Love and Olive Oil
Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

Jam-Filled Shortbread Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

One caveat of all this canning I’ve been doing is the inevitable excess: the partially-filled and improperly-sealed jars that gather on the top shelf of the fridge, along with that solitary jar of last year’s strawberry preserves that must be used before this year’s can be touched. Once opened, they don’t last indefinitely, and considering that we are not big jam eaters (go figure), I knew I had to find a creative way to use them.

Enter: thumbprint cookies.

The base cookie recipe actually comes from our book, where they are filled them with a luscious lemon poppy seed curd. But the cookie is all sorts of versatile, and could be filled with just about anything: from jam to curd to caramel or nutella.

Shortbread Cookie Thumbprints filled with homemade fruit jam!

In this case, however, they were perfect with dollops of strawberry vanilla bean, blueberry honey lavender, and white peach vanilla jams.

Three measly jars, however, doesn’t even start to put a dent in my jam stash. I think I canned upwards of 3 dozen jars this year, not to mention the half dozen or so left from last year.

Oh whatever shall I do with it all?

No, seriously. I need ideas. Recipes. Creative uses, both sweet and savory. Do share!

Note: This recipe has been re-tested and updated as of December 20, 2015, after receiving more than a few comments that the cookies spread too much when baking. This new version should resolve any issues! I do still recommend baking these on a light or medium colored heavy-weight baking sheet (they’ll look prettier than if baked on a flimsy or dark one, trust me).

Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

Buttery shortbread thumbprint cookie recipe filled with homemade fruit jam (any flavor you choose!) These tasty little cookies are a reader favorite, for good reason!

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  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (or so) assorted jam


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a light or medium-colored heavy-weight baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add flour and salt and mix until incorporated and dough comes together in a ball.
  3. Form dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly with your thumb or the back of a small spoon, leaving an indentation in the center.
  4. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are just barely golden. Remove baking sheet from oven. If indentations look shallow, further define them with the back of a spoon and then fill each with approximately 1/2 teaspoon jam. Bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until jam melts slightly and edges of cookies are lightly golden. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
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  1. I just finished making the thumbprint cookies yours are the best I have ever made!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I make a PB&J coffeecake based on this recipe

    I’ve tweaked it to make it more tender with a finer crumb (we like cake-like coffee cakes at my house), but the recipe as-is is great. It also uses 1/2 cup jelly/jam at a time!

    Otherwise, our jam usually gets mixed with cottage cheese or yogurt or kefir or other sour dairy product and eaten as something sweet for breakfast or after dinner. It’s great warmed up on french toast with whipped cream (especially with Rose Levy Beranbaum’s easy recipe).

  3. I love to stir a spoonful of jam into Greek yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast. I also make an easy cheese plate with white cheddar, goat cheese, a jar of jam, and crackers or baguette, and I feel instantly fancy. And sometimes I’ll use a jar of jam for an easy fruit bar, hand pie filling, etc. – saves a step while cooking something complicated since the jam is ready to go.

  4. Thank you for sharing a wonderful recipe! I made these cookies over the weekend with homemade jam. They turned out great!

  5. Mix jam with a bit of mayo and spread it on top of a salmon fillet and broil it. HEAVENLY.

  6. I used jams to make jam filled doughnut muffins. these are baked not fried and toss in caster sugar. I also made bakewell cake instead of bakewell tart, its traditionally filled with raspberry jam but balckcurrent jam that a friend gave was wonderful.

  7. You could make the tarts that my mom’s family has always called Congress Tarts, but may have a different actual name. Little tart shells with a dollop of jam in the bottom, and a cakey frangipani topping. We always make them for christmas, but they would be yummy any time :)

  8. I can always buy jam from you that needs to be used ASAP.  Seriously!  Consider it a contribution to your jar fund.  I don’t want to think about how much you spend on jars.  Ha!

  9. I love thumbprint cookies!, what a great way to use up extra jam.

  10. These look so good! Great way to use up any extra jam! :)

  11. Jam uses:
    * homemade ice cream
    * meat marinades (my husband used most of the marmalade & a lot of the apricot jam I made this way)
    * pb&j sandwiches
    * jam on toast/muffins/biscuits (homemade jam + homemade bread=YUM!)
    * give it as gifts

    Good luck!

