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. Very good cookies – the first ones to go this Christmas

  2. Best Thumbprint Cookie recipe! Everyone loves them. So much I made almost 3 dozen and when I came down the next morning there only remained 12 cookies in the tin. So thank you! They are now a standard Christmas cookie for us!

  3. These are absolutely fantastic…light, buttery and easy to make! I wouldn’t change a thing about them!

  4. This is an excellent recipe. After my cookies were done, (while still warm) I dipped them in powdered sugar for a different look and taste. They are VERY yummy this way!

  5. WOW! So good. I just made these looking for a good Christmas cookie and I am so glad I choose these! They melt in your mouth and are so EASY!

  6. Hi. Thank you for this dish. This is perfect to prepare for the snack of my kids in the school. It is easy to make. I can bake as much as I want. Cool!

  7. Wonderful pretty cookies. I made them with wild saskatoon jam. A very big hit. They are simple and quick as well.

  8. The cookies are absolutely wonderful and so quick and easy!!

  9. This is a great recipe–the cookies are delicious and my whole family loves them!

  10. Easy and really good. I also adjusted the temperature and prefilled.

  11. You know, there are so many so called brands which sell cookies in such manner with all those preservatives and unhealthy stuff.

    This post is literally an eye opener on how easily one can make such delicious cookies at home.

  12. I made these for my husband with some homemade strawberry and cherry jam. They were delicious!

  13. These Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies look delicious, I just want to devour it off the screen! Thanks for sharing, Lindsay!

  14. 2stick means 200gr?

  15. Jam-filled Thumb Print cookie recipe is easy & delicious! I used green & red candied cherries as well as raspberry and peach all-fruit jams. Topped them off with dusted confectioners sugar. Perfect Christmas cookies: -)

  16. Thanks for the updated recipe! This has been a Christmas staple in our house for years! My kids always ask me to bake this for cookie day at school. I will be trying the new recipe this weekend. Will let you know how it goes!

  17. I am in Australia. Can you tell me what 2 sticks of butter equates to in grams, please. Also where you state ounces, do you know how many grams that is? Here it can vary from 28 – 30 grams per ounce.
    Love the soft amaretti recipe!

    • 1 stick of butter is equal to 4 ounces or 113 grams. Hope that helps! Note that high-fat or European style butters might have slightly different results than standard American style butters (not sure what you’re using).

  18. Approximately how many cookies come out of this recipe using the measurements given? Thank you.

  19. They are great , perfect for my coffee and easy to make.
    When I have to much jam I make almond lattice tart
    Thank you

  20. I love making these biscuits. The kids love them. Jam really makes them. I thought I would leave the jam out ohh boy I will never do that again the complaints I got and even the cats left them alone.

  21. Hey

    My cookies spread a lot. What would I have done wrong?

    • Did you use the recipe from Pinterest (2 egg yolks) or you use the updated recipe here (1 yolk)? There is an older version of this recipe is floating around on pinterest and it does have a tendency to spread. The version here has been updated and isn’t as prone to spreading. If it did, I’d say try chilling the dough or trying a different baking sheet to see if that helps.

  22. I loved these cookies so did my kids and my son hates everything made them for my Christmas platter trays i give for the holidays lol I added a few tablespoons icing sugar I figured it’d toughen it up yet still leave pliable and able to hold shape they turned out perfect I am making some as I type lol

  23. This type of cookie is my favorite! Unfortunately, mine came out a little “poweder-y” and dry. I only added two cups of flour because even with the lessened amount, the dough was very crumbly and had a hard time sticking together. Any suggestions on where I might have gone wrong?


    • Strange, that’s not an issue I’ve encountered before. Did you weight out your flour? What kind of butter did you use? Did you make any other adjustments/substitutions?

  24. I love this recipe for making Christmas cookies. I actually add candies cherries to the center and my husband LOVES them. However, to save time, can I make the dough ahead of time and freeze it until I’m ready to make my cookies?

    • I might suggest rolling/shaping the cookies, and then freezing them. They should work well to bake them straight from frozen (add a few minutes to cooking time) and add your candied cherries at that point. :)

  25. These are the absolute best ! Even got a marriage proposal!

  26. I had made these before and they are amazing. Love making them, simple and cery easy to do

  27. Great recipe! Cookies don’t spread too much! Tasty too!

  28. ¡Gracias for la recipe! Es muy rico!

