These delightful thumbprint cookies are made with a nutty dough and filled with your choice of sweet fruity jam. You can change up these cookies in so many ways from jam to Nutella to keep things exciting. The texture and flavor of these cookies are such a treat – you’re sure to keep coming back for more.
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Everyone loves holiday cookies from our Christmas Sugar Cookies to Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and lets not forget Snickerdoodles! If you are looking to build your best cookie platter without too much effort, these Thumbprint cookies are a beautiful addition to your Christmas cookie box.
What are Thumbprint Cookies?
Thumbprint cookies are classic sugar cookies with a jam-filled center. To make them, the cookie dough is first rolled into a ball, then the tops are flattened a little. Next, an indent is made in the center of the cookie and filled with any jam or sweet filling of choice. Finally, the cookie is baked.
Thumbprint cookies are said to have originated in Sweden, where they are called “hallongrotta”. This name translates to “raspberry cave” because traditionally, raspberry jam/filling is used to fill the indent or “cave” in the cookie, although any filling is equally delicious.
Thumbprint cookies require simple pantry and refrigerator baking staples (scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements):
- Butter – use unsalted butter to control the salt in the recipe
- Sugar – use granulated sugar to sweeten the cookies
- Egg – helps to bind the dough and enriches the cookies
- Vanilla extract – for the best flavor, use real vanilla extract
- Flour – all-purpose flour is best for a stable but tender cookie base.
- Salt – balances the sweetness
- Walnuts – finely chopped and blended into the dough for nutty flavor and texture
- Raspberry Jam – the traditional choice for thumbprint cookies
How to Make Thumbprint Cookies
These thumbprint cookies use eight ingredients and take only 20 minutes to prepare. Here’s a quick overview before you get baking.
- Cream the Butter: In a stand mixer, whisk softened butter and sugar until combined. Add in egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- Add dry ingredients: Switch to a flat beater and mix in the flour, salt, and toasted and finely chopped pecans.
- Form the cookies: Using a small cookie scoop, place equal-sized dough mounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Make an indent in the cookies: Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon, make an indent in the center of each cookie.
- Fill cookies with jam: Fill each indent with your choice of jam.
- Bake: Bake in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
Pro Tip: Did you forget to soften your butter? Don’t fret! Quickly soften it using this hack.
Cookie Filling Options
The wonderful thing about thumbprint cookies is that the filling can be changed each time you make the cookies. You can also split the batch and make half with one type of filling and the other half with a separate filling. It’s like a new cookie, but without the hassle.
Here is a list of our favorite fillings for thumbprint cookies. If you are planning to use a store-bought filling, be sure to choose a filling with a thicker consistency. If the preserve is very thin, it may not solidify as it should while baking.
Tips for the Best Cookies
It’s hard to go wrong with thumbprint cookies because they are so simple and easy to make. Follow these tips to make the process even more enjoyable.
- Use a cookie scoop: A small cookie scoop will help you control the size of the dough balls to make them all the same size for even baking.
- Coat cookies in coarse sugar: Coat each cookie in coarse sugar or turbinado sugar for extra texture and sweetness.
- Add filling with a piping bag: Use a piping bag to make it easier to perfectly fill the center of the cookies with jam. Alternatively, add jam into a ziplock bag and cut off a small corner for the jam to squeeze through.
- Make indents right away: Make the indents as soon as you roll the dough into smooth rounds and gently flatten the tops. This will help prevent the cookie from cracking.
Pro Tip: Use the leftover egg white to make an egg white omelet and you’ll feel even better about eating your cookies!
Avoid overmixing or using too much flour (it’s important to measure ingredients correctly). Also, roll the cookie dough balls until the surface is completely smooth, then make an indent as soon as possible. Indent the dough balls as you make them.
Prevent thumbprint cookies from spreading too much by using softened, not melted butter. Melted butter doesn’t hold the round cookie shape like softened butter does. Also, use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to line the baking pan instead of nonstick spray or butter, as these tend to make an overly greasy foundation.
Thumbprint cookies can go flat if the flour is not properly measured. Too little flour results in a cookies that spread too much and go flat.
Storing Thumbprint Cookies
Storing at Room Temperature: Thumbprint cookies are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. Keep the container closed to prevent the cookies from drying out.
To Freeze Cookies: The cookies can also be frozen in a freezer bag for three months, but make sure to freeze them after they have been baked. Thaw cookies to room temperature before enjoying. Alternatively, freeze the cookie dough for up to three months. When ready to bake, thaw the frozen dough in the fridge before shaping and filling the cookies with jam.
More Cookie Recipes
Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Thumbprint cookies are so easy to make and you can fill them in so many different ways. This is everyone’s favorite Thumbprint Cookie recipe.
Cost to Make:
Servings: 40 cookies
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a stand mixer, whisk together the softened butter and sugar on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Switch the whisk to to a flat beater. Add in the flour, salt, and chopped toasted pecans, mix just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Use a small cookie scoop, or a spoon to portion out equal-sized rounds (about 1 Tbsp each) of the cookie dough into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place them 2 inches apart. Indent dough balls as you go.
Use your thumb or the back of the teaspoon, and press halfway into the center of each cookie.
Fill each cookie in the center with jam. Bake at 350°F for 13-15 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden. If baking on 2 racks, rotate the pans halfway. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before serving.
Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 0.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Vitamin A 221IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.