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+ servings
several christmas cookies with an ornament
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5 from 1 vote

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Everything about this delicious Christmas cookie recipe is festive and fun for the holidays. You won't believe how easy they are to make, and you only need 5 ingredients + fillings.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas cookies, christmas thumbprint cookies recipe
Servings: 40 cookies
Calories: 81kcal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (226g)
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar (100g)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean* (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (300g)

Roll in 1 cup of sugar, nuts, or sprinkles

    Fill with ½ cup of chocolate spread, nuts, curd, jam, or Hershey kisses


      • Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
      • With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy for about 1-2 minutes.
      • Add egg yolks, salt, and vanilla* and mix for about 1 minute.
      • Stir in flour until it comes together on low speed. Knead by hand a few times until smooth.
      • Separate the dough into 40 equally sized portions. Form balls with your hands and roll in sugar, sprinkles, nuts, or whatever you like.
      • Place half of the cookies on the prepared baking sheet with about 1.5-2 inches space in between. Press the back of a ½ teaspoon in the center and fill up with chocolate, nuts, jam, peanut butter, or Hershey kisses. 
      • Bake one sheet after another for about 9-10 minutes until they look pale, puffed, and matte. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. They will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 1 month. When freezing, let them thaw overnight in the fridge and let them come to room temperature before serving.



      Top tips
      • Make sure to spoon and level the flour, so they don't end up too dense. Using dough that has too much flour is difficult to work with and won't hold its shape well. Also, too much flour makes them dry and hard.
      • Be gentle when adding the hole in the center. Don't be aggressive or push too hard when you are adding the hole to the center of the cookie. 
      • Don't overbake them, or they will dry out. 
      • Allow the baked cookies to sit on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving them. 

      Unsalted butter
      You can use salted butter if you want to, but make sure to omit the salt in the recipe. Otherwise, you will end up with salty cookies. I prefer the flavor of unsalted butter in almost all my baking recipes. You are welcome to try it both ways to see what you like best. 

      You can turn these into gluten-free thumbprint cookies if you want to. Use your favorite gluten-free flour blend. If your favorite blend doesn't have xantham gum, you will need to add ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour


      Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 10mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.4mg