Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

If you love red velvet cupcakes, then have them… with my healthy recipe. You’re gonna love this: No eggs - one bowl - easy cleanup - and only one tablespoon of butter. These cupcakes are super easy to make and really moist and yummy. To store them…. oh, never mind… they won’t be around long enough to store! - Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 12 cupcakes

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch processed (I use Droste)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons red food coloring
  • Frosting:
  • 1 Tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Insert paper liners in 12-cup muffin pan.
  3. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
  4. In a measuring cup combine liquid ingredients.
  5. Add liquids to flour mixture and combine well using a spatula.
  6. Divide batter evenly into cups.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.
  8. Frosting:
  9. Beat butter, cream cheese, & vanilla with electric mixer.
  10. Add powdered sugar and a tiny bit of milk to obtain a nice, thick consistency.
  11. Frost cupcakes.

No buttermilk? See "Substitutions" in my blog.

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

63 Comments on "Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes"

  1. Susan

    Another success! Made these today and they were a hit with my family! Awesome and super easy. Yum

  2. Linda

    Hi Jenny,
    Hope you can tell me where I went wrong with this recipe – the cupcakes didn’t rise and were quite dense. I had to substitute buttermilk with lemon juice and milk but other than that followed all the measurements and instructions to the letter. I also had to allow an extra 3 minutes of baking time before toothpick came out clear but in most recipes haven’t had to change the baking time. I’ve made several of your recipes and all have been successful and delicious except for this one

  3. Sarah

    Can I use cream cheese in a tub for the frosting since it’s a small amount?

  4. Kylene J

    As usual your recipes never disappoint! When I’ve made other scratch made cakes/cupcakes they are dry and have no flavor. These are moist, flavorful and the icing is the BEST cream cheese icing I’ve made. Thank you!

  5. Elliana

    There are sooooo good. Favorite cupcakes EVER!
    Thanks so much

  6. Adhora

    Hey,Jenny!I have no buttermilk at home but I want to make red velvet cupcakes.so I made buttermilk by using milk and lemon juice.But in your recipe there has buttermilk and also extra lemon juice or distilled white vinegar.So,can I use homemade buttermilk and also lemon juice or distilled white vinegar together?Plzzz replyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    • Jenny

      Even with your “homemade” buttermilk, I would not change anything else in the recipe.

  7. Cinu Skaria

    Hi Jenny,
    Your recipes always turn out great… But I felt the red velvet cake was a bit sticky. The buttermilk I used was really thick(undiluted). I tried baking it in an 8 inch round pan. What could be the reason?

    • Jenny

      It’s not a cake recipe, but cupcakes. Try following the recipe exactly but use a muffin pan.

  8. aniketmakhija

    i dubbed your recipe for a cake which i baked in 2 9 inch pans and it came out great! i also made them in to cake pops for friend and its was so good and it was so moist that i didn’t need that much frosting!

  9. Mandy

    Can i make this into a cake instead & just use the choc frosting? Im guessing it would still taste delish!

  10. Kezia

    These turned out great! Instead of cream cheese frosting I used you’re chocolate frosting recipe! Thanks.

    • Mandy

      Did it taste good with d choc frosting? im thinking to do the same

  11. Nory

    Hello, Jenny!

    I can only find buttermilk powder from the local store. Should I use 1 cup or dilute it? Pls advise, thank you.

    • Jenny

      I have never used it but it seems to me you would follow the instructions on the package to make one cup and just use that.

  12. Nory

    I don’t have distilled vinegar, can i replace it with white vinegar instead? Or lemon juice? Pls advise, thank you

  13. Bella

    I want to know why my butter cream is yellow and not white? What am I do wrong? Pls help me..

    • Jenny

      It has to be one of your ingredients. Can you please list exactly each ingredient you used in the frosting? Then I may be able to help.

      • Bella

        I used 1cup powdered sugar, 3 tbsp butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 to 3 tbsp water. Please help me, use how many amount ingredient to make 12 cup cake or one whole cake?

        • Jenny

          Your frosting could be yellow because you used more butter and vanilla than my recipes and they both have color. Butter is yellow and vanilla is dark so that’s my best guess. My frosting is white because my recipe uses cream cheese and less butter and vanilla.

  14. Bella

    May I know, if i don’t want the cream cheese then how much butter and powdered sugar should I use? How much milk should I add? Enough to make 12 cup cake.

    • Jenny

      You could use the frosting recipe with my one-bowl chocolate cake and just eliminate the powdered cocoa. (there’s a video too)

  15. Bella

    Can replace the butter milk to sour cream? Or something else, what you suggest?

  16. honey

    Is it ok if i dont use the food coloring? Thanks.

  17. Diva

    Great recipe! But is it okay if I replace the buttermilk with fresh milk? It’s hard to find buttermilk in my country.

    • Jenny

      In baking, milk can not replace buttermilk because buttermilk provides the acid needed for the cupcakes to rise and be light. If you can’t find buttermilk you could try yogurt thinned with a little milk until it’s the consistence of buttermilk. But honestly, I have never found a really good replacement for buttermilk.

