Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies are a classic Christmas cookie recipe guaranteed to bring smiles to the holiday season. Made with simple ingredients and featuring a gluten-free option, they’re deliciously buttery, extra tender, and perfectly sweet. Fill them with raspberry preserves, or mix and match your favorite jam flavors for a truly scrumptious treat!
Easy Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Whether you’re hosting a holiday party, baking cookies for Santa, or just want a little treat, you’re going to love these easy raspberry thumbprint cookies! These cookies are a nostalgic dessert and a budget-friendly recipe you can whip up quickly. Rich butter combines with sweet sugar for a tender texture and decadent melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Topped off with raspberry preserves, these classic thumbprint cookies will have you coming back for seconds. We’ve even included options to make this recipe gluten-free and dairy-free to fit any dietary needs. See the full list of swaps and substitutions in the recipe card below.
What Are Thumbprint Cookies?
Also known as Hallongrotta, a Swedish term meaning “raspberry cave,” thumbprint cookies are a type of sweet shortbread with a colorful jam center. These treats get their name from the method you use to create them, which involves pressing your thumb into the center to make an indentation to hold the jam.
Ingredients for Thumbprint Cookies
These gluten free thumbprint cookies come together with just a handful of pantry staples. Here’s what you need:
- Granulated sugar
- Butter – we recommend unsalted butter; may use plant-based stick butter for dairy-free
- Egg – swap out the egg for a flax egg to make these thumbprint cookie vegan and 100% plant-based
- Milk of choice – use any dairy or non-dairy milk of choice
- Pure vanilla extract
- Gluten-free 1:1 flour blend – we recommend using Bob’s Red Mill One-to-One Gluten-Free Baking Flour or King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten-Free Flour; you can also use unbleached all-purpose flour if you don’t need your thumbprint cookies to be gluten free
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Raspberry preserves – may substitute strawberry or apricot preserves (or any favorite flavor), or fill with chocolate or caramel, too
Find the ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.
Ingredient Spotlight: Jam vs. Preserves
For this thumbprint cookie recipe, we used raspberry preserves. However, traditional recipes often call for a jam filling. Both work well! The primary difference is that jam is made with smooth mashed fruit whereas preserves contain whole fruit or larger chunks for a bit of extra texture. Feel free to mix and match whatever jams, jellies, or preserves you like best, and experiment with different flavors you have on hand, such as strawberry, blackberry, or apricot.
How to make Thumbprint Cookies
Here are the basic steps to make these Thumbprint Cookies today:
- Mix the cookie dough: Cream together the sugar and butter then mix in the egg, milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and baking soda until a soft dough forms.
- Chill the dough: Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for 1-2 hours.
- Roll the dough into balls: Remove dough from the fridge and roll between into balls. Press your thumb into the middle of the cookie to make a well.
- Fill and bake: Fill well with strawberry preserves, about one teaspoon per cookie. Bake for 10-12 minutes or lightly golden brown on the edges and bottom.
- Cool and enjoy: Let the thumbprint cookies cool before removing from the baking sheet and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.
For the complete directions, ingredient amounts, and nutrition analysis that lists calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium per serving, scroll down to the recipe card below.
Video: How to make Thumbprint Cookies
Achieve Perfectly Baked Thumbprint Cookies
Not only is this thumbprint cookie recipe a fun way to get the whole family involved in the kitchen baking, but it’s also a virtually fail-proof recipe! That said, we do have just a couple tips to make sure your thumbprint cookies turn out perfectly every single time.
- Let the ingredients come to room temperature: For easy mixing and to avoid overworking the dough, let the butter and eggs come to room temperature before you begin baking
- Keep an eye on the oven: Unlike chocolate chip cookies or monster cookies that turn a beautiful golden-brown color in the oven, these raspberry thumbprint cookies will be just slightly browned and pale once done. As a result, it’s important to keep a close on them so that they don’t over-bake or burn.
Frequently Asked Questions
The creation of thumbprint cookie recipes is most commonly associated with Sweden. However, the exact origins remain up for debate as the recipe has also been linked to Poland and the Jewish people of Eastern Europe.
If your thumbprint cookies spread, it’s likely because the butter was too warm. To prevent this from happening, be sure to chill the dough before baking.
These cookies will stay fresh for up to a week when kept at room temperature in an airtight container.
Yes! To freeze, bake the thumbprint cookies as directed, but leave out the jam or preserves. Once baked, place sheet pan of cookies in the freezer for about an hour or until the cookies are solid. Transfer the hardened cookies to a freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy, arrange the cookies on a baking sheet, fill them with jam, and pop them back in the oven for just a few minutes until they are thawed and warm.
Recipe Swaps & Substitutions
This thumbprint cookie recipe is naturally gluten and nut free. However, if you need a treat that is dairy free, too, we’ve got you covered.
Make it Dairy-Free
Use the following swaps to make these raspberry thumbprint cookies dairy free.
- Use plant-based butter instead regular dairy butter
- Swap out the cow’s milk with any non-dairy milk you like best
Make It Vegan
Use the dairy-free swaps above, along with the egg substitute below to make these gluten free thumbprint cookies vegan.
- Replace the egg with a flax egg. To do so, whisk 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and set it aside for about 15 minutes to thicken. Then, just follow the directions as listed in the recipe card below!
Personally, we don’t think there’s ever a bad time to serve up a fresh batch of cookies. Traditionally, these festive treats are particularly great to prepare and snack on while wrapping gifts, after a day spent out playing in the snow, or snuggled up on the couch for a movie night with a mug of dairy-free gingerbread hot cocoa in hand. They’re also perfect for bake sales, too!
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened*
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups flour, all-purpose or gluten-free blend** (330 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ – ½ cup raspberry preserves or jam (or any flavor)
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda to the mixing bowl. Stir or mix on low speed until a creamy dough forms.
- Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350℉ degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- Remove dough from the fridge and using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough, roll between palms of hands, place on baking sheet. Press your thumb into the middle of the cookie to make a well.
- Fill well with raspberry preserves, about one teaspoon per cookie.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or lightly golden brown on the edges and bottom.
- Let cool before removing from the baking sheet.
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*For dairy-free, use plant-based stick butter (we like Earth Balance, Miyokos Unsalted European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, and Good & Gather Organic Plant-Based Buttery Sticks. Also, use a non-dairy milk of choice, such as almond milk or oat milk
**For gluten free flours, we recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. If you don’t need cookies that are gluten-free, you can use an equal amount of unbleached all-purpose flour
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 110
- Fat: 4 g
- (Sat Fat: 2 g)
- Sodium: 36 mg
- Carbohydrate: 17 g
- (Fiber: 1 g
- Sugar: 8 g)
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 16 mg
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