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These vegan red velvet cookies are chewy on the inside, slightly crunchy on the edges, and filled with gooey chocolate chips. They're so easy and require simple ingredients. You're going to love them!
I recently realized that a lot of my readers are looking for vegan or egg free baking recipes! So I decided to develop some vegan cookies and to my surprise, neither myself nor my recipe testers could even tell that they were vegan!
The vibrant red colour makes these the perfect vegan Valentines cookies, Christmas cookies, or really just whenever cookies. One of the best things about vegan red velvet cookies is that they don't belong to any season 😉
- Vegan butter: you can use any type of vegan butter, but if the kind you use is solid, just make sure it's softened at room temperature!
- Brown sugar: light brown sugar and it's what gives the cookies their soft and chewy middles.
- Granulated sugar: white sugar gives the cookies crispy edges!
- Vanilla extract: an absolute must in basically all cookies - you can use natural or artificial vanilla extract.
- Red food colouring: this recipe uses liquid food colouring. I haven't tried it with gel food colouring but you can experiment with how much if that's all you have on hand. If you want the cookies to be a more vibrant red colour you can always use more than 1 tablespoon of liquid as well!
- Vegan milk: vegan milk acts as the liquid component of the cookies. I used oat milk, but any plant-based milk will work!
- Baking powder: most cookie recipes use baking soda but since there aren't any eggs in these, the use of baking powder helps the cookies rise.
- Salt: to balance out the sweetness.
- All-purpose flour: make sure you're measuring your flour properly (scroll down a bit on that post)!
- Cocoa powder: cocoa powder is crucial in red velvet cookies! Some recipes use less, which makes them a brighter red, but I found that anything under 2 tablespoon didn't give the cookies enough chocolate flavour.
- Vegan chocolate chips: I use semi-sweet chocolate chips but you can use whichever kind you'd like. You can also use vegan white chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate. You can also leave out the chocolate chips entirely for less chocolatey-ness!
How to make vegan red velvet cookies
Step One: Use a medium bowl to combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and set that aside for later. In another bowl, mix together the butter and both sugars for about a minute.
Step Two: Pour in the vegan milk, food colouring, and vanilla and mix again until fully combined. Mix in all the dry ingredients, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Step Three: Add in the chocolate chips and fold. If you'd like, you can save a handful of chocolate chips to plop on top of the dough before the cookies bake.
Step Four: Place plastic wrap tightly over top of the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2.5 hours and up to 24 hours to chill.
Step Five: After 2.5 hours, remove the cookie dough from the fridge and form 1.5 tbsp-sized balls of dough, then place on parchment-lined baking sheets, giving them a little room to spread.
Step Six: Bake the cookies (one baking sheet at a time) in the preheated oven for between 9-12 minutes. Place the second tray of unbaked cookie dough into the fridge while the first batch is in the oven so that the dough doesn't get too soft.
You'll know the cookies are done when the edges look set and they're slightly cracked on top. Remove them from the oven and leave them on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
What is red velvet taste?
Growing up, red velvet was one of my favourite flavours. Only later did I start to wonder "what the heck is red velvet flavour anyway?". If you're like me, you might be wondering the same thing. I know that that, well, I guess you could say red velvet isn't actually a flavour.
Traditionally, the name red velvet was given to cakes that had a small amount of cocoa powder combined with vinegar and buttermilk. Apparently a chemical reaction caused the cakes to turn red...
To be honest, I've done a lot of baking and have never personally seen that happen with my own eyes. It could be true, but now a days red velvet taste/flavour is basically a light chocolate flavour combined with red food colouring - which of course adds no flavour. But it sure is fun!
Do I have to chill the dough?
I'm sorry, but yes. Trust me, I hate it as much as you do but I promise it's worth it! We are chilling the dough for a couple reasons.
First, if you try to form balls of dough without chilling it first, you'll notice that the dough is sticky and really hard to handle.
The second reason is that because there are no eggs in these chewy vegan cookies to provide them with structure, they'll be really flat if you don't refrigerate the dough first. The longer you chill the dough, the thicker these vegan red velvet cookies will be.
How much Food colouring should I use in vegan red velvet cookies?
Like I mentioned above, the red colour actually has nothing to do with the flavour of the cookies. Some red velvet cookie recipes are bright red but it usually means they don't have much chocolate flavour.
I chose having a good amount of chocolate flavour over the bright vibrant red since the colour is really just for fun. You can add more food colouring to the dough if you want the cookies to be a brighter red. You can also use less or none at all! The flavour will stay the same 🙂
Fair warning - I have found that gel food colouring doesn't work as well for me. Different brands of food colouring are brighter too, so if you find that yours don't turn as red as the pictures that could be why!
I've chilled the dough and it's still sticky!
If you take your cookie dough out of the fridge after 2.5 hours and it's still way too sticky to handle, you may have measured the flour incorrectly. You can try leaving it in the fridge for another hour, or ideally even longer (overnight is best).
If that's not an option, add another 1-2 tablespoon of flour to the dough. This is an absolute last resort!
Vegan Red Velvet Cookies
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour (210 g)
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder (15g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegan butter (115 g)
- ½ cup light brown sugar (100 g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 g)
- 2 tablespoon vegan milk of choice (I use unsweetened oat milk) (30 ml)
- 1 tablespoon liquid red food colouring (vegan)
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup vegan dark chocolate chips* see notes
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or a using a handheld mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar for about 1 minute.
- Add in the milk, food colouring, and vanilla extract and mix until combined, scraping along the sides of the bowl.
- Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined (the dough will be sticky), then fold in the chocolate chips.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that it's airtight, then place the dough in the fridge to chill for 2 ½ hours.* (see notes)
- Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Form the dough into 1.5 tbsp-sized balls and place on the baking sheets, leaving room for them to spread a bit.
- Bake one sheet at a time for between 9-12 minutes. Be sure to place the second tray of prepared dough into the fridge while the first batch of cookies is baking so that the dough doesn't soften.
- When the cookies are done, the edges should look set and the tops will be slightly cracked. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.