  18. Jenny

    To Kal, there are a few reasons why they came out hard on top:
    1) Your oven may be hotter in the upper area.
    2) The cupcakes were too close to the top of the oven.
    3) Your oven temperature may be off (hotter than it reads)
    4) If it’s a small oven, the tops will likely be too close to the top & get too much heat.
    Is there any other way I can help?

  19. Kal

    If we dont have the mixer will the cream cheese frosting turn out not as good as the mixed one?

    • Jenny

      I wish I had an answer but I don’t know how you would whip up the mixture because cream cheese is quite firm. You might try using the light cream cheese that comes in a tub and stir in the powdered sugar the best you can. I simply don’t know. Ideally, you can find an old-style manual mixer – they sell them now by Oxo for $20 (http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Good-Grips-Egg-Beater/dp/B004VLYQFO)

      • Kal

        But can you do the frosting without the mixer?

        • Jenny

          You can not make this fluffy frosting without a mixer. You can try using a spoon to stir together the powdered sugar with reduced fat cream cheese, which is softer than full fat, and it will not be light but it will probably give you a topping you can spread. This is a hard question to answer because I am just a home cook sharing the way I make things and I have never made frosting without an electric mixer. I hope this helps.

          • kal

            I tried doing it and it turned out well but any idea why it turned out hard on the top

  20. Keezrawati

    made this many times already now. they are awesome! thanks jenny.

  21. Aneza

    How many calories is in this cupcake? 🙂

  22. Lorrie

    What is the sugar you used for the frosting? What do I do if I don’t have it?

    • Jenny

      It’s powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar). This is a very fine sugar that’s the consistency of cornstarch, which is very common in frosting recipes. I’m not sure where you’re from but any American grocery store sells it. If you can’t get it, there are other recipes you can find that don’t use it. One is called Seven Minute Frosting and it’s made over a double boiler with egg whites and regular sugar. Here is one version of it: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Seven-Minute-Frosting-238014

  23. Christina Kwon

    Can I make cookies with this recipe?

    • Jenny

      I think the batter is too soft to drop onto a cookie sheet and it would probably spread into one big mass. What might work (and I’m just guessing) is to bake the batter in a square pan (8 or 9-inch) and then cool and cut it into squares. You could even frost the whole thing after it’s cooled, before cutting into squares. If you try this, I would bake in a greased pan or line it with foil, at 350 degrees, but start checking it around 12 minutes. Again, I have never done this – it’s just a thought and may not work. I’m not much help here, am I?? 🙂
      Or… try my double chocolate chip cookies.

  24. Vera

    Hi! I just want to ask if I can just use a regular milk because I have no buttermilk. And what if I want to make more like 24 or 32 cupcakes do I just double the measurement? Thanks!

    • Jenny

      You really can’t substitute regular milk for buttermilk because you need the acid in the buttermilk to react with the baking soda for light cupcakes. Once when I was out of buttermilk, I mixed some plain low fat yogurt with milk, about 1/2 and 1/2 and it worked pretty well as a substitute. Before you double this recipe, I would make one dozen with your substitution to make sure it works. I have never doubled this recipe but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work.

      • aniketmakhija

        i actully did that by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice and filled it up to the one cupline so i have a butter milk substitde

        • aniketmakhija

          you can use 1 table spoon of lemon juice and ad it too 1 cup of milk

  25. Emma

    I’m sorry for asking again..it is okay for not using vineger but replace it with baking powder?

    • Jenny

      I suppose you could but you wouldn’t need much baking powder, if any. I’d say not more than one teaspoon of baking powder.

  26. Emma

    If replace white vinegar with apple cider, it is okay?

    • Jenny

      You need the acid in vinegar to react with the baking soda, which starts the chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide, which is what makes the batter rise when it bakes. If you mean apple cider VINEGAR, then I believe it would work… but if you mean apple cider, I don’t think it would have enough acid to be effective.

      • Emma

        I forgot to put vapple cider vineger..then how about the oil? If put vegetable oil or olive oil?

        • Jenny

          Yes, another oil would work but I would choose EXTRA LIGHT olive oil to make sure there is no olive flavor. I bake with extra light olive oil (see my new marble loaf cake recipe) and it leaves no olive flavor at all. Vegetable oil would be safe for being flavorless. I hope you get good cupcakes 🙂 let me know!

  27. Susieq

    Just made these cupcakes.
    Absolutely yummy…. and not too sweet.
    Big family favourite..

  28. Angie

    Bardzo Dobrze cupcakes – They came out Delish 🙂

  29. Victoria

    How many calories are they?? I want to make some red velvet cupcakes for mothers day!

    • Jenny

      I did some calculating and it looks like about 250 calories per cupcake, which is less than most other red velvet cupcakes which contain up to 497 calories each. (but they won’t taste as good as these!)

  30. Christian Cortez

    I use olive oil but still healthy still extremely dilisous ive seen every video.

    • tania

      Hi Christian, how much olive oil did u use? The same amount or lesser?

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