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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.

jam thumbprint cookies on a white plate.
These Jam Thumbprint Cookies only need 7 ingredients and are packed with flavor in every bite.

Video: Watch Us Make This Recipe

Why This Recipe Stands Out

  • Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttery: These thumbprint cookies are extra tender and buttery, almost like a shortbread cookie, but with jam in the center.
  • No Eggs: Zero eggs are needed in this delicious recipe.
  • Only 7 Ingredients: You probably already have these pantry staples in your kitchen.
  • Flavorful: Use any variety of fruit preserves you and your family love. We’ve even made Twix Thumbprint Cookies using caramel.
  • Colorful: These cookies are full of festive and fun colors and stand out at any cookie exchange or holiday cookie assortment.

Key Recipe Ingredients

butter, flour, and sugar in bowls.
  • Butter: very slightly softened and sliced or diced.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: otherwise known as powdered sugar. This is used instead of regular sugar, as it has a much softer texture and produces tender results.
  • Vanilla Extract: provides the fragrant aroma to the cookies
  • Almond Extract: don’t skip this, as it lends a beautiful flavor
  • Flour and Salt: use basic all purpose flour and regular table salt, not kosher salt.
  • Preserves: use thick, real fruit preserves. Avoid cheaper jams, as they tend to become runny during baking.

Substitutions and Variations

Extract: We love the combination of vanilla and almond extracts in these thumbprint cookies, but you can use just vanilla or just almond if you like.

Preserves: Use a variety of flavors – we love apricot, peach, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry preserves.

Other Fillings: Switch things up and use Lemon Curd or Nutella, like we do in our Nutella Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed, beat butter and sugar 10 seconds. Switch to high speed and beat until creamy and light, 2 to 3 full minutes. Add extracts and salt. Beat on medium-low speed for 10 seconds.
  2. Gently mix in flour, just until combined, about 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down sides; form dough into a ball, cover, and chill 30-60 minutes.
  1. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. 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.
  2. Fill cookie centers with roughly 1/2 tsp preserves. Place sheet of cookies in fridge 5 minutes to re-chill before baking. Bake 20-23 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, please see recipe card below.

Prevent Cookies From OverSpreading

Slightly Softened Butter

Super important: be sure your butter is slightly softened, but not at all melty. Butter should be just soft enough to give a little bit when you gently press.

Beat a Full 2-3 minutes.

Beat the semi-soft butter with sugar for an entire 2-3 minutes, until mixture is light and “fluffy.” 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

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.

Fruit Preserves, Not Jam

Be sure to use high quality, real fruit preserves, versus a sugary jam or “fruit spread.” This will ensure the filling stays thick throughout baking. Sugary, thin jams tend to become runny in the oven.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies on a black plate.
These Jam Thumbprint Cookies only need 7 ingredients and are packed with flavor in every bite.

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.

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.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

jam thumbprint cookies

Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies

4.82 from 401 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 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 24
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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 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 loved this recipe, please give it a rating – it helps keep your favorite recipes alive on our site. Plus, we ❤️ hearing from you. 
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Nutrition (per serving)

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: Bake, Oven

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Recipe Rating




246 comments

    • Pauline
    • 5 stars

    It’s so good! it was a little crumbly at the beginning, but I just went in with my hands and kneaded it until it was all incorporated. Really great recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s great, Pauline! So happy you all enjoyed these 🙂

    • Vanessa

    I made them with Boysenberry preserves from Knott’s Berry Farm and they are beyond amazing. I would recommend this choice over raspberry or blackberry preserves because boysenberry is a mix of them both, even better!!

      • chewoutloud

      I remember going to Knott’s for their preserves when I lived 15 minutes away! Soo good 🙂 Awesome that you loved it in these jam cookies!

    • Heather

    Question! Sounds dumb, but I don’t have a hand mixer or a stand mixer. I do have a food processor…. or elbow grease lol. Do you definitely need a mixer to make this?

