Thumbprint Cookies {the BEST Recipe!}


Quick Summary

Thumbprint Cookies-buttery shortbread cookies rolled in sugar and filled with sweet raspberry jam! These beautiful little cookies are a classic Christmas cookie, but can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

thumbprints cookies on cooling rack

I love creating new cookie recipes, but I also love the classics. One of our favorite cookies to make at Christmas time are Thumbprint Cookies. They are a holiday favorite and a great addition to any cookie platter.

So what are Thumbprint Cookies? If you haven’t had a jam thumbprint, you are in for a real treat! They are buttery, tender shortbread cookies with a sweet jam center. I like to use raspberry jam because it is sweet, tart, and I love the deep red color. But you can fill the thumbprints with your favorite jam!

They cookies are simple, but elegant and super delicious. You can’t go wrong with a classic!

how to make thumbprint cookies recipe

Simple ingredients come together to make the most amazing cookies!

  • Flour– use all-purpose flour!
  • Salt– to bring flavor to the cookies.
  • Butter– Use unsalted butter and make sure it isn’t too soft or melted. You want the butter at cool room temperature.
  • Sugar– you will need granulated sugar for the cookie dough and for rolling the cookies before baking.
  • Brown sugar– I like to use a little brown sugar for flavor and to keep the cookies tender and not dry.
  • Egg yolk– an egg yolk creates a rich cookie and holds everything together.
  • Vanilla extract– a must! If you like almond extract, you can add ¼ teaspoon to the dough.
  • Jam– I prefer raspberry jam, but any flavor will do! Make sure you use a nice, thick jam! Splurge to get a good quality jam since it’s a big part of the cookie! If your jam is SUPER thick, you can put it in a bowl and give it a good stir. If it is still too thick, heat it in the microwave for just a few seconds to loosen it up.
jam thumbprint cookies

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies

These little gems are easy to make and SO pretty!

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
  • Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the butter and sugars together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Don’t over mix the dough!
  • Roll the dough into balls, about 1 ½ teaspoons per cookie. Place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll the balls in the sugar until well coated.
  • Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat, you may need 2 sheets.
  • Use the rounded back of a teaspoon or your thumb to gently press an indentation in the center each cookie dough ball. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven so it is hot and ready to go!
  • Fill a small zipper-lock bag with the jam. Use scissors to snip a small corner off the bag. Carefully fill each indentation with about a ½ teaspoon of jam. Alternatively, you can use a small spoon or teaspoon to fill the centers with jam. Don’t over fill or the jam will ooze out in the oven. Less is best!
  • Make sure the cookies are 2-inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake one pan at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown.
best thumbprint cookies

How to Store Thumbprint Cookies

Store the cooled thumbprint cookies in an airtight container at room temperature on the counter. You don’t have to refrigerate the cookies. I don’t recommend stacking the cookies because of the jam.

These cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days.

How to Freeze Thumbprint Cookies

If you want to freeze cookies, I recommend freezing the unbaked cookies before adding jam.

Make the cookie dough and form them into thumbprints. Place the cookies on a tray and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes to an hour. Once frozen, transfer the the unbaked cookies to a freezer container or freezer bag and freeze for up to one month.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven and arrange the cookies on the baking sheets. Fill with jam and bake. It’s ok if the cookies are still a little frozen when going into the oven, you might have to add an additional minute to the baking time.

thumbprint cookie recipe
What kind of jam do you use for Thumbprint Cookies?

Make sure you use a thick jam and not a runny jam. I prefer raspberry jam, but strawberry, blackberry, apricot, or mixed berry are all good options. Use your favorite flavor.

Can you fill Thumbprint Cookies with something besides jam?

Yes! If you don’t care for jam, fill the cookies with melted chocolate, lemon curd, salted caramel sauce, marmalade, or Nutella.

Do you fill Thumbprint Cookies before or after baking?

Fill the cookies with jam before baking so it can set up in the oven.

Why do my Thumbprint Cookies crack?

Make sure when you are pressing the back of the teaspoon or your thumb into the center of the cookie dough you don’t press too hard. Gently press! If the edges of the cookie start to crack a little, you can gently press it back together.

Why do my Thumbprint Cookies spread?

Make sure your butter isn’t too soft when making the dough. It should be at cool room temperature and not super soft or greasy. Also, don’t make your cookies too big, thumbprints are smaller cookies. And most importantly, make sure you you chill the dough! After you form the cookies, place the unbaked cookies in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking. This will prevent them from spreading.

Can you freeze Thumbprint Cookies with jam?

Yes! I recommend freezing the unbaked cookies before you fill them with jam. See above for my tips!

jam thumbprint cookie recipe

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Jam Thumbprint Cookies-buttery shortbread cookies rolled in sugar and filled with sweet jam! These beautiful little cookies are a classic Christmas cookie, but can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup thick raspberry jam, or jam of your choice
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Add ½ cup of the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

  • Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined.

  • Roll the dough into balls, about 1 ½ teaspoons per cookie. Place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll the balls in the sugar until well coated.

  • Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat, you may need 2 sheets.

  • Use the rounded back of a teaspoon or your thumb to gently press an indentation in the center each cookie dough ball. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Fill a small zipper-lock bag with the jam. Use scissors to snip a small corner off the bag. Carefully fill each indentation with about a ½ teaspoon of jam. Don’t over fill or the jam will ooze out in the oven. Less is best!

  • Make sure the cookies are 2-inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake one pan at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown.

  • Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. Enjoy!

Calories: 108kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 33mg, Potassium: 15mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 156IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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