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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

4.74 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


    • Amy Dong

    Be sure to use a stand mixer or a hand mixer, and really mix in that butter and sugar all the way until it’s a light, fluffy texture. When measuring flour, use dry measuring cups only and gently scoop/level (don’t tap down). The dough will be super soft and pliable.

    • Rita

    Are you supposed to sift the powdered sugar before measuring the 1 1/4 cups?

      • Amy Dong

      You don’t have to. Hope you love them, Rita! 🙂

    • Dina
    • 5 stars

    Hi! This is also my go to recipe every year for Christmas cookies and also noticed the change. I don’t recall almond extract last year.. is this something new you added? Thank you!!

      • Amy Dong

      We did update the recipe with almond extract, as we love the depth of flavor it provided – you can replace it with more vanilla extract, if you like – so happy you’ve made this a go-to! 🙂

    • Anna
    • 5 stars

    Hi there! Do you mind mentioning if there are changes you made to the recipe recently? Asking because I love these cookies and have made them every year for the past 3 or 4 years, but I don’t remember there being almond extract. Is that a new addition?

      • Amy Dong

      Hi, Anna! We used to have almond extract as an option, but we LOVE it so much and use it every time 🙂 I’ll definitely add that note in the recipe card 🙂

    • Amy Dong

    Angela, did you use the scoop and level method for measuring flour? Accurate measurement is the cure for crumbly dough. Also, be sure to beat sugar/butter mixture for full amount of time. 🙂

    • Claudia
    • 5 stars

    Can these be frozen after baking?
    Excellent cookie! Thank you for posting!

      • Amy Dong

      Yes, these can be frozen in an airtight container. Glad you love them!

    • Amy Dong

    Use unsalted butter; enjoy! 🙂

    • Kristie
    • 5 stars

    So good!! I made these with my homemade jam. They were delicious!

      • Amy Dong

      So happy to hear it!

    • Sandy Young
    • 5 stars

    Hi, thanks for posting this recipe.
    They turned out very rich and delicious! This dough could be very versatile.
    Now we have to hide them before they’re gone before Christmas!

      • Amy Dong

      Yay!! And I’m with you – I have to hide them if I want to serve to guests! 🙂

    • Sue
    • 5 stars

    These cookies will be perfect on my holiday cookie tray!

    • Ann
    • 5 stars

    My grandma used to make these cookies for the holidays. I need to make these again! They were always so delicious!

    • Zhen
    • 5 stars

    These cookies were delicious, I can see why they were the most pinned!- the video was very helpful, thanks! Definitely going to make them again!

      • Amy Dong

      So happy you liked these!

    • Maggie
    • 5 stars

    We always buy these cookies, but this year, I said I am going to make them for the holidays. I found your recipe, and they were a huge hit. Thank you!

    • Jamie
    • 5 stars

    Wow! This cookie recipe looks incredibly delicious and yummy! The added buttery jam adds more taste and flavor! Loved it!

    • Cathleen
    • 5 stars

    These are some of my favourite cookies!! I’m so excited to make it for my cookie exchange around Christmas, thanks so much for the recipe 🙂

    • Andrew
    • 5 stars

    The cookies taste great. I will mention tho- you should wait to preheat your oven if the dough is to chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

    • Penny
    • 5 stars

    We love these and have made them our official Christmas Cookies 🙂

      • Amy Dong

      Yes!! So glad your eaters love these! 🙂

    • Yvonne
    • 5 stars

    Amazing recipe! They turned out buttery and rich! Thank you!

      • Amy Dong

      So happy you liked these!

    • Megan Ellam
    • 5 stars

    These look fabulous!

    • Tina Marie
    • 5 stars

    Soooo good! Soft, buttery and yummy! Thanks for sharing.

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