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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

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jam thumbprint cookies

Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies

4.72 from 259 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

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 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 ♡

Nutrition

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

Did you make this?

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Recipe Rating




215 comments

    • Lindsay
    • 3 stars

    I’ve made these for the past several years hoping they would get better. I follow this recipe exactly but they always crack and break open. Unsure what I’m doing wrong. Any thoughts? Unsure if I will make these anymore as they definitely don’t look like yours.

      • chewoutloud

      Lindsay, are you using a dry measuring cup to gently measure flour, without packing it or tapping it down? Also, try baking them by a minute or two less, as actual oven temps vary. Hopefully with more moisture in the dough and modified bake time, these will turn out well. If you get a chance, see if the accompanying recipe video helps.

    • Jamie
    • 5 stars

    These are perfect for the holidays!

    • Tatiana
    • 5 stars

    Thumbprint cookies are my favorite. Kids loved them too!

    • Lilly
    • 5 stars

    These cookies are so delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Leslie
    • 5 stars

    Love this recipe!

    • Addie
    • 5 stars

    One of my favorites! So buttery!

    • Jessica
    • 5 stars

    These turned out perfectly! Will be making again next year.

    • Alexandra
    • 5 stars

    These cookies are so delicious!

    • Oscar

    This recipe looks so good, can’t wait to try it.

    • Natalie
    • 5 stars

    Thumbprint cookies are something I always bake for Christmas. This year I will give your recipe a try. Your cookies look delicious. Melt-in-mouth and super festive.

    • Dee
    • 5 stars

    These are so buttery and delicious I am drooling just thinking about them! This recipe is super easy and fun to make, definitely a keeper.

    • Lelsie
    • 5 stars

    I cannot get over how perfect this thumbprint cookie recipe is! Definitely will be making with multiple different jams!

    • Stine Mari
    • 5 stars

    So delicious, tender and buttery cookies – just like a cookie should be in my opinion. And so easy to switch up the jams to make different cookies at the same time!

    • Melissa
    • 5 stars

    Hi Amy! I’ve just made these cookies as part of a home baked goodies box for our neighbours and, they turned out perfectly. I couldn’t wait to taste one before they were cool and burnt my bottom lip with the hot jam lol!
    I used a Bulgarian organic rose jam for something different and, they were excellent! Thanks for a great recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s what baking is all about, Melissa! So happy to hear 🙂

    • Jere Cassidy
    • 5 stars

    These cookies are dangerously good and so perfect for giving as a gift for the holidays. Nothing better than a cookie that is easy to make too.

    • Jennifer Noel Mirakian
    • 5 stars

    I have made these countless times and I always get asked for the recipe. I almost always have the ingredients on hand as the list is short. They keep longer than most cookies. Most cookies grow stale by the second day but hese don’t. They are melt in your mouth delicious!!! Thank you for this recipe!!!

    • Kris

    Is it possible to make these dairy free? Would it just be as simple as substituting the same amount of dairy free butter in place of regular butter? I’ve made these a million times and love them but I have to be dairy free now

      • chewoutloud

      I love my dairy free butter(I use Miyokos) for rolls and toast, but I’ve never baked with it. It may be worth a try, as the container does say it can be used in lieu of real butter in baked goods.

    • Janie
    • 5 stars

    Best thumbprint cookies. I’ve made these cookies time and time again and they are always a hit with family and friends.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Janie!!

    • Shakir
    • 5 stars

    The cookies look delish! I love topping them up with chocolate M & Ms.

    • Samira
    • 5 stars

    Hi. These cookies are always amazing everytime I have made them. I have always wondered if it is possible to make them all chocolate. Is it possible to add cocoa powder into it and if so, how would you suggest I go about it?
    Thank you

      • chewoutloud

      So glad you enjoy these! I have yet to try the chocolate/cocoa in the dough. If you’d like to fill them with hazelnut-chocolate (Nutella,) that works well!

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