Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies

Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies ~ tender shortbread cookies filled with tangy marmalade ~

Simple Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies are one of the joys of winter ~ they only show up in our house during this short period between Thanksgiving and the New Year, and boy are they good. Fill them with your own homemade marmalade, or your favorite store bought brand.

Simple Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies ~

The soft shortbread dough comes together in a few minutes, and then you get to roll them into little balls with your palms and squish them down to make the little divot for the filling…it’s almost like fooling around with play dough, but in the end there’s a delicious reward.

Any jam will work for the sweet centers, but when the temperature drops I instinctively gravitate toward marmalade, and I’m finding all sorts of ways to use it lately. It goes so well with a thick slab of toasted whole grain bread and a steaming cup of Earl Grey in the morning. But then again I also love it in my WHOLE WHEAT MARMALADE BARS.ย ย  The combination of the edgy marmalade and sweet vanilla bean in this cookie is just perfect, I think I first started dreaming about it last year when I made these THUMBPRINT COOKIES.

Simple Marmalade Thumbprints are classic holiday cookies ~

Since I bought my vanilla beans in bulk last winter I feel like I’ve been set free to use them in all kinds of recipes. I can’t believe I used to buy them one, and then I’d hoard it like gold. It’s an investment, for sure, so buy your beans from a reputable dealer, but I have to say, for me it was money well spent. Look for bulk vanilla beans online here, and here, and here, for starters.

Find a source you trust, and feel confident paying a bit more for quality. You can store vanilla beans in a dark cupboard for up to a year.

If you like to bake cookies, you probably already know that they are vulnerable to every little variation you can throw at them. Different pans, different ovens, even different brands of butter can make a difference. Be sure you’ve got the details right ~ careful measurements…oven temperature spot on…chilled dough…

Do a test cookie or two first before you sacrifice the whole pan to the oven gods ๐Ÿ˜‰

Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies ~

TIP: If your cookies flatten too much, make sure the dough is chilled before baking. Also try rolling the balls of dough in granulated sugar before making the indent.

Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies ~

Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies ~ tender shortbread cookies filled with tangy marmalade ~
3.32 from 32 votes

Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies

Author Sue Moran


  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup marmalade


  • 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • milk or cream to thin


  • Cream the butter and the sugar together until fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, and the vanilla beans seeds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to get everything well incorporated.
  • Blend in the flour, slowly, and mix until the dough comes together.
  • Wrap the dough well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F
  • Use a small scoop to portion out tablespoon sized balls of dough and roll into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Press an indent in the center of each ball of dough with the back of a 1/4 inch teaspoon. Fill the indents with 1/2 tsp of marmalade. It's ok to mound the marmalade a bit.
  • Bake for about 8 minutes until the cookies are set, but not browned.
  • Let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
  • Whisk the sugar with enough milk or cream to make a glaze and drizzle over the cooled cookies.
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.


  • You can halve this recipe if you like.
  • I used my mini 1 inch cookie scoop to make the perfect sized balls of dough.
  • If you’d like a little hint of crunch in your cookies, roll the balls of dough in granulated sugar before making the indent.


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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    These cookies were delicious! So buttery and light. We used raspberry jam to fill some and the marmalade in the rest. Both yummy!

    Tip: I really do think it makes a difference to use GOOD flour. For this recipe, I made the dough with King Arthur’s all-purpose unbleached white. It’s a nice, fine flour.

  • Reply
    December 25, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Such a classic cookie for the holidays! I love your drizzle. Merry Christmas to you and your family!! xoxo

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    December 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    These are my all time favorite cookie although I’ve never made them with marmalade. What a great idea. Merry Christmas to you and your family Sue!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    December 23, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Gorgeous thumbprints, love that pretty marmalade filling!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    December 23, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Lovely and I’m with you! Marmalade all the way ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy holidays, Sue!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Such beautiful cookies. Even the marmalade looks beautiful! ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to make these, so easy I could even squeeze them in my busy cooking Christmas schedule. I wish you a Merry Christmas,Sue!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    December 23, 2016 at 1:48 am

    They are for sure a must in holiday cookie platter, Sue. Happy Holidays!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Love the idea of marmalade..Meilleurs Voeux:)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    December 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Oh yes indeed – this are a must make cookie! Looks at those vanilla beans and that tasty marmalade. Great recipe Sue! Pinning ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      December 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks Tricia!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    These look so perfect, I also love marmalade this time of year!

    • Reply
      December 22, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      I don’t give it a thought all spring and summer, but boy it tastes so good right now!

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