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.
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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: 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.
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Commonly Asked Questions
Classic thumbprint cookies are made with pure, simple ingredients such as butter, sugar, flour, and your favorite real fruit preserves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Buttery Jam Thumbprint 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 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.
Nutrition (per serving)
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