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This easy Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe is a classic recipe you need to have in your recipe box! They are the best soft and moist red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting. Get all of my best tips so you can make the perfect batch.

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Red velvet cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting with more in background
Table of Contents
  1. Best Soft Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
  2. Ingredient Tips
  3. What red food coloring is best for cupcakes?
  4. How to make Red Velvet Cupcakes
  5. What icing goes on red velvet cupcakes?
  6. Storing Tips and Make-Ahead Instructions
  7. Expert Tips
  8. More Perfect Red Velvet Desserts:
  9. BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

Best Soft Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

When it comes to cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes are one of my favorites, and it’s my humble opinion that everyone needs a great red velvet cupcake recipe made totally from scratch with the best cream cheese frosting.

These cupcakes have a hint of chocolate and, of course, that classic red color that sets them apart from all the other cupcakes.

Even though they have chocolate, they don’t have a strong chocolate flavor. Instead, they are a little tangy from buttermilk and, of course, sweet. For me, it’s really the cream cheese frosting that takes them over the top.

The perfect red velvet cupcake has several components. One of the things I love most about this recipe is that – surprise – there are no eggs. That’s right – a cake without eggs that’s tender, moist, and fluffy.

It’s crazy that you can make a light and airy cake without eggs, but you can totally do it with this recipe. That makes these an excellent cake option for those with allergies!

Overhead shot of all ingredients needed for red velvet cupcakes

Ingredient Tips

Basic ingredients: You’ll need basic baking ingredients like all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt.

Unsweetened cocoa powder: Red velvet cake has the slightest bit of cocoa. Just two tablespoons give a little hint of cocoa taste. The acidity in the cocoa powder also helps the red color POP.

Buttermilk: While it is possible to make red velvet cupcakes without buttermilk, this recipe uses it. I absolutely love the tang of the buttermilk in the cake. It pairs perfectly with the cream cheese frosting. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own! Add one teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to your measuring cup, and then fill it with milk to the 1 cup mark. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and you’ve got buttermilk!

Vegetable oil: Traditionally, a red velvet cake is not made with butter. Instead, it’s moistened with oil.

White vinegar: While you can make red velvet cupcakes without vinegar (use lemon juice instead), the vinegar in this recipe is essential for the cake to rise and be moist and fluffy.

Red food coloring: To make the telltale red color of a red velvet cupcake, you need food coloring. I like to use a basic grocery store food coloring (not a gel food color). Buy a bottle, not just those little 4-packs. You need a full tablespoon to achieve the color.

What about eggs? Nope, this recipe has no eggs. Believe me, though, it’s perfectly moist without them. They’re actually lighter and airier than a cupcake made with eggs. The batter uses a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and buttermilk for moistness and rise.

Cream cheese frosting: The cupcakes are frosted with the best homemade cream cheese frosting made with butter, cream cheese, salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla.

What red food coloring is best for cupcakes?

For this recipe, I use the regular food coloring in the baking aisle at the grocery store.

Overhead shot of 6 photos showing the process of making red velvet cupcakes

How to make Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients until combined.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the food coloring and stir carefully until the batter is an even color.
  5. Divide the batter in a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners. Fill each on 2/3 full with the cake batter.
  6. Bake the cupcakes at 350°F for 13 to 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.
Close up shot of a red velvet cupcake cut in half

What icing goes on red velvet cupcakes?

The best icing for red velvet cupcakes is cream cheese frosting. My recipe is so easy and makes a super creamy, tangy frosting.

Just beat softened butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy. Add the salt and then the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add the vanilla and beat the mixture until you have a smooth frosting.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, or you can spread the frosting on top.

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This really is the BEST Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe – it’s easy, fast and so so good. Just a few simple ingredients allows the cream cheese to be the star. Normally, you see fluffy cream cheese frosting for carrot cake or red velvet cake recipes, but it’s good with so many other things too! It’s amazing with all flavors of…

Red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting

Storing Tips and Make-Ahead Instructions

Plain cupcakes: You can make and bake the cupcakes ahead of time. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to frost them. Or you can freeze them in a freezer-safe container and thaw them later.

Frosted cupcakes: Once you’ve added the frosting, store the cupcakes in the refrigerator if you’re not serving them right away. I don’t recommend freezing frosted cupcakes.

Cream cheese frosting storage: You can make the frosting ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days. Let it warm to room temperature, and then whip it with an electric mixer before frosting the cupcakes.

Expert Tips

This recipe makes 12 perfectly sized cupcakes, or you can use the recipe to make a cake:

  • You can make a 9” round cake or square cake.
  • One of the things I love about this recipe is it’s also so easy to double to make 24 cupcakes or a full 9×13-inch or two 9” round cakes that you can use to make a layer cake.

Be sure to measure the flour accurately. Too much flour will change the texture of the cupcakes – they’ll be tough and dense instead of fluffy and soft. So, use the spoon and level method when you measure.

Once you’ve added the flour to the batter, don’t overmix. The more you mix, the more the gluten will develop in the flour, making your cupcakes tougher. So, use a light hand and mix just until combined.

Red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting

FAQs

Do cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

Cupcakes frosted with cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated. If you make the cupcakes ahead without the frosting, you can store the plain cupcakes at room temperature.

What red food coloring is best for cupcakes?

Regular grocery store food coloring is best when making red velvet cake.

Can I use gel food coloring?

Yes, but you will need to use less.

Can this recipe make a cake?

The recipe will make a 9” round or 9” square cake.

How to make red velvet cupcakes without buttermilk?

Add one teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup, and then fill the cup with milk to the 1 cup mark. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, and then add to the recipe. Learn about homemade buttermilk here.

More Perfect Red Velvet Desserts:

Red velvet cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting with more in background

BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes

3.72 from 75 votes
This easy Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe is topped with cream cheese frosting. This is a twist on your traditional recipe without eggs! This classic recipe is always good to have in your recipe box!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Yield 12 cupcakes
Serving Size 1 cupcake

Ingredients
 

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 ⅔ cups (206g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (237ml) buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons (70ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese room temperature
  • ½ cup (113g) butter room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (339g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.
  • Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Whisk buttermilk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a large measuring cup and whisk into dry ingredients until combined. Stir in food coloring carefully.
  • Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. The recipe makes about 12 cupcakes. Bake for 13-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
  • Make the frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer in a large bowl until smooth, then mix in salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat in between each addition. Add vanilla and continue mixing a smooth frosting forms. Frost cupcakes as desired.
  •  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.
  • You can bake this as a 9-inch cake round. Bake for 25-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Want 24 cupcakes, two 9-inch layers or a 9×13-inch cake? Double the recipe!

Recipe Video

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 465mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 52g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword cupcake

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Red velvet cupcakes are a great recipe to have in your baking arsenal. You won’t need any others with my recipe – it makes the best red velvet cupcakes ever. Give them a try, and you’ll see!

Last Updated on June 20, 2022

Dorothy Kern

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15 Comments

  1. I made this vs using my Grandmas recipe because I didn’t have any shortening and this used oil. The batter was thin as all get out but that made filling with my batter tip very very easy. Surprised that no eggs were used but the end result was really beautiful bright cupcakes that were moist and light. Don’t know about the frosting recipe because Grandma would roll in her grave if I used cream cheese so I will pair them with her Ermine Buttercream. I personally love cream cheese, especially as macaron filling because of its stability, but Ermine is way better with red velvet.