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The Best Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe for red velvet cupcakes has been my favorite cupcake recipe for years.   Red velvet cupcakes are my go-to cupcakes for parties and potlucks because everyone seems to love them.  

I love this recipe because it produces a classic red velvet cake that is moist and tender with a not-too-red cake color.  Of course, the cream cheese frosting is a must-have frosting with the contrast of sweetness and tang.  In my mind, you can’t have a red velvet cupcake without a huge dollop of cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

What You'll love about This Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

The cupcakes are moist and tender. These cupcakes are made with oil instead of butter, resulting in a moister cake texture.  

Buttermilk adds fluffiness, tang, and adds the dairy flavor balance that might be missed without butter in the mix.  

Just the right amount of red color. I played around with the amount of red food coloring until I achieved the color I wanted for these cupcakes.  If you prefer a redder red velvet cupcake, add a little more coloring.

You'll taste the chocolate.  If you want flavor in your red velvet cupcake you want chocolate.  The 1/4 cup of cocoa powder in this recipe adds chocolate flavor.

The cream cheese frosting adds delicious sweetness and tang.

The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

This recipe freezes well, so if you are in a make-ahead mode for a party this is a great recipe choice.  I’ve frozen the unfrosted cupcakes and frosted them just before serving and I’ve frozen the cupcakes frosted, too.  If you choose to freeze the frosted cupcakes, place the pan of cupcakes in the freezer to let the frosting set up before wrapping them in plastic wrap for storage.

Red velvet cupcakes are a festive dessert option for so many occasions.  The contrast of the red cupcake with the white cream cheese frosting makes these cupcakes perfect for many holiday celebrations. They work Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and just because you want a yummy cupcake day.  I've even served them in a mini version at a bridal tea.

Red velvet cupcakes for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Christmas


Tips for Baking Success

You can make a substitute for buttermilk. Don't fret if you don't have any buttermilk on hand.  Try this instead.

Use oil in this recipe.  Don't substitute butter for vegetable oil. You'll be rewarded with moist, tender cupcakes.

Don't overmix the cupcake batter.  Overmixing will make your cupcakes tough.

Use a scoop to measure out the cupcake batter. It cuts down on drips and ensures all the cupcakes will be the same size.

Make uniform cupcakes using a scoop for batter

Apply the frosting with a star tip for a little fanciness.

Frosting red velvet cupcakes
Use a Pastry Bag with a Star Tip

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Cupcakes 

More Favorite Cupcake Recipes

Lemon Lime Cupcakes, Molten Lava Cakes, Inside Out Cupcakes, Boston Cream Cupcakes

These lemon-lime cupcakes are my personal favorite.
Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes are a chocolate lovers delight.
Inside Out Chocolate Cupcakes are filled and frosted with yummy cream.
Boston Cream Cupcakes are mini Boston cream pies.

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Cupcakes, Christmas cupcakes, Patriotic Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Author: Donna Urso
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 35 Min
The best classic red velvet cupcake recipe for a moist, tender, not too red cake, frosted with yummy cream cheese frosting.


Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer (with a paddle attachment), mix the oil, sugar, and buttermilk. Add the eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla, and water. Mix well.
  4. Add half the dry ingredients, stir and add the rest, scraping down the sides and mixing just to combine.
  5. Scoop the batter into the paper liners. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. To make the cream cheese frosting cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla using your electric mixer and the paddle attachment.
  7. Sift the sugar into the cream cheese and butter mixture, mix on medium speed until well combined.
  8. Spread a generous amount of the frosting on each cupcake or get fancy using decorator tips and a bag.


I love using a scoop to measure the batter for cupcakes. It cuts down on drips and ensures all the cupcakes will be the same size. 

Don't over-mix your batter to avoid making a tough cupcake. 

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)


Nutrional information is approximate.

This recipe has become my go-to recipe for red velvet cupcakes.  I'm confident you will love them, too.
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Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are the best cupcakes for patriotic holidays.



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