Jam Thumbprint Cookies {Soft & Buttery}

The best, classic, old fashioned, easy jam thumbprint cookies recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft and tender sugar cookies are indented in the center and filled with jam! Perfect for the Christmas holidays! Also known as jam thumbprints or jam drops.

Christmas is the time to give and spend time with the family. One thing that people do during the holidays is bake desserts. Today’s recipe will be a good addition to your baking list along with these Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies and Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies.

Traditionally, no eggs are supposed to be used in this recipe and a Shortbread Cookie dough is used. However, my family adds an egg yolk because it prevents the cookies from cracking during baking plus it prevents the dough from being too dry and crumbly. It also makes the cookies richer in flavor and softer.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies From Scratch

How to make jam thumbprint cookies?

  1. Cream together butter and sugar– It should become creamy and fluffy.
  2. Add egg yolk and vanilla– The mixture should become smooth.
  3. Add flour– Mix until crumbly.
  4. Mix with hands– Use your hands to make to mix the crumbles into cookie dough. Use a splash of milk or water bring the dough together, if needed.
  5. Make cookie balls– Scoop out small portions of dough and roll them into little balls with no cracks.
  6. Coat in sugar– Roll cookie balls in a small bowl of granulated sugar.
  7. Make small impressions– Place them on a cookie tray and press center with your thumb to make indentations.
  8. Chill dough– Chill each tray of cookie dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  9. Add filling– Add spoonful of warm jam or preserves in the center.
  10. Bake– The best temperature is 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until edges are firm and golden brown.
Easy Jam Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Why did my thumbprint cookies crack? How to prevent cookies from cracking?

There will be a few cracks in the cookie and that’s perfectly normal. However, if the cookies cracked a lot, then it may be due to how you shaped the cookies. To prevent this, keep the dough soft, roll it until smooth without any cracks and make the indentations right away.

Why did my cookies spread? How to prevent cookies from spreading and becoming flat?

It all depends on the shape of the cookie dough ball, which must be smooth without any cracks, to begin with! If you start with cracks, they will spread even further during baking.

When making the indentations, make sure the indent is narrow rather than wide or else it will bake too flat.

Chilling is also very important because it firms up the dough and prevents cookies from spreading too much while baking and helps them hold their shape.

There may be a chance that you measured butter incorrectly and added too much of it, which can also contribute to flat cookies.

Why is my cookie dough crumbly?

Typically, crumbly dough is a result of too much flour in the mixture. There is not enough moisture in the dough. The ingredients may have been measured incorrectly. Make sure you are using measuring cups and spoons.

Add a little milk or water to help bring the crumbled dough together.

Homemade Jam Thumbprints


  • Drizzle melted chocolate– White, dark, or milk chocolate would add a nice rich addition to the cookies. Fill a piping bag with melted chocolate for a clean and professional patten over the cookies.
  • Drizzle vanilla glaze– A simple glaze with just powdered sugar, milk and vanilla is amazing. You can also try out my Royal Icing or Glace Icing.
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar– This adds a beautiful appearance. It also adds a subtle sweetness along with the fruity flavor of the jam.
  • Filling options– Nutella, peanut butter, melted chocolate or ganache, any flavor of jams and preserves, frosting, pie fillings. The sky is the limit!
  • Try other extracts- Such as lemon, spice, almond extract. The possibilities are endless!
  • Add some zest- Such as orange, lemon or lime zests for a perfect Summer cookie.
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Tips and Techniques

  • How to store thumbprint cookies? The cookies can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days
  • Can you freeze jam thumbprint cookies? Yes. They can be individually in plastic wrap and placed into an air tight container.
  • Do cookies with jam need to be refrigerated? Yes! It is very important to chill the cookies before baking them. If they don’t, the cookies will spread too much and won’t taste as good.
  • Use unsalted butter– Salty cookies really don’t taste very good!
  • Homemade jam vs. Store-bought jam– Store bought works best. Homemade jams have tendency to spread all over the cookies because they have a thinner consistency.
  • Heat jam until warm– Do this in the microwave for a few seconds. This makes it easy to fill into cookie indentations. Use a piping bag for cleaner look.
  • No baking powder or baking soda is used– It is not required in this recipe! Adding it will alter the texture.
  • Only 1 egg yolk is used– You can’t add egg whites because that will make the dough quite wet and the cookies will spread too much, while baking.
  • Don’t over mix dough– That’s because that makes very tough cookies.
  • All ingredients should be at room temperature– Because they blend together smoothly and evenly.

More Classic Christmas Cookies

Jam Thumbprint Cookies From Scratch
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Jam Thumbrpint cookies

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Chill time: 30 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Classic, easy jam thumbprint cookies recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft and tender sugar cookies are indented and filled with jam!
Yield: 24 Cookies


  • 1 cup Butter, Unsalted, Room temperature
  • 2/3 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 Egg yolk, From large egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar, For rolling cookie dough balls
  • 1/2 cup Jam or preserves, Warm


  • Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolk (NO egg whites!), vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
  • Add flour and mix until just combined. The dough will become dry and crumbly. Don’t worry! 
  • Use your hands to combine the crumbles together into a ball of cookie dough. Add a splash of milk or water to help bring the dough together, if necessary. Typically, the warmth of your hands should be enough to bring the crumbles together. 
  • Scoop out small portions of the dough and make little balls. Make sure they are smooth and there are no cracks to prevent cookies from cracking on the edges during baking. 
  • Roll cookie balls in a bowl of granulated sugar and place them on a cookie tray, lined with parchment paper. 
  • Gently, press your thumb in the center of each cookie ball to create an indentation.  
  • Chill trays with these cookie balls in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. You cannot omit this step or else the cookies will spread during baking! 
  • Fill each thumbprint with warm jam or preserves.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm and golden brown.


  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a cookie jar at room temperature for up to 3 days. 


Calories: 167kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 68mg, Potassium: 14mg, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 245IU, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.6mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 167
Author: Abeer

Until next time, tata my lovelies!

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