velvet cupcakes cooling on a rack.
    Michelle Becker
  6. Make the frosting:

    Beat the butter and cream cheese for the frosting together, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the powdered sugar, continually taste to get to desired sweetness. (See Cream Cheese Frosting for full instructions.)

    Frosting in mixing bowl to make a red velvet cupcake recipe.
    Michelle Becker
  7. Frost the cupcakes:

    Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

    Piping cream cheese frosting on red velvet cupcakes.
    Michelle Becker
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
263 Calories
12g Fat
38g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18 to 24
Amount per serving
Calories 263
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 46mg 15%
Sodium 203mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 27g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 51mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.