Thumbprint Cookies


Thumbprint Cookies! Buttery shortbread-ish cookies with thumbprint indentation filled with your favorite jam. Perfect for the holidays!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Thumbprint cookies are one of those classic cookies that seem to make an appearance at any event regardless what the occasion is!

I think it’s because they combine so many things people love: buttery cookies, nuts, and jam.

How much more homemade can you get?

Feel free to get family and friends involved with this recipe and do it in an assembly line.

It’s a great recipe that’s perfect for any party or get together as people can customize cookies with their favorite nuts and jams or jellies.

Just turn up the music, get your hands a bit dirty, and have a baking party!

Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 2 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup of butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite jam
  • Parchment paper


1 Beat the butter and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes.

2 Separate the eggs. Add the yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mixture. If using nuts place the egg whites in a shallow dish on the side and whisk them until bubbly and frothy (the egg whites will be used to keep the nuts on the cookies).

3 Add the flour and salt. Mix until just combined. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350F.

4 Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. If using nuts, dip the balls into the egg whites then roll them into the nuts until covered. Place the balls on parchment lined cookie sheets.

5 Press down with your thumb to make a small well in the center of the cookie. Do not press too hard or the cookie will fall apart. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.

6 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly firm. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet to firm up before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett

36 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Kat

    Did not hold their shape. Spread out flat

  • C Shug

    I needed to make something to use up extra lemon curd I had from a pie, so I threw these together last minute and they turned out to be the favorite dish of the evening! I also added some fine blueberry preserves in the middle, and the tartness really complemented the mellow taste of the shortbread.


  • Marie

    Awesome old-fashioned cookies – these don’t last long.:)


  • Mary

    The longer you keep them in a sealed container the better they taste! I’ve been making these for 25 years and always make them at least 10 days before the holiday, everyone ask what my secret is ;) Merry Christmas :)

  • Patricia Zito

    Patricia Zito. Wonderful recipe. Needed to bake for about 17 mins. Thanks for sharing.

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