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Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Jam Thumbprint Cookies are buttery shortbread cookies with jam in the middle of each one. They are often made for the Christmas cookie tray, but they are perfect any time. You’re going to love these easy Thumbprint Cookies.

Thumbprint Cookies

These Thumbprint Jam Cookies are such a unique treat.

The dough itself is not too sweet, but that allows the jam in the middle of the cookie to really shine.

We’re making these cookies thick to handle plenty of jam in the middle.

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Thumbprint Cookies

Key to Success #1 – Start with Softened Butter

I often have this key to success on cookie recipes, but it really is so important.

You want the butter to be soft enough that you can put a dent in it easily with your fingertip, but it should not look shiny or greasy at all.

And it certainly should not be melted even in the slightest.

The best way to soften the butter is to leave it out on the kitchen counter for a half-hour or more.

If you are in a rush, you can soften the butter using the handy microwave oven.

Microwave the cold butter on the defrost setting for 20-30 seconds.

You don’t want the butter to melt at all, but you want it to be soft enough to combine with the sugar easily.

Use your electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

This step is the key to a great cookie.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Key to Success #2 – Use Egg Yolks, Not Whole Eggs

Adding egg yolks instead of a whole egg will give your cookies an extra-rich flavor and silky smooth texture.

Egg yolks have a higher fat content and this is what gives you that nice, silky texture to your shortbread cookies.

Mix the two egg yolks into the butter and sugar mixture along with your vanilla.

You can save the egg whites to add to your omelets to make egg bites.

If you only have an egg, you can use it in place of the two egg yolks, but I highly recommend using the two egg yolks if you have them on hand.

The egg yolks should be at room temperature when they are added to the cookie dough.

If your eggs are straight from the refrigerator, run them under hot water for a minute until they warm up a bit.

Or you can allow them to sit in a cup of warm water for 5 minutes before cracking them.

Thumbprint Cookies

Key to Success #3 – Which Jam to Use

First, let me start by saying that you can use any jam flavor that you like and you can also use preserves in place of the jam.

We like to use seedless raspberry jam and apricot preserves.

The difference between jam and preserves is that the jam has mashed fruit and the preserves have larger pieces of fruit.

Either jam or preserves work in this recipe.

In many cases, the fruit in the preserves cooks down so the chunks are not large.

If using jam, I prefer to use a seedless variety, but that is my personal preference.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Key to Success #4 – How to Indent the Cookies and Add Jam

We like to make our cookies larger so that they will hold plenty of jam so we are using 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough in each cookie.

I have a medium-sized cookie scoop that holds exactly 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough so it works perfectly with these cookies.

Scoop the cookie dough then roll it into a tight ball.

Next, roll the dough in granulated sugar and place it 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Now, make an indention in the middle of the cookie dough ball.

You can use your thumb or I like to use the back of a small cookie scoop or the back of a round tablespoon measuring spoon.

As you press down, the cookie may crack a little bit and this is okay.

Fill the indention with about half a teaspoon of jam.

I use two small teaspoons (spoons for the table, not measuring spoons) to get a bit of jam and slide it into the cookie indention.

The jam can be slightly higher than the top of the cookie.

In my experience, it will not overflow the indention while baking.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies with jam in the middle
Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Thumbprint Cookies

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 22
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 24 minutes

Thumbprint Cookies are buttery shortbread cookies with a spoonful of jam in the middle of each one. They are often made for the Christmas cookie tray, but they are perfect any time. You're going to love these Thumbprint Jam Cookies.


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup sugar + more for rolling
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • raspberry jam, seedless
  • apricot preserves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Blend well.
  4. Slowly mix in flour and salt until fully combined. The dough may look crumbly at first but keep mixing and it will begin to hold together.
  5. Use a medium cookie scoop to portion out 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the dough in sugar then place 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Use your thumb (or the back of a small cookie scoop) to create an indention in the middle of each ball of dough.
  7. Fill the indention with half a teaspoon of jam.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are light brown.


  • Substitute your favorite jam or preserves for a different flavor.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 22 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 101mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g

Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.

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