These decadent vegan red velvet cookies are crispy on the outside, soft and chewy inside, and have a rich chocolatey flavor you cannot resist! This recipe uses cocoa powder, white chocolate chips, and a hint of vanilla to give it a delightfully sweet taste, perfect for dessert or a snack to satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you love chocolate as much as I do, you will undoubtedly love my other chocolate cookie recipes. Be sure to try my vegan chocolate cookies, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and vegan Halloween cookies!
❤️ Why you’ll love it
You will love this vegan red velvet cookie recipe if you love red velvet cake! This easy recipe combines all-natural cocoa powder, creamy white chocolate chips, and the perfect amount of vanilla to create moist and chewy cookies that all ages will love. I have tested this recipe with family and friends often, and it is a crowd-pleaser every time.
These cookies are a cinch to make, even for beginners. It only requires eight steps and a handful of easy-to-find ingredients, many of which may already be in your kitchen pantry. If you have never made red velvet cookies before, you may wonder what took you so long!
They are also great allergy-friendly gifts to give for the holidays or to serve as a colorful dinner party dessert. Customize them with different add-ins if you want, and have fun!
🧾 Key ingredients
Cocoa powder is essential to red velvet cookies. I prefer all-natural cocoa powder versus Dutch-processed, as I have found they make the cookies much softer.
White chocolate chips are usually not vegan. I recommend using vegan white chocolate chips from Pascha.
Sugar – This recipe calls for both white granulated sugar and brown sugar. I tested this recipe with cane sugar or turbinado sugar instead of brown sugar and found them acceptable alternatives.
Applesauce is used as a vegan egg substitute. Make sure to use unsweetened applesauce to avoid altering the sugar levels in the recipe.
Vanilla extract and cinnamon – The vanilla extract adds a delicious hint of vanilla flavor to the cookies. The cinnamon is optional, but I highly recommend it as it enhances the flavor even more!
Flour – You can use either all-purpose flour or a gluten-free flour blend. I have tested the recipe both ways and found no significant difference in the results.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
An electric hand mixer takes some effort out of beating the ingredients. You can also use a stand mixer. If you use your hand and a spatula, you cannot emulsify the wet ingredients properly.
Nonstick silicone baking mats are easy to clean and help to distribute heat evenly. However, you can use parchment paper. I do as well often if I am baking elsewhere.
Ice cream or cookie scoop will help create even, perfectly-sized cookies. Not that I mind how round they are if they taste delicious.
A wooden spatula will help you fold the chips into the dough without overmixing. I highly recommend the hand-crafted olive wooden spatula from Forest Decor.
Making vegan red velvet cookies
Combine the oil (sunflower oil or refined coconut oil), white and brown sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients together for two minutes using a handheld or stand mixer until they are well emulsified.
Carefully stir the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda) into the large bowl until they are well blended.
The mixture will be thick yet soft. If it is too stiff, add 1-2 tablespoons of dairy-free milk to help loosen it up.
I usually add the food coloring at this stage to more or less see how the color will be. Alternatively, you can already add to the liquid ingredients at step 1.
Use a spatula to fold in the white chocolate chips. Then, cover the bowl and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to keep it from spreading.
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190C and line a baking tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop two-tablespoon increments of cookie dough, roll them into dough balls, and place them on the lined baking sheet. Ensure to leave 2-3 inches between each cookie dough ball to give them space to spread.
If you like soft and pillowy cookies, proceed to the next step. If you prefer thin, chewy cookies, use a small glass to flatten the dough until they are at most one inch thick.
Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes until the edges become just barely golden brown. The baking time can vary depending on your oven model. It takes 12 minutes to finish baking in my oven without the fan.
Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking tray for at least 10 minutes. Then, move them to a cooling rack. As the cookies cool, they will collapse slightly.
💡 Expert tips
It helps to use a digital scale to weigh the dry ingredients versus estimating with a scooper. A scale will give you more precise and accurate measurements, resulting in delicious, flawless cookies. Even the slightest variation in the ingredients’ quantity can alter the cookies’ texture and appearance.
If you do not like white chocolate, you can use regular chocolate chips or chocolate chunks in your vegan red velvet cookies instead.
You can also add chopped almonds and macadamia nuts for some crunch. Or, you can get even more decorative by adding a dollop of vegan cream cheese frosting or drizzled chocolate on top just before serving.
You can turn it into a vegan Christmas cookie in no time using colorful sprinkles and festive add-ins.
❄️ Storing tips
To store: To keep your cookies fresh, soft, and chewy, store them in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag. They will last for 1-2 days at room temperature. After a couple of days, it is best to move them to the refrigerator.
To freeze: Once the cookies have completely cooled to room temperature, place them in the freezer in an airtight container or sealable freezer-safe bag. Thaw at room temperature.
I prefer to slightly chill the dough first to prevent the dough from spreading. However, I have tested this recipe without chilling it as well as chilling it for an extended amount of time and did not notice a significant difference in the results.
Yes. Cocoa powder is essential in red velvet cookies, giving them a deep red color and chocolate flavor.
More vegan cookie recipes
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Vegan Red Velvet Cookies
- ½ cup Vegetable oil I used sunflower
- ¾ cup Dark brown sugar
- ½ cup Granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup Apple sauce unsweetened
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Cinnamon optional, but recommended
- 2+¼ cups All-purpose flour or GF flour blend
- ¼ cup Cocoa powder all-natural not Dutch
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1+½ cups White chocolate chips
- 3 tsp Red food coloring
- In a large bowl, combine oil, sugars, apple sauce, red food coloring, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to beat together on low speed for 2 minutes until well emulsified.
- Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until completely incorporated. The mixture should be very thick but still soft. If too stiff, add 1-2 Tablespoons of non-dairy milk.
- Fold in the white chocolate chips.
- Cover and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes to prevent spreading.
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190C. Line baking sheets with parchment.
- Scoop 2 Tbsp amounts of dough. Roll into balls and place 2-3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
- If you want pillowy, soft cookies, don’t flatten them. If you want chewy, thinner ones, flatten them with a small glass, at most 1 inch thick.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until just barely golden brown around the edges. I need 12 minutes in my non-fan oven to get them perfect.
- Remove from the oven and cool them on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Cookies will puff up more in the oven and collapse slightly as they cool.