  12. I make them myself and I LOVE these cookies so much! They’re our favorite for the holidays!

  13. Lemon poppyseed curd! YES! I wonder what other curds we could toss poppy seeds into…

  14. Just made these today!  I used spiced pear butter I canned instead of preserves.  I was a little unsure of the outcome until I tasted one.  The cookies were delicious!  Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe!  Will definitely be making these in bulk for bake sales this fall.

  15. Thumbprint cookies are my favorite!!! Especially at christmas time… By any time of year, they’re still fabulous!

  16. Just made these lovely biscuits with my 2 year old. We had great fun and they turned out lovely. Not quite as good looking as yours though. Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. What a delicious problem at hand! Love jams and thumbprint cookies. So so yum :)

  18. These are so cute and I love your gorgeous photos! I am not normally a jam and dessert girl, but these sound like something I would love!

  19. Oops.. I forgot to mention my favorite….use jam in ice cream pies. We use jars and jars of jam to make our own berry flavored ice cream pies. To die for…. however, definitely not on the weight watchers plan…. Just mix with a wonderful vanilla bean ice cream over a cookie crust and freeze. Yum.

  20. Emily, First let me say that I LOVE YOUR BOOK. My husband and I own a farm in Virginia and we have farm-to-table dinners here once a month with food from local farmers. I purchased your book a month or so ago and we have already enjoyed serving your Maple Glazed Pork Meatballs from our own pork and this month we’re making the incredible Parmesan beignets with spicy-tomato peach jam. We have 80 hungry customers waiting to taste them. We too make jam —lots and lots and lots of it. We take local berries and sell them at our Farmer’s Market and can’t wait to try the White Peach Vanilla!! Here are some of the ways that we use our own jam to entice customers to buy more: Bake brie with almost any kind of jam inside for a wonderful appetizer, glazed jam on chicken (Peach is especially nice), Glazed pork with a wonderful Plum with Cinnamon and Ginger Jam (but you could try anything), Fish with any type of citrus jam ( we’re using our balsamic with black pepper jam). We make gift jars in the tiniest jars to give to people that come to our dinners – spiced peach looks wonderful in the 1/4 pint jars with beautiful labels and pretty ribbon, over ice cream for wonderful desserts, in salad vinaigrette’s (strawberry is especially delicious), and over goat cheese and crackers. Yum! (A customer suggested this for our Blueberry lemon jam but almost anything would work.) Hope this gives you as many ideas as you have with your book – which we are constantly praising in our part of the country. Plus, it’s just so darn pretty with those beautiful picture and wonderful fonts . (I’m so envious…) Thanks for all the wonderful emails we get from you. I always look forward to them with eager anticipation for what comes next….. Lynn & Larry Bauer, Fern Valley Farm, Bristol, Va.

  21. These look delicious! I will have to make them soon.
    Your “extra” jams would make wonderful gifts during the holiday. What teacher, postman, bus driver, hairstylist, dog groomer, etc. wouldn’t appreciate a homemade gift of jam? Perfect for gift giving!!!

  22. I have the love making jam, don’t love eating it problem too. Makes for great gifts but they do still add up at home. Cookies are a good plan for using up the excess.

  23. I will gladly take a jar of each type of jam off yours hands ;)  I adore jam and am drooling over just the names of those jams!  The sole reason for making thumbprint cookies is to serve as a vehicle for jam to get into my mouth.

  24. These are so pretty! I love all the different jams in them!

  25. Ive seen that cookie base in your book and actually half- studied it a few months back! Didnt end up making them but now that I see these thumbprints, I need to. Adorably perfect. Pinned!

  26. These look perfect, YUM!! 

  27. I’m a huge jam eater. I’ll GLADLY take some off your hands ;) Heck, I’ll probably come and get it from you! 

  28. These cookies are so cute! Totally saving this recipe for later :D

  29. li ho fatti anche io e sono una delizia unica, irresistibili!!!

    ti seguo su bloglovin

  30. This is a great idea, and I’m going to use it.  I’ve been thinking of using some excess jam in ice cream for flavoring; I think that ought to work.

