Nutty Jam Thumbprints

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These Nutty Jam Thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone, but they’re just as delicious as they are pretty.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

These Nutty Jam Thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone, but they’re just as delicious as they are pretty. The cookie is actually a Mexican Wedding Cake, also known as a Russian Tea Cake, Viennese Crescent or Snowball.

Nutty and not-too-sweet, these cookies make the perfect shortbread-like base for a dollop of luscious fruit preserves. The recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich’s award-winning cookie book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy.

What you’ll need to make Nutty Jam Thumbprints

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

How to make the Cookies

The most tender wedding cookies are made with superfine sugar, so begin by pulsing the granulated sugar in a food processor until it is fine and powdery.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Next, add the flour, salt, and pecans.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Process the mixture until the nuts are finely ground.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Add the butter.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Then pulse until the mixture comes together.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Roll the dough into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Use the handle of a wooden spoon to press an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into the center of each ball (you could also use your thumb but a wooden spoon works much better).

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Bake for 22-24 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack. Let the cookies cool slightly, then dust them generously with powdered sugar.

Now, for the fillings. You can use any jam or jelly you like. I love Bonne Maman strawberry, raspberry, four fruit or apricot. For kids or chocolate lovers, try Nutella or chocolate ganache. Fill the cookies using a tiny spoon or the tips of teaspoon handles.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

That’s all there is to it. Such beauties!

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

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Nutty Jam Thumbprints

These Nutty Jam Thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone, but they’re just as delicious as they are pretty.

Servings: 48 cookies


  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut unto 1-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • 1/2 cup favorite jam, jelly or preserves (best quality, such as Bonne Maman)


  1. Put the granulated sugar in the food processor and process until it is fine and powdery, about 30 seconds. (Be sure to cover the feed tube so the powder doesn’t float out.)
  2. Add the flour, salt and pecans and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
  3. Add the butter and vanilla and process until the mixture looks damp and comes together. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
  4. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Use the tip of a wooden spoon handle to press an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into the center of each ball (twist slightly to release; if the handle sticks, dip it in flour). Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until lightly colored on top and golden brown on the bottom. (If your oven cooks unevenly, rotate cookies from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through baking time.)
  6. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Using a sieve, dust cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Use a tiny spoon or the tip of a teaspoon handle to fill with jam, jelly or preserves.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature. (For best results, add the jam after defrosting.)

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 26 mg
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • They are so good! I’ve been searching for thumbprint cookies in Latin/Hispanic websites trying to find recipes under “polvorones” or “mantecaditos” -as we call them in Puerto Rico, and I tried several, but all of them turned out awful. I have no idea why I didn’t look at your site in the first place. Your cookies are delicious! I used almonds instead of pecans to make them “true to Spanish taste”, everything else I followed to a tee.
    I have spent this time learning to cook, and I was lucky enough to find your site. Your recipes are so appetizing and so easy I CAN COOK! Next thing on my list is your cookbook.

    Another good recipe I can’t seem to find is the “arroz con leche”, sort of a rice and milk pudding. Do you have one you could recommend? Even better, could you make one? I am sure it will be excellent.
    Thank you Jen, I believe you are a wonderful chef and a wonderful teacher.

    • — Eugenia Behar on July 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Eugenia, Glad you like the recipes and that they are helping you improve your skills in the kitchen! I don’t have a rice pudding recipe of my own — sorry! I will add it to my list of recipes to potentially develop. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Baked a batch of these biscuits this afternoon. They turned out perfectly and are so delicious.
    The rest I have frozen according to the directions. I also used lemon curd as an extra filling.
    Thank you for another winning recipe.

    • — Sharon on April 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • made these at Christmas time… impossible to place “thumb print” with any utensil or thumb…. dough just crumbled ….not at all sure what happened. flavor wonderful but not fun to make at all.

    • — mary alice grieco on January 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sorry you had a problem with these, Mary Alice! Based on what you described, I suspect the dough was probably too cold. Next time, work it a bit with your hands to warm it up.

      • — Jenn on January 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Your recipes are like a cooking bible to me:) Every single recipe I tried so far worked out very well!
    Anyways, can I substitute the pecans to walnuts? I just want to avoid another visit to a supermarket. Would it work with walnuts??

    • — Sirena on December 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yep, walnuts will work, Sirena. So happy you like the recipes! ❤️

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2019
      • Reply
  • I usually love your recipes and recommend to everyone! I have tried several of your cookie recipes and all turned out delicious! However, this recipe I was super disappointed with. As the previous commenter posted mine also cracked and I followed the recipe to a T. After putting the dough in the fridge (only for a few hours) it was super hard. They went in looking like yours so I’m not sure what happened. As soon as I went to make the ident for the jam they cracked. Smoother them out but still cracked badly in the oven. They did taste good still!

    • — Brittany on December 24, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Brittany, I’m so sorry you had trouble with these! Were the nuts finely ground?

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am trying to figure out why my cookies cracked in the oven. They looked just like yours when I put them in. If the granulated sugar was not fine enough – powdery- would that impact the results?

    • — Liz on December 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, I don’t think it was the sugar…did you by chance make any substitutions?

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2019
      • Reply
  • Forgot to rate the recipe. Five stars, of course!

    • — Stella on December 19, 2019
    • Reply
  • I stole the idea from another site of using a clean chapstick tube to make the indentations. Worked perfectly!

    • — Stella on December 19, 2019
    • Reply
  • Wonderful! Love the ease of making in the food processor.

    • — Peggy on December 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • Just baked these cookies! Excellent texture and flavor! Such a huge crowd pleaser and they’re beautiful.
    Thank you, Jenn!

    • — Kathryn Hale on November 30, 2019
    • Reply
  • You have no idea how good these are until you make these! They literally melt in your mouth. So buttery and crumbly in a wonderful way! I used raspberry, apricot and blueberry preserves with blueberry and raspberry being my favorites. These are my husband’s favorite cookies of any I’ve ever made. They are so pretty and shockingly so EASY! Try them!

    • — DallasColoradoBear on June 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • Thank you for this fantastic recipe. My grandchildren visit us 4 times a year. Each and EVERY time, before they come, they ask me to have these Thumbprints ready for them. I can not say enough about them, they are gone before I can say boo!

    • — CHRISTINE PAULL on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    HELP! I have made several of your cookie recipes thus far. Your recipes turn out so well! Although I love to bake I’m not a great baker. Your recipes make me a more confident baker. So confident that I doubled this recipe!!! They are VERY buttery. I don’t think I have enough flour. The one trial tray I baked did spread alot. Is there anything I can do to ‘fix’ the rest of the dough?

    • — Monika on December 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Monika, As you can see from the photos, these cookies should hold their shape pretty well in the oven. Is it possible that you didn’t double all of the ingredients? If you think you measured everything correctly, try refrigerating the dough balls for 30 minutes (or freezing for 15 min) before baking. It may just be that your dough is too warm. If that doesn’t work, you can try adding a bit more flour.

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2018
      • Reply
  • The jam I would really like to use (raspberry rose) is a little looser as the company puts less sugar in them. Could I fill the imprints before baking to firm the jam up a little? I assume that this will leave me with a couple leaky ones that I, tragically, will have to sacrificially eat instead of giving away. I’m just hoping that they wouldn’t ALL fail.

    • — Melinda on December 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • LOL! I think it should be fine but I would suggest baking a few cookies first to see how they hold up, just to be safe.

      • — Jenn on December 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • Thank you Jen for another fantastic recipe. I made my first batch today. After reading other comments I took the dough out of the refrigerator 30mn before rolling them and found they were very easy to handle. They turned out looking good even though 1/2 the batch was rolled and the indentation made by my 4 year old.
    I will definitely make more for the holidays.

    • — Julie on December 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • I enjoyed them. But they seemed a little to crumbly? When I made the indentation for the jam they started to crack. They didn’t look as beautiful as yours. Any advice?

    • — Sofia on November 23, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Sofia, I think the dough was probably too cold. Next time, work it a bit with your hands to warm it up.

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn,
    I am interested in trying this cookie with a bit of my homemade apple butter in the center. In keeping with that theme, do you think I should dust with cinnamon sugar instead of powdered sugar? Or add any spice to the dough? (Although my apple butter is generously spiced.) Stick with pecans or try walnuts? Thanks for your advice!

    • — Sandy on October 26, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, I’d keep the powdered sugar because it looks pretty but adding a little cinnamon to the dough sounds delicious. I’d probably use about 3/4 teaspoon. And walnuts would be delicious, too.

      • — Jenn on October 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • can this delicious looking recipe be made without nuts? my son is severely allergic to pecans and walnuts. i know this is a part of the base of the recipe, not an add on like in other recipes, i just want to make sure it will not effect the finished product or consistency. thank you

    • Hi Meredith, I wouldn’t recommend it – sorry! There are plenty of thumbprint cookie recipes, that don’t require nuts. I’d recommend giving one of those a try.

  • I’d like to make these cookies. Could you add the metric toggle for me please?

    • Done – hope you enjoy the cookies!

  • Is there nutritional info for these cookies?

    • I just added them, Ro – hope that helps!

  • Hi!

    I’ve made several of your dessert recipes already and would like to try this one. I don’t have a food processor, but I do have a coffee grinder which I use to grind oats into oat flour, etc. If I grind the pecans using the coffee grinder can I make the rest of the recipe by hand? I would love to try these cookies! Thank you.


    • If you feel confident you’ll have success using the grinder to process the nuts and the sugar (the sugar need to be ground too) then I suspect it should work. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

  • These cookies are so good! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! How do I store them, Jen?

    • — Marissa Palattao
    • Reply
    • Hi Marissa, Glad you like them! I’d store them in an airtight container, stacked between sheets of parchment paper.

  • Excellent cookie. I chilled the dough overnight and it was hard to worok with. I warmed up each spootful in my hand before shaping it into a ball. Next time I would take the dough out about 1/2 hour before using. They bake up beautifully and look festive.

  • Jam Thumbprint cookies are a traditional cookie in our house every Christmas! Love this nutty base of the cookie with the pecans. Reminds me a bit of our other traditional cookie, the Mexican Wedding cake. I didn’t roll the Thumbprint cookie in unsweetened coconut before flattening this time, but I most often do for this recipe. Delicious!

  • Could you use powdered sugar instead of processing the granulated sugar in the first step?

    • While I think you could, the cornstarch that’s in powdered sugar would change the texture of the cookies a bit (and make them softer).

  • These cookie recipes are amazing- a great selection. Will they keep until Xmas or is it too soon to start my baking ??

    • Hi Rachel, They only way they’d keep until Christmas is if you froze them. I’ve never frozen them, but I think they would freeze nicely.

  • I have been making thumbprint cookies for decades. I was using a recipe where the dough had to be rolled in egg whites and then the nuts. This recipe is so much easier and very delicious. I will be using this recipe from now on!!

  • If I make ahead & freeze, should I dust with 10X sugar before freezing or after?

    • Hi Mary, you could go either way here. Hope you enjoy!

  • I made these for my visiting Grandchildren….gone in 2 hours!! I let them help make a new batch, also gone.. a little slower this time. Thank you for the fun we had with these! DELICIOUS!

  • These cookies were a huge hit with everyone who tried them. Four people (including my husband :-)) described them as “the perfect cookie” — and I can’t imagine a better compliment than that!

    For color contrast I used Bonne Maman blueberry jam for half the batch and apricot jam for the other half. My son’s girlfriend strongly favored the blueberry jam cookies, but everyone else enjoyed both; and having at least two jam colors made for a very pretty display.

  • I made these for a bridal shower and used raspberry jam. Let me tell you, they were a HUGE hit. Several people were asking for a recipe! Will be making again over the holiday season. The only trouble I had was with making the actual dent. I think I made it a little to deep, but they turned out great either way! Thank you! Olga

  • Can you help me to make one giant thumbprint cookie from this recipe? We are having a birthday celebration for our Pastor and this is his favorite cookie. I was hoping to make it his “birthday” cake. I would greatly appreciate your input (even if it’s your expert opinion that this is a bad idea). Many thanks and God bless.

    • Hi Marla, Unfortunately, I don’t think that would work– sorry! You could however, arrange them in a circle, like in the shape of a cake, and stick a candle in the very center cookie :).

