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Thumbprint Cookies Classic Recipe

These thumbprint cookies are a classic recipe you’ll love. Perfectly buttery and filled with your choice of jam – and great for any occasion including Christmas!

thumbprint cookies

I’ll never forget the first time I tried a thumbprint cookie. Okay maybe it wasn’t the first ever, but it’s the first time I remember.

I’m originally from Seattle and when I was young, we used to visit Pike Place Market every weekend for two things (minimum).

One was the German butcher where my dad would get landjäger and delicious meats . . . and the other was the Three Sisters Bakery, where we would get desserts.

Everyone had their favorites at the bakery, ranging from turnovers to dessert bars to muffins to brownies. Mine? The thumbprint cookies.

A recent visit back to Seattle reminded me about the good ol’ days, as I walked through the market and thought about those cookies (I didn’t get one because the line was too long – sad face).

I decided it was time to make a classic jam thumbprint cookie recipe that I would love – and that you would too!

thumbprint cookie recipe

We’ve tried recipes like chocolate thumbprints, red velvet, lemon blueberry . . . but never classic jam. And there’s no time like the present, right?

These cookies have a delightfully crumbly, buttery base that practically melts in your mouth.

The center of the cookie holds a dollop of jam that is just the right amount of sweet—enough to complement the buttery flavor without overpowering it.

The contrast between the tender cookie and the slightly sticky filling is pure joy. These are absolutely perfect for Christmas cookie exchanges. Or just eating while watching a Lifetime holiday movie.


Before you dive into these cookies, I’ve got some tips for you on making the best (and tastiest) thumbprints. If you’re interested, check them out. Otherwise scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

Tips for Making Delicious Cookies

Are you looking to make the tastiest cookies ever? I’ve got some tips for you. Here’s what I always make sure to pay attention to.

Use Quality Ingredients

Use high-quality, fresh ingredients for the best cookie flavor and texture. You’ll for sure want to get fresh eggs, good quality butter, and pure vanilla extract (instead of imitation).

Measure Precisely

Flour is often the main dry ingredient in these cookies. Measure using the scoop-and-level method, as adding too much flour can result in dry baked goods.

Bring Cold Ingredients to Room Temp

Bring ingredients like butter, eggs, and milk to room temperature before mixing. They will incorporate better, resulting in smoother batter and soft cookies. They don’t need to be warm; slightly cool to room temp is fine.

Avoid Overmixing

Mix the batter just until ingredients are combined, or the dry disappears into the wet. Overmixing can result in tough cookies.

Chill the Dough

Chilling the cookie dough in the fridge for the specified time (or even overnight) before baking allows the flavors to meld and the fats to solidify. This results in cookies with better flavor and texture. It also prevents them from spreading too much during baking.

Look for Golden Edges

Unless the recipe says otherwise, the edges of the cookies should turn a golden brown while the center remains slightly soft. This balance ensures a chewy texture without overbaking.

Cool Before Transferring

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. This helps them set and avoids them becoming too fragile and crumbling apart.

jam thumbprint cookies

Remember, practicing and experimenting will help you perfect your cookie baking skills over time. Have fun and enjoy the process of creating delicious baked goods! Here’s what you’re going to need for these thumbprint cookies.


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup jam


  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie scoop
  • Small spoon

These cookies last well for up to one week in an airtight container at room temperature. So you can make them up to one week ahead of time.

stack of thumb cookies with jam

You can also freeze this thumbprint cookie recipe. Just make sure they are completely cooled and the jam has set. Add them to a freezer safe bag or container and freeze them for up to one month.

cookies with jam in the middle on a white plate

Get the printable recipe for these cookies below:

Yield: 32 cookies

Thumbprint Cookies

cookies with jam in the middle on a white plate

Get ready to fall in love with these easy, delicious thumbprints! These cookies are buttery and filled with your choice of jam - they're the ultimate treat for any occasion.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 29 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup jam


  1. In a large bowl, add in the butter and granulated sugar. Beat at medium-high until everything is combined and mixture turns creamy.Sugar and butter together in a clear glass bowl
  2. Mix in the milk and vanilla. Beat until combined.Milk and vanilla added to the creamed butter and sugar
  3. Slowly stir in the flour and cornstarch until just combined and a dough is formed. It's okay if there are a few spots of dry ingredients.Flour and cornstarch being added to creamed butter and sugar
  4. Scoop the cookie dough into 1 Tablespoon-sized balls. Roll until the dough is completely round with no cracks.Roll-the-thumbprint-dough-into-balls
  5. Place the rolled dough on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. Press your thumb, or the back of a measuring spoon, into the center of each cookie.Dough placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  6. Transfer the cookie dough to the fridge and chill for one hour.Thumb mark pressed down into the cookie dough balls
  7. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.Lining-a-baking-pan-with-parchment-paper
  8. Add about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of jam to the well in each cookie. Fill to the brim but don’t let the jam overflow too much.Jam being placed into the thumb impressions in the cookies
  9. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.Thumbprints fresh out of the oven

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 26mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

Did you make this recipe?

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If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know in the comments! I’d also love for you to check out these other unique cookie recipes:

Almond Flour ShortbreadApple PieApricot Dark ChocolateBacon Chocolate ChipBrownie Chocolate ChipBuckeyeButterscotch Chocolate ChipButterscotch PopcornCaramel AppleChocolate Chip (Air Fryer)Chocolate Chip PuddingChocolate Chip SandwichChocolate MarshmallowChocolate Mint SandwichChristmas ButterChristmas LinzerCircus AnimalCotton CandyEaster M&MFunfettiGinger MolassesGrinchHeath BarNutella StuffedOatmeal Chocolate ChipOatmeal Cream PiesPaleo ShortbreadPeanut Butter BlossomsPeanut Butter Cookie CupsPeppermint FrostedPeppermint PuddingReese’s PiecesReindeerRitz S’moresRoloSanta CookiesShortbread TeaSnickersVanillaWhite Chocolate CranberryWhite Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Kathleen Herman

Thursday 9th of November 2023

How much brown sugar goes in this recipe? It is not in the ingredient list. Can you please email me with the answer as I do not get notifications when I comment on posts. Thanks.


Thursday 9th of November 2023

Hi Kathleen! That was an error in the instructions. It’s just granulated sugar! Fixed and thank you for letting me know 😊

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