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stack of cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies showing the inside filling

Welcome to day 2 in Sally’s Cookie Palooza!

I’ve had a cookie like this on my mind for over a year now. Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting in cookie form. (While we’re on the subject of cakes as cookies… anyone try the carrot cake cookies in Sally’s Cookie Addiction?!)

It took me many failed attempts and horrific cream cheese disasters… but here it is. Cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies will be the talk of the town on every holiday cookie tray this year.

cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies

The red velvet cookie dough is pretty straightforward. It’s basically the same cookie dough I use for my red velvet chocolate chip cookies, and it’s similar to my red velvet kiss cookies, only I use a little extra cocoa powder in place of flour. The extra cocoa flavor definitely stands out. One of the main questions I receive regarding this red velvet cookie dough is… how is it red velvet? Isn’t it just chocolate chip cookie dough tinted red? Honestly, that’s a great question. But to me, red velvet is a blend of cocoa and vanilla paired with LOTS of buttery flavor. It’s a buttermilk-based cake, so you have a tangy flavor mixed in as well. And the chocolate flavor is toned down by only adding a small amount of cocoa. The cookies include all of it, though the buttermilk flavor isn’t as strong.

So what about today’s cookies?

I had a wonderful starting off point with my red velvet cookie dough, so the real issue was with the cream cheese filling. Man this stuff was annoying! It would either seep out the sides of the cookie, taste gross, or pull a disappearing act. Like, it would melt into the cookie dough itself. It simply wasn’t thick or sturdy enough. Like most cookie doughs, the cream cheese filling needs to be super cold going into the oven. And it needs to fit snugly inside the red velvet cookie dough. So how do we make it? The filling is basically an extremely thick cream cheese frosting.

Um, did you read that? These are cookies stuffed with frosting (!!!).

cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies

You’ll need cream cheese, obviously. Confectioners’ sugar to sweeten and thicken, a smidge of flour to also thicken, and a touch of vanilla extract for flavor. I always add butter to my cream cheese frosting, but butter caused the filling to melt. Once I (1) ditched the butter, (2) got the filling as cold and sturdy as possible, and (3) shaped the cookie dough completely around the filling… we were golden!!!

Let’s walk through the general process:

  1. prepare + chill red velvet cookie dough
  2. make the cream cheese filling
  3. drop spoonfuls onto baking sheet and freeze
  4. roll frozen spoonfuls of filling into balls
  5. assemble cookies
  6. bake cookies!

Here’s a video to show you exactly how to do each step:

After the cream cheese filling is mixed together, it’s pretty sticky. So that’s why we have to freeze it. I don’t recommend freezing the filling in the bowl; rather, freeze it as little spoonfuls. It will freeze faster and more evenly this way. Once the little spoonfuls are frozen/cold, it’s easier to roll into balls to fit inside the cookie dough. It’ll still be a little sticky, but much more manageable.

Step Photos

red velvet cookie dough:

red velvet cookie dough in a glass bowl

cream cheese filling:

cream cheese filling in a glass bowl

drop spoonfuls + freeze them:

spoonfuls of cream cheese filling on a parchment lined baking sheet

roll frozen cream cheese filling into balls as best you can:

rolling cream cheese filling in between palms

assemble cookies:

collage of 4 images showing steps to making cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies including cookie dough, cream cheese ball on top of cookie dough, cookie dough on top of cream cheese ball, and hands enclosing the cream cheese stuffing with cookie dough

That bottom right picture shows how to mold the cookie dough around the cream cheese filling. Just push the dough down the sides to completely enclose the filling. As you’re assembling the cookies, the cream cheese filling balls may get a little soft. So don’t be afraid to just pop them back in the fridge for a few minutes.

Roll the stuffed cookie dough balls in granulated sugar for some sparkle because sparkles are pretty.

hands rolling red velvet cookie dough ball into a bowl of sugar

Bake up some stuffed cookie success!

stacks of cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies

cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies on a black plate

Red Velvet Cookie Conclusion

  • If you love red velvet, you’re going to obsess over these cookies.
  • If you don’t love red velvet, you’re going to obsess over these cookies.
  • I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t love these cookies.
  • Even people who are all like “eh, I don’t really like dessert” (who even are you?) love these cookies.

See all cookie palooza recipes.

