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Old Fashioned Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Buttery cookie dough rolled in sugar, filled with sweet jam, then baked to soft and tender perfection. These old-fashioned thumbprint cookies are a classic for a reason.

Thumbprint cookies are the perfect treat: easy, fun, and delicious. You can adapt them to your tastes, using your favorite fruit jam (or a combination of a few.) We love how simple this recipe is too – no fancy ingredients or tools required! It makes us feel like we’re baking with grandma again.

Let’s make some old-fashioned thumbprint cookies

plate of 1 dozen old fashioned thumbprint cookies filled with strawberry jam

Jam thumbprint cookies

What you’ll love about this recipe:

Simple! – They’re easy to make, with just a few ingredients

Customizable – You can customize them with your favorite fruit jam

Versatile –They’re a Christmas classic but are also appropriate any time of year

What you’ll need

flour, butter, vanilla, egg, salt, and strawberry jam on marble counter

For the cookie dough

  • unsalted butter 
  • granulated sugar
  • egg yolks 
  • pure vanilla extract
  • salt
  • all-purpose flour

For assembling 

  •  ¼ cup sugar for rolling cookies
  • 1/2 cup your favorite jam (raspberry jam is the classic choice)

Step by step cookie making

Preheat oven to 350°F with two racks spaced equally. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper (or baking spray if you prefer.)

Cream together butter + sugar until lightened color & fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add the egg yolk one at time carefully beating well after each addition and then add vanilla extract.

process shots of creaming butter and sugar and a shot of adding flour to mixing bowl

Place the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine salt and flour until combined well together; then add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on low. Add

Mix until just combined after each addition then stop the mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.

rolling balls of cookie dough into granulated sugar and showing wooden spoon making indentation into ball of dough

Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet about one inch apart. Gently press your thumb into the center (or the handle end of a wooden spoon) and fill with your favorite flavor of sweet jam. You’ll only need to add 1/2 teaspoon or so to each.

assembled baking sheet of cooking before baking and picture showing golden brown bottoms of fully baked cookies

Chill the cookie dough for thirty minutes to keep it from spreading as it bakes.  

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are set, with bottoms and edges being light golden brown. Let the thumbprint cookies cool completely before handling. The jam is hot!

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days on the countertop.

Thumbprint cookie variations

  • Add almond extract instead of (or in addition too) the vanilla.
  • Fill will icing, caramel, or melted chocolate instead of jam.
  • Try orange marmalade or apple butter as a filling.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days
  • For longer storage, freeze the dough ahead of time, then defrost and proceed with the recipe. Just stick in a freezer bag and store up to one month.
  • You can freeze thumbprint cookies fully assembled, but they may crack or crumble a bit.

More old fashioned Christmas cookies

  • If you love buttery shortbread cookies like these, you’ll love chocolate dipped shortbread, made with light brown sugar.
  • Chewy molasses cookies are a classic cookie recipe that you’ll enjoy any time
  • Classic soft butterscotch cookies are a classic recipe that are on everyone’s favorite cookies list.
close up view of shortbread thumbprint cookies filled with jam

Old fashioned thumbprint cookie recipe

four sugar rolled thumbprint cookies on white plate
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Old Fashioned Thumbprint Cookies with Jam

Print Recipe
Buttery cookie dough rolled in sugar, filled with sweet jam, then baked to soft and tender perfection. These old-fashioned thumbprint cookies are a classic for a reason.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
Chilling time:30 mins
Total Time:1 hr 15 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!


Cookie dough

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Putting cookies together

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar for rolling the cookies
  • ½ cup fruit jam of your choice strawberry and raspberry are a good choice


  • Prep the oven and baking sheets.  Preheat oven to 350°F  with two racks spaced equally. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Add the eggs yolks and vanilla extract and beat 1-2minutes more until lightened in color and fluffy.
  • Add the dry ingredients.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the salt and flour.  Add it to the butter-sugar mixture, one cup at a time.  Mix on low after each addition and stir just until the flour is combined.
  • Chill the dough. Cover the bowl of dough tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for thirty minutes.
  • Shape and fill the dough.  Using cookie scoop or tablespoon, portion out the dough and roll into balls.  Roll them in the granulated sugar and place them onto the baking sheets one inch apart in all directions.  Indent each ball of cookie dough using your thumb, or the handle of a large wooden spoon. Carefully place a small amount of jam into each cookie.
  • Bake. Bake at 350°F  for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are set.  The bottoms and edges will be slightly golden brown.   Allow to cool on a wire rack until cool.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Be sure not to eat the cookies before they’re cool.  The jam will be very hot for a while.
Raspberry, strawberry, and apricot jam are all delicious in these.


Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: classic thumbprint cookies, old fashioned christmas cookies, thumbprint cookies with jam
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 78kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?If you loved it, please leave a review!

The best part about old-fashioned thumbprint cookies? They’re customizable: you can use different fruit jams, icing, caramel sauce…the possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. Happy baking!

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