Try these easy Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies, conveniently made with a red velvet cake mix! Just five ingredients and a little patience to chill the dough, and you’ll be scooping up one of the simplest red velvet cake cookies out there. An ooey, gooey center with a crispy, sugared edge will make your mouth water. Perfect for your holiday festivities or cookie exchange!
‘Tis the season for sweet treats everywhere you turn! While some major holidays take center stage, December is birthday month for me. It’s also when we celebrate my dad’s birthday, as he was born exactly 30 years and one day before I was. It’s always been really special to almost share a birthday, amongst the many other things that make us alike.
One of those is a deep, unapologetic love for a classic red velvet cake. I don’t know what it is but I can’t get enough of a vibrant red, moist cake layered with plenty of cream cheese icing. I love everything about it!
Except for, well, making red velvet cake from scratch.
Because if you know me, you know I can do a lot of things well but baking is not one of them. I much prefer the flexibility and freedom of cooking, versus baking which is more of a science. But that’s where these Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies come in.
They’re a semi-homemade stand-in for the real thing, with loads of simplicity and no sacrificing flavor. They’re very similar to red velvet crinkle cookies, with the powdered sugar coating giving the same effect.
At least, that is my opinion. For all the enthusiastic bakers out there, please don’t come for me! I know these red velvet cookies are not the same but they’re close enough to keep me satisfied. And I really hope you’ll enjoy them, too!
Why You’ll Love These Cookies
- These bright red cookies can get you in the festive mood this time of year. I like the tradition of making them around the holiday season for a cookie exchange or family gatherings. But they’ll shine whenever you want to add a pop of color for other holidays (hint, hint: Valentines Day) or events.
- The basic gooey butter cookie recipe uses a boxed cake mix, which means it’s super simple to replicate with other flavors. The formula stays the same, so get creative if there’s another cake flavor you’re drooling over!
- You can have some fun with customizing them if you have the time or desire. See my notes below the ingredient list for a few ideas.
If you’re not familiar with gooey butter cookies, you’re in for a real treat! They’re inspired by Gooey Butter Cake (more often called “ooey gooey butter cake”), hailing from St. Louis, Missouri. I lived there for a short time and grew to love it. It’s a type of dense, moist yellow cake that’s best served slightly warmed for maximum gooeyness.
Most of all, I think you’ll love how straightforward this red velvet cake mix cookie recipe is. The hardest part is mustering the patience to let the cookie dough chill. But if you can manage that, you’ll be in business. Let’s get started!
Ingredients for Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies
While some recipes for Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies are truly from scratch, this is not one of those recipes. While I certainly appreciate the effort and attention to detail, I personally prefer a more convenient option when I bake. So don’t be surprised to see such a short list of ingredients:
- Box of red velvet cake mix. The two most common brands in U.S. grocery stores are Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines. Note that the Duncan Hines mix (at the time of this post) is 15.25 oz while the Betty Crocker box is only 13.25 oz. I use Betty Crocker because I like how the lower ratio makes the cookies extra gooey. But if you prefer a more cake-like texture, use the Duncan Hines brand.
- Cream cheese. Go for the full-fat stuff, not reduced fat or whipped cream cheese.
- Butter. Use a full stick of butter. I like my typical brand of salted butter, but different brands can vary in flavor. If you use unsalted butter, you’ll have more control over the finished flavor and can add a pinch of salt if needed based on your taste preferences.
- Powdered sugar. No exact measurements needed, just scoop out enough you’ll be able to coat the dough balls before baking. This gives them the crinkle effect while baking.
As far as equipment, make sure you have:
- A large mixing bowl
- Cookie sheet or baking sheet, along with parchment paper to line it
- Strong whisk or hand mixer
- Cookie scoop
While the cookie scoop is technically optional, I think it makes it so easy to ensure all the cookies end up the same size. I also use mine for meatballs and muffins, so it’s worth investing in if you’ll get frequent use out of it!
Swaps and Substitutions
One of the best things about these Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies is you can easily dress them up with some simple additions. Try these on for size!
- Top with cream cheese frosting (homemade or store-bought)
- Mix in white chocolate chips before rolling out the cookie dough balls
- Drop in some vanilla extract or vinegar for more intense flavor. The red velvet flavor in traditional cakes or cupcakes is due to the acidity of vinegar or buttermilk used in the batter, but is pretty subdued in a boxed cake mix.
