Thumbprint Cookies are a classic, crowd-favorite holiday dessert! Traditionally filled with any number of delicious jams and baked to soft, fluffy perfection, this easy Christmas cookie recipe takes only 30 minutes to make.
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Thumbprint cookies are a tragically overlooked Christmas dessert. And while yes, they may look simple — and be actually SUPER simple to make — but the possibilities to customize and decorate are absolutely endless!
Today, I’m giving you the traditional recipe, which calls for jam or preserves. My favorite flavors to use are strawberry, blueberry and apricot, but you can use ANY flavor you want. I like to add some crushed almonds to a few of mine each time I bake this cookie recipe, just to add a little extra crunch.
Now, I know there are some cookie lovers who are in the “no fruit for dessert” camp, and I promise I haven’t forgotten about you. Not into PB&J? Prefer Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bread to Lemon Blueberry Bread? You, too, can turn this classic thumbprint cookie recipe into your new personal favorite! Instead of jam, add in your favorite filling — chocolate, Nutella, peanut butter and more.
This versatile, quick and easy thumbprint cookie recipe may be the answer to all your picky-eating family’s needs! There really is something for everyone with this classic holiday cookie.
Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients
- Unsalted butter, softened
- Granulated sugar
- Egg yolk
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Jam or preserves
How to make Thumbprint Cookies
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. This should take 1-2 minutes.
- Add wet ingredients. Add in one egg yolk and vanilla extract, then mix until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add dry ingredients. Next add in the salt and flour, and mix until the dough is completely combined. You don’t have to worry about over mixing this dough, but it is SUPER important that all of the flour and butter is completely mixed before rolling the cookies. PRO TIP: It will look dry and crumbly that is ok!
- Separate the dough into cookie rounds. Form dough into 1 tablespoon balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Using either you thumb or a 1/2 teaspoon, press indentations in the center of each cookie.
- Add jam. Fill each cookie with 1/2 tsp of your favorite jam or preserves. We did strawberry, blueberry and apricot jam, but you can use any that you prefer!
- Bake. Place your cookies in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies look set and are slightly golden brown. If you have the time, it’s always better to cook just one tray at a time so that the cookies bake more evenly.
- Cool and serve. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheet or a cooling rack, then enjoy!
Variations and Decorations
- All the jam. For this recipe, I used strawberry, blueberry and apricot jam, but you can use literally any flavor of jam or preserves that you like! I always like to make a few variations, not just so there are more flavors to enjoy, but to vary the color and presentation as well.
- Chocolate-lovers unite! Not a jam fan? That’s totally fine! You can make these Peanut Butter Blossoms-style and add a chocolate filling instead. To do this, melt chocolate down in the microwave in 30-second intervals, or you can get super fancy and try double boiling some chocolate to use.
- Add some crunch. You can crush your favorite nuts, like pecans or almonds, and add those to the cookie dough or even the jam filling. And for my chocolate lovers, the same would work for crushed Oreo pieces!
Answers to all your Thumbprint Cookie Questions
- Can I make these ahead of time and freeze? Definitely! To make these thumbprint cookies ahead of time, I would recommend prepping the dough, adding the “thumbprint” indentation, and then freezing. Then, when you’re ready to serve, you can bake and add the jam without having to prep the dough.
- How do I store my finished cookies? Oh, you have leftovers?? Once fully baked, it’s best to store your delicious thumbprint cookies in an airtight container to keep as fresh as possible.
- Can I use store-bought cookie dough? Technically, yes (it just won’t taste as great as homemade cookies). I’d still recommend you take the time to roll the dough into circles and use your thumb to make the indentation.
- Would it be weird to gift these? No way! Personally, I love holiday cookie gift trays — they’re great for co-workers, neighbors, or just to have around to snack on. Pair these with my Peanut Butter Blossoms, Double Chocolate Coconut Oil Cookies and my Brown Butter Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies to create the ultimate cookie gift tray!
Here are more delicious cookie recipes to try!
- Double Chocolate Coconut Oil Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Chocolate Dipped Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
- Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
- Ginger Cookies
- Brown Butter Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
- Add in egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Next add in the salt and flour and mix until the dough is completely combined. You don't have to worry about over mixing this dough. It is important that all of the flour and butter is completely mixed before rolling the cookies. (It will look dry and crumbly that is ok!)
- Form dough into 1 tablespoon balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Using either you thumb or a 1/2 teaspoon press indentations in the center of each cookie.
- Fill each cookie with 1/2 tsp of your favorite jam or preserves. We did strawberry, blueberry and apricot jam.
- Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies look set and look slightly golden brown.
- Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet then enjoy!