A tradition for Christmas, Thumbprint Cookies start with a buttery shortbread base and end with a warm jam center. They make a beautiful, non-chocolate addition to a cookie tray, plus they are simple to make!
If you’re looking for a cookie that looks complicated, but is really a breeze to whip up, these Thumbprint Cookies are just the ticket! You only need eight ingredients, seven of which are almost guaranteed to be in your pantry or fridge already. Just purchase jam and you’re ready to go!
Ready for more dessert options? You can always give these cookie recipes a try, like these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Gooey Butter Cookies, Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies, or even these No Bake Christmas Crunch Cookies!
For picky families, rest easy, you can use your family’s favorite jam flavor! The jam flavors that work best are raspberry (a fan favorite), strawberry, or blueberry. A few other options include blackberry, orange marmalade, or apricot.
When you’re short on time, it’s also possible to refrigerate your dough either before you make the thumbprints or after. So get that dough prepared, then when you have another moment, grab it and keep going!
Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Fine salt
- Unsalted butter – softened (unsalted is important)
- Sugar (plus a little extra for rolling)
- Pure vanilla extract
- Jam (flavor of your choice)
How to Make Thumbprint Cookies
- Whisk the dry ingredients.
- Whip the butter and sugar with a hand-held mixer until fluffy.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla, just until combined. Then slowly beat in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated.
- Using a cookie scoop, create 1-inch balls and roll them in sugar. Place them about 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
- Place a thumbprint in the center of each ball, about ½ inch deep.
- Fill each indentation with about ¾ teaspoon of jam.
- Bake the cookies until the edges are golden brown.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet.
Worried the shortbread cookies will crack? When you roll the dough into balls, make sure they are firm and smooth. Then gently make the thumbprint. “Gently” is the key here. Also, come at your cookie from the end of your thumb, not your actual thumbprint.
Tips + Variations
If you’d like to make thumbprint cookies, but want to switch things up, there are some tips and variations that you can follow.
- Change up the toppings. You can try different types of icing on the cookies to fit the occasion in which you’re making them for.
- You can create homemade frosting!
- To keep the cookies from cracking, keep the dough covered, so it stays soft!
- You can store these cookies for up to 3 days at room temperature!
- Make sure the oven is hot enough, so the cookies don’t spread out while baking.
How to Store Store Thumbprint Cookies
The best way to store thumbprint cookies is in an airtight container. If you’re worried about the fact that there are eggs in them, it’s fine to store them in the refrigerator, too. Otherwise, leaving them on the counter for up to five days will be just fine. They are likely best within three days, though (if they last that long!).
To enjoy them at a later date, throw thumbprint cookies in the freezer! You can safely freeze them for up to 2-3 months in a couple different ways.
The first is by letting them cool completely then stacking them in an airtight container with parchment paper in between the layers to keep them from sticking together.
How to Freeze Thumbprint Cookies
The other method for freezing thumbprint cookies is to, again, let them cool completely on the cookie sheet then place the whole ensemble in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to a large storage bag. Since they are frozen, they shouldn’t stick together.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter 1 1/2 sticks, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar plus more for rolling
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup raspberry strawberry, or blueberry jam
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
- In another bowl, whip the butter and the sugar with a hand-held mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.
- Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie scoop and roll in sugar.
- Place the cookies about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep.
- Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam.
- Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes.
- Cool cookies on the baking sheets.