Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

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Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies - get the recipe at Barefeet In The Kitchen

Light, buttery, almond flavored shortbread cookies have been the most requested cookie I make for almost as long as I can remember. My friend Augusta gave me this recipe years ago and it became a true favorite at first bite.

Just the right amount of sweetness, filled with jam and then lightly drizzled with icing. These cookies are a hit with everyone who tries them. Don’t be fooled by their unassuming appearance. These cookies will surprise you by just melting in your mouth.
Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies - get the recipe at Barefeet In The Kitchen

Thumbprint Cookies

There’s something so endearing and (dare I say) adorable about thumbprint cookies. Fruity jam adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the flaky shortbread cookie. The easy glaze on top of these Almond Shortbread Thumbprint cookies adds a beautiful touch.

These cookies are perfect served with afternoon tea, on a dessert tray, or for snacking on any time of day. 

Almond extract is what gives these cookies just a hint of almond flavor. I think it adds a nice layer of nuttiness  that complements the buttery flavor of the shortbread cookie and the fruitiness of the jam.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

I typically reach for a jar of my family’s favorite Homemade Peach Jam to use in this thumbprint cookie recipe. You are welcome to use whatever sweet preserves you like. I’ve made it with several varieties of jam and the cookies turn out delicious each and every time.

Raspberry, strawberry, blueberry or cherry preserves would all work well in these cookies, too. Store bought or homemade, you just can’t go wrong.

Why not make a few batches of Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with different flavors? I promise you no one in your household will complain.

Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies don’t get as much love as they deserve, in my opinion. Delicious, simple and not-too-sweet, they appeal to the palettes of kids and adults alike.

If you’re looking for more great shortbread cookies, I recommend Sugared Shortbread Cookies for sure. They’re a simple cookie sprinkled with sugar crystals that you can bake and serve all year round.

For a seasonal shortbread treat, Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies are delightful. They look impressive and festive but take hardly any time at all in the kitchen making them perfect to whip up during the busy holiday season.

More recipes I love that use Walker’s Shortbread are Coconut Shortbread Truffles and Shortbread Turtle Cookies. 

Tips for Making Thumbprint Cookies

Chilling the dough for a solid hour in the refrigerator is an important step in this recipe. So even if you’re in a hurry to gobble up those cookies, be sure not to skip it.

Chilling the dough helps keep the butter in this recipe solid. This helps cookies maintain their structure in the oven.

And when it comes to filling thumbprints with jam, less is more. A quarter teaspoon or so should do it. Too much and you risk disrupting the structure of the cookie and the jam to cookie ratios.

Another tip I have for baking thumbprint cookies is to be careful not to overbake! You want to take these cookies out of the oven before their brown. Overbaking will result in a hard tough cookie without that crumby delicate shortbread texture.

If you love these Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies, you’ll also want to try these Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies by A Beautiful Plate and Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies from The View From Grand Island.

 Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, sugar, flour and almond extract. Chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Roll the dough into 1″ balls or use a 1″ scoop to place them onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.

  2. Press down on the top of each cookie and use your thumb to create a small indent. After all the indents are made, fill the indents with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam.

  3. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven before the cookies are browned. Let cool on the trays for 1-2 minutes and then remove to a wire cooling rack.

  4. To make the glaze, add the almond extract to the powdered sugar and then slowly add the milk to this mixture. Stir constantly and stop adding milk when you reach the consistency of icing. It should drizzle off the tip of a spoon in a thin white stream. Not watery, but not thick either.

  5. When the cookies are completely cooled, drizzle the icing over the tops.

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Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

4.7 from 13 votes
Light, buttery, almond flavored shortbread thumbprint cookies are a kid and adult favorite.
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Servings: 40 small cookies


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Approximately 1/2 cup any flavor jam I used our favorite peach jam
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, sugar, flour and almond extract. Chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Roll the dough into 1" balls or use a 1" scoop to place them onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.
  • Press down on the top of each cookie and use your thumb to create a small indent. After all the indents are made, fill the indents with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
  • Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven before the cookies are browned. Let cool on the trays for 1-2 minutes and then remove to a wire cooling rack. 
  • To make the glaze, add the almond extract to the powdered sugar and then slowly add the milk to this mixture. Stir constantly and stop adding milk when you reach the consistency of icing. It should drizzle off the tip of a spoon in a thin white stream. Not watery, but not thick either.
  • When the cookies are completely cooled, drizzle the icing over the tops.


FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: These cookies freeze beautifully. When the icing has hardened, layer them into containers with wax paper between the layers. They will keep in the freezer for at least a month. They would probably keep much longer than that, but I wouldn't know. Mine never last that long. Enjoy!


Calories: 101kcal · Carbohydrates: 14g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 5g · Saturated Fat: 3g · Cholesterol: 12mg · Sodium: 42mg · Potassium: 11mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 8g · Vitamin A: 142IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 4mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 8-12-11 – recipe notes and photos updated 4-7-15}

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. The Slow Roasted Italian says

    At long last, you finally posted this one. These cookies were delicious! Even if I only had a few. I can still remember the soft delicate cookie melting into cookie magic once I took a bite. Yumma! (My new word from the munchkin).

    Will these be present this weekend??? Shopping or BBQ?

  2. Tricia @ saving room for dessert says

    I just saw these posted on TSRI Dash post. I just made these for the cookie swap and had forgotten I saw them here too! They must have stuck in my brain for months and months – and years – almost. Anyway – I used the recipe by Land-O-Lakes butter. You will see it posted Wednesday – that is if you come visit me 🙂

  3. Pamela says

    i am thinking that they could be good with melted white chocolate drizzled over if you wanted them less sweet.They look great though!Earmarking to try out on my next visitors 😀

  4. Anonymous says

    These look so good! I think I'm going to make these today! I'm going to have my sisters over for the night this would make a great snack! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Grace says

    I made these this weekend, but had to improvise! I went to open a new bottle of almond extract and it had evaporated!! I was shocked and not in the mood to run out to the store. So, I used lemon extract instead and added a little fresh lemon rind to the dough too. For the glazed I used fresh lemon juice and water instead of the milk. The combination was very good and everyone loved them. I will make the almond version next time and will check my extract (even the new bottles) before I start.

  6. Anonymous says

    In the oven now – can hardly wait!!! I used orange marmalade, a chunky apple compote, and strawberry jam. However – I didn't preheat the oven according to your timeline – otherwise it would have been on the whole hour while the dough was in the fridge 🙂 — Preheat while rolling the balls and adding the jam.

    • Mary says

      I'm guessing that you might have been a little short on flour, try adding an additional 1/4 cup or so next time. If your butter was too soft (too close to melted) that will cause them to go flat as well.

  7. Cass says

    OMG! I just made these in peach and raspberry jam and didn't realize I was out of milk so I used eggnog for the icing and I'm not sure they'll make it to the morning! These are my new Christmas favourites! Thank you so much for posting this!

  8. Kim says

    I just have to say that I made these for the very first time last night and they are amazing. Best, easiest, most impressive Xmas cookie I have ever made or eaten. THANK YOU!!!!!!

  9. Anonymous says

    I love almond cookies I, use the same recipie but for a variation, I dip the cookies in rainbow sprinkles, my son goes crazy for theses, I can't keep enough on hand he goes though them so fast.

  10. Penny says

    I made these for Christmas with my homemade strawberry and cherry jams; they were awesome! Thanks for a great recipe.

  11. traci york says

    This cookie was delicious. I needed a ton so I doubled the recipe twice and only ended up with 100!! I made them small! Is everyone getting around 40 per batch.? My favorite cookie this year though!

    • Mary says

      That's strange, Traci. I made a double batch of these cookies just yesterday and easily had 80 cookies. They are a small, almost bite-size cookie though. It's possibly yours are just a bit larger. I'm thrilled that you like them!

