Red Velvet Cupcakes

Fluffy soft cupcakes with a vibrant color. Learn how to make Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

So many holidays celebrate with the color red: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, July 4 and other summer holidays…and even birthdays. It’s great that there are red velvet cupcakes to help make holiday desserts easy!

red velvet cupcakes on a cake plate

Why you’ll love these cupcakes:

  • 100% homemade cupcakes
  • Soft, fluffy texture
  • Lightly sweet with just a hint of cocoa
  • One bowl mixing

Are red velvet cupcakes just chocolate?

Nope! Red velvet does have just a touch of chocolate, but it does not have a chocolate flavor. Red velvet is a sweet and slightly tangy (thank you buttermilk) with a fresh, light flavor.

overhead view of unbaked cupcakes

Why do you need buttermilk in red velvet cupcakes?

Buttermilk is a key ingredient in this recipe that you don’t want to skip. Buttermilk helps with flavor and keeps the cupcakes tender, but it also reacts with the baking soda to make the cupcakes rise.

Don’t have buttermilk? No worries! Here’s a substitute:

For each cup of buttermilk that the recipe calls for, simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Stir to combine, then allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. This is called clabbering. (Thanks to Cooks Illustrated for the new vocabulary word.) After 10 minutes, clabbered milk should appear curdled. If not, allow it to sit for another 2 minutes.

unfrosted cupcakes on a wire rack

What frosting goes with red velvet?

We showcase the cupcakes with an extra creamy cream cheese frosting, but here are a few other options that would work as well:

unwrapped cupcake with frosting
unwrapped cupcake with frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes

5 from 1 vote
Fluffy soft cupcakes with a vibrant color. Learn how to make Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
Servings 18
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


For the cupcakes:

For the frosting:


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream together the shortening and sugar.
  • Add eggs and mix well.
  • Add the cocoa, red color and vanilla extract and mix again.
  • Add the buttermilk and mix well.
  • Add the flour and salt. Mix again, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Lastly, add the vinegar and baking soda and mix until the batter is smooth.
  • Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. (This will make 18-24 cupcakes).
  • Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the center of the cupcakes spring back when you touch them.
  • Frost with your favorite frosting. We like this cream cheese frosting


The calories shown are based on the recipe making 18 cupcakes, with 1 serving being 1 frosted cupcake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**


Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 338mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 357
Keyword christmas dessert, red velvet cake
half of a red velvet cupcake on a plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this into other types of cakes?

Yes. See the recipe for our layer cake and sheet cake.

How do you store red velvet cupcakes?

The cupcakes themselves are safe to store at room temperature, however if your frosting has a lot of dairy (especially cream cheese) you will want to refrigerate them.

Can I freeze red velvet cupcakes?

Yes. You can freeze the cupcakes for up to 6 weeks. Double wrap them so that they stay fresh.

Other Cupcake Recipes

If you love cupcakes, try one of our favorites:

About Julie Clark

We are Julie, Maddie, and Kinslee – a mother and daughter team sharing with you the best cakes to satisfy any need or sweet craving that you may have. Welcome to our family’s kitchen!

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