Red Beet Cupcakes
89 2

Red Beet Cupcakes



We have an awesome cupcake store in our neighborhood and every now and then we take the kids by to enjoy a special treat. Without fail, their eyes are always drawn to the most colorful cupcakes in the display case. My kids may have no idea how a red velvet cupcake made with crimson food dye actually tastes, but put something like it in front of them and their immediate response is, “that one”.

My take on these cupcakes have a rich flavor, and while they aren’t as artificially red as the red velvet cupcakes which use chemical food dyes (and of course chocolate which this one doesn't include), they (and their icing) get their bright, reddish-pink color from a surprising, delicious and 100% natural guest, roasted beets. Especially given the never-ending speculation about the connection between food dyes and hyperactivity in children, having smart alternatives for the artificially colored food that kids crave means I don't have to deprive my little ones.

This doesn't mean we're not frequenting our local cupcake store any less often, but I always like reminding myself that whenever there's something out there I may not be thrilled about my kids eating, figuring out how to make a healthier version is not at all impossible.

Beet Cream Cheese Frosting (Make 2 Cups)

1- 8 oz Pkg. Cream Cheese, room temperature

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Medium Beet, roasted, cooled, peeled and pureed, about ½ cup
1 Tsp Vanilla

1. Place all the ingredients in a mixer and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy.
2. Spread on cupcakes.

Red Beet Cupcakes  (makes 14 cupcakes)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins,
  • Cook Time: 25 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
We have an awesome cupcake store in our neighborhood and every now and then we take the kids by to enjoy a special treat. Without fail, their eyes are always drawn to the most colorful cupcakes in the display case. My kids may have no idea how a red...


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large beet, roasted, cooled, peeled and pureed, about 3/4 cup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. 2. Sift the first 4 ingredients into a bowl.
  3. 3. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.
  4. 4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and combine.
  5. 5. Pour about 1/3 cup into lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  6. 6. Cool and serve.
Red Beet Cupcakes

Nutrition Information

Related Recipes


  1. Susie

    March 5, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Call me wind because I am abulsotely blown away.

  2. Pingback: Discover the History of Beets -

  3. Pingback: History of Beets | The History Kitchen | PBS Food

  4. Sam

    March 1, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I just made this cupcake, color was vibrant until it was baked. The cupcakes didn’t have the red coloring to it anymore, it was dulled. All in all, the cupcakes did tastes good.

  5. Pingback: Beet Red Velvet Æbleskiver (pancake puffs) | food flavor fascination

  6. Jessica

    January 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I made a devil’s food cake instead of this recipe and added pureed beets to the batter before baking. Then strained leftover beet puree and used the juice in the cream cheese icing. They were so delicious No one ever thought there were beets in them.

  7. Pingback: Baking Birthday Party! | Make Myself at Home

  8. Jessica

    August 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I just made these for breakfast! Left off the frosting and added some coconut flakes to the batter…. My two year old has eaten 5 off the cooling rack already! Made them in mini muffin trays… Delicious!

  9. Pingback: Ideas for Healthy First Birthday Cakes - Moms & Munchkins

  10. debbie

    June 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I just made these today. I used whole wheat flour, subbed brown rice syrup for the honey and added the cocoa powder because I wanted them to be more muffin like than cupcakes. I made them as mini muffins and my three year old kept stealing them off the cooling rack as quick as I could put them on, he ended up eating 12 just for lunch :P.

  11. Pingback: Red Beet Cupcakes | The art of cupcake

  12. Pingback: Red Beet Cupcakes « Cute Cupcakes Blog

  13. debbie

    May 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Is there any alternative sweetener I could use in the frosting? Like brown rice syrup or malt barley syrup? And would I have to add any dry item to make up for the moisture addition?

  14. Pingback: Red Beet Cupcakes — Cupcake Pictures

  15. Pingback: Veggie Cupcakes | This Girl's Canon

  16. Anastasiya

    February 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Well, these sure sound healthy! I had some roasted beets that no one in my family, except for me, would eat by themselves. So …. I needed to bake something. These cupcakes need some sugar I think, but then again, I am not planning on putting icing on them. They taste more like healthy muffins than cupcakes. But still good. We will se what my three- year- old will say.

  17. Jenny

    February 11, 2013 at 1:15 am

    In case anyone is wondering, I did make these with canned beets and the cocoa and they are fantastic. I made a frosting of some butter, cream cheese, vanilla, powdered sugar, and beet juice.

  18. cyndimac410

    January 31, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I made the frosting today and it’s delish!!!! I have 2 questions. 1. Can you freeze the frosting or will it mess up the texture during thawing? 2. Is anyone concerned about staining of clothes? I’d like to make these for Valentines Day for my daughter’s preschool class. I’m a little worried that the kids may get messy and stain their clothes! Any thoughts on this?

