Buttery Jam Drop Cookies made from scratch. These gorgeous thumbprint cookies are soft and chewy with warm jam baked into the middle. They’re easy to make and perfect for Christmas and holiday gift-giving.
Hello, buttery Jam Drops 😍
Also known as thumbprint cookies, these cookies are quick, easy, and perfect for the holidays. Made with only a handful of everyday ingredients, they’re a great treat to throw together last minute.
My Jam Drop recipe is super simple but results in soft and buttery cookies that are filled with jam and baked until golden.
why you will love this recipe
- They’re quick and easy to make
- You only need a handful of pantry staples
- They keep well and make for lovely gifts
- The cookies themselves are soft, chewy and oh-so-buttery!
I’ve been eating Jam Drops every day this week, and I now know this recipe off by heart. It took SO many attempts to get this recipe right but it was worth it. My Jam Drop cookies are soft, chewy, buttery and jammy. And they don’t spread too much in the oven. But they didn’t start out that way!
I began by using my favourite Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe. I swapped baking soda for baking powder and doubled the vanilla extract. A dollop of jam and voila, a delicious thumbprint cookie. However, I did have some issues with my cookies spreading.
I tried a few alternatives, including adding just 35 grams more flour (see photo above). The cookies with more flour definitely created a plumper, more attractive cookie. However, we lost some of that buttery texture that was so loved from version 1. More flour in a cookie can often result in a dry or chalky mouthfeel.
FINALLY, the perfect sugar cookie that spread just the right amount, but still had that tender, buttery texture we loved.
What are jam drops?
Jam Drops or thumbprint cookies are a simple sugar cookie that’s filled with jam and baked until golden. They typically have a high butter and sugar to flour content, like shortbread, which results in a soft, buttery cookie with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
what you will need
This thumbprint cookie recipe only calls for pantry staples. Here’s what you will need to make a batch of these Jam Drops.
- Unsalted butter: Start with room temperature butter. It shouldn’t be too soft or squishy, but not fridge cold either.
- Caster sugar: You’ll need caster sugar or granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Vanilla extract: We add two teaspoons of vanilla for extra flavour.
- Egg yolk: Adds moisture and helps create a chewy cookie.
- Plain flour: Also known as all purpose flour.
- Baking powder: Just a tiny amount for a little lift.
- Salt: To balance the sweetness.
- Jam: Your favourite store bought jam – I usually use raspberry jam.
how to make them
- Make the cookie dough
- Scoop and roll cookie dough into balls
- Use your finger or thumb to make small holes
- Fill each cookie hole with jam
- BAKE until golden
quick tips for success
- Don’t over-mix your butter and sugar: We don’t want to ‘cream’ the butter and sugar together. This technique is often used when making cakes like a Pound Cake or Butter Cake. It’s referring to the action of mixing the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. But this adds air into the batter and can result in a cookie that spreads too much or deflates as it cools. Mix the butter and sugar on a low-medium speed just until they’re combined.
- Weigh your flour using a baking scale: This recipe relies on the careful balance of butter and flour. Using cup measurements can result in adding too much flour, which will make your dough dry and crumbly and your cookies taste floury. Use a baking scale to ensure you have just the right amount of flour.
- Bake one tester cookie. My recipe is carefully crafted so the cookies spread just the right amount. However, every baker’s kitchen is different, so if you’ve had issues with cookies spreading in the past, I recommend doing one tester cookie first. If it spreads too much, consider chilling your dough for an extra 30 minutes and try again.
do you fill thumbprint cookies before or after baking?
You can fill thumbprint cookies with jam before OR after baking (or even both). I prefer to do it before so the jam melts and becomes one with the cookie. Plus eating a fresh cookie with a warm jammy centre is divine. And then I sometimes add a little extra jam after they’ve baked if needed.
However, you can add the jam afterwards if you prefer. Just don’t forget to create the holes in the cookie dough before you bake them, even if you don’t plan to fill them until after they’re baked.
make it your own
My recipe calls for raspberry jam, but you can use whatever flavour jam you like! Apricot, blackberry, cherry, strawberry would all be delicious.
Alternatively, you can bake these cookies without a filling and once they’re completely cool, fill them with things like lemon curd, Nutella, caramel or chocolate ganache.
why did my thumbprint cookies spread?
Jam Drops have a high butter content, which makes them delicious, but prone to spreading. If your butter was too warm to begin with, or if you overmixed the butter or sugar or overhandled the dough, you’ll increase the chances of your cookies spreading.
Chilling the cookie dough in the fridge before baking allows the butter to firm up once again and reduces the chance of your cookies overspreading.
why did my thumbprint cookies crack?
If you add too much flour, your cookie dough will be too dry. Then when you try to make the indent in the middle of the cookie they can crack on the sides. It’s very important to use a baking scale when measuring your flour (and your butter and sugar too!) so the ratio is just right.
If your cookie dough feels a bit dry and crumbly, scoop out the portion and then squeeze it together using your hands to make it more pliable. Then roll it between your palms to make a smooth ball of dough.
frequently asked questions
Yes! See above paragraph on flavourings. You can definitely use your favourite jam flavour. Alternatively, you can bake these cookies without a filling and once they’re completely cool, add things like lemon curd, dulce de leche or Nutella.
Absolutely. This recipe makes about 11-12 cookies, so you could double it to make closer to 24 cookies – perfect for sharing!
Once baked these cookies are best kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
more easy cookie recipes
Buttery thumbprint cookies filled with raspberry jam.
- 115 grams (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 175 grams (1 and 1/4 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 65 grams (1/4 cup) raspberry jam
- Line two cookie sheets with baking paper or parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar and beat using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined and creamy. Add vanilla and egg yolk and beat briefly, just until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt and beat briefly until a soft cookie dough forms. It may appear dry and crumbly. Just use a spatula (or your hands) to give it a good stir and a soft cookie dough should form.
- Scoop balls of cookie dough (approximately 1.5 tablespoons each) and roll them into smooth balls using your hands. Place cookies on prepared trays, leaving room for them to spread out.
- Use your finger or thumb to press a shallow indent in the middle of each ball of cookie dough, about one third of the way into the cookie (see photo below). Fill each hole with jam (approximately 1/4 teaspoon per cookie).
- Place cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced.
- Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes or until the cookies naturally spread out and are slightly golden on the edges. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Top up holes with extra jam, if desired.
Jam: You can use any flavour jam you like. Or you can bake your cookies without a filling and once they’re cooled, add things like lemon curd, Nutella, caramel or ganache.
Cooking spreading: I recommend doing one tester cookie first. If your cookie spreads too much, consider chilling your dough for an extra 30 minutes and then try again.
Storage: Once baked these cookies are best kept in an airtight container at room temperature.