  31. How about hamentashen?  rugelach?  kolaches?  

    You could use the jam as the base for a meat marinade.  

  32. I totally have the same problem with canning! I love the process so much that I always end up making way too many jars of jam and pickles and fruit and sauces, and I don’t eat nearly enough (or have enough jam-eating friends) to keep up with it. Here’s hoping everyone else has some great ideas for using it all up! (besides these cookies, obviously, which look delicious) :)

    Here you go, try this recipe…one of my favorites and isn’t the name of the cookie so cute?!
    Love your site, Lindsay! And your name…same as my daughter’s :)

  34. I would use the jam to make salad dressings! You can use a basic vinaigrette recipe and replace the honey (and then some) with jam. Some of the yummiest salad dressings are the ones that are sweet and tangy. I also make a quick appetizer of puff pastry in a mini muffin pan filled with brie and jam. Homemade jam would be to die for in it. OH! My favorite cookies of all time are venetian cookies, and those use a whole jar! Those use raspberry or apricot jam, but I could just imagine the pleasurable joy to have different layers in different flavors. Also, those cookies combine your favorite things (that you have mentioned on the blog) almond and chocolate! If you need a reputable recipe for any of these, let me know. I also love to cook, as you can probably tell. :)

  35. I like these little cookies a lot, anything with jam in it in a winner for me. I made a Jam Tea Bread that involved plenty of lovely jam. The recipe is on my blog baking in pyjamas.

  36. The photos are gorgeous and I love jam-filled anything, it’s such a nice touch. 

  37. Sorry I don’t have any inspiration for you, but I will give these cookies a go!

  38. I love making salad dressing with fruit preserves. Usually 2 tbl of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup preserves (apricot or raspberry work well), 1/3 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with salad greens and any fruit you have around — maybe sliced apples or cantaloupe — and pecans or walnuts.

  39. Like you, I enjoy the process of making jam more than I do eating it, and annually vastly exceed my ability to consume it, even after my family and friends have taken whatever they like.  I do up large gift baskets with jams and jellies, enclose little cards with ingredients, description, and possible recipes.  These I donate to my former workplace (I am retired) , the local women’s shelter , and one to their governing organization.  Work and the Board of the Center use them in their Christmas fundraising efforts. (My workplace adopts local families in need for Christmas).  The Women’s shelter love to offer homemade anything to their guests.  Win win for all of us.  

  40. What beautiful cookies! I like to spread homemade jam over waffles or buckwheat pancakes in the morning. You could also soften some ice cream and swirl jam into it.

  41. Heat up the jam and pour it over ice cream! 

  42. Just quickly thinking- how about cheese and jam blintzes, crepes with jam, jam used instead of cinnamon-sugar in “cinnamon” buns,  also toppings for cheesecake?

  43. How about linzer tortes and/or a classic English Victoria Sponge cake, and/or the most amazing almond butter and jam finger sandwiches, and/or swirled in Greek yogurt?  If any left over, I can arrange to send you my address :-)

  44. I’m so ready to use up all my jam jars on these cookies!

  45. Looks so yummy!

  46. These look wonderful!

  47. What do you use to get the perfect imprints on your cookies? My thumb doesn’t work well…I’ve tried the end of a wooden spoon, but that’s a little small, a tart tamper is too big…does a regular spoon really work that well? I never think it’s deep enough.
    Thanks for any tips!

  48. Love the cookies, they are perfect!! I like the mix you made with the jams, I’m use to see these kind of cookies with only one jam but using different types produce a very good looking picture!

  49. perfect use of all that gorgeous jam!  I love how simple these cookies are that you can fill them with anything – great recipe as always Linds!

  50. Such a lovely problem to have. Seems to me you’ve got alot of holiday gifts all ready for giving!
    OR Use in handpies, stuffed french toast, in-between cake layers particularly sponge cake, add a little hot pepper and spread over cream cheese for an appetizer……… OR gifts for your readers (wink wink).

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