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These vegan thumbprint cookies are made with a soft and buttery shortbread dough and filled with jam, then dusted with powdered sugar. They’re the perfect cookie for the holiday season, gifting, and sharing with friends and family. All you need is 8 ingredients.
My absolute favorite cookies growing up were my Auntie Belinda’s thumbprint cookies. I remember she would always have a batch made when we went over to her house – it was heaven!
I was inspired by her to get into the kitchen and create a vegan version for our blog. After a few tests and a lot of trial and error, Chris and I finally nailed it! We were able to create vegan AND gluten-free thumbprint cookies using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free baking flour and a whole lot of love.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Flax egg – Our go-to vegan egg substitute is a flax egg (ground flaxseed mixed with water). It’s affordable, quick to make, and very good at binding the cookie dough together.
- Butter – We’ve made these cookies using Country Crock Butter Sticks and Earth Balance Butter Sticks. Any vegan butter sticks will work – salted or unsalted. Avoid using tubs of buttery spreads. These butters are too soft and will likely cause spreading.
- Sugar – Classic cane sugar is used to sweeten the cookie dough. To ensure your cookies are vegan, opt for organic sugar. Conventional sugars can be made using non vegan processes.
- Vanilla – Adds the perfect hint of flavor to these shortbread cookies. If desired, opt for almond extract. It will change the flavor slightly, but still be delicious!
- Flour – We wanted to make these cookies both vegan and gluten-free and made them successfully using Bob’s Red Mill’s 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. If you tolerate gluten, swap the GF flour for regular all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder – Baking powder is the optimal leavening agent in thumbprint cookies because it will lightly raise the dough while keeping it an ivory, light color. Baking soda would cause the cookies to brown quickly.
- Jam – Use your favorite jam! We love using strawberry and/or apricot jam. Raspberry jam would also be delicious.
- Powdered sugar – Completely optional, but a final dusting of powdered sugar is the best finishing touch!
How to Make Vegan Thumbprint Cookies
- Make the flax egg. In a small bowl, mix together the water and ground flax seed. Set aside to thicken and become gelatinous.
- Cream the butter and sugar. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer bowl, whip the vegan butter until smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar and cream until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Form the cookie dough. Add the flax egg, vanilla, and salt. Mix to combine. Gradually add the flour and baking powder and continue to mix until uniform.
- Chill the dough. Transfer the cookie dough to the refrigerator and chill for 10 minutes.
- Roll the cookie dough in sugar. Once chilled, using a 1-tablespoon scoop, scoop out a mound of cookie dough and roll the dough between your palms. Roll the ball in a small bowl of sugar to fully coat, then place the cookies 1 ½” apart on a lined baking sheet.
- Make “thumb prints” in the cookie dough balls. Using the back of a measuring spoon, your index finger, or end of a wooden spoon handle, gently make a small imprint in the center of the cookies.
- Fill with jam. Start with ½ teaspoon in each, being careful not to overfill.
- Bake! Bake the jam-filled thumbprint cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Cool. Allow to cool directly on the baking sheet, then dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Yes, the unbaked thumbprint cookie dough and the baked cookies can be frozen. If you’d like to freeze the cookie dough, roll it into 1-tablespoon balls, then place the dough balls on a baking sheet. Flash freeze for 3-4 hours, or until the dough is frozen, then transfer the cookie dough to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost the dough balls in the refrigerator, then fill and bake as normal.
To freeze baked cookies, allow them to cool completely, then place the baking sheet in the freezer to flash freeze. Once frozen solid (about 3-4 hours), transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost cookies in the refrigerator or on the counter, and enjoy!
Absolutely! Follow the recipe steps 1 through 4, then refrigerate the dough overnight.
If your thumbprint cookies are spreading, the dough is likely too warm, or the butter is too soft. It is important to keep the cookie dough as chilled as possible. If you are new to baking with softening butter, you may find these 3 Ways to Soften Butter Quickly and Easily useful!
Expert Baking Tips
- Remember to soften the vegan butter ahead of time. Depending on how cool your house is, the butter should take 30 minutes to 1 hour to soften, so plan ahead!
- Use a 1-1 flour blend. Swapping the gluten-free flour blend for a single gluten-free flour, such as oat flour, almond flour, coconut flour, etc., would need additional testing and altered measurements. Please only use a gluten-free flour blend that is meant to be used cup for cup instead of wheat flour.
These vegan thumbprint cookies will store best at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 7 days or longer in the refrigerator. Refrigerated cookies will be dense but will soften up again if brought to room temperature before enjoying.
More Popular Vegan Cookie Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Cinnamon Roll Cookies (Vegan)
- Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Ube Sugar Cookies
- Cinnamon Twist Cookies (Vegan)
Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!