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If you’re looking for an easy Christmas cookie recipe, these Thumbprint Cookies are one of my favorites. Make these delicious pecan cookies today.

Thumbprint cookies with pecan pie filling