Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Decadent and delicious Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are so divine. This is the best of both worlds, a rich colorful treat but with half the time and work of individual cookie.

These red velvet sugar cookies are topped with an incredible cream cheese frosting, that makes insanely delicious. Cream cheese is just an amazing ingredient, it makes so many things taste glorious. From Cream Cheese Chicken Taquitos, to Wontons, and Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles, it’s just heavenly.


Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars on a white plate.

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars

These could quite possibly be the best cookie bars that I have ever made. They’re thick, dense and slightly crisp on the edges. It’s a perfect cross between a cookie and bar. Topped with creamy goodness, these are going to be you new go to favorites.

These bars though. I can’t believe how heavenly they were! Perfect sugar cookie base. Moist and delicious. And I love anything that has to do with red velvet. The best part. The cream cheese frosting. Wow. You are going to love these bars! And so will everyone around you. I know that red velvet is big around Valentine’s Day, but these are going to be made year round at our house!

Ingredients for Red Velvet Sugar Cookies and Frosting

These red velvet sugar cookies are scrumptious and easy to make. You are going to love how fast this comes together.

  • Flour: All purpose flour
  • Unsweetened Cocoa: If you have non alkalized cocoa powder, use that, it’s authentic.
  • Salt: Balances out the sweet.
  • Baking Powder: Rising agent.
  • Butter: Bring the butter to room temperature.
  • Sugar: Provides the sweet
  • Eggs:Gives the cookies texture and lift.
  • Vanilla: For flavor.
  • Red Food Coloring: For that signature red color.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream Cheese: Room temperature.
  • Butter: Should be at room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar: For thickness and sweetness.
  • Vanilla: Gives it a bit of flavor.

Making the Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

As easy as cookies but faster and more hands off. These will be a winner when your short on time, but need big flavor and big wow factor. Red velvet makes everything just a bit more special.

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have a 9×13 inch pan ready.
  2. Mix: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Set aside
  3. Cream: In a mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup butter softened and sugar until light and creamy. About 2-3 min.
  4. Add: Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and food coloring until combined.
  5. Combine: Add the flour mixture until soft dough forms. Press into the bottom of the 9×13 pan.
  6. Bake:  Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean.
  7. Frost: Wait till it’s completely cool before frosting.
  8. Make the Frosting: Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat together until smooth. Frost the top of the bars and enjoy.

Tips For the Best Red Velvet Cookie Bars and Cream Cheese Frosting

These heavenly cookie bars are a cinch to make, but the results are going to be a wow factor.

  • Pan: Line your pan with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray so that the bars easily lift out and are easy to cut.
  • Room Temperature: The butter and cream cheese should be brought to room temperature naturally, not in the microwave. This will ensure the creamiest texture and the butter and cream cheese will incorporate more evenly.
  • The Batter will be thick: Don’t panic if the batter is thick, it’s definitely a cookie batter, not a cake batter.
  • Press: When you put the cookie bars into the pan use a spatula to press down evenly. It will bake up nice and chewy and amazing!
  • Top it:  Use your imagination to decorate them, use sprinkles and candies to make them festive, for whatever holiday or occasion.
  • Store: Store these red velvet cookies in an airtight container for up to 5-6 days, however I bet they won’t last that long.

What is Red Velvet?

These sugar cookies are a spin off from the  iconic cake. The history of Red Velvet is actually complicated, but then again so is the cake.  For many it’s a bit of mystery to what it actually is and tastes like. So let’s start with the cake.

  • What is Red Velvet Cake? Red velvet despite what many may think, is not a chocolate cake with food coloring. Yes it has cocoa in it, but not to the amount of a chocolate cake, in fact you can hardly taste the cocoa usually. It’s very mild if you can. It’s actually quite different from most other cakes all together. Most cakes have water in them, or milk. Red velvet has buttermilk and vinegar creating a light soft texture.
  • Where did it come from? There is debate to when and how red velvet came to be, but they can all agree it came into popularity around the late 1930’s.
  • Why is it Red? Back when it first was created, dutch cocoa was used, which when mixed with vinegar, baking soda and buttermilk a cool funky color change happened. The cake went from brown to a reddish brown. Not exactly the vibrant reds of today, but still red.  Most of today’s cocoa powder, however, contains an alkalizing agent that neutralizes a lot of the acidity and, in turn, the color changing properties. Today food coloring is usually added to give its bright color.
  • What does it taste like? Good question. If you ask people what a red velvet cake tastes like, you’ll get several different answers probably. It will have flavors of sweet vanilla, tangy buttermilk, mild cocoa and butter.
  • Cookies: These red velvet cookie bars skp the vinegar and buttermilk, but we add in the cocoa for that mild cocoa flavor and of course sweet vanilla. You are going to love them.

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars on a white plate with a bite taken out of one.

More Red Velvet Loving Recipes

Red velvet is a fascinating and flavor and treat. It’s red, which is cool, and the flavor is something so delicious, yet so hard to describe. It’s perfect for Christmas or Valentines Day or any other special occasion. It just seems to make everything a little bit more special. And as always cream cheese frosting and red velvet are meant to be together as much as possible.

