Delicious buttery shortbread cookies filled with strawberry and apricot jam. These Thumbprint Cookies are perfect for the holidays or any occasion!

An speckled plate filled with thumbprint cookies with more cookies and milk behind it.

When it comes to cookies, you can’t beat a classic recipe. From my no-bake cookies to my homemade peanut butter cookies and these snickerdoodles cookies, I think it’s pretty obvious how much I adore them. And judging by how popular each of those recipes are on my site, I think it’s safe to say that you love them too!

So today I’m sharing another classic favorite with you – these easy jam thumbprint cookies. The cookie dough for this recipe is made with just 6 ingredients (that’s including the vanilla extract and salt!) and comes together in just a few minutes. There’s also no dough chilling required so you can just prep the cookies and pop them into the oven. 

I filled these cookies with strawberry and apricot jam, but you can fill them with just about any flavor. I actually made a batch of these when my niece and nephew came over a few weeks ago and they went crazy for them. I guarantee you’ll love them too!

A batch of unbaked thumbprint cookies filled with jam lined up on a piece of parchment paper.

How To Make Thumbprint Cookies

To make these cookies, you’ll start out by mixing up the cookie dough which is just a simple mixture of butter, sugar, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, and flour. Let’s break down each ingredient:

  • Butter: There are two sticks of butter in these thumbprint cookies to give them that rich buttery taste. I suggest sticking with unsalted butter in these cookies too since the amount of salt in salted butter can vary quite a bit between different brands.
  • Sugar: I decided to go with granulated sugar for these cookies to help them spread just a little bit. I also like to roll the cookies in a little extra sugar before adding the jam and baking them, but this step is optional. 
  • Egg Yolks: There are two egg yolks in the cookie dough to help keep the cookies soft and not too crunchy!
  • Vanilla Extract & Salt: Once you cream together the butter and sugar, you’ll mix in some vanilla for flavor and a little salt along with the egg yolks.
  • All-purpose flour: The flour is mixed in at the very end and the dough will seem a little crumbly at first, but it will come together as you continue mixing it. Just be sure to spoon your flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a knife, so you don’t end up with too much and crumbly cookies. 

Baked thumbprint cookies lined up on a piece of parchment paper.

Once the cookie dough is mixed up, you’ll use a one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon to measure out the cookie dough. I find that anything larger than one tablespoon is just too big for a thumbprint cookie.

Next, roll the cookie dough into balls and toss each one in a little granulated sugar. The sugar is optional for this part, but I love the extra crunch and sweetness it adds to the cookies. Then, make an indentation in each cookie using your thumb or something similar. I actually like to use the handle of a large wooden spoon for this step.

Then, fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite jam. I really love Bonne Maman jam, so I used their strawberry and apricot jams here.

Thumbprint cookies sitting on top of a speckled place with more cookies behind it.

The final step for this thumbprint cookie recipe is to bake them. When it comes to shortbread cookies, you want to avoid overbaking them because they can end up crunchy and dry. I suggest baking these cookies for about 12-14 minutes, you’ll know they’re done when the tops are set and the bottoms are very lightly browned. 

Baking Tips

  • When measuring the flour for these cookies, make sure to spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
  • After you add the flour the cookie dough will be a little crumbly at first, this is normal! As you continue mixing, the dough will come together.
  • Feel free to use your favorite flavor of jam in these cookies. I think they would be delicious filled with some homemade lemon curd too!
  • Make sure not to overbake the cookies, I find that 12-14 minutes at 350°F (177°C) is the perfect amount of time.
Thumbprint cookies sitting on top of a speckled plate.

Thumbprint Cookies

4.93 from 69 ratings
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 14 mins
Delicious buttery shortbread cookies filled with strawberry and apricot jam. These Thumbprint Cookies are perfect for the holidays or any occasion!

Ingredients

Servings: 42 cookies
  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter softened
  • 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar plus 3 tablespoons (40 grams) for rolling the cookies
  • 2 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/3 cups (290 grams) all-purpose flour spooned & leveled
  • 1/2 cup strawberry or apricot jam

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes or until well combined. Mix in the eggs yolks, vanilla extract, and salt until fully combined, then mix in the flour. The mixture will be a little crumbly at first but it will come together as you continue mixing it.
  • Using a one-tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring tablespoon, measure out the cookie dough, roll into balls, roll each one in granulated sugar (optional), then place on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Use your thumb (or the handle of a large wooden spoon) to press an indentation into each ball of cookie dough. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the indentation in each one.
  • Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are set and the bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing Instructions: Baked cookies will freeze well for up to 3 months, thaw to room temperature before serving. Cookie dough will also freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll in sugar and fill with jam right before baking.
Egg Yolks: It's best for the egg yolks to be at room temperature. If you forget to set them out ahead of time, simply place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes before separating them.
Jam: I used Bonne Maman Strawberry and Apricot jam in these cookies. Feel free to use your favorite brand and flavor!
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
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