  12. Tracy Tolliver says

    Is an egg needed in the dough. When I mixed butter, sugar, flour and almond extract there was no form to the dough

    • Mary says

      There is no egg at all, Tracy. You should be able to press the dough together with your hands and form the round shape for each cookie.

    • Betty Pringle says

      You did what I did; you mixed the butter, sugar, flour and extract all together. You should have just creamed the butter and sugar first to a creamy texture then ADDED THE FLOUR AND EXTRACT. I made the same mistake so after the ref – I broke up the hardened dough then added a little apple juice then I could roll out the dough into balls. 11/1/15

    • Betty Pringle says

      I made these cookies again today and creamed only the butter and sugar together, then added the flour and almond extract and mixed it together. It still needed liquid to bring it together so I added 3 tbsp apple juice and it came together, then I put it in the refrigerator for the hour. Time to make them now. 11/3/

  13. Debby Foodiewife says

    I have oodles of jars of homemade jam, and have been looking for the right cookie to showcase them. When I saw that you use almond extract…well, that's it! Gotta have these. Freeze them? Surely you jest. I doubt I'll have any left to freeze!

  14. Anonymous says

    How would these taste with green jelapeno jam or red hot pepper jam?
    Yes or no?
    Trying them first with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam.

  15. Debbie says

    The BEST! It's our go to cookie recipe in my culinary classroom when we want something party worthy without being hard for students. Our faculty begs us to make them!

    • Mary says

      These cookies will not work with a 1:1 almond flour substitution for all-purpose flour. I'm still working on a perfect gluten free version of this particular cookie.

  16. Anonymous says

    Has any of you made these without the drizzle? I think they would be better, not quite so sweet. Just wondering. I am definitely saving this recipe and making it soon.

    • Mary says

      They're good without the glaze, but the glaze gives them an extra hit of almond and I can't resist it. Taste them both ways and let me know what you think!

  17. Mary Ann says

    This has got to be the easiest cookie I have ever made and so good. I love them! I am so glad I found this recipe. You could keep some of this dough in the fridge for emergencies and just whip up cookies when you need them.

    • Mary says

      The cookies should be made with plain white granulated sugar. The glaze is made with powdered sugar. I hope that helps!

  18. Bobbie says

    These look delicious. I will be making these soon! Can you please tell me how these should’ be stored? Thank you!

    • Mary says

      I typically store them at room temperature in an airtight container, either in a single layer or stacked with parchment paper in between the layers. If the house is very warm, you might place them in the refrigerator just to help the glaze stay nice, but you shouldn’t need to do that this time of year.

  19. Veronica Schutte says

    I would like to make these cookies but in a banting recipe. Can you help.

    Im following the LCHF lifestyle.

    Thank you


  20. Sandy M. says

    My husband says I shouldn’t freeze them sine he will have them eaten before they can finish freezing!

    But I do have a question. Can I use almond flour instead of AP flour and almond extract?

    Thank you.

    • Mary says

      Almond flour does not work with this recipe. They won’t have enough structure and they’ll be paper thin and fall apart. (I’ve tried it.)

    • Mary says

      If you’ve used that flour blend as a substitute for all purpose flour with success in the past, it should work for this recipe.

  21. April says

    O~M~G I made these last night with some leftover cranberry sauce that I made for thanksgiving and holy yum!! Thanks for the amazing recipe!5 stars

  22. Sandra says

    Tried these. Followed recipe exactly. Turned out hard as hockey pucks. So dissapointung. Since this is a shortbread should we have used confectioner sugar?

    • Mary says

      I’ve never had this happen when I make these and I’m literally made them dozens if not hundreds of times over the years. This isn’t a traditional shortbread and it is a pretty delicate cookie. It should absolutely melt in your mouth. It doesn’t work the same way with powdered sugar. Did you possibly substitute another ingredient?

    • Crystal says

      The same thing happened to me, and I followed the recipe to a T. The only thing that I can think is that mine may have been over baked, but mine were still raw after 10 minutes. I’m going to throw some bread in with them and hope they soften up overnight.

