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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 black 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 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 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 white plate.
These jam thumbprint cookies will stand out at any cookie exchange or cookie tray.

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 on a white plate.

Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies

4.79 from 353 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



  • 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 enjoyed these cookies, please come back and give them a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you. 

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

More to Bake and Eat

Add a comment

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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