Can’t beat jam-filled, buttery shortbread cookies made from ONLY 4-ingredients! These Thumbprint cookies are perfect for Holidays or anytime a cookie craving strikes! They’re super crunchy and delicious!

The idea struck to make thumbprint cookies from my 3-ingredient butter cookies, one day! I’m amazed how cookies this easy can be so good! Impressed? Try our other super easy cookie recipes like our Crunchy Nutty Fingers or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

thumbprint butter cookies made with preserves

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure.

Easy Thumbprint Cookies

My search has ended folks, these will be the only Thumbprint cookies I make now, unless another kind out-beats these! When cookies are this easy you make them anytime! Especially when long days of meal-after-meal can get tiring during this quarantine time, then a simple cookie recipe can be to the rescue! There is no chilling the dough or a long list of ingredients involved. You only need 3 ingredients and some preserves. Preserves is the secret to a leak-free thumbprint cookie! This stuff will set beautifully and works much more powerful than ordinary jam. Of coarse, any flavored preserve is your pick but if I were to choose it’d be something tart like a raspberry one.

Tip: Don’t have preserves? Any flavored jam will work with this trick! Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to every 1/3 cup of jam! This will help prevent jam leaks without the trip to the grocery store!

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies:

Thumbprint Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 dozen
You can't beat jam-filled, buttery shortbread cookies made from ONLY 4-ingredients! These Thumbprint cookies are perfect for Holidays or anytime a cookie craving strikes! They're super crunchy and delicious!


4 -ingredient Thumbprint Cookies:

  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Raspberry preserves


How to Make Easy Thumbprint Cookies:

  • In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add in the flour and then knead by hand to form a ball of dough.
  • Scoop dough into 1-inch balls and roll, then place onto cookie sheets. Indent and fill with preserves. Bake in pre-heated 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until bottoms turn golden.


Freezing instructions: Thumbprint Cookie dough or baked cookies freeze for up-to 3 months. 
Jam: Bakers use preserves as its much more powerful with outstanding results (doesn't leak.) I used Polaner Red Raspberry Preserves. If using jam add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to every 1/3 cup of jam. This helps prevent leaks.
Butter: one pound of butter is equivalent to 4 sticks of butter. Any buttery blend solid or margarine can be used. 
Flakier Cookies: Use 3 1/2 cups of flour instead of 4 cups. Making with less flour also prevents any cracks. We liked the crunchier cookies with all four cups of flour. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 67mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 227IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg

All the cookie equipment for baking Thumbprint Cookies:


Why do thumbprint cookies crack?

Thumbprint cookies will crack from excessive flour. You know you added too much flour when the dough is too crumby and hard to keep together. How do I know? I made two batches of these shortbread cookies and added less flour to the one and a little extra flour to the other batch. The cookies with less flour were much more flakier and easier to roll and did not crack when indented. Whereas, the cookies with more flour cracked when indented and were slightly tougher to handle.

What is the difference between jam and preserves?

Preserves are much more powerful then jams! Bakers use preserves because it has outstanding results in baked goods and don’t leak through. This may be because preserves are said to have more fruit content.

Can I use Marmalade?

Marmalade is preserves! So, it can defiantly be used in these thumbprint cookies!

Can Jelly be used for Thumbprint cookies?

I do not recommend jelly as its fruit content is very low. Fruit Jellies are typically made from fruit juices and it would be a disaster if it leaked or melted on you! However, if that is the only kind you have, mixing it with cornstarch before baking can probably make it workable for baked goods.

What can I substitute for Butter?

Margarine or a buttery blend solid can be used instead of the butter in this recipe.



Tips For Making Thumbprint Cookies:

  1. Fold in a handful of chopped nuts to the cookie dough for more crunch!
  2. Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to your favorite jam to strengthen from leaks!
  3. Fill with a cheesecake filling or Lemon curd!
  4. Roll each ball of dough into granulated sugar for extra texture and sweetness!

New Be featured here!

Hashtag #yesalyonascooking on both Instagram and Pinterest to be seen here!


Leave a comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    • A. Lee

    I lost this recipe about 10 years ago. Thank you for posting it. My mom made these for us, and the recipes with eggs in them, is just not the same. Thank you again!!

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Your welcome, happy to hear:)

    • Toni

    I have made these using Splenda instead of sugar and they were wonderful. I also cut the recipe to make 2 dozen. Perfect!!!

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Oh nice to hear, Toni! Good to know the recipe works with Splenda!

    • Olga

    These are Tastey. How do you get yours so be darker shade, mine turn out light.

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Hi Olga, the ones in the picture were made with 3 1/2 cups of flour and likely baked on the bottom rack of the oven. You can try baking a few extra minutes too.

    • Albina

    Made these a couple of months ago! So delicious

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Thank you for the feedback, Albina! I’m glad you like them!

Explore Recipes

See What Others Made!
#yesalyonascooking on pinterest or instagram to be featured

As Seen On

  • Mashed
  • Yummly
  • Parade
  • BuzzFeed
Alyona’s Cooking