I have been making these Thumbprint Cookies since college, and they never get old! Buttery shortbread is filled with sweet jam for this easy and delicious cookie.
Sometimes the simplest cookies are the best, and to me, jam thumbprint cookies are all about enjoying a simple buttery shortbread with the sweetness of a quality berry jam.
These cookies are adapted from an Ina Garten recipe that my friend Jess introduced me to in college.
Ina’s recipe is slightly different, most notably in that the cookies are dipped in egg and coconut.
Even though I like coconut, I’ve come to prefer the cookies without it. It’s a bit more elegant, and the coconut has a tendency to take over the show. It’s still delicious, just more about personal preference.
I’ll leave instructions for both in the recipe box below, so you can decide for yourself.
You can also use an assortment of different jams here, so you get a colorful tray with pops of different colors.
How to Make Thumbprint Cookies:
In a bowl, combine good-quality salted butter with sugar:
Because the butter is such a big flavor here, it’s a good time to splurge on the European butter (I love both Kerrygold and the French cultured butter from Trader Joe’s).
Also, just as with my shortbread cookies, I like to use salted butter here. I find the evenly dispersed salt is better than having bits of salt added throughout the dough.
Mix together the butter and sugar, then add vanilla extract:
Mix that in, then add all-purpose flour:
Mix until a dough forms:
Now it’s time to portion the cookie dough out. I find the easiest way to do this is first scoop portions with a cookie scoop:
Then roll each one into a ball, and press your thumb into each one:
Chill the cookie dough balls for 30-60 minutes, until the cookies are firm to the touch. This will keep the cookies from spreading in the oven.
Space the cookies out on a sheet pan, and fill each one with about a teaspoon of jam:
Then bake for 18-20 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden on the edges:
These are the kinds of cookies that taste best once they’re fully cooled.
So let them cool on a wire rack for at least 60 minutes:
Several hours of cooling time is even better.
More Favorite Cookie Recipes:
Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- 12 tbsp salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 7.5 ounces by weight all purpose flour (1.5 cups, if measuring)
- assorted jams of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- With an electric mixer, mix together the butter and sugar until they are blended and creamed together. Then mix in the vanilla.
- Add the flour, and mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes, until the ingredients have combined into a dough. Note that the dough will look crumbly at first, but if you keep mixing, the dough should eventually come together.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to portion out scoops of dough, then roll each one into a ball. Use your thumb to make small indentations in the top, for later holding the jam.
- To keep the cookies from spreading during baking, refrigerate the cookies for 30-60 minutes, until firm to the touch. You can rush this process by freezing for 15 minutes instead, but they may spread slightly.
- Evenly space the cookies on a half sheet tray, then fill each cookie with 1/2 to 1 tsp of jam in each indentation.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden on the edges, but still mostly pale in color. You don't want to overbake these.
- Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack, for at least 60 minutes, but ideally a few hours. These aren’t the kind of cookies that taste good when they’re hot. Enjoy!
Post and recipe updated in December 2018. Originally published December 2013.
Here’s a video showing them coated in coconut, if you enjoy the flavor and texture of some coconut shreds on the outside: