Red Velvet Thumbprints

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies feature soft, chewy, buttery cookies, tinged with cocoa for smooth chocolate flavor, and the wells are filled with ultra-creamy, luscious, tangy cream cheese frosting. Featuring an iconic and irresistible duo, these Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies have earned a prominent spot on your cookie trays for the holidays.

Course Cookies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author Sarah


For red velvet thumbprint cookies:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 4-5 drops red food gel paste or 1 tbsp. red food coloring
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup red or pink sugar crystals or sprinkles

For cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar


For red velvet thumbprint cookies:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.

  2. Beat in egg yolk, milk, vanilla, and red food color.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.

  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl, and beat until just combined.

  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

  6. Shape into 1-inch balls.

  7. Roll each ball in sprinkles, thoroughly coating.

  8. Arrange two inches apart on parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheets.

  9. Press an indentation in the center of each dough ball using your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon.

  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies appear set. 

  11. Remove from heat, and if desired, repress the indentation while cookies are still warm.

  12. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

  13. Meanwhile, prepare cream cheese frosting.

For cream cheese frosting:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. 

  2. Add 3 cups powdered sugar, and beat until combined. Frosting should be thick, fluffy, and pipeable - I sometimes need it thicker. Add additional powdered sugar, as needed, 1/4 cup at a time.

  3. Fit a decorating bag with a star tip, and pipe cream cheese frosting into the center of each thumbprint, about a rounded tablespoonful.