And, as I mentioned, the general template for gooey butter cookies remains the same regardless of which type of cake mix you use. I always remember it as, “one box, one stick, one block, one egg.”
I’ve tried classic yellow cake for a more “authentic” St. Louis-style gooey butter cookie. Very delicious, and I highly recommend trying the original.
But you can also use boxed mixes to make gooey butter funfetti cookies, devil’s food or chocolate cookies, or strawberry, carrot cake, or spice cake cookies. The way I always remember it is, “one box, one stick, one block, one egg.”
How to Make Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies
At first glance, it might seem like this recipe takes a long time. But most of that is chilling time, with the hands-on time only taking about 15 minutes total.
Here are my simple steps to make deliciously sweet Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies using a cake mix:
- Make sure the cream cheese and butter are very soft at room temperature. Scrape them into a large bowl, then add the egg. Use a hand mixer or strong whisk to combine the wet ingredients.
- Add the red velvet cake mix (which already includes all the dry ingredients) and mix it in to form a sticky dough.
- Once the cookie dough is smooth, cover and chill for 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to portion 16 to 20 equal sized cookies.
- Use clean hands to roll the portions in dough balls (about 1-inch balls). Add a scoop (1/2 to 1 cup) of powdered sugar to a small bowl and roll the dough in it to fully coat the outside. The more powdered sugar you use, the more intense the crinkle effect will be. Place the dough ball on the prepared baking sheet but do not press down.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving two inches between each cookie. Bake for 11-12 minutes for an extra gooey cookie, or 13-15 minutes for a crispier crust. Once baked, place on a wire rack to firm up before serving.
Street Smart Nutrition Tip: While this dough can be thoroughly mixed with a whisk, prepare for an upper body workout. It’s much easier to achieve a fully mixed, smooth dough with the help of an appliance.
Additionally, the dough is sticky enough it may jam your cookie scoop. I prefer to use the scoop for the first dough ball only. Once you gauge the size and weight of each dough ball, switch to a tablespoon to scoop the remaining dough.
Batch Baking and Storage Tips
Since the formula is so simple it’s easy to make a double or even triple batch of Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies. This works particularly well if you’re prepping for a bake sale, cookie swap, or holiday event that calls for many more cookies than you would typically make.
Although you can combine everything into a giant batch, it’s almost impossible to mix if you’re working by hand with a whisk. It’s best to use an electric mixer or even a stand mixer if you have one.
Street Smart Nutrition Tip: For consistent results, separate the batch dough into smaller portions to allow time for rolling and baking. The more chilled the dough is, the easier it is to work with and there will be less spread during the baking process.
These cookies are fully baked, so they’re fine to store at room temperature for a few days. Seal them in an airtight container and they can stay on the countertop or in the pantry.
Note that over time, the outside of the red velvet cake mix cookies will soften. There’s so much moisture from the other ingredients so this is normal and expected once they’re sealed and stored.
If you’re making them in advance, pop them in the fridge, where they can last up to one week. Or, seal tightly to remove excess air and you can freeze them for up to 3-6 months.
Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- large baking sheet
- cookie scoop, optional, but helpful to have
- 1 box red velvet cake mix, see notes below
- 8 oz cream cheese , full fat, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
- 1 large egg
- powdered sugar
- Make sure the cream cheese and butter are very soft at room temperature. Scrape them into a large mixing bowl, then add the egg. Use a hand mixer or strong whisk to mix the wet ingredients.
- Add the cake mix and stir it in to form a sticky dough. Once the cookie dough is smooth, cover and chill for 1-2 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to portion out a scoop and use clean hands to roll into a dough ball, about 1" in diameter.
- Add a scoop (1/2 to 1 cup) of powdered sugar to a small bowl and roll the dough ball in it to fully coat the outside. Place it on the prepared baking sheet but do not press down.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving two inches between each cookie. Recommended yield is 24 cookies. Bake for 12-13 minutes for an extra gooey cookie, or 15-17 minutes for a crispier crust. Once baked, place on a cooling rack to firm up before serving.
I hope you find a reason to enjoy these red velvet cake mix cookies with friends or family! If you try them out, let me know what you think. Recipe ratings and comments are always appreciated!
And as always, thanks for stopping by the Street Smart Nutrition blog. We’re all about fearlessly nourishing meals, so if you want more of that you can find more and follow along on Instagram and YouTube (plus all the other social media platforms).
And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so you never miss a new post!