These Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are fudgy, chewy, and are super easy to make. They can be whipped up in less than 1 hour!
Brownies with cream cheese frosting are one of my absolute favorite desserts. There is just something about the combo of the two that is so decadent to me.
These red velvet brownies are fudgy and rich with bright red color and topped with silky smooth cream cheese frosting. These are perfect for holidays such as Valentine's Day, Christmas, and the 4th of July!
If you're a fan of red velvet, make sure to try my Baked Red Velvet Donuts! If you want to try more brownies, my Triple Chocolate Brownies are the ones!
Why You'll Want to Make These Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- They're easy to make- you basically need 2 bowls and less than 1 hour to whip these up!
- They are perfect for holidays- the red in these brownies makes them extra fun and festive for holidays such as Valentine's Day, Christmas, and even the 4th of July!
- They're delicious- all brownies are delicious let's be real, and these are no exception! They are dense and fudgy, perfect with every bite
- The cream cheese icing is a game-changer- seriously, do not sleep on putting icing on top of your brownies. It adds another level of decadence!
- They are customizable- Add whatever kind of sprinkles you like on top! Don't like cream cheese? Use a buttercream recipe! Don't want them to be red? Omit the food coloring for regular brownies. These brownies are super versatile!
Here are some notes on a few ingredients- please see the full ingredient list in the recipe card below!
- butter- I always use unsalted butter when baking, but if you only have salted on hand just omit the salt that the recipe calls for.
- red food coloring- This is what gives our red velvet brownies their distinct red color! I use regular red food coloring, natural will give you a less vibrant red. I bought this giant bottle of red food coloring so now I'll never run out lol!
- cocoa powder- you want to use high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder for the best brownies! I love this Guittard brand cocoa powder.
- cream cheese- This is the base of our cream cheese frosting. Make sure to use the regular block-style cream cheese (or a tub). Just don't use the whipped kind!
Step 1: In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter until melted. Once melted, add to a large bowl with the sugar and mix until combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and red food coloring, mixing until well combined.
Step 2: Add the dry ingredients- flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix until everything is combined and there are no streaks of flour left.
Step 3: Pour batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center is set. Remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool in the pan before removing.
Step 4: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt, mixing until fully combined.
Spread cream cheese frosting on top of cooled brownies and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Since the frosting on these brownies has cream cheese in it, these do need to be refrigerated after icing.
Cream cheese frosting is amazing with a lot of things, but my favorites are definitely brownies! Other recipes with cream cheese icing you should try are my Mini Brownie Bites, Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal, Cinnamon Roll Donuts, Red Velvet Donuts, and Homemade Toaster Strudels.
The more fat (butter and chocolate) you have in a brownie recipe compared to flour, the fudgier and denser they will be. I tried to make this recipe meet in the middle- They are still dense and fudgy, but also a little cakey since there is a whole cup of flour in them. I typically opt for a fudgier brownie (just my personal preference), but I wanted these to be able to hold up under the cream cheese icing and not fall apart!
Tips and Tricks
- Spoon and level your flour- I always recommend spooning and leveling your flour when baking. Scooping the measuring cup right into the flour will actually compact the flour and give much more than the recipe calls for. To spoon and level, use a large spoon to gently scoop the flour into your measuring cup. Once it's full, use a flat edge (like a butter knife) to gently scrape across the top of the measuring cup. If you'd prefer, you can weigh your flour using a kitchen scale, which will give you the most accurate measurement!
- Room temperature ingredients- this will help when making the frosting, cream cheese and butter are so much easier to work with when they are at room temp!
- Don't overmix the batter- make sure when mixing the dry ingredients into the batter to not overmix- ideally want to only mix until you no longer see streaks of flour/cocoa powder in the bowl.
- Don't overbake the brownies- overbaking brownies will give you one thing- dry brownies, which is not what we want! Make sure to bake them until they are just set, but not completely done.
- Let them cool in the pan- brownies will continue to bake after you take them out of the oven, so allow them to cool in the pan. They also slice easier if you allow them to cool completely before serving.
Storing & Freezing
These brownies with cream cheese frosting are best stored in the refrigerator. If you wish to leave them at room temperature, you can make both the brownies and icing ahead of time and wait to ice them until ready to serve (icing stays in the fridge).
You can freeze the brownies after baking, but I would wait to add the frosting until ready to serve. To defrost, just let them sit at room temperature.
Want to try more brownie recipes?
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Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 cup all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter until melted. Once melted, add to a large bowl with the sugar and mix until combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and red food coloring, mixing until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients- flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix until everything is combined and there are no streaks of flour left.
- Pour batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center is set. Remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool in the pan before removing.
Cream Cheese Icing
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt, mixing until fully combined.
- Spread cream cheese icing on top of cooled brownies and enjoy!
- spoon and level your flour- I always recommend spooning and leveling your flour when baking. If you'd prefer, you can weigh your flour using a kitchen scale, which will give you the most accurate measurement!
- Don't over mix the batter- only mix until you no longer see streaks of flour/cocoa powder in the bowl.
- Don't over-bake the brownies- Make sure to bake them until they are just set, but not completely done.
- Let them cool in the pan- brownies will continue to bake after you take them out of the oven, so allow them to cool in the pan. Wait to ice the brownies until they are completely cooled.
- Use room temperature ingredients- it makes the icing easier to make.
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These were outstanding! I made two, small alterations to the original recipe: I used 1 cup of brown sugar (packed) instead of all granulated white, and I added white chocolate chips and broken pieces (from a leftover bar) to the batter. It came out great, and the white chocolate mixed in made it even better.
Kelly Hamilton says
Thanks so much for trying these, Dex! So happy to hear you enjoyed them
Would gel food coloring work? About the same amount?
Kelly Hamilton says
Hi Kathy, I haven't tested it but you should be able to swap it exactly! You should be able to tell by the color of the batter.
We really liked the flavor but found it to have too much sugar aste i believe it would be fine to cut back the sugrar
Kelly Hamilton says
Thanks for trying these, Linda!
I made these for my family at Christmas and we DEVOURED them! Soo good!
Kelly Hamilton says
Thanks for giving this recipe a try, Whitney!
LaWhit Lizzmore says
The recipe gives the option and I was was wanting to know how to determine cooking time when you 2x or 3x the recipe.
Kelly Hamilton says
Hi LaWhit, I would stick with doubling the recipe, baking in a 9x13 pan, and adding an extra 5-10 minutes to the bake time. Just make sure to keep checking on the brownies towards the end to be sure they're done/not overbaking!
I was wondering is there any vinegar in this recipe? Most all recipes I’ve seen call for at least 1/2 teaspoon vinegar also. Just wondering.
Kelly Hamilton says
Hi Erica, I didn't add any vinegar to this recipe but if you like it then you can certainly add it!