These thumbprint cookies are buttery, crumbly, and filled with an irresistibly sweet, tart raspberry and lemon curd filling. They’re easy to make and customize to your heart’s content!
As much as I love classic cookie flavors like oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate chip cookies, it’s thumbprint cookies that have always reminded me of growing up. We didn’t bake them all the time (usually only Christmas!), so it felt like a treat when we did.
If you’re unfamiliar, thumbprint cookies are a type of shortbread cookie that originated in Sweden but have quickly become widely popular for holidays and special occasions. Each cookie is indented into a “thumbprint” and filled with various jams and curds. Raspberry jam is the most traditional, but my favorite is lemon curd.
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Common baking ingredients. Like my ricotta cookies, most of the ingredients you’ll need are common baking staples.
- Perfect texture and flavor. The cookie base is sweet and buttery, the peanuts add a savory crunch, and the tart filling balances out the cookies perfectly.
- Great for sharing. No one (and you can quote me on this) can resist these cookies. They’re perfect for the holidays and make a great addition to any dessert table or cookie exchange.
- No chilling time. Seriously, the worst thing about any cookie is having to chill the dough. Not this one, though. And they bake in just 12 minutes.
What I love about my thumbprint cookie recipe is that it’s so easy to customize. I usually stick with the classic fillings, but there are endless flavor combinations to choose from. I’ll be sure to give you plenty of options later on.
Aside from the raspberry and lemon filling, the rest of the ingredients are pretty straightforward. Here’s an overview of what you need:
- Butter. Softened. I prefer to use unsalted butter since it gives me more control over how salty the cookie dough is.
- Sugar. Granulated sugar works best.
- Egg yolks. To add richness and mouthfeel to the cookies. Save the egg whites for meringue cookies.
- Vanilla extract. A must for any good cookie recipe! For a more Italian-inspired cookie, use almond extract.
- All-purpose flour. Good old-fashioned AP flour will do the trick, or gluten-free flour can be used if preferred.
- Salt. A little goes a long way to amplify the rest of the ingredients.
- Chopped nuts. Half the cookies will get rolled in chopped pecans, walnuts, peanuts, or almonds to add extra flavor and texture. Feel free to omit if that’s not your style.
- Lemon curd and raspberry preserves. For the filling.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make thumbprint cookies
Step 1- Prep work. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Step 2- Make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, mixing well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Step 3- Shape the cookies. Take small portions of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Roll half of the dough balls in the chopped peanuts.
Step 4- Indent the cookies. Place the cookie balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Use your thumb (or the back of a spoon) to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
Step 5- Bake. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheets for several minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 6- Add filling. Once the cookies are cooled, fill the thumbprint indentations with lemon curd and raspberry jam.
Recipe tips and variations
- Change the filling. Any jam or jelly works. Try strawberry jam, apricot jam, marmalade, or apple butter instead.
- Warm up the jam. If the jam is too cold and won’t spread evenly, microwave it for 10 seconds to soften it up.
- Avoid overbaking the cookies. The cookies continue to cook as they cool down, so if you pull them out when they’re firm, they’ll get too crispy and break.
- Use a plastic bag to pipe in the filling. My secret tip! Fill a plastic bag with the jam and curd, then use scissors to cut the corner off the bag. Use this to fill each cookie with about ½ teaspoon of jam.
- Skip the fruit altogether. If you’re not a fan of jam, fill each cookie with melted chocolate, caramel sauce, or homemade Nutella.
To store: Place leftover cookies in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to 5 days. Avoid stacking the cookies so they don’t stick to each other.
To freeze: Store the leftover cooled cookies in a freezer-safe bag with sheets of parchment paper between each layer of cookies and freeze for up to 3 months.
Frequently asked questions
No, these cookies don’t need to be refrigerated. I actually prefer them not to be. Otherwise, they tend to get dry and crumbly in the fridge.
Your cookies might spread if the butter was too soft or melted or if the dough wasn’t chilled for long enough before being shaped.
More cookie recipes you need to try
- Applesauce cookies– Full of fall flavors and made with just 4 ingredients.
- Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies– The best of both worlds!
- Tiramisu cookies– Easy, no-bake cookies with the perfect balance of sweet and bold coffee flavor.
- Chocolate peppermint cookies– Rich chocolate mixed with refreshing peppermint flavor, a truly underrated combination.
- Chickpea cookie dough– Finally, a guilt-free cookie dough you can safely enjoy by the spoonful.
Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, mixing well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Take small portions of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Roll half the dough balls in the chopped peanuts.
- Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cooled, fill the thumbprint indentations with lemon curd and raspberry jam.
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