    • catherine

      January 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Once the cupcakes are baked the color does not rub off! So no need to worry about staining! I haven’t tried freezing the frosting, but I would think it would come out to a funny texture after being frozen and defrosted. I’ve never had a problem with the frosting staining clothing, but it definitely could rub off. So I’d be careful. You could always make the white frosting if you’re worried about that! :)

  19. Pingback: Monday Meal Plan Jan 28

  20. Rachel

    January 19, 2013 at 9:27 am

    It was so nice to see a familiar face in my new Parenting magazine. Congrats Catherine! I’m planning for my kiddos under sea birthday party at the very beginning of February. I’d love to use this frosting minus the beats. I plan to add a bit of juice from red cabbage which is supposed to make blue instead. Any idea if that would work? Do you need the beat puree for this recipe? I know you also have the butter cream frosting recipe, but I was hoping for a yummy lower sugar version like this one. Thanks for any tips you might have.

    • catherine

      January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      You could leave out the beet puree! Blueberry juice will turn the frosting purple and raspberry juice will turn it red or pink!

      • Rachel

        February 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

        Thanks! Tomorrow is the big day. Hopefully I’ll remember to come back and let you know how it goes. :)

  21. graceuco

    November 7, 2012 at 12:01 am

    if I substitute the honey with coconut palm sugar will it mess up the texture?

    • catherine

      November 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      It will be a slightly different texture and taste, but I think it should be okay! I would use 3/4 cup sugar and add 1-2 tablespoons more of oil since you’ll be losing some of the moisture that comes from the honey!

  22. MamaJ

    October 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Ugh! The cupcakes are good but the icing came out a little iffy. Way too beet-y!! What can I do to fix it? I tried adding more powdered sugar and that didn’t help. Suggestions?! They are so stunningly beautiful, I’m dying to make them work!

    • catherine

      October 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      You could use a little less beet puree and keep the rest of the ingredients the same if you don’t like the beet flavor!

  23. Katie

    August 25, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Just made these for my daughters first birthday. They are a hit! I love that they are so low in sugar, and aren’t super sweet. The color of the frosting is stunningly beautiful. This recipe definitely goes in the recipe box!

  24. Theresa @ Two Much Fun

    July 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Catherine, these are PINKALICIOUS! My 2 1/2 year old toddlers loved them. Thank you so much. We substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the AP flour, and unsweetened applesauce for the oil. We also took your advice and swapped out 3 T of flour for cocoa powder. The result- light, fluffy and delicious red velvety cupcakes. Thank you again Catherine.

  25. Meghan

    June 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    These are delish! And we loved the icing. Thank you :)

  26. marie

    June 12, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Hi there, Would someone please be able to tell me if I can make a sheet cake using this recipe? I would be using an 18 x 12 sheet cake pan or a slightly smaller jelly roll pan. thank you!

    • Francisco

      February 4, 2014 at 7:45 am

      This recipe looks rlaely good, Cindy. Love a good banana cake!Wow, it’s not even that hot here in sunny Florida. We’re hovering in the low 90’s in the Tampa Bay area. I can certainly identify with you about restless sleeping when it’s so hot. Our A/C went out about a week ago and it was a full 24 hours before the repairman could get here to fix it. Ugh! With 4 ceiling fans running on high speed and a huge floor fan, it was still 90 degrees inside my house. It was so hot, sticky, and miserable that I only got a few hours of sleep. In addition, I was unbelieveably irritable and ended up with a splitting headache from enduring the unrelenting heat. And my poor dogs did nothing but pant for 24 hours! What in the world did we ever do before air conditioning?

  27. Cupcake monster

    May 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Beautiful cupcakes! Wish I can bake like that one day.

  28. Gina

    April 27, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Can the batter be frozen??

  29. Pingback: Are Team Sports Sabatoging Kids’ Health? | rebalancelife

  30. Pingback: The Mamas’ Link Round-Up « Those Young Moms

  31. Theresa787

    February 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Catherine, both of my 24 month-old toddlers (and I of course) thank you for giving us a delicious (and healthy) dessert for Valentine’s Day. We substituted AP flour for WW Pastry and it still came out light and fluffy (you’re recipes are amazing). We’ll definitely be baking these again in the future- they WERE so yummy.

  32. Samara

    November 25, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’d like to make this recipe into one ladybug cake instead of individual muffins. Do you have any suggestions for how I should tweak the ingredients or baking instructions so I’m still successful with a moist and yummy cake?


  33. Alyson

    November 9, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Made these yesterday and they turned out so yummy! I used buttermilk (well, 1 tbsp vinegar then filled up to 1 cup with milk)and 3 tbsp of cocoa. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a real red velvet but this came out tastier and more moist than the last version I tried with no dye.

