Delicious buttery shortbread cookies filled with strawberry and apricot jam. These Thumbprint Cookies are perfect for the holidays or any occasion!
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!
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Thank you thank you thank you. Recipe is amazing and my cookies turned out perfectly. I had used another recipe the day before and wound up with jam-a-los…that is a flat saucer with jam that looked liked a bad ufo:(.
Happy holidays and cannot wait to tag some snappies of my pretty cookies
Me too – they were flat and the ham was a mess! I wonder if we used the same recipe 🙁
These were SOOO good. I ate 4 right out of the oven before I could stop myself 😉 – will definitely be a new go-to cookie! Two small notes for others: First, I made the dough the day before I baked them and left it in the fridge overnight to chill. If you do this, leave time for the dough to come back to room temp before trying to roll them – rolling straight from the fridge was a bit of a disaster. Second, when I first started rolling these and then making the depression for the jam, the dough was cracking around the edges when I pressed my thumb in. Two things helped with this – rolling more so the dough was more firmly together, and wetting my thumb with a tiny bit of water before pressing. I might add a tad more butter to the dough next time to make sure it’s wet enough to not crack. But these are 100% worth the effort!!
I had the same problem when I made the indention, I will wet my thumb next time, thanks for the tip!
After rolling the cookies, indent then and place in fridge for an hour to hold their shape. And then add jam and bake. That way they won’t crumble or crack once in the oven. If it cracks a bit while indenting just press it together but the fridge helps set it
Just made these and they are delicious. I have another batch in the oven now and will leave them in a little longer.
DANIELLE….Thank you for a great simple recipe! I made these cookies this evening and was amazed how such few ingredients and simple recipe could make such a great tasting cookie. I rolled the first batch in sugar and made the second batch without rolling in sugar. Both batches are decadent! Your instructions, tips, and notes are quite helpful. I love to bake but feel I’m learning so much from you. Thank you again.
Thank you, Mary! So happy to hear that!
Excellent cookie. Did not change anything in the recipe. Made these for Christmas 2021 and sent via mail to my father back east. He said these were just like his mother’s – perfectly buttery and delicious. Added that these were the best thumbprints he has had in 60 years and he rarely serves up compliments on others cooking/baking. I will be making these again this weekend.
These are so good!! Everyone loved them!
My first time making these and they came out PERFECT! Then my second time making them they flattened pretty bad :(. Trying to figure out what went wrong the second time around. They are still freaking delicious though!
Did you do anything differently the second time? And did you double check the measurements that you used? Specifically the flour and butter?
These are the easiest and best cookies ever! Thank you so much!
Delicious! I did 2 thumbprints in the shape of hearts and they turned our wonderful and so cute!
I think this is one of my favorite cookie doughs! I did thumprint jam cookies the first time, but since I loved the dough so much I ended up just making it again but doing frosting + strawberry shortcake topping on top of them! So good! Not too sweet which leaves room for a sweeter topping.
Followed recipe exactly and all I have are crumbs that won’t come together after thoroughly mixing. Now what can I do with these crumbs? So disappointed
The mixture shouldn’t be crumbly. Did you make sure to use 2 sticks of butter? And spoon and level your flour? You could press the mixture into a pan and bake it like a shortbread or use it as a shortbread crust for something else.
Can I make the dough 1-2 days ahead of time? If so how long should I let it warm up after taking it Out of the fridge?
Yes, that would be fine! You can let it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes or until it’s easy to scoop and indent.
I made these to take to the St. Paul’s PACE Center for Valentine’s Day. This twhe best thumbprint recipe I have used. It is different than the one I used for my Christmas cookies. I will be using this one next Christmas. I made 216 cookies this time using fig, peach, red raspberry, blood orange marmalade imported from Sicily , and sugar free orange marmalade.
Is it ok to use confectioners sugar in this recipe and is that 2 sticks of butter
Yes, it’s two sticks of butter. I don’t recommend using confectioners sugar for this recipe.
if i were to make this with monk fruit sugar, do you think i should use the same amount or half it?
I’m not sure because I haven’t tested these with monk fruit. If your sweetener has suggestions on the package for how to substitute it with granulated sugar, I would go off of that.
This was the easiest recipe for the most delicious cookies!
I used lightly salted butter because I had it.
Thanks for sharing this terrific cookie recipe.
I made these today to take to a Book Club Potluck- everyone was so impressed I had to share your link/receipe.
Super easy & straightforward. And thanks for all the hints – those were super hel.
Just finished another batch of these cookies, they are amazing, my husband’s favorite, I’ve tried different flavors of jams and even lemon curd which is my favorite , easy , dependable, thank-u for sharing this recipe…….sue