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

Showing 4 of 33 Comments / Reviews

  • 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.

  • Janey

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve made these before for my husband and he just loves them. I was planning on doing this for a Christmas cookie exchange, but one of the girls is gluten free. Any suggestions as to what I can use to replace the flour?

  • Aly

    one of the best cookie recipes ever! i always come back to this one, been using it for a few years now and they always turn out great.

  • Mary LaConte

    I rolled the balls slightly larger, flattened them slightly with the palm of my hand, then made the indentation. They baked more thoroughly this way, and did not crack as much. I used “Simply Fruit” spread, and this worked very well. I sprinkled confectioner’s sugar on them and this made them quite festive looking! These cookies are delicious.

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