  34. Mary Reaves

    August 13, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Catherine- I’ve been making your recipes as often as possible (and sharing them with friends) since my little one started eating solids (he’s 2 1/2). These are delicious and so moist! However, they lost their color? Any tips on that?

  35. jellyjello

    July 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    i made these a few days ago and so far everybody adults n kids love them!! cant wait to make another batch!
    i also added 3tbl of cocoa powder my husband thought it was a chocolate cupcake!

  36. nel

    July 24, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I tried them yesterday, they were very good. I just had a question, the batter stuck to the lining too much, is this normal/. I used A gave instead of honey, at the beginning I thought they were not sweet enough, however, they turned out just sweet enough with the frosting. Thans again for a nice recipe.

  37. Suzanne Alexander

    July 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Just wondering what I could use instead of honey?

    • Kelly

      August 18, 2012 at 8:04 am

      I was wondering if you could use sugar instead of the honey. If so, how much? I was going to make these for my daughter’s 1st birthday and am not ready to introduce her to honey.

  38. Amanda

    July 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Where did you get the confetti? I have looked for white confetti everywhere and all I can find is the white mixed in with other colors. Please tell me you didn’t hand pick them out! :-)

  39. Pingback: Kid n Kitties » Archive » Blueberry Muffins

  40. BrittanyBarrett

    June 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    My son loves these cupcakes!!!! Im glad he does b/c there so healthy for you!! I will try just about any type of food but these smell like earthworms ( dirt ). I brought myself to try a tiny piece an they weren’t too yummy but im glad he loves them i added the 2 table spoons of cocoa powder to the flour. They were incredibly moist and beets have such a beautiful color i will be making these again :)

  41. Elisa

    June 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    would steaming the beats instead of roasting affect the recipe any? We LOVE your sweet potato muffins and I steam the sweet potatoes instead of roasting as it is alot faster.

    • Alicia

      July 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      Did you steam the beets? And did the cupcakes turn out okay? I failed at roasting my beets. Not sure how, but I did. If steaming worked, I think I’ll try that, too!


    • catherine

      June 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      Steaming would add extra liquid to the beets but I don’t see any reason not too. :)

  42. Audrey

    June 22, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Can you use canned beets instead of fresh?

    • catherine

      June 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      unfortunately no, they are best made with fresh beets :)

  43. Gianna

    June 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it! We have tried to eliminate all food dyes from our diet based on dangerous health risks. Just a mention, the “never ending speculation” about food dye and hyperactivity in children isn’t speculation any longer. Just thought I would share that it has been proven to be a contributing factor… please see research from Center for Science in the Public Interest for more info.
    Again, thank you for the great recipe! Hope you find this info as interesting as I did! :)

  44. VanessaG

    June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    This looks and sounds yummy! I may make this with my 2yr old this weekend. I just LOVE your recpes because they appeal to kids and adults and are pretty healthy. :)

  45. Vanessa

    June 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    where did you get the sprinkles?

  46. Shalu

    June 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    What can I substitute the oil with?

    • Kim

      June 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      I always substitute oil with applesauce when baking. Works great and healthy too!

  47. Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama

    June 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    The color of the frosting is amazing! I love that you found a great sub for artificial food dyes. I will definitely have to try this!

  48. Juniper girgis

    June 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I’m obsessed with beets right now! Can’t wait to try these. Trader joes has beets already peeled and roasted in the refrigerated section. That could cut down on time;)

  49. Christi

    June 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I love beets so i am excited to try these. We don’t get fresh beets up here in the hinterland but i love canned beets (rinsed) so thanks for including the cup measurements. Thanks for the fun recipe!

  50. Franki

    June 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    These are adorable! I’ll definitely be making some for my daughter’s third birthday next weekend!

  51. Nicole

    June 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Can you just omit the cream cheese (from the frosting) & up the butter & sugar? I need a cream cheese free icing :)

  52. Tina

    June 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I roast beets by simply sticking them in a pan in the oven at 375. Don’t bother to cut them up or peel them or anything. Once they’re done (poke with a fork to check, start checking after about 30 minutes), let them cool. Then the peel slips right off and you can use however you want.

  53. Allison

    June 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I’m also wondering how you roast a beet…cut up then bake under a high heat? Thx.

  54. esophian

    June 15, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I tried this a while ago for my son’s 1st birthday. I think the dye works well in the frosting, but my cupcakes turned out dirt brown. Well, at least they *looked* healthy, like they were whole wheat or something. But they did turn out incredibly moist, and I wonder if the beet juice helped contribute to that.

  55. Adriana

    June 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

    My husband hates beets but liked this when I made it as a cake with the regular cream cheese frosting (listed where I originally found this recipe) and topped with strawberries and blackberries. It was a big hit!

