Red Velvet Brownies
Red velvet brownies are ultra fudgy in the center and slightly chewy around the edges. Enjoy them plain, or top them with homemade cream cheese icing for an even more decadent treat!
These red velvet brownies are similar to my homemade brownies – ultra fudgy, dense, and incredibly easy to prepare.
Cocoa powder infuses these brownies with chocolate-y flavor, while liquid red food coloring creates that signature red velvet color. Using melted butter instead of oil makes the brownies extra fudgy and also helps create that crackly top that all the best brownies have.
The cream cheese icing is technically optional, but all red velvet desserts taste better when paired with tangy cream cheese!
Make these red velvet brownies for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or any time you’re craving red velvet. They’re so much easier and faster to make than red velvet cake, but they deliver the same delicious flavor!
What You’ll Need
This is a very simple brownie recipe, but there are a few important ingredients you will need to have on hand:
- Butter: I used melted unsalted butter in the brownie batter rather than oil. Melted butter creates super fudgy brownies and helps form a crackly top.
- Sugar: I used a blend of granulated and brown sugar in the batter for both flavor and moisture.
- Red food coloring: I used liquid food coloring, but you could use gel food coloring as well. Note that gel food coloring is more potent than liquid, so you’ll need to use less than the recipe calls for.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Since this recipe doesn’t use any baking soda or baking powder, it’s technically okay to use either natural or Dutch process cocoa powder. However, I recommend using natural cocoa powder because it’s lighter in color. (If you’re curious about the differences, I have a post that explains natural vs Dutch process cocoa powder.)
- Cream Cheese: Make sure to use brick-style cream cheese for the icing.
How To Make Red Velvet Brownies
- Combine the butter and sugars: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
- Mix together the remaining wet ingredients: Add the eggs, red food coloring, and vanilla extract and continue mixing until well combined. Make sure not to over beat the eggs at this point, otherwise you may end up with cakey brownies.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet: Be sure to sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt over the mixing bowl to prevent any clumps from forming in the brownie batter.
- Bake the brownies: Turn the batter into an 8×8-inch baking dish that’s been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350ºF until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
- Make the icing: In a separate mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then, add the powdered sugar and vanilla. You might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
- Ice and serve: After the baked brownies have completely cooled, spread the cream cheese icing over the top before slicing and serving.
This red velvet brownie recipe is perfect as is, but you’re welcome to customize the recipe using the following ideas.
- Swap the icing: Instead of using cream cheese icing, top the brownies with chocolate buttercream frosting, chocolate ganache, or ermine frosting. You may also omit the icing entirely.
- Add mix-ins: Try adding up to 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (any kind, although white chocolate chips are most popular in red velvet brownies!).
- Add a cheesecake topping: Instead of cream cheese frosting, add a cheesecake layer on top of the brownies. Use my cheesecake brownies for inspiration, noting that you’d need to halve the ingredients needed to make the cheesecake layer.
Once frosted, the brownies should be sealed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to five days.
The frosted brownies can also be frozen for up to three months. I recommend freezing them first on a parchment paper-lined baking tray before sealing in a zip-top bag or freezer container. This will prevent the icing from sticking to the bag.
You may also freeze the brownies and icing separately. When ready to serve, thaw the icing in the fridge overnight and let the brownies defrost on your counter. Ice the brownies just before serving.
- If you only have gel food coloring on hand, you’re welcome to use it. I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon of gel food coloring and adding more as needed.
- Don’t over bake the brownies! A toothpick inserted into the center won’t come out completely clean, it should still have a few moist crumbs attached to it.
- If you want a thicker layer of frosting, feel free to make a half batch of my cream cheese frosting instead.
- Want to make a larger batch of brownies? This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan for roughly the same amount of time.
Red Velvet Brownies
Red Velvet Brownies
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled (1.5 sticks; 170 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar (100 grams)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring (15 ml; I use McCormick)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (160 grams)
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (22 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 ounces brick-style cream cheese softened (113 grams)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (30 grams)
- ½ cup powdered sugar (60 grams)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To make the red velvet brownies: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal. Spray well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until well combined. Then, whisk in the eggs, red food coloring, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and continue whisking until just combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it around into one even layer.
- Bake for 28 to 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with just a few moist crumbs.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack.
- To make the icing: In a large mixing bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix until well combined and smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Spread the cream cheese icing over the cooled brownies. Slice and serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.