  29. Made these for a dinner party and they came out amazing!!! Everyone asked me for the recipe. They’re simple to make and Look so pretty. I froze the extras that I had I hope they freeze well ?

  30. P.S.  Thanks so much for the hints about baking with parchment paper and lighter colored cookie sheets.  I do believe my using those items helped my cookies brown nicely.

  31. I haven’t made thumbprint cookies in over a decade, but did tonight for my niece’s wedding.  I wanted to try a different recipe hoping to prevent cracking that I’ve experienced.  Looking online had my head swimming.  So many recipes for the same cookie but all recommending different baking times and techniques.  And, each recipe had its poor reviews.  I picked out several & at the last minute, looked again & saw this one.  I decided to go with it for the dough since  it was retested to solve a spreading problem & it didn’t call for chilling the dough.  (I used the egg whites to roll the dough balls in then rolled them in finely chopped walnuts).  I actually enjoyed my night of baking (I made 8 dozen cookies).  My cookies did not spread, nor did they crack.  They look great & my taste tester loves them!  I DID TWEEK  SOMETHING THOUGH.  I read in another recipe to bake the dough ball for 4 minutes and then make the indentation.  I did that for half of my first batch & baked the other half per this recipe’s instruction.  The first way made a much nicer space (the small end of my tart tamper  was a perfect size) & no cookie cracked.  A few did baking them following this recipe.   

  32. Question: it says 1 egg yolk, but directions say yolks…so is it 1 or 2??

  33. How long will these cookies keep or do you refrigerate?

    • It depends on the filling, but they keep pretty well in an airtight container for 4-5 days or so! You can also freeze the unbaked dough balls or even unfilled shortbread cookies for up to a month.

  34. Mine fell apart! 

  35. Anybody ever made these in a mini muffin pan (the really tiny ones)? It seems the cookies wouldn’t spread as much or crack when you make the thumb print.
    If I don’t hear back soon, I’ll try it and post!

  36. Okay, so these are my grandma and her husband’s ABSOLUTE FAVORITE COOKIE RECIPE. I make these cookies… Probably every other week. They are her go-to comfort cookie on a Sunday night. So, I’m messin’ around with the recipe a little bit and adding a little peanut butter to the dough, adding a lil brown sugar and letting it chill for a few hours. THEN making PB sandwich cookies. Had to tell you, i’m totally inspired to play with recipes because of this cookie :-) Have a great hump day!!! 

    xoxo Brittanie

  37. My mom made these for Thanksgiving and everyone raved about them! I think they liked them more than the turkey! I will make these for Christmas with some of my homemade jams and I can’t wait! I’ve never seen your website before and  am excited to look around!

  38. I just tried these and followed EVERY step. I have flat sugar cookies. I make Jam thumbprints every year and your recipe is awful. What a waste!! 

    • Sorry these didn’t work out for you. I find that these can spread out a bit (although they’ve never come out flat for me) if the oven temperature is too low, try bumping it 25º and see if that helps. Baking sheets also have a lot to do with the way a cookie bakes. If you have different baking sheets I might try using those, maybe with silpats or parchment paper.

    • Jessica will you post your recipe, please. I realize your post is a year old and you might not see this.

    • Mine were flat also. When I took them out to fill I couldn’t believe it. I took my spoon to try t I make an indent, and some of them fell apart. I used a silpat, maybe I should have gone straight cookie sheet?

    • Just wanted to let you know appreciate your feedback and really to take it to heart. While I never had problems with the original recipe, you weren’t the only one to end up with flat cookies, and it prompted me to go back and retest the recipe this weekend. The new version is even better! :) I hope you give the new recipe a try!

  39. I’ve been having a problem recently with my cookies cracking when I make the basin. What can I do to prevent that?

  40. I was very unhappy with this recipe :(. 
    I have made thumbprints many times before and was quite excited to try this recipe. The cookies were way too sweet as well as buttery. You could taste each ingredient in the recipe. They tasted store-bought. Would not recommend. 

