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Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies

These melt-in-your-mouth jam thumbprint cookies are supremely tender and buttery – they’re also the easiest (egg-free!) version you’ll find.

These cookies have been crowned “The Most Pinned Holiday Cookie,” as featured on Good Morning America and ABC News.

Thumbprint Cookies
These thumbprint cookies are a holiday classic, but they’re welcome all year round.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies are still the classic favorite

The first time I had these tender, melt-in-your-mouth Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies was over a decade ago. A close friend of mine had graciously whipped up a delicious batch of these one night and shared a plate of them with us. I remember it being nighttime, and I was more tired than hungry, so I thought about declining.

For a nanosecond. I don’t actually decline cookies.

One bite and I was smitten.  I ended up eating more than a couple right then and there. Plus a few more to go. I didn’t stand a chance against the buttery, tender, melty goodness of these cookies. Similar to these Twix Thumbprint Cookies Recipe and these 3-Ingredient Buttery Shortbread Cookies …they always get recipe requests.

Watch us make these Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies:

Totally easy and irresistible, right? 👆🏼

I was so taken by these buttery jam thumbprint cookies that I immediately tore out a piece of paper and scribbled out the recipe by hand – this was well before iPhones and iPads. An era my children will never know.

These scrumptious cookies, however, said kids have come to know and love quite well.

Slightly softened butter

Super important: this is in the recipe instructions, but it’s worth mentioning because it makes all the difference — be sure your butter is slightly softened, but not slightly melty. This will determine the texture of the cookies. Butter should be just soft enough to give a bit when you gently press, but not too soft.

Then, beat the semi-soft butter with sugar for about 2 minutes, until mixture is light and “fluffy” as pictured above. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat only until dough comes together into a sticky ball that needs some time to chill.

Narrow, Deep Wells for Cookies
That Won’t Spread Too Thin

Once dough has fully chilled, you can easily work out your dough balls.

I trend toward smaller cookies, about 1-inch size dough balls. The center well should be deep but not too wide; this prevents the cookie from spreading out too thinly during baking.

You’ll be rewarded with adorably cute round cookies that are way better than anything store bought. The kind that’s perfect for bringing to a friend, for cookie exchanges, holiday gatherings, or just for you.

jam thumbprint cookies
Use high quality real fruit preserves, to ensure filling does not become runny during baking.

What’s your jam (Or Preserves)?

Be sure to use high quality, real fruit preserves, versus a sugary jam or “fruit spread” for these thumbprint cookies. Real fruit preserves will ensure that the filling stays nice and thick throughout baking. Sugary, thin jams or spreads tend to almost melt during baking, which causes filling to become runny.

If your finished cookies want a tiny top-off of fruit preserves after baking, feel free to oblige them. Just a little dollop of extra jam on top of freshly baked cookies will give them a special sparkle. Sprinkle with powdered sugar as you wish. Eat, share, repeat. Pass along the cookie joy.

Thumbprint Cookies
Commonly Asked Questions

What are thumbprint cookies made of?

Classic thumbprint cookies are made with pure, simple ingredients such as butter, sugar, flour, and your favorite real fruit preserves.

What kind of jam should I use for these thumbprint cookies?

Use high quality, real fruit preserves. Preserves are thick and will hold shape better during baking. Sugary, thin jams or “fruit spreads” often becomes runny during the baking process.

Why did my thumbprint cookies spread too much?

Be sure butter is only slightly softened, and not at all melty to start with. Ensure that your cookie dough is adequately chilled prior to forming cookies, as chilled dough keeps its shape during baking. Lastly, be sure to use real fruit preserves and not “fruit spreads” or thin jam in the center.

Can thumbprint cookie dough be made in advance and chilled or frozen?

Absolutely. Keep raw dough covered airtight and chilled for up to a week, or frozen up to a month. Let thaw just until dough is easy to work with, but still cool to the touch.

How do you store baked thumbprint cookies?

Baked cookies should be kept airtight. They’ll keep for several days at moderate room temperature, up to a week in the fridge, or up to a month in the freezer.

More to Bake and Eat

Shop This Recipe

  • silicone baking mat

    This is a must-have for anyone who loves to bake cookies. Non-stick, reusable, easy to clean.

  • cooling racks

    Ever run out of counter space for all the cooling racks? This multi-tiered rack even collapses for further space saving.