      • Thanks so much. I appreciate your suggestion and the time you took to reply.

  • Hi! These cookies are delectable! Question-how much do these cookies spread? Mine turned out pretty large considering I only rolled them in a 1 inch size. The ‘hole’ for the filling was more of a dent. I think in my fear of using too much flour I used too little. Could that be it? Thank you so much!

    • The cookies should be about 1 3/4 ” wide. It could be that maybe you needed to use just a bit more flour. And make sure when you make the hole for the filling, that you make it fairly deep- about 3/4 of the way through the ball.

  • I havent made these yet, but have been looking for a good recipe. I think this is the one! These look absolutely delicious!

  • This is such a great recipe !! What do you recommend using to make 1 inch balls?

    • Hi Lisa, you could just eyeball them (it gets easy after a few), or you could use a mini ice cream scoop or melon baller if you have the right size.

  • Would these freeze well? If so, would you recommend freezing with or without the jam? If it matters, I typically freeze in Tupperware with bubble wrap between each layer of cookies.

    • Yes Lisa, I think these would freeze well. You could put the jelly on them before freezing, but I would suggest waiting until you’re about to serve them.

  • Hi Jenn-
    I baked these for the first time this morning – they replace my old recipe where you had to roll them in nuts which I hated. They are delicious but mine aren’t as pretty as yours! I chilled the dough overnight and had problems with them cracking when I made the thumbprint. I’m thinking the dough was too cold… any thoughts or suggestions?

    • Hi Dawn, I think the dough was probably too cold. Next time, work it a bit with your hands to warm it up.

  • Where is the recipe with the ingredients? All I see are the pictures of the steps but no measurements,.

  • I don`t have a food processor. Could I use my kitchen aid mixer instead?

    • Hi Joyce, I’m afraid a mixer won’t work in this recipe b/c you need to grind the nuts.

  • I’m a new subscriber to your website and am excited to try some of these recipes. I went shopping to pick up the ingredients and bought salted butter instead of sweet butter. Can I use the salted butter and still get good results?

    • Hi Anna, Yes, I would just cut the salt by half. Good luck, and please come back and let me know how they turn out!

  • Hi,

    Could i make these without the pecans? Or with a different nut like almonds?

    thank you!

    • Hi Sylvia, You don’t need to use pecans, but definitely substitute another nut or the recipe won’t work. Hope you enjoy!

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  • Thanks for the recipe. I tried these out and they were fun and pretty. Be sure you make your dimples more like pits because we found ourselves wanting more and more of the preserves in the center.

  • My mother always made these with frosting in the middle–I’m going to try jam for something different.

  • OMG these cookies melt in your mouth and taste amazing two thumbs up.

  • I had my mom pick from your Dessert recipes for a Mothers Day gift of her choice and she picked the Nutty Jam Thumbprints. They came out perfect! The whole family enjoyed them after dinner. I made the dough day before and then put in oven right after our dinner. They were a hit! Sent 4 home with Mom and she called the next day to say she ate them all without sharing with my Dad!

  • I love the way they have that subtle crunch yet they melt in your mouth. I love these cookies!

  • I absolutely loved these cookies .Not only were they beautiful and delicious,they were so easy to make.I will definitely be making these again.

  • I made something similar this past weekend, adding cocoa powder in with the flour, and making a salted stout caramel for the filling! Delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • These are amazing! I just finished making them tonight. They melt in your mouth!

  • I made these over the holidays, they were such a hit! Everyone was asking for the recipe. Thank you!

  • Made these beauties yesterday–they are just simply awesome–easy to make–beautiful and delicious. I used strawberry on half and blackberry on the rest. Yummmmmm!!!! Thanks for another outstanding recipe.

  • Yum! These are going to the family Christmas gathering this year!! Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

  • I was just thinking of your cookie contest last year, and all of the yummy entries! These look great and I can’t wait to try them.

  • I have been looking for a good recipe for these – YUM! By the way – thanks for your nice message to me last week….I enjoy commenting on your stuff because it’s all so delicious-looking! I have made a lot of your recipes and loved them all…

  • I love your blog and recipes! Could these be made without pecans? My children are allergic to nuts.

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