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Delicious red velvet sugar cookie bars with cream cheese frosting without all of the hard work!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 16 Bars


  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweet­ened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bak­ing pow­der
  • 1 cup but­ter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons one 1-ounce bottle red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 8 Oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have a 9x13 inch pan ready. I like to line mine with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray so that the bars easily lift out and are easy to cut.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup butter softened and sugar until light and creamy. About 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and food coloring until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Press into the bottom of the 9x13 inch pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. Allow to completely cool before frosting.
  • To make the cream cheese frosting, Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat together until smooth. Frost the top of the bars and enjoy!


Serves: 16

Calories452kcal (23%)Carbohydrates55g (18%)Protein5g (10%)Fat24g (37%)Saturated Fat15g (75%)Cholesterol86mg (29%)Sodium291mg (12%)Potassium109mg (3%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar34g (38%)Vitamin A799IU (16%)Calcium42mg (4%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookie bar recipes, red velvet cookies, red velvet sugar cookie bars
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. hi , your recipe looks good but i have a question please please reply can i use cookie cutter for this recipe

  2. Want to make these for a cookie exchange.. Any tips on storing these? Would these be good for this? Please respond, want to do these asap!

  3. I made these and they were great! I’m wondering if the people who thought they were dry were expecting something like a brownie or cake. I was confused why people kept asking about using boxed cake mix… that would give you cake not sugar cookies. These were awesome!

    1. It is so weird because they get mixed reviews but turn out amazing for me every time! I am glad they worked out for yoU!

  4. Thank you for this fantastic recipe. I made for my family for Valentine’s, and they were amazing!!!!! Everyone loved them! I’ll be making these for my birthday rather than a cake 🙂

  5. First things first: I made these for a work potluck and they were a huge hit! Full disclosure, I have my own cream cheese frosting recipie and I used that instead, but I don’t think it changed it much. I read the comments and saw some people had problems. I think I have some insight.
    1. Cookie bar turned brown. Most of the food coloring sold in supermarkets is PINK, not red, so that turns it’s kind of maroon. Annoying, but it happens. Happened to me and didn’t change the taste.
    2. Tastes too floury. I decreased the flour by a tiny bit. I added 1/3 cups cocoa powder and 3 1/4 cups of flour. You can honestly get away with adding even slightly less.
    3. Cookie bars too hard. You probably over baked them. It seems 20 minutes might be too long. I did 17 minutes and it was perfect.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. These came out really good and I will definitely make them again!

  6. Please can you tell me what sort of flour is used. I am in the UK and we have plain and self raising. Thank you

  7. These look amazing AND taste amazing. I just made them tonight for my husband for Valentine’s Day and I am extremely pleased with how simple they were and how thick and creamy the frosting was.

    I’m not sure why you got bad reviews, but these are not a recipe to be disappointed in. Delicious!

    1. Yeah I couldn’t understand why they aren’t turning out for some people. I worried about it so much I made them again and they turned out great for me. Sigh

  8. These looked really good and very pretty, however I made these last night and the bars are extremely dry.. I thought maybe there was too much flour added to the batter?

    1. I was worried about the comments being too dry so I made them both ways. One with the original recipe and the second reduced by 1/3 cup of flour. The original turned out great. The reduced flour was way too gooey.

  9. These look fantastic!! Will definitely be making these for work on Friday. Two quick questions:

    1) Do you use unsalted butter?

    2) Are we talking the little dropper bottles of food coloring that you can get at the grocery store?

    Thanks so much!

  10. For the bars you put vanilla extract and for the frosting you put just vanilla. I want to make sure they are two different things or maybe you meant to put extract for the frosting also? Thanks! Can’t wait to make them! 😉

  11. Made these yesterday – just as directed. They turned out great, and the co-workers scarfed them up. I will agree that the recipe makes a bunch of icing, but I just slathered it all on anyway!

  12. These red velvet bars look delish. I want to try them for early 2015. Will most likely pull back on
    the coloring to apprx. 1 tbsp. and will hope for the best on color. They look so yummy in the picture,
    so I’m hoping for a good-tasting good-looking finished product. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  13. A coworker sent me this link and requested I make these for her, which I was more than happy to do so. I only made one change. When it was done I poured some melted chocolate that was mixed with condensed milk and cherry extract to the top and chilled it for 10 minutes. Then, I flipped them over and put the frosting on the other side. They were a huge hit and I will definitely be making them again

  14. I found this recipe earlier this week and was so excited to make for my mom’s birthday dinner today. I read over all the comments and tips and was a little worried after reading the comments from ones where they didn’t turn out good. But the positive comments won.. Being very careful and using all the baking tips I know I am very sad to say they did not turn out good

    1. Yeah I just don’t get it. I even made them again to double check and they turned out amazing and moist and were raved about! I don’t know what is going wrong for some people.

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