    • Mary says

      I’ve only ever made this with salted butter. Unsalted will work fine though. I’d add a tiny pinch of salt if using unsalted butter.

  23. Brenda Church says

    These sound great. Long time ago. I used to buy chocolate marble short bread cookies. They just melted in my mouth. No longer can I find them or know how to make them. Can you help? I think you might be the wizard of short bread. 🙂

  24. hethir says

    a couple of people mentioned that theses came out really hard. i think they over baked. after 10 minutes, i too thought that they were now done. i removed from oven anyway and cooled on pan for 2 minutes. they were still a bit soft when i transferred to the cooking rack. now that they have cooled a bit, they have formed up. they are soft and perfect.
    i rolled mine in chopped almonds prior to baking. i also made these using vegan butter and did not ice them. delicious!5 stars

  25. Cheryle says

    Has anyone tried making these or experimented with making a gluten free version. I recently learned I am gluten intolerant and so miss out on Christmas cookies.
    There was a time that these were my favorite cookie.
    Perhaps a 1 to 1 flour product?

    • Mary Younkin says

      If you have a GF flour blend that consistently works in 1:1 substitution, it could work. If you do try it, please let us know how it works out for you.

    • Bonnie Matthews says

      I was wondering the same thing. If anyone has tried it, I would love to know what the results were. My granddaughter has celiac disease, and I know she would love these if they turn out good.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Unfortunately, this is not a recipe that I’ve had great luck adapting for GF, Bonnie. I really tried my best, but it simply wasn’t forgiving at all.

  26. Leslie says

    A new favorite. I am going to do some experiments with the basic recipe and try different extracts. Going to give maple a try by request from my 23 year old son who loved the almond ones.5 stars

  27. Giovanna says

    Fabulous recipe! I cannot stop eating these cookies! I made them according to the directions and didn’t have any of the issues that others reported. I also used a gluten free flour blend and it worked perfectly, Thank you and happy holidays!5 stars

  28. Suzie says

    These almond thumbprint cookies sound wonderful. Is it possible to add a few chocolate morsels instead of jam in the center? My kids are chocolate fiends. Thank you!

  29. Donna says

    Love these cookies! You can’t eat just one. Definitely do not overtake. After 10 minutes you think they are not done but they are. Elegant cookie great for displaying. Love this recipe!

  30. Rose C. says

    Was wondering if I can use star anise ? I would have to fine grate it. Also don’t know how much to add?

    • Mary Younkin says

      It sounds like the butter might have been too soft. Or the flour measurement might have been slightly off. They shouldn’t have flattened out. Is it possible that the dough was warm by the time they went into the oven?

  31. Kathy Davenport says

    These were crumbly n couldn’t put a thumb print in they fell apart r all the ingredients listed correctly won’t make these again

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m so sorry they didn’t work for you. I’ve made these countless times exactly as written above. With so few ingredients, the recipe doesn’t allow for substitutions or changes. Did you use real butter and all of the ingredients listed?

  32. Maura says

    I have little thumb print cookie cutters that I bought from Williams & Sonoma, so I’d need to roll out the dough, can I still use this recipe?5 stars

  33. Cathy says

    I do not indent or add jelly until they come out of oven. Indent cookies with a wine stopper while still hot, add jelly!! The cookies do not “spread out” and look great!!

  34. Pam hurst says

    These are BY FAR the best shortbread recipe!!
    I made one foobab that actually gave it an amazing texture: I put 1 tsp of cream of tarter.
    We used orange marmalade (my favorite) and rasberry jam(kids favorite) for the filling. Trust me, you WILL NOT go wrong using this recipe, and you will love my foobab added to it!:)3 stars

  35. Sheila Fulks says

    I tried these cookies I had to add an extra 3/4 cup butter because the dough was so dry I could not make a ball out of it. In the baking process I think probably do to the extra butter a couple of them melted and spread out really thin. Waiting for them cool now. They look good.