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Classic Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

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.

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?

Plate of thumbprint cookies

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.

If you need a more allergy friendly classic cookie, try these Italian almond cookies that are gluten free and dairy free.

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

Be sure to bookmark this recipe for classic thumbprint cookies

More favorite cookie recipes:

Bite of thumbprint cookie

Classic Thumbprint Cookies

These classic thumbprint cookies are soft and delicious. Use your favorite jam for a filling and enjoy them all year, not just at Christmas!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies
Calories: 110kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup preserves

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-3 teaspoons water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream together butter and sugar. Add almond extract and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and stir until just mixed.
    2/3 cup sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 2 cups flour
  • 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.
  • Use a spoon to deepen the initial holes in each cookie. Spoon preserves into each divot. Let cookies cool to room temperature.
    1/2 cup preserves
  • 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.
    1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 2-3 teaspoons water
  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 42mg | Sugar: 9g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

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 Amazon.com.

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  1. […] orange chocolate shortbread cookies are a takeoff from the classic thumprint cookies I used to make with my […]

  2. […] I enjoy some of my classic Christmas cookies like peppermint chocolate dipped shortbread and the thumbprint cookies I used to make with my Gram, I also love having fun with new […]

  3. Michelle says:

    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.

  4. Angela says:

    Yum! I love thumbprint cookies of any kind!

  5. septembermom says:

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

  6. Michelle says:

    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 😉

  7. Lisa@BlessedwithGrace says:

    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…

  8. Sherry says:

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

    Merry CHRISTmas!
    Sherry

  9. Heather says:

    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.

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