      • chewoutloud

      Heather, it does make these cookies a lot easier and more consistent with a mixer. If you must mix by hand, be sure to get batter to same consistency as you see on video demo. Requires more elbow grease, but can be done! Enjoy 🙂 🙂

    • HGirl
    • 4 stars

    I’ve made these 3 times in the last month. Very easy even for a novice like me. They are super tasty but the first couple times the dough was dry and crumbly. I just tried reducing the flour by 1/4 cup and the dough was definitely smoother, pliable, and more sticky.

      • chewoutloud

      Awesome!! Thanks for coming over to let us know you’ve liked these cookies 🙂 🙂 Yay! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Carmen

    Can the thumbprint cookie dough be frozen? Or should it only be refrigerator?

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Carmen! Yes, the unbaked dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen, if you’re storing it longer than a few days. Happy baking!

        • Carmen
        • 5 stars

        Thank you for the quick response. I’ve made these for the last two years! They have become so popular with family and friends that I need to make extra batches. So happy to be able to freeze the dough and have it ready when I need it. Saves me some time! Thank you for sharing the delicious recipe!

          • chewoutloud

          Aww, that’s wonderful, Carmen! I’m so happy you love these cookies so much 🙂 🙂

    • Robyn

    Hi, I live in Australia so our measurements are different and we don’t have sticks of butter. Would it be possible to get recipe in grams please. I’m not happy with my current recipe and would love to try these. Thanks in advance

    • Rene
    • 5 stars

    Getting ready to make my christmas cookies and these jam thumbprints are a favorite. I read the reviews this morning and was surprised a few people found them dry. I’ve been making these cookies for the past three years, I’ve probably made 50 batches. I follow the recipe exactly and they are always buttery and moist with a texture close to a shortbread cookie. If you know what a great jam thumbprint should taste like then this recipe gets an A+

      • chewoutloud

      Oh, that is SO great to hear, Rene! We appreciate your coming over to let us know these cookies work out so well! Thank you and happy continued baking. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • LEES

    These look so amazing! I love these kind of cookies, they are so easy to make and delicious!

    • Amy H
    • 5 stars

    I love thumbprint cookies, but have never tried making them! I will have to try these. They sound so good! I’m so glad that it’s almost December, my baking month.

    • Pati Robins

    these look so yummy ! and i be trying to make them very soon , i am bookmarking your recipie

    • kumamonjeng
    • 5 stars

    I have to start making these for preparation for Xmas parties. I think my guests will enjoy these cookies.

    • Jasmine M

    I’ve never had cookies with jam in them. IT sounds like it’d be pretty good. I’ll have to make these soon.

    • Natasha Romero Salas
    • 5 stars

    I love cookies! The buttery jam thumbprint cookie not only looks so tasty, but fun to make! Thanks for adding the video, too! It will be so helpful.

    • Cyndi Buchanan

    These look delicious! Perfect for holiday parties!

    • Candy Rachelle

    You always have the BEST looking recipes!! I know it’s not the time to be trying new recipes, BUT I’m trying out you Creamiest Mac & Cheese recipe for T-Day and just PRAY it turns out perfectly! Thanks!

    Candy Rachelle
    Keeping Up With Candy
    www.keepingupwithcandy.com

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Candy! Hope you love it!

    • AShley R
    • 5 stars

    I have to bake everything with gluten free flour since my MIL has Celiac. Wondering if it would be as good?

    • Catherine
    • 5 stars

    I love jam cookies. They are one of my favorite holiday cookies and these look so lovely!

    • Chad

    These look out of this world!!! There is a french version of these cookies called Sable which i love!!! Will make these and compare.

    • Gervin Khan
    • 5 stars

    These Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies looks really delicious and it look so easy to make.
    I will definitely try this at home and possibly making this recipe as a a holiday presents for my friends and loved ones.

    • Catherine
    • 5 stars

    I love thumbprint cookies and these look absolutely delicious! Perfect for the holiday season.

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