Best Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

thumbprint cookies on a rack

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are an enduring classic for a reason ~ the combination of a rich, buttery shortbread cookie filled with silky chocolate ganache just can’t be beat!

filling a chocolate ganache thumbprint cookie

Chocolate thumbprint cookies are decadent little bite sized treats

Silky ganache is the holy grail for chocolate lovers, and these cookies don’t disappoint. They’re sort of like a micro version of a chocolate ganache tart in a buttery little cookie crust. Who wouldn’t love that?

filling a thumbprint cookie with chocolate ganache

How to make chocolate ganache

It’s a simple but incredibly delicious mixture of warmed cream and chopped chocolate. When they’re blended together they create a magical substance called ganache.

Depending on the ratio of cream to chocolate, a ganache can be runny or thick like fudge. In any case it firms up as it cools or is chilled.

Ganache is noted for its incredible silky mouthfeel and is used to make truffles, tart filling, frosting, and more.

making chocolate ganache

making chocolate ganache

Tips for making thumbprint cookies

  • Make sure your recipe is formulated for thumbprints; in other words, don’t try to use a different type of cookie recipe and turn it into thumbprints.
  • One of the issues with thumbprints is you can get cracks when you press into the ball of dough. This dough gets bonus points for staying nice and smooth.
  • Don’t chill your dough before forming the cookies with this recipe, being at room temperature keeps the dough malleable and smooth.
  • If you find your cookies are spreading more than you like, you can chill the dough after making the imprints.
  • Hands are a cook’s best tools, but in this case I prefer the back of a small round measuring spoon (1/4 tsp) over thumbs, it makes a sharper impression.
  • After your cookies come out of the oven and are still warm you can re-press the indentations to refresh them. I like them to be as deep as possible so they’ll hold lots of ganache 😉
chocolate filled cookies with sprinkles

If you’re a chocolate purist let the glossy chocolate ganache speak for itself.

But, if you’re a sprinkle maven like myself, crack open your collection and let it fly, the chocolate ganache centers are perfect for dressing up with all sorts of toppings.

  • sprinkles (duh)
  • flaky sea salt
  • chopped nuts
  • a contrasting flavor drizzle (white chocolate, peppermint, mocha, etc.)
  • crushed peppermint candies for a holiday theme
chocolate ganache thumbprint cookie with Christmas sprinkles

Love chocolate ganache? Me too!

thumbprint cookies on a rack
5 from 13 votes

Chocolate Ganache Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are an enduring classic for a reason ~ the combination of a rich, buttery shortbread cookie filled with silky chocolate ganache just can't be beat!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Yield 4 dozen cookies
Author Sue Moran


for the cookies

  • 1 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

for the ganache filling

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 375 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  • Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well to combine.
  • Add the baking powder, salt, and mix to combine.
  • Add the flour in a couple of batches, mixing briefly between each addition. When all the flour has been added, scape the bowl and mix by hand briefly to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  • Shape the cookies by taking about a tablespoon of dough and rolling it into a ball. Using the back of a 1/4 teaspoon, or something of similar size, make an indentation in the ball of dough, flattening it slightly.
  • Repeat for all of the dough, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Note: the cookies will still be quite pale when done.
  • Remove from the oven, and allow the cookies to partially cool on the baking sheet before transferring to a baking rack to finish cooling.
    thumbprint cookies on a rack
  • Meanwhile, make the ganache by heating the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave until just starting to bubble (not actually until boiling). Remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.
    pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate
  • Let the mixture sit, undisturbed, for several minutes.
    hot cream and chocolate in a small bowl
  • Stir the chocolate into the cream, adding the salt, and vanilla extract. Keep stirring until the mixture turns smooth and glossy.
    making ganache in a glass bowl
  • Let your ganache sit and cool down a bit to thicken up before filling the cookies. A thin ganache will pour into the indentations with a very smooth, flat top, and a thicker ganache will have a bit more texture on top.
    making chocolate ganache
  • Fill all of the cookies and allow them to sit flat until the ganache has set.
    Chocolate cookies with Ganache
  • If you'd like to add sprinkles to your cookies, do it right away, before the ganache sets up.
    chocolate thumbprint cookies with sprinkles
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Lilly J
    February 20, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Hi! Can I use milk instead of heavy cream in the ganache or no? Thanks! I love your recipes!

  • Reply
    Lilly J
    February 20, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    5 stars
    I have a question can I use milk in the ganache instead of heavy cream? Thanks I love your recipes!

  • Reply
    Barrie Jacob
    February 3, 2021 at 5:21 am

    Beautiful looking and delicious. Recommendations for storage, please?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 3, 2021 at 7:09 am

      I would just store them in a single layer in an airtight container either refrigerated, or they’d be fine for a couple of days on the counter.

  • Reply
    Marion Siwek
    December 19, 2020 at 11:02 am

    5 stars
    These look amazing! I “ve been making Rose Levy Birnbaum’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Jewels (the jewel being chocolate) for about 20 years now and they remain a hit in my family.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Hi Sue – I know it won’t be nearly as scrumptious as the ganache but can I use a Hershey kiss for the filling?
    Thanks1 Love your recipes & your website. Happy Holidays!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      Yes, you would unwrap the kiss and press it in just after the cookies come out of the oven 🙂 Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Carol Baran
    December 18, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Can I use semi sweet chocolate chips?

    • Reply
      December 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm


  • Reply
    Carol Baran
    December 18, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Can these cookies be filled with jam instead of chocolate?

    • Reply
      December 18, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Yes, you can fill them with any other thick filling like jam or lemon curd, etc.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Your recipes are great. Can this cookie be frozen?

    • Reply
      December 18, 2020 at 9:07 am

      The unfilled cookies can be frozen, but I’d fill them after defrosting.

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