Grandma’s Christmas Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
November 3, 2019
Christmas Thumbprint cookies

Grandma's Christmas Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Thumbprint cookie recipe for Christmas? Absolutely. In fact, it can't actually BE Christmas without these delectable buttery raspberry filled treats! Today for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Inspiration we've got some delicious cookie recipes for your family to try. Who knows….you just might discover new family tradition!

Christmas Thumbprint cookie recipe

Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients

Real simple ingredients for Christmas thumbprint cookie recipe

Now you probably know I'm a HUGE fan of healthy party foods. Normally, but THIS recipe is not so healthy! Although I do enjoy the splurge because it has just a handful of real ingredients. Choose whole organic foods when you can, otherwise substitute the best you can. See the full recipe at the end of this post for a few nutrition upgrade suggestions.

Roll Cookie Dough into Balls

After mixing up the cookie dough it'll be stiff and easy to form into 1-1/2″ balls. I recently discovered the ease of cookie dough scoops for keeping the size of my cookies consistent. It's something I struggled with and now they are beautifully uniform in size. Although for this novice baker, they might still have character!

Coat in Sesame Seeds

Rolling cookie dough in sesame seeds

Omit these at your own risk. My kids weren't too sure about them at first but the cookies just don't taste right without them! I purchase mine in the bulk foods section of our local grocery store and it's a lot more affordable than the tiny spice containers. You will go through A LOT of these.

Thumbprint Time

Creating thumbprint in Christmas cookies

After the balls are all covered in sesame seeds, now it is the favorite activity….the thumbprint. Get the kids involved here. They love squishing cookies down and making little “ponds” as my son calls them! The stiff dough may crack around the edges, if so, just press the cracks together and gently reform with your fingers.

*If they are really cracking, add a little water or milk to the dough for easier handling. 

Fill With Raspberry Jam

Add raspberry jam to thumbprint cookies

Now that you've got your “pond” it's time to fill it up! Any preserves will work, but it's not a proper Christmas cookie without the raspberry jam! Now, homemade raspberry jam is my favorite but in a pinch Smucker's makes a pretty good Simply Fruit that is whole fruit sweetened with fruit juice. I realize that the juice is also sugary but I avoid added white sugar when possible.

Bake Til Golden 

Christmas Thumbprint cookie recipe

Bake these yummies until the jam melts into the “pond”, but before they start to brown. Like ALL cookies, these are best eaten warm out of the oven but when stored in a covered container they'll stay soft and delicious for a week if they manage to last that long!

Grandma's Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

Shortbread cookie with berry preserves in the middle
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time13 minutes
Total Time33 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Danish
Keyword: Christmas cookies, cookie, cookie exchange, raspberry
Servings: 18 cookies


  • Stand mixer
  • Baking sheet
  • Silpat silicone baking mat


  • 1/2 cup Butter softened
  • 1/2 cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk separated
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Pure Almond Extract
  • 1 1/4 cups White Flour
  • 1 cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1/3 cup Raspberry Preserves


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a mixer cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy
  • Then add egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract until creamy
  • Sift flour and salt, adding gradually to the creamed mixture while blending til smooth
  • Roll into 1-1/2" balls, then roll in bowl of sesame seeds until coated evenly
  • Press enter of each ball with finger or teaspoon to create an even depression
  • Fill each "thumbprint" with a teaspoon of raspberry preserves
  • Bake 13-14 minutes
  • Enjoy!


Use PURE almond extract instead of imitation when possible. The imitation has a bit of a chemical taste. 
Omit sesame seeds at your own risk! The cookies just don't taste the same without them. If you are't sure - try half with and half without and conduct a taste test. Although you might have to sample several of each kind to do a thorough test! 

Nutrition Upgrade Suggestions:

  • Sub whole white wheat flour
  • Sub half butter for coconut oil
  • Sub coconut sugar for darker cookie with molasses flavor
    • or sub Xylitol or Swerve for a sugar free version

Serve Thumbprint Cookies and Enjoy!

Christmas Thumbprint cookies

These are the cookies we leave out for Santa every year, enjoy at Christmas dinner, and give neighbors. They are a taste of my childhood and I'm hoping my kiddos will look back on them just as fondly in the years to come.

Perfect for Cookie Exchange

Thumbprint cookies at a Christmas cookie exchange

They are different from the cookies we usually have and that makes them feel more special. I loved serving them at my Christmas Cookie Exchange Party last year and sent them home with all my friends. If you've never tried these, they are a little like short bread cookies but soft. I'm not a big fan of cookies that are crunchy. Warm and soft cookies are pretty hard to beat!

If you decide to give my Grandma's Christmas Thumbprint cookie recipe a try I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or tag us on Facebook and Instagram @partieswithacause

Pin it for Later

Thumbprint cookie recipe

For More Delicious Christmas Cookies

No Bake S'mores Bar Recipe from Bella Grey Designs

No bake s'mores bar recipe on clear plate

Pecan Butterscotch Cookies from Jordan's Easy Entertaining

Pecan Buttersctoch cookie recipe


If you are just joining us, welcome! Here’s what you missed:

  1. DIY Christmas Ornament: Golden Snitch Ornament DIY
  2. Christmas Cookie Recipe: Grandma’s Thumbprint Cookies

Until next time my friend,


  1. Susan- SugarPartiesLA

    Those cookies have always been a favorite of mine ! They are so delicious

    • Brianna Adams

      I’m so glad you like them too! I’m obsessed.

  2. Beth

    Yum! This recipe looks incredible! I love treasured recipes that have been passed down through the generations!

    • Brianna Adams

      Isn’t that awesome when you can keep the spirit alive through food? I love that. It’s almost like my Grandma is with us every time I make these.

  3. Natalie Mayhew

    I’ve never had these before! Can’t wait to try these! X

  4. Holly Hulke

    My hubby loves thumbprints! I’d never made them until his family introduced them to me and they are so good!

  5. Lori

    Yum!! I love baking Christmas cookies!! I’ll have to try these!!

  6. Sarina Kinnunen

    The look awesome Bri! I love how you displayed them.. Your pictures are amazing!!


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Nice To Meet You!

Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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Healthy food substitutions lists

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If you're ready to improve your lifestyle and the health of your family, join me in the "Healthy Hostess" movement. Where we serve great food to the people we love. With food that nourishes the body and events that feed the soul. Use this food subtitution list to plan more intentional holidays and gatherings. Collect healthier recipes, less stuff, and more meaningful memories, with me at Parties With A Cause. 

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