Thumbprint Cookies {Raspberry Almond Shortbread}

Published December 8, 2018. Updated November 27, 2023

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Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies are one of the most popular recipes on my blog every Christmas season! You get a buttery shortbread cookie base, a bright, vibrantly flavored raspberry jam filling and they’re finished with a sweet almond glaze. 

Stack of thumbprint cookies

The Best Raspberry Thumbprint Cookie Recipe!

Every Christmas season these cookies need to be made at least once! They are one of my go-to cookie recipes throughout the year, and people especially love them around Christmas time. Make them for your annual Christmas Cookie Exchange or fancy holiday dessert spreads.

They are perfect for gifting, making for parties, or just for an after-dinner treat.

I love that they call for minimal, basic ingredients; they’re so easy to make and they don’t require hours of refrigeration.

And they’re one of the tastiest cookies I’ve ever had. Simple ingredients yet so much delicious flavor!

Watch the Thumbprint Cookies Video to See How Easy They Are!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients for Thumbprint Cookies:

Only 7 ingredients needed for these cookies (and only 6 if you opt to leave off the glaze):

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Almond extract
  • Seedless raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar

How to Make Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold.
  • Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry at first).

Showing how to make thumbprint cookies. Shortbread cookie dough rolled into rounds and placed on un-greased baking sheet.

  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of jam).

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

Fill each with 1/4 – 1/2 tsp jam. Note that if jam is stiff and clumpy you may want to stir first so it spreads better.

Raspberry Jam Shortbread Cookies

  • Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 14 – 18 minutes.
  • Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool (at this point you can add a little more jam if you’d like to, it just won’t be set like the other is).

Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

  • Drizzle cookies with glaze when cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.
  • For the glaze:
  • Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency. Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich-size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cookies.

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

Tips for Perfect Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies:

  • Only use real butter. Margarine won’t work here. It doesn’t have a great flavor and causes more spreading.
  • Use cold butter. It makes a world of difference for less spreading.
  • If cookies are cracking around edges when pressed every time, try re-rolling the balls once more then pressing again. The warmth of your hands will soften them up a bit making them crack less.
  • If jam is stiff I like to stir it first so it spreads out and fills the cookies in better.
  • If you only have one baking sheet be sure to wash and cool between batches. The fastest way to do this is to wash under cold water.
  • Sometimes I make half the glaze recipe, they really don’t need that much so it’s up to your personal preference. You can even omit it if desired.

Why Are My Cookies Spreading Too Much?

Of few people have said their cookies spread too much. Too much spread means you need a little more flour or a colder dough (so chill longer before baking) or try adding a little more flour to the dough.

Why is My Dough Crumbly?

On the opposite end, a few others have said the dough their crumbly. The dough will be crumbly, keep mixing and it should come together. If it doesn’t you can add just a tiny bit of milk or butter to bring it together or the next time around try a little less flour.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies with Almond Glaze

Is There a Substitute for Almond Extract?

For best flavor I recommend sticking with the almond extract, BUT if there is an allergy in your home, or to whom your gifting these too you can replace almond extract with vanilla extract. I recommend using 1 tsp vanilla in the dough and 1/2 tsp in the glaze so it’s not tinted too much.

I hope you love these cookies as much as I do! They totally remind me of a few of my childhood favorites, the Knott’s Berry Shortbread and the Pepperidge Farm Verona cookies but of course, they’re a hundred times better!

Happy Holidays!!

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4.77 from 122 votes

Thumbprint Cookies {Raspberry Almond Shortbread}

These Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies are simply delicious and they definitely need to find a place on your holiday cookie tray!
Servings: 36 cookies
Prep30 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

Glaze (optional)

Instructions

  • For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold).
  • Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry and crumbly at first).
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. 
  • Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of jam). Fill each with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp jam. 
  • Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 14 - 18 minutes.
  • Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • For the glaze: Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency. 
  • Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cool cookies. Let set at room temperature then store in an airtight container.

Notes

  • *To measure flour scoop with measuring cup and level with a butter knife. Don't whisk or sift first and don't spoon into the measuring cup.
  • Recipe adapted from Land O Lakes and Allrecipes.com
Nutrition Facts
Thumbprint Cookies {Raspberry Almond Shortbread}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 117 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 18mg1%
Potassium 14mg0%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Sugar 9g10%
Vitamin A 155IU3%
Vitamin C 0.4mg0%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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474 Comments

  • Lori

    I did everything wrong and they came out perfect. First off, I added ingredients in the order given. My butter was set out for 3 hours from frozen, so semi soft. Then I read the directions😂. I blended with the mixer till crumbly and was able to form the balls. I used Solo Raspberry filling but had to bake them for 22 minutes . They are/were delicious.

  • Joelle

    I made these twice and both times they were delicious but they flattened out(even after keeping them refrigerated before I put them in the oven. Wondering what I’m doing wrong.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m sorry to hear this Joelle! I would recommend using a kitchen scale if you have one to ensure there is enough flour being added, an oven thermometer is helpful to know if your oven is reaching that proper temp (a lower temp could make them spread more before setting), and it may be helpful to try a different brand of butter, some have higher water content than others. Even chilling dough longer may help.

  • Samantha

    I make these every christmas season! One of my faves. Donating 4 dozen to a charity event this afternoon ❤️

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      They can be stored at room temp, in the fridge or frozen. Bring to room temp before serving them.

  • Kristy hartman

    Can I freeze these? My sister is getting married in December and these are her favorite cookies I want to make them ahead of time to freeze

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      They can be frozen but they may not appear quite as clean, the jam and glaze may bleed in to the cookies a bit.

    • Jamie

      I’ve actually frozen them to the point of shaping the dough and putting the thumbprint in them and then frozen them like a little hockey pucks. Then when it came to bake them, I would thaw them out and fill them with jelly that day.

  • David

    I’ve made these cookies before and they turned out great. I think I might have added a bit too much milk thinking it was to dry. After baking for the required time they did not seem done. I probably should have started again but I tried putting them in for longer. Will see how they are received. Thank you.

  • A. Spur

    I’ve made these cookies every yr following the instructions to a T ever since I found this recipe several yrs ago online and it never fails. It is everyone’s favorite cookie at our family gatherings. Invest in a good kitchen scale and you’ll get your ingredients right every time!

  • Pamela Alderson

    These are a NIGHTMARE to make! If you don’t want to get stressed, don’t make them!!!!

    • Angie G

      This recipe is so easy that my 12 year old granddaughter could make them. They are absolutely delicious!! It’s a keeper.