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.
My baba used to make thumbprint cookies just like this recipe! Brought back so many memories of her, delicious, SUPER easy recipe to follow, I just used blueberry jam that I had sitting around instead of strawberry and apricot. SOOOOOOO GOOD
I would like to make these with lemon curd from Trader Joes. would I add that before baking like jam or is after better?
I would fill them with the lemon curd before baking.
Can i make the cookie batter and leave in the refrigerator for a couple days?
That would be fine! I would let the cookie dough come to room temperature before scooping and baking it.
I love the taste of this cookie and it’s easy to make. However, why did I only get 31 cookies out of this recipe? I measured my dough with a tablespoon. Regardless, they are delicious! I used apricot and raspberry jam.
I’m not sure, did you make sure to use a measuring tablespoon and level off the cookie dough? Glad they still turned out great and you enjoyed them!
I use this recipe alllllll the time. There is no jam thumbprint quite like this. Best cookie ever. Have a big family, and these are always the first to go!!! Raspberry preserves are fantastic with these thumbprints!thumbprint!! If I could give it more stars I absolutely would
Can i use almont extract instead of vanilla
Yes, but I would only use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract.
I have been a baker of Spritz cookies since I started baking as a teen. As delicious as they are, I find them too time consuming as the dough has to be just perfect to come out of press and stick to sheets as they should. This Thumbprint dough is about the same. I will be using this cookie in my cookie collection this Xmas, with much less stress. Thank you, Danielle ?
Hope you enjoy the cookies if you get a chance to try them, Carolyn!
I wanted to make paw print cookies for Christmas and this recipe was perfect! Delicate crumble and just sweet enough! Dough was super easy to work with and did not spread so the shapes stayed perfect. I filled toe beans with apricot and boysenberry jam and could not be happier with the results
Just baked a batch of these cookies. I made apricot jam yesterday just for this recipe.
If my husband loves them I’ll make a second batch.
I used a melon baller to press the indentation. Coated in sugar so it did not stick
Thanks for the Mellon baller tip it worked great! I used the medium pampered chef cookie scoop and they are kind of big. Next time I will use the small scoop
Unfortunately mine turned out not so good. They seem very dry. And yes I measured out my ingredients. Just my luck I suppose ?.
Thank you thank you thank you I finally found the perfect thumbprint recipe!!! They are so delicious and what I love the most is I don’t need to chill the dough before baking them! I bake mine for 10 min so they are soft in the middle. FYI: I used Bobs Red Mill GF 1 to 1 flour and weighed out 348gr. The dough was easy to make impressions and no cracking. Very beautiful and delicious cookies!
The best cookie recipe! Most important, you explained in detail about the ingredients and instructions. Furthermore, you give us the reader/baker encouragement and this is so important as well. Thank you
My cookies are spreading out too much what am I doing wrong?
Did you make any adjustments to the recipe? Did you use 2 sticks of butter? And double check the amount of flour that you used?
My first batch was perfect! Tastes look everything was on point, I made a second batch today and they are spreading out too much and just look way different. I didn’t change anything. Not sure what the problem is. Any suggestions?
Did you double check the measurements that you used? Specifically the butter and flour? Was your butter very warm when you mixed the dough together?
These thumbprint cookies are the perfect recipe! They taste delicious and you gave us very good tips and directions. I used seedless red raspberry jam and Amish seedless blackberry jam. This is the recipe I remember as a child.
Yum! Easy and great directions, made 2 1/2 dozen as I used gf flour, not sure why it didn’t make 42 lol
Made these for my husband’s office cookie swap and was told these cookies were the best by far! By the end of the swap, all of the thumbprints were gone. I’ve made thumbprints in the past (with different recipes) and always had cracking issues. This recipe is absolutely wonderful and didn’t have any issues at all. I’ve written it down in my recipe book and it will forever be my go-to thumbprint recipe.
The cookie tasted good and was extremely EASY to make. I think the next time I would make the balls smaller though as I think they would be prettier if they were smaller. I dusted with powdered sugar while they were on the rack for visual appeal on my cookie tray.
Dough is easy to work with but I’m curious how anyone could get 41 cookies from this amount without the cookies being minuscule lol used a table spoon at first but they’re way to small. Otherwise amazing recipe, I’d just double it next time!
These are perfect! I used to make thumbprint cookies with my grandmother as a child. After she died the only things I remembered was that her recipe was heavy on the butter and used egg yolks only (so they won’t be too cakey, she explained). I’ve tried numerous variations that aren’t as good and now I can finally recreate these delicious cookies. Thank you so much for sharing!
I’d like to make this but I don’t have an electric mixer of any kind as I’m just starting out baking. Can I make by hand or with a blender? Thanks!
You can mix it by hand if you don’t have a mixer. It’s easier to cream the butter and sugar together with a fork, then you can use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix in the rest of the ingredients.
My barely 4-year-old granddaughter and I made these today, and they turned out perfectly! Buttery and tender little morsels. She loved rolling them in the colored sugar and making the thumbprints. Best of all, there was not one “I’m bored” moment. She even said she wants to be a chef when she grows up!
I made these for a Christmas cookie swap and everyone LOVED them! They didn’t spread at all and weren’t too sweet (even when rolled in sugar) so the sweetness of the jam could really shine. I’ve had a really hard time in the past with thumbprint cookies that spread too much and these didn’t even require cooling. I will definitely make these a yearly holiday tradition!
Buttery and delicious
I first made these out of your cookie book, and they are amazing! I added almond extract along with vanilla and used seedless raspberry jam. Love this recipe bc I don’t need to add any frosting after baking—they’re perfect as is! Thanks for the recipe, I’ve really enjoyed baking through the cookie book ?
Thank you! So glad you’re enjoying my cookbook!
You are just using the yolks not the egg white? Why?
The extra fat in the egg yolks creates softer cookies. You can save the egg whites and use them for something else though.
I want to make these today but I only have salted butter. Can I use that instead of unsalted and omit the 1/4 teaspoon of salt?
That would be fine!
Can you substitute salted butter?
I made these last Christmas and they are amazing! My husband’s favourite. I just defrosted the last batch of the batter and made the final dozen.
Now, I’m making more but only have salted butter. Is this ok at use?
That would be fine, just omit the salt in the recipe.
Perfect! Followed the recipe exactly except I used 1/2 tsp almond extract instead of vanilla. We filled with Bonne Mamman raspberry preserves …. Yum!!
I’ve used this recipe so many times, and every time it was a hit! I add a little almond sugar glaze as decor after they’re cooled.
Mine are pretty crumbly. Is there any way to save them? What can I add in?
Is the cookie dough crumbly? It will seem crumbly at first, but should come together as you continue mixing it. If needed, you can try adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of milk to help it come together.
Like the recipes alot. Thank you.
OMG Delicious! I made these and brought them to work and my coworkers told me they were the best cookies they had in their entire life! I did use raspberry jam for the filling but followed the recipe exactly! Wonderfully buttery And perfectly scrumptious. Do yourself a favor and roll them and sugar the extra sugar is just divine