  41. Jam Wine – THE best way to use up those jams that have got a bit old, or the ones that failed miserably. Here’s the recipe;
    1.5kg Jam
    3.75 liters water
    2 tsps pectic enzyme
    250 grams chopped raisins
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Bordeaux Wine Yeast
    Campden tablets for sterilizing
    Heat the water and dissolve the jam in it. Add the raisins and lemon juice. Leave to cool in a covered, sterilized plastic bucket.
    Add 1 crushed Campden tablet and the pectic enzyme. (Pectin, which makes the jam set, also makes wine cloudy. The enzyme gets rid of it) Wait 24 hours.
    Add the yeast and keep the bucket in a warm place (above 20 degrees) until the mixture fizzes.
    Strain out the liquid into a fermentation jar, fit an airlock and leave to ferment.
    Once the wine has cleared, pour into bottles, adding a tablespoon of gin or vodka to each bottle. (the extra alcohol is a preservative and allows the wine to keep for longer)
    HINT: Homemade jams without added pectin are best. I got my nicest wines from combining whatever jams and jellies were lurking in the back of the cupboard.

  42. I just made a batch of these with some homemade peach and raspberry jam. Do you think they would freeze well or am I sending out a bunch of care packages today?


  43. I made the cookies and the were great!
    I think one of my favorite things to do with jam bars. ^^

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking dish
    1 1/2 cups almond flour (sometimes split it and use half almond half wheat flour)
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (sometimes I also add nutmeg)
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (you can use regular salt I just really like sweet and salty)
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg yolk
    3/4 cup assorted things like oats, nuts, dried fruit (sometimes that fruit should be chopped),
    1/2 cup fruit jam

    Step 1
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

    Step 2
    In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy; beat in egg yolk. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in almonds.

    Step 3
    In a small bowl, whisk jam to loosen. (Stirring the jam with a fork or a whisk will enable it to spread smoothly over the dough.) Gently press half of dough into bottom of prepared dish. With the back of a spoon, gently spread jam over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border so the jam doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan. Sprinkle remaining dough over top all the way to the edges; press gently to form top layer.

    Step 4
    Bake until top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool completely in dish. Cut into bars with a serrated knife.

  44. These are scrumptious! I just took a pan out of the oven and had to try one while it was still hot! Thanks for the recipe! 

  45. When I bake fruit bars (like my strawberry rhubarb bars) – I will make a glaze on the top of the bar using leftover jam thinned with a little water. It makes a lovely glaze, and I bet it would photograph beautifully!

  46. My sister adds mango jam into store bought barbeque sauce. She uses it on pork ribs. She brushes it on at the last 10 minutes of grilling to get it caramelized and not burnt. I’m sure you could use the peach or any flavored jam for that. I’m sure you could try it on chicken as well. Sometimes when I make tea I add a spoonful of jam for flavoring. Its quite nice  and adds a little something something.  You could also try selling some to your readers who don’t have the time to make it ourselves? :o)

  47. What would be the best way to store these beauties

  48. You can use jam in marinades, as others have said, but it also works really well in meat glazes. 

    Most types of jam also go well with cheese. Kraft is now making a jalepeno cream cheese spread that would be great on crackers with jam. I’m not sure how that will blend with the vanilla or lavender though. 

    Jam can be served as a condiment with almost anything. And a thin layer of jam can go on a turkey sandwich, for example. I’ve eaten jam in grilled cheese sandwiches made with Gouda or Havarti.

    A good baked brie recipe with jam is great for parties.  

    Depending on the type of jam, you could mix it into a stir-fry sauce. It could be used to sweeten dipping sauce, for anything. Or for some things, it can be used by itself for dipping.

  49. Does the butter HAVE to be unsalted? What if I used salted butter and left out the salt to add? Would that do the trick? Sorry if this was already asked! I would LOVE to make these tomorrow… I just do not have unsalted butter.

    • I like using unsalted butter because I can control the saltiness of the final product. Depending on the brand and style of your butter there’s really no way to know how much salt is in there. Yes, it’ll definitely work in this recipe, but as to how much (if any) extra salt you’ll need, I can’t say!

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