Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

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Lemon Thumbprint Cookies are buttery vanilla shortbread cookies filled with lemon curd and drizzled with white chocolate. They are so amazing, you’ll want more than one batch!

overhead of lemon thumbprint cookies on white background

I am a sucker for an old-fashioned classic recipe like thumbprint cookies or hallongrotta which means “raspberry cave” in Swedish.

The cookie itself is a buttery melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. And most often they are filled with some flavor of jam.

I love to eat these sweet beauties but I’m also a major fan of salted dulce de leche thumbprint cookies.

It took me several days to perfect the recipe for these cookies. I tested multiple recipes from well-known cookbooks, online sources, and other bloggers. Each ending in disaster. The cookies were either way too sweet or spread far too much.

Finally, with batch five I achieved thumbprint success! No spreading. No sugary toothache. Just pure cookie perfection.

Shortbread cookies are often a ratio of one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. Sorted Food actually did a video on this. And while every recipe I tested contained those ratios, each one was a failure.

bite taken out of lemon curd thumbprint cookies

Why this recipe works

For my final attempt at this recipe for lemon thumbprint cookies, I added a little extra flour. Actually, a lot of extra flour. A whole cup extra.

The purpose of the extra flour was to stabilize the dough. I didn’t want to fiddle with finicky cookie dough that needed to remain cold up until it went in the oven. That’s just too much work.

Instead, we now have an easy shortbread dough that doesn’t need chilling before rolling and filling.

I used a small cookie scoop to portion out the cookies. Each one should be about one tablespoon in size. Roll the dough into a neat ball and then press an indention in the middle with your thumb.

You can also use the back of a teaspoon, just be sure to flour it so it doesn’t stick. Also, be mindful of how deep you make the impression. If you go too deep, your lemon curd may seep out the bottom.

Fill the indentions with about a fourth of a teaspoon of lemon curd.

The cookies only need to bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, just until the bottom edges are lightly browned. It’s important not to overbake shortbread. You want them to be a little soft so they will melt in your mouth.

Let the cookies cool completely before drizzling with white chocolate.

I just know you are going to love these lemon curd cookies! Be prepared to make multiple batches because your friends and family will be asking for more.

What other fillings can be used?

If you don’t want lemon-filled cookies, you can fill the cookies with any flavor of jam you like. I bet pineapple curd or pumpkin jam would be amazing!

You can also bake the cookies without filling them. Once cooled, pipe pastry cream, chocolate ganache, or buttercream in the centers.


You need basic pantry ingredients to make these lemon curd thumbprint cookies

  • Butter: Use unsalted sweet cream butter that is at room temperature.
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar is all that’s needed.
  • Egg yolks: 2 egg yolks at room temperature make the dough soft and malleable.
  • Vanilla: As always, use a pure vanilla extract that’s good quality.
  • Salt: A little salt balances the sweetness.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works best.
  • Lemon curd: Use your favorite lemon curd. Any fruit jam will work as well.
  • White chocolate chips: These are for the drizzle which is completely optional.
  • Oil: A flavorless oil like canola or vegetable helps the chocolate melt smoothly.

Can I omit the eggs?

Eggs are required for this recipe. The dough will be too dry and will crack without them.

lemon filled cookies on a gray plate

Tools needed

How to make Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

The dough comes together quickly!

Step 1. Beat the butter and sugar together. Mix in the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Then mix in the flour. The dough will be soft but not sticky.

Step 2. Roll the dough into 1-tablespoon sized balls. Use your thumb or a teaspoon to press an indent into the dough ball.

process for making and filling thumbprint cookies

Step 3. Fill the indent with lemon curd or jam of your choice. And bake!

This recipe doesn’t require you to chill the dough so it’s super fast.

Step 4. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 12-14 minutes. Just until the bottoms are starting to lightly brown.

Step 5. Once the cookies have cooled, drizzle the tops with melted chocolate.

white chocolate drizzled over lemon curd cookies

How to store lemon-filled cookies

Keep the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Or place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

If you love these cookies, you might also want to try these iced Meyer lemon cookies.

lemon thumbprint cookies with lemon curd on white background

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

4.59 from 41 votes
overhead of lemon thumbprint cookies on white background
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies are buttery vanilla shortbread cookies filled with lemon curd and drizzled with white chocolate. They are so amazing, you'll more than one batch!
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 59 minutes
Serving Size 34 cookies


For the cookies

  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (110 g) granulated sugar, packed
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups (325 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (57 g) lemon curd

For the drizzle

  • ½ cup (90 g) white chocolate chips
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil


Make the cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat; set aside.
    In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes
  • Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Shape the dough into 1 tablespoon size balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon, press a slight indention in the center of each ball. Take care not to press too far down. If the edges crack while making the indention, simply pinch them back together to smooth them out. Otherwise, the cracks are okay.
  • Fill the indents with ¼ teaspoon lemon curd.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottom edges are lightly browned.
  • Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the drizzle

  • Combine the white chocolate and canola oil in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir until melted. If additional heating is needed, do it in 10-second intervals. Stir well after each interval until the chocolate has melted completely.
  • Drizzle the melted white chocolate over cooled cookies and allow them to sit until the chocolate has set. You can place them in the refrigerator to set the chocolate quickly.


Make ahead tip
  1. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
  2. Baked cookies without the glaze will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. The cookie dough will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 183IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.5mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating


  1. Ilene Fields says:

    5 stars
    These came out fantastic! I used whole wheat flour, turbinado sugar, everything else as listed. Made 1/2 batch. Filled with my homemade lemon curd. Wow! p.s. also an introvert!

  2. nice, soft cookie. I used All Recipes for the lemon curd. You can use whole eggs and don’t need to temper them. it’s a very easy recipe. I would make this cookie again, it was a tasty cookie.

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the cookie!

  3. To make it extra lemony I added lemon zest and lemon juice to the dough. I also rolled it out and used some thumbprint cookie cutter/stamps.

  4. Hey! I’ve made this recipe before and it turned out amazing. I’m going to bake them again for Easter, but realized that I don’t have enough butter, but can’t get more before Easter. Would I be able to use margarine to substitute for some of the butter?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      You need to use real butter for the recipe to turn out correctly.

  5. 4 stars
    I made these cookies today and I’m NO baker! They came out perfectly! I used cherry jam for 1/2 and lemon curd for 1/2. Drizzled powdered sugar icing over top after they cooled down DELICIOUS! No cracking 🥰