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stack of cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies showing the inside filling

Cream Cheese Stuffed Red Velvet Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies are like a chewy and dense slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/3 cup (27g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon red food coloring (liquid, gel, or 2 tsp beet powder alternative)*

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 4 ounces (112g) full-fat block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the cookie dough: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and the brown sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla extract and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients (flour mixture) into the wet ingredients until combined. Finally, beat in the food coloring. Add 1-2 teaspoons more for a brighter red, if desired. The cookie dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 and 1/2 hours and up to 2-3 days.
  4. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese filling: In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, flour, and vanilla extract together on medium-high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Drop teaspoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. Freeze for at least 1 and 1/2 hours and up to 2-3 days.
  5. Remove cream cheese spoonfuls from the freezer. Roll each into a ball as best you can. It will be a little sticky. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use in step 7. You want them as cold as possible!
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  7. Assemble the cookies: Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. If the cookie dough chilled longer than 3-4 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll. Roll cookie dough, 1 Tablespoon each, into balls. Using your thumb, make an indent into one cookie dough ball. Remove cream cheese balls from the refrigerator. Place one inside the indentation. Cover the cream cheese ball with another cookie dough ball and mold the two dough balls around the cream cheese, making sure it is completely covered and snug inside. Repeat with remaining cookie dough and cream cheese.
  8. Roll each stuffed cookie dough ball in remaining granulated sugar and arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until edges appear set. Centers will look soft.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. You can also make the cream cheese filling in step 4 and freeze for up to 2-3 days. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. Unbaked cookie dough balls with cream cheese inside (that you assembled in step 7) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll in remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Bake as directed. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Americolor Super Red Food Coloring | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet | Cooling Rack
  3. Milk: Any milk, dairy or non-dairy, works. I like to use buttermilk.
  4. Red Food Coloring: I’ve successfully made these cookies using beet powder instead of red food coloring – this is a wonderful natural alternative to food coloring. Use 2 teaspoons for a slight red color.
  5. Keep Everything Cold: If the cream cheese filling or cookie dough become too soft as you assemble the cookies in step 7, simply place back into the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  6. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi I was just wondering are these cookies safe to leave at room temperature with the cream cheese filling. Would it be considered shelf stable?

    1. Hi Ryan, Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. For longer storage see my make ahead tips in the recipe notes!

      1. Hi. I plan to ship these cookies over the holidays. Would it be safe and not spoiled by the time it arrives ? It might take more than 3 days to arrive.

  2. I made a pizookie using this recipe but the crust and the sides turned soggy after baking it. Is it because of adding no or little flour. If I add a little more flour in the cream cheese filling will it absorb extra moisture and stop it from becoming soggy

    1. Hi Zainab, We’ve never tested this recipe as a pizookie or cookie cake but we wouldn’t recommend using this filling that way. It really needs to be as cold as possible in small amounts so it doesn’t spread and make everything soggy. You can certainly try using this cookie dough, or the dough from our red velvet chocolate chip cookies (with or without the chocolate chips) baked as a pizookie and then decorating the top with cream cheese frosting.

    1. Hi Rocheal, they are on the chewy/dense side. Hope you’ll give them a try!

  3. I am always wondering why does cookie recipe have so much sugar? It is too (understatement) sweet to even finish 1

    1. Hi Boom, Sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. You can certainly try reducing the sugar, but the resulting texture will be different than intended.

    1. Hi Nurul, cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.

  4. Great recipe!! After assembling the cookie dough I discovered that I’ve got quite a lot of excess cream cheese filling left. Is there anything else you’d recommend that I can use the filling for so that they won’t go to waste? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Frances, We’ve never tried it, but we would expect that the texture would not hold up.

    2. Is it just my freezers, or does anyone else have an issue with the cream cheese balls freezing up enough to roll them quickly into a ball? My two freezers are set appropriately, so that’s not an issue…..I’ve had them in the freezer for 48 hours now, and I cannot roll them because they get squishy too fast. I followed the cream cheese recipe correctly as well.

      1. Hi Hyedi! Make sure to use fall fat brick cream cheese (not the kind in a tub) anything else will be too watery/thin to set up properly.

  5. Hi ! I tried the recipe today and it tastes great! There was only a small problem. The cookies are a bit hollow, not completely filled with cream cheese. What might be the problem in your opinion? Is it because of the temperature or? Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Christine, how strange! What kind of cream cheese are you using? Make sure to use full fat block cream cheese, instead of cream cheese sold in a tub. Spreadable cream cheese contains much more moisture and would evaporate in the oven causing pockets of air to appear in the cookies.

  6. Someone requested I make these and unfortunately they didn’t turn out anything like the pictures. The cookie completely flattened around the cream cheese ball and cooked crisp like a cracker. I make stuffed cookies every weekend and was disappointed this recipe didn’t work out.

    1. I have the same issue! Any idea why this is happening ? My cookies also spread a lot.. haven’t tasted them as they’re literally in the oven now… hope despite the size and spread, it tastes as good as it looks in your pic!

      1. I had the same problem of them going flat around the filling. I even tried freezing the cookie ball with filling for the second batch. They taste delicious but are quite cumbersome to eat. Would love to try again with some tips to stop spreading!

    2. I just made this recipe and they turned out like little crispy sombreros. I thought it was that I didn’t chill for that long (did the minimum 1.5 hours) or perhaps used too much dough for the outer red velvet coating?? Would love to hear the recipe maker’s thoughts…

  7. For all those saying the cookies turned out flat, it may be an error with adding all the sugar into the dough instead of dividing it. Sally, it is easy to miss the word “divided” in the ingredients if prepping and especially if measuring by weight – the tendency is to just measure out 200g into one bowl. The recipe may be more predictable if it reads something along the lines of “1 cup granulated sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup (100g each)

    1. I actually agree with you on that idea.
      I read through the ingredients, then I looked at the directions..it does sound a bit confusing with the way it’s put; but I did see that Sally wanted us to divide the sugar, one part for the rolling and one part for the ingredient.
      In a cookie like this, is quite important to read and reread the directions as One goes…I learned that the hard way with a different recipe (not affiliated with Sally). Tricky cookies call for extra time;)
      I have mine prepped and in the freezer. When I bake them I’ll come back and let you all know if they spread and if the cream cheese evaporated.

  8. I would like to start by saying that I love your recipes, Sally! I wanted this recipe to work so badly (family loves red velvet), but I am also having a cookie spreading issue. I followed the recipe exactly, divided the sugar and all that. After failing my first bake, I refrigerated the dough overnight. This didn’t work so I tried freezing, which produced mixed results. This recipe is a whole lot of work, so it’s a pretty big bummer to have maybe a 1/4 of the cookies come out OK. I’m going to throw the towel in on this one:(

  9. I absolutely love this recipe and it worked near perfect but I measure a teaspoon for each cream cheese icing ball and wound up with almost double the amount of balls needed but then had lacklustre cream cheese filling. Should it be closer to 1.5-2 tsp then closer to an exact one tsp? I didn’t second guess myself when initially making this as another person commented on having lots of filling left

    1. Hi Melanie, for next time, you can certainly use more cream cheese filling in the centers if you’d like. Make sure the cream cheese balls are nice and cold when adding to the dough — if they’re too warm, they can melt into the cookies. Thanks for giving these a try!

  10. This recipe was definitely more ambitious than I thought when I started out making it but they were so delicious in the end that it was worth all the effort. I’m wondering though, I definitely made the cookies larger than recommended, but they came out of the oven massive and also turned out super flat 🙁 I divided the sugar as per the recipe and did everything else correctly. Still super tasty though!

  11. These were a huge hit at my cookie swap this year! I had 4 people asking for the recipe! I made them with cacao (Viva Naturals cacao powder) and on a doubled batch I did 2 cups APF, and 1 cup of Bob’s red mill gluten free flower to add to fluffiness. The first round I did I tried spelt + BRM gf flour in the same ration and they were a little drier but still good if you want to go gluten light. I was unable to get them to be that red even with using basically 2 full red food coloring bottles from the grocery store variety with 4 colors. ( It may have been due to the intense cacao powder, they were quite dark brown). I used scant 1/2 cup less sugar than called for on a double batch and they were the perfect sweetness with the rolled sugar on the outside. I used a little extra milk to make up for the sugar and mixed 1tsp apple cider vinegar to the milk to make it buttermilk.

  12. I have made these tons of times and the always end up perfectly and taste amazing

  13. Hi there,
    random question not sure if anyone has any idea or advice- but do you think these cream cheese balls would work inside of a cupcake? I was originally thinking i could put it in after baking but with the flour I’m assuming it needs to be baked as well – do you think you’d bake it in inside the cupcake batter?

  14. This is such a great recipe snd it does taste just like red velvet cake.
    I did have a harder time ‘balling’ the cream cheese filling. So I put the filling in the freezer, took it out and used a teaspoon sprayed with Pam, then I plopped the teaspoon of filling on a parchment lined
    sheet. Put back into the freezer, for at least a half hour or longer. Then i take pam spray and lightly spray my palm and round the cream cheese into balls. Then freeze again. After all are shaped and frozen ,that’s when I would wrap the red velvet cookie dough around the cheese balls. Lol…cheese balls..that’s funny.
    Thanks Sally!

  15. Hi there, what can I use to replace confectioner’s sugar in the filling?

    1. Hi Margo, unfortunately there isn’t a great substitute for the confectioners’ sugar in the filling. Other sugars will leave the filling grainy. Best to stick with confectioners’ sugar here!

  16. The cookies tasted so good but they were nothing like the pictures. I froze them but they were still flat. I did it twice because I thought I made a mistake with the measurements, but no. they were really flat. Wish the pictures were true.

  17. I messed these up and they STILL tasted good!! Thanks again, Sally.

  18. I’ve been baking for many years and even with the allotted chilling time and additional chilling time, these cookies were incredibly difficult to assemble. I found myself running back and forth from the fridge to the freezer to the counter because everything just softened too quickly to be handleable and the dough was so sticky. As others have mentioned, there was also an excess of extra cream cheese mixture (I had over half of mine left!) and since there’s flour in it, it needs to be baked into something or thrown out and wasted. I don’t know what this recipe needs specifically, but it certainly needs modifications and in its current state I wouldn’t make it again.

    Would I fully discourage someone else from trying this recipe? No. But do know if you do you’re in it for the long haul.

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