  • metal spatula

    No more stuck-on cookies, cakes, brownies, or pizza.

jam thumbprint cookies

Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies

4.74 from 284 ratings
These Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies are lightly crisp and melt-in-your-mouth-delicious! They're also super easy and need only a handful of ingredients. No eggs needed.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 24 cookies



  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed, beat butter and sugar 10 seconds, or until lightly combined. Switch to high speed and beat until creamy and light, 2 to 3 minutes – do not rush this part.
    Add extracts and salt. Beat on medium-low speed for 10 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Gently mix in flour, just until combined, about 1 minute.
    Dough will be somewhat sticky. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down sides; form dough into a ball, cover, and chill 30-60 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F with rack on middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough balls on lined baking sheets. Press down the center of each ball with round end of a wooden spatula or use your finger, making a deep well in the middle – deep but not very wide – it helps to hold the dough ball in palm of hand while forming the well.
  • Fill cookie centers with roughly 1/2 tsp preserves (easiest to use a piping bag or a 1/4-teaspoon-sized measuring spoon). Place sheet of cookies in fridge 5 minutes to re-chill before baking.
    Bake 20-23* minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Let cool 5 min. on baking sheet, then gently transfer to finish cooling on wire rack.
  • When cookies are completely cooled, dust with confectioners' sugar. Cookies can be kept in airtight container at room temp for a few days.


  • Butter should be softened at moderate room temperature for about 30 minutes; it should not be melty at all.
  • It’s important to measure flour accurately. We use the scoop and level method. 
  • If you’d like less sweet and compact-looking cookies, use 1/2 cup powdered sugar. If you’d like sweeter cookies that spread a little more, use 1 cup powdered sugar. 
  • Cookies will taste like the jam you use, so be sure to use high quality, thick fruit preserves (any flavor) – avoid thin jams or fruit spreads, as those can become runny during the baking process.
  • We’ve updated recipe to include almond extract, as it provides a wonderful depth of flavor. If you prefer, you can omit it and just use 2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • These cookies are not intended to brown much; they’ll be shortbread-colored. If you want more browning on top, bake on upper-middle rack.
  • We bake these 20 minutes for a melt-in-your-mouth texture. If you prefer a bit crisper/browned texture, bake up to 23 min.
  • If the jam settled more than you’d like during baking, feel free to top off finished cookies with a smidge of fresh jam on top.
** If you enjoyed these cookies, please come back and give them a rating ♡


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Amerian
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: baking

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Recipe Rating


    • Mikaela
    • 5 stars

    Made for the first time recently. 10/10. I’m not a big jam fan, but these were the best cookies I have ever had!

    • RM

    What was the amount of powdered sugar in original recipe before you made change 1/2 to 1 cup? I make these often and I found the original amount was perfect.

      • Amy Dong

      The original was 1/2 cup. So glad you like these 🙂

    • Allison
    • 5 stars

    Delicious! They didn’t come out looking quite as cute as in the picture; they flattened out a bit and the jam wasn’t always in the center after baking. I don’t have a mixer so I did everything by hand. I used a wine stopper to make the hole. It worked well! The powdered sugar addition at the end definitely made them look nicer. Fun to make and absolutely delicious!

    • Christine
    • 5 stars

    I had been making these cookies every year for the last few years and was surprised to see that the recipe had been updated this year. Made the new recipe and cookies were close, but not the same. They were sweeter and spread more. Luckily I had an old printout and made the old recipe and they turned out just right.

    • zoe
    • 5 stars

    OMG! these cookies are soft and fluffy, but so rich in flavor. definitely could have put more jelly in, so i added a little more after baking

    • Jae
    • 5 stars

    I had this same issue. It was just all so crumbly and seemed really dry. But I just took it all out of the mixer bowl and hand kneaded it to make it stick more. That helped me s lot and they turned out fab! I was very worried at first

    • Megs
    • 5 stars

    Loved these when I made them last. Do you think they’d work for cut out cookies, too?

        • Shannon
        • 5 stars

        These are perfection! 20 minutes was the perfect time in my oven! Since I knew i was going to fill with Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves, I used 3/4 tsp almond emulsion and 1/4 tsp raspberry emulsion in the dough! These will be a staple every year! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Ana
    • 5 stars

    I’ve been making this recipe for the past 3 yrs and every year, someone asks where they were from. Love them!

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, Ana!

        • Ana
        • 5 stars

        I had the same problem others have mentioned about the dough crumbling and spreading out during baking. I finally noticed the online version was different from the printed one I had from years ago. After making another batch based on my printed version, it was perfect. I’m so glad I had a copy of it! My family even noticed the difference between the two!

        I see you made some recent changes minimizing the sugar proportion. I think less is more for these cookies and recommend sticking to 1/2 cup for the right consistency.

          • Cortney

          Do you have a copy of the old recipe?

    • Katie
    • 5 stars

    I make these every year. And for some reason this year they keep spreading and are not holding the shape! Please help!

      • Amy Dong

      Try placing unbaked dough balls in freezer for 10 minutes prior to baking, as it could be due to temperature changes. I’ve noticed the type of jam makes a difference, sometimes – use thick preserves that keep shape. You can also try using just 1 cup of powdered sugar, to help reduce spread, but cookies will be a tad less sweet.

      • Amy Dong

      Meagan, you can use less sugar in the dough, if you’d like to have a more compact looking cookie – thank you for coming back to these every year.

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