A classic cookie recipe made gluten-free. These gluten-free thumbprint cookies are buttery and soft. Fill with your favorite jam, or check out one of many other filling options. A drizzle of white chocolate gives a festive finish.
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I always think of these jam-filled buttery cookies during the winter holiday season. Growing up we always had them as part of our Christmas cookie tray and converting this recipe to be gluten-free was easy.
📖Why This Recipe Works
The base for this recipe is my gluten-free sugar cookies, but with a slightly different mixing method. Adding an extra egg yolk gives the gluten-free flour additional protein needed to give them the shortbread consistency.
Resting the batter for 10 minutes so it can hydrate is key to a firm cookie that doesn't fall apart.
With all of our different filling and decorating options, you can make them all your favorite holidays. However, the white chocolate drizzle I think looks the sharpest.
GF Flour 1:1 Blend- I tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour and Pillsbury Gluten-free flour. Both worked fine. And you should be able to use your favorite GF flour blend. As with all our recipes, do not use a single flour, like almond flour or rice flour unless the recipe specifically calls for it.
If your flour mix does not contain xanthan gum, you must add it.
Unsalted Butter- If you use salted butter reduce the amount of salt. You can use vegan butter to make these cookies dairy-free.
Eggs- Note you will need one whole egg plus one yolk. The extra fat helps keep the cookie moist.
Vanilla Extract and Almond Extract- The almond highlights the butter flavor, while the vanilla gives the cookie a little finesse. Be careful with the almond extract, a little goes a long way.
💭 Filling and Decorating Options
The classic thumbprint cookie is typically filled with raspberry jam or apricot jam. But you can do any type of jam you like from blueberry or strawberry, even orange marmalade.
This is a great use for your favorite homemade jam. Personally, I love using this juneberry jam.
If you want to expand beyond the typically jam-filled thumbprint cookie recipe, try one of these other filling options.
- Lemon curd
- Fruit butter like apple butter or our strawberry spread
- Dulce de leche
- Chocolate ganache
- Buttercream frosting
You can also roll the cookie dough balls in nuts, sugar, cinnamon and sugar, or shredded coconut before baking.
Or leave them plain and drizzle on a little white chocolate frosting.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make GF Thumbprint Cookies
This recipe comes together quickly so preheat your oven before you start making your cookie
Step 1- Make the Cookie Batter
This is a one-bowl recipe so grab a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat together the softened butter and sugar. It should be light and fluffy before you add in the eggs and extracts.
Mix until thoroughly incorporated and then slowly add in the flour ½ cup at a time.
Once all the flour is fully mixed in you need to let the dough chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
This serves two purposes, first, you need to reheat the gluten-free flour, and second, cooling the butter down will prevent the cookies from spreading too much in the oven.
Step 2- Form and Bake
This dough makes 24 portions. Roll the cookie dough into small balls and place them on your cookie sheet. They should be about 1-inch wide.
If you want to roll the cookies in sugar or a sugar mixture, roll them in that now.
For a coating, like toasted coconut or ground nuts, you need to dip them in an egg wash and then roll them in the coating.
An egg wash is one beaten egg with 1 tablespoon of water or milk.
To form the well. Use your thumb to press an indentation into the center of each cookie dough ball creating a well for your filling.
If using jam, fill them before baking. For all other fillings, you fill them after baking.
Place the cookies into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet to cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Then move to a cooling rack.
If filling the cookies after baking, let them cool completely.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- You can use a hand mixer or the paddle attachment on a standing mixer.
- Room temperature butter means it is softened to the point that it is easily cut with a butter knife but not liquid.
- Be creative! Try different combinations of fillings and coatings.
Once baked and cooked, store your jam-filled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Any longer than that and you can move them to the refrigerator.
It is better to freeze the unbaked cookies than the baked cookies. They crumble when thawed out.
Prepare the cookie dough up until the point where you make the indentation. Freeze the unbaked cookies on a tray. Once frozen, transfer the unbaked cookies to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
To bake, arrange the cookies a few inches apart on a baking sheet and allow them to thaw at room temperature while the oven reheats. Add the jam and bake as directed.
More Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Tips for making gluten-free cookies moist are to add an extra egg yolk and allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes before forming your cookies and baking.
Cookies spread when the butter is too warm Be sure to use softened butter not melted and chill the dough for 10 minutes before rolling the dough balls.
Gluten-free thumbprint cookies are more prone to cracking than those using all-purpose flour. Be sure thoroughly mix and chill the cookie dough. Rolling the dough in a coating like chopped nuts will hide any imperfections.
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Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend contains
- ½ cup jam see post for other filling options
White Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
- ½ cup white chocolate chips optional
- ½ teaspoon vegetable shortening
- Preheat your oven to 350° F.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.½ cup unsalted butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar, 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add in the flour ½ cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Rest the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes.1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend, ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- Use a spoon or small cookie scoop to portion out about 24 portions of the dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheets.
- Use your thumb to press an indentation into the center of each dough ball, creating a well for the jam or fruit preserves. Spoon roughly a teaspoon of the jam into the center of each indented dough ball.½ cup jam
- Place the prepared cookies into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden brown underneath and the jam is slightly spread and bubbly. Move to a cooling rack.
White Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
- Melt 4 oz white chocolate with shortening in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly for 5 minutes. Place the chocolate in a resealable plastic bag. Cut small tip from bottom corner of bag. Squeeze the bag to drizzle glaze over cookies.½ cup white chocolate chips, ½ teaspoon vegetable shortening
- Use vegan butter to make this recipe dairy-free.
- If using jam for the filling, fill before baking. All other fillings, fill after baking.
- To coat the cookies in nuts or toasted coconut, roll the dough balls in an egg wash and then roll in the coating. To coat with sugar, roll the dough ball directly in the sugar mixture before pressing out.
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