  56. Tina

    June 15, 2011 at 10:07 am

    These look beautiful, but I’m afraid to try them. How “beety” do they taste? I made a beautiful pan of beet brownies once and they were the only treat that ever molded in this house. Nobody ate them and I had to throw them out.

    I’m encouraged by the fact that they only contain 3/4 of a cup of beets.

    • Buffee

      February 4, 2014 at 6:53 am

      You’ve really captured all the esletniass in this subject area, haven’t you?

  57. Evelyn

    June 15, 2011 at 9:55 am

    My daughter is lactose intolerant, can I substitute the milk with a nondairy alternative. Any suggestions?

    • Jessica

      June 15, 2011 at 10:04 am

      You can always use whatever “milk” she drinks. My son has a milk protein allergy, so I just use his soy or almond milk in all my recipes that call for milk.

      • Evelyn

        June 16, 2011 at 8:23 am

        Thank you so much, I thought it would change the consistency of the recipe. We will be trying this recipe this weekend.

        • Pamela

          June 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm

          I actually think unsweetened hemp milk works as the best sub for milk since it has a similar fat composition and it’s a lot better for you than soy milk.

        • Evelyn

          June 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

          Thank you for all the information. Thanks God, there are so many choices for kids with allergies to foods. I’ll try the hemp milk.

        • MMJ

          June 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm

          I have use hemp for awhile and it is great

  58. Heather

    June 15, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Do they taste like beets much? Beets are the one vegetable that I have never liked.

    • Meghna

      June 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      I actually just made these. I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the flavor of beets, as well, although my kids love them. I think they taste to “earthy”. Anyways, the Sweet Beet cookies were a hit in my house, but I wasn’t too thrilled with them, cause they had a true beet flavor. These, surprisingly, did not, to me. The icing is a must as the actual cupcake is very bland, as is. The icing is a beautiful berry color when done, and has a great cream cheese flavor, rather than beet. I thought these were delicious and very pretty for a girl’s birthday party. I could only get 12 cupcakes out of the batter, but thought that was fine as my cupcake pan only holds 12 or 6, so 14 would have been an odd number. Also, I had at least 6 cupcakes worth of icing left over, and I feel like I iced my 12 cupcakes quite liberally. I used the leftover icing to ice a batch of sweet beet cookies and then used the leftover to make my daughter some “princess” sandwiches when she got home from school, as a little snack. Wish it didn’t have butter and sugar in it, but wasn’t planning on letting it go to waste!

  59. Susan G

    June 15, 2011 at 8:33 am

    YUM! My kiddo loves the sweet beet cookies, so I can’t wait to try this. Was wondering if you have a suggestion on how to roast the beets first?

  60. Kelly

    June 15, 2011 at 8:12 am

    These look great!!! Can’t wait to try them. Do you have a dairy free frosting version??? If not they’ll be just as yummy!!! Thanks

    • MJ_Mom

      June 15, 2011 at 9:15 am

      You can use dairy free butter like Earth Balance or Fleischmann’s unsalted butter and cream cheese like tofutti

      • Food in The World of YES

        July 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm

        I make a “buttercream” frosting that is shortening, powdered sugar, natural vanilla, and water. I just plop in about 1/2 – 1 C of shortening with 1 tsp of vanilla and 2 T of water. Mix that up, being aware that the mixer could send water flying everywhere. Then sift the powdered sugar in (sifting keeps it from creating lumps most of the time). Mix about 3 C sugar in until it is the consistency you are wanting.

        Hope this helps with the dairy issue. We have the same one.

  61. Renee

    June 15, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Agreed with the comment above – it needs cocoa otherwise it is more like a carrot cake. Could you add a few tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa to the mixture? Red velvet cake is my favorite and I would love a dye free alternative!

    • catherine

      June 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

      You could def. remove a few tbsp of flour and replace it with a few (about 3) tbsp of cocoa powder! I did this and it turned out amazing too.

  62. Samantha

    June 15, 2011 at 6:24 am

    How can these be chocolatey if there’s no cocoa or chocolate in them? They do sound good though; beets always add incredible moisture to cakes.

    • catherine

      June 15, 2011 at 9:07 am

      I rewrote it, so it makes a bit more sense :)

  63. Sophie

    June 15, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Just made these! Delicious!

  64. nel

    June 15, 2011 at 5:15 am

    My family has to try this!.. question, can I use whole wheat flour instead?

    • catherine

      June 15, 2011 at 9:03 am

      If you use whole wheat flour they may be a bit dense. You could try white wheat flour!

      • Kristina

        June 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

        hi Catherine,

        whenever I bake I use whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour and it works just the same as white. no one notices a difference. you can find a great white whole wheat flour at trader joes.