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This easy Red Velvet Cupcake recipe makes the best soft and moist cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting. This is such a classic recipe and it’s so easy to make from scratch – never buy a box mix or from the store again!

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

Best Soft Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

My daughter is not a cupcake girly but we make these every year for her birthday – she loves them that much. What is red velvet? Well, I’m not sure, but they have a subtle chocolate flavor and, tang from buttermilk, and of course, that classic red color that sets them apart from all the other cupcakes. To me, red velvet cupcakes are a vehicle for cream cheese frosting!

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 with a tender crumb that’s moist, and fluffy.

Whether you make these for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or a birthday or just because – they are one of the best cupcakes ever – I know you’re going to absolutely love them!

Overhead shot of all ingredients needed for red velvet cupcakes

Ingredients Needed

  • 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 taste. The acidity in the natural cocoa powder also helps the red color POP.
  • Buttermilk: I absolutely love the tang of the buttermilk in these cupcakes. It pairs perfectly with the cream cheese frosting. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own but I recommend buying it if you can (actual buttermilk performs better than homemade).
  • 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 liquid food coloring (not a gel food color). Buy a bottle, not just those little 4-packs. You need a full tbsp 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, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.

How to make Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients until combined.
  2. 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. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the food coloring and stir carefully until the batter is an even color.
  4. Divide the batter in a cupcake pan lined with paper liners. Fill each on 2/3 full with the cake batter.
  5. Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.

Frosting Tips

You can easily just frost these with a knife but if you want to make them pretty you can use a 1M piping tip with a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes.

Close up shot of a red velvet cupcake cut in half

Expert Tips

  • This recipe makes 12 perfectly sized cupcakes, or you can use the recipe to make a 9-inch round or square cake.
  • 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.
  • 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 unfrosted cupcakes in a freezer-safe container and thaw them later.
  • Once you’ve added the frosting, store the cupcakes in the fridge if you’re not serving them right away. I don’t recommend freezing frosted cupcakes.
  • 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.
Red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting


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.

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

BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

3.76 from 77 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


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
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  • 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 Notes

  • Liquid food coloring is the best but if you only have gel food coloring, just use a few drops.

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

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

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Last Updated on February 17, 2024

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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Recipe Rating


  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.