Skip to Content

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies with Cream Cheese

These red velvet thumbprint cookies are so rich and fluffy with the perfect amount of cream cheese filling. They are perfectly festive and delicious for a Christmas cookie exchange.

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies with Cream Cheese

Today in Utah we had nearly two feet of snow dumped on us, and we could hardly get out of our neighborhood without sliding off the road.

As a result, we had no choice but to hunker down, turn on Elf, and bake some Christmas cookies. Life was hard, you guys.

I wanted to go super festive since the snow was falling outside like a Christmas card and it was so cozy inside so I made these FABULOUS red velvet cheesecake thumbprint cookies.

red velvet cookies with cream cheese

Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese

Let’s have a frank discussion about red velvet for a moment. A lot of people think it tastes like chocolate, but it doesn’t.

Red velvet cake is typically made with cocoa powder, vinegar, and buttermilk – the reaction of which gives the red (enhanced by food coloring).

We’re not making cake, so we just have cocoa powder in these cookies. But the flavor of these bad boys are not anything about the cookie, to be honest . . . it’s all about being a vehicle for the filling. I feel like anyone who doesn’t admit that about red velvet is a big ol’ liar!

These cookies are so rich and fluffy, making them the perfect vehicle with the perfect amount of creamy cheesecake like filling.

Plus, they look so gorgeous that you almost don’t want to eat them (but I always eat them ALL because I’m not crazy).

Here’s how you make these delicious red velvet cookies with cream cheese:


For the cookies:

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp red food coloring
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar sprinkles

For the filling:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Tips and thoughts for this recipe:

  • Don’t skip chilling the dough. Sometimes it’s a drag to wait but it keeps the cookies from spreading and enhances the flavor.
  • Let your pan cool between batches of cookies (it helps to have two pans in rotation). This keeps the cookies from spreading a lot.
  • swear by USA Pans. They are my absolutely favorite and cook baked items so evenly.
  • Check the cookies regularly through the baking process and go by how they look versus the time on the recipe. You want edges that are set. And when the cream cheese goes in, you want that to look set on the top. Slightly wiggle the pan too. If the cream cheese moves too much, put them back in.
  • Cold ingredients should be at room temperature (egg, butter) but don’t leave them out too long.

See? I told you they were gorgeous and believe me, they are even more delicious than they are pretty. The perfect Christmas cookie.

red velvet cream cheese thumbprint cookies

This Christmas dessert is one that you have to try. I promise, you’re going to want to make these every single year! Get the printable recipe below.

Yield: 24 cookies

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies

red velvet cookies filled with cream cheese

These red velvet cookies with cream cheese are so rich and fluffy with the perfect amount of creamy cheesecake filling. They are perfectly festive and delicious!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes


For the Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or sugar sprinkles)

For the Filling

  • 4 oz cream cheese (softened, room temperature)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the salt, flour, and cocoa powder in a bowl united evenly mixed.
  2. Beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the (dry ingredients) flour, food coloring, and cocoa powder until soft dough forms and ingredients are just combined.Scooping red velvet cookie dough from a bowl
  4. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours) to chill.
  5. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.Red velvet cookie balls on a cookie sheet
  6. Scoop out the dough by heaping tablespoons and rolling them in the sugar before placing on the prepared baking sheet (about 2 inches apart). Use the back of a round teaspoon to make a small indentation in the cookie dough.Making the thumbprint in some red velvet cookies
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges of set.
  8. Meanwhile, make the filling: using an electric mixer or small food processor, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth.
  9. After the first 10 minutes of baking, bring the cookies out of the oven. Use the back of a round teaspoon to deepen the indentation in the cookies (if necessary - based on how deep they were previously).
  10. Spoon a teaspoon of the filling into each indentation. Bake for an additional 12 minutes, or until filling is set.Adding cream cheese filling to the cookies with a spoon
  11. Pull cookies out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on a wire rack.Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies with Cream Cheese


Recipe yields between 2 - 3 dozen. 24 cookies is approximate and used for nutritional information.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 167Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 99mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

What is your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Share away! And be sure to visit us as we blog about style, food, and the things we love over at the Pretty Life Girls.

For more delicious cookie recipes, visit these posts:

Shelley Moriarty

Monday 14th of December 2020

I tried these today. Theyre pretty but not much taste to them, and I had twice as much filling as what I needed. Made 2-1/2 dozen when forming them into 1" balls.


Sunday 29th of December 2019

Tried this recipe but it did not work. Read it multiple times over. It seemed like way too much food coloring. Seems to be missing something??? They looked good, but taste was not good unfortunately.

Annie Sinelli

Friday 20th of December 2019

Yours look so beautiful. I just made them and they didn’t turn out so great. The cookie “cracked” around the edges and the sugar I used just looked dark against the red dough. I’ll give it another go though. I may have used too much red food coloring and should probably use lighter sugars. I made the dough in advance and had it in the fridge for a few days before making. I don’t know if that helped or hurt. Happy Holidays!

Marie Eichler

Tuesday 10th of December 2019

Want to make for Christmas ahead of time . Can I freeze them since they have cream cheese in them?


Wednesday 11th of December 2019

Yes, they can be frozen for up to three months! They should be thawed at room temp :)


Tuesday 25th of December 2018

Tasty, but mine spread big time. Did you chill before baking?

Skip to Recipe