Bite of thumbprint cookie

Classic Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

February 20, 2019 by Michelle

Enjoy this article? Please share it!

We love classic thumbprint cookies in my family. These are delicious all year long, not just as Christmas cookies. This post contains some affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Plate of thumbprint cookies

While I always made chocolate chip cookies with my mom, my gram and I baked all the thumbprint cookies. The biggest decision we made: What flavor jam do we use this time?

I almost always chose a red fruit because I love them – cherry, raspberry, or strawberry.

Now that I make them on my own, sometimes I use one of my thick fruit syrups instead. My blueberry syrup has a surprising and delicious flavor, while the cherry syrup reminds me of what I used to make with my Gram.

Back in the day, my kids’ school let us bring in baked goods as treats for parties. While this is no longer the case, these were my go to. Why? They have no nuts and no eggs, two common allergies in both my kids’ classes.

While not perfectly allergy friendly, they cover two major allergies, which make these a good choice for pot lucks. When my Gram and I made these, we used almond extract – which obviously has nuts – in place of the vanilla, so know you can substitute almond extract if nuts aren’t a concern.

Whenever we make cookies, my daughter begs for these. In fact, they’re my husband’s favorite cookie, too.

Looking for more great cookie ideas? See more of my favorites at the end of this article.

How to Make Classic Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees before you begin making your cookies. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the almond extract and mix until well-combined.

Note that the classic recipe uses almond extract. If you have a nut issue, simply substitute the almond extract for vanilla in both the cookies and glaze. However, you want to use one teaspoon vanilla instead of one half teaspoon almond extract.

Add the flour to your bowl and stir until just mixed. This makes a very thick dough that will crumble just a bit.

Use a cookie scoop to get evenly sized cookies and place each round onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat. If you don’t have one, use an UNgreased cookie sheet for these cookies.

Scoop cookies

Use a spoon or your thumbs to make a good indentation in the center of each cookie. Be sure you have a “wall” all the way around the divot in each cookie.

Make well in cookies

Bake at 350 degrees for 14-18 minutes until they start to turn slightly golden and crack just a touch. The crack in a cookie is your secret sign that it’s ready to come out of the oven.

Use a spoon to make your original dent in the center more pronounced. Do not use your fingers again, as these cookies are hot from the oven. No burning yourself!

Use spoon after baking

Immediately spoon a bit of preserves into each divot. Stop just a touch before the top of the cookie, which gives you room to add the glaze later.

Add small spoon of jam

Let the cookies cool with the preserves in them until they reach room temperature. If you are impatient, the glaze simply slides off the cookies and melts into the preserves, not that I know this from experience.

Mix together the powdered sugar and almond extract. Slowly dribble in water until the glaze reaches the consistency you like. I go a little thicker but still pourable.

Spoon just enough glaze onto each cookie to cover the jam, but don’t let it spill over the edges. This should make just enough glaze for each cookie.

Drizzle with icing

Let your cookies harden for 10-15 minutes before eating… if you can! Store them in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze them for up to a month. Use wax or parchment paper to separate cookie layers so they don’t stick together.

Let drizzle dry before eating

Classic Thumbprint Cookies

Classic Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes

These classic thumbprint cookies are soft and delicious. Use your favorite jam for a filling and enjoy them all year, not just at Christmas!



  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c preserves


  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 2-3 t water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar. Add almond extract and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and stir until just mixed.
  3. Scoop onto cookie sheet with lined with a silpat (if you don't have one, use an UNgreased cookie sheet). Use a spoon or your thumbs create a well in the center of each cookie. Bake at 350 14-18 minutes until cookies just start to color.
  4. Use a spoon to deepen the initial holes in each cookie. Spoon preserves into each divot. Let cookies cool to room temperature.
  5. Mix together powdered sugar and almond extract. Slowly dribble in water until glaze reaches the consistency you like. Spoon glaze onto each cookie to cover preserves.
  6. Let glazed cookies harden 10-15 minutes before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to a month.


If you want to ensure these cookies are nut free, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla in place of the 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in both the cookies and the glaze. Traditionally, we use almond extract but in a nod to allergies, we often go with vanilla instead.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 110 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 14mg Sodium: 42mg Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 9g Protein: 1g
This site uses an outside source to calculate nutrition. If you need exact nutrition details, please calculate this yourself.

What’s your favorite preserve to use in thumbprint cookies?

More favorite cookie recipes:

Simple classic thumbprint cookie recipe. This egg free cookie has so many layers of flavor. Use your favorite jam to fill it. This is so much more than a Christmas cookie. Enjoy this sweet treat all year round, it's such an easy recipe to make! #cookies #thumbprint #easyrecipe #desserts

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Enjoy this article? Please share it!



  • Heather

    Sounds yummy! They're almost like Linzer hearts (or almond crescents), but those want almonds in the dough. But your substitutions would work with that recipe as well.

  • Sherry

    These are the ones that I've made for several years and get rave reviews each time! They are delish!!

    Merry CHRISTmas!

  • Lisa@BlessedwithGrace

    Those cookies sound wonderful. Thanks for the recipe and linking to TMTT. Have a blessed Christmas with your family and friends. We will enjoy the snow…

  • Michelle

    Jo – Thanks for the link. I definitely need to go look that up!

    Heather – Ohhh they are. Even dairy free, they're still good (though I prefer the original). We definitely need to make some more.

    Sherry – They're definitely getting rave reviews here. Merry Christmas to you, too — love the emphasis!

    Lisa – Ohhh they are. Just ask Sherry! Good luck with the snow. Hope your shovel is a heavy duty one 😉

  • septembermom

    Hmmm, another one of Michelle's tasty ideas to steal…

  • Angela

    Yum! I love thumbprint cookies of any kind!

  • Michelle

    Kelly – You talk a good game. I want to know how many of these you actually make though 😉

    Angela – Me, too. I love the jam in the middle — such a fun contrast in a cookie.

    Leave a Comment

    Your email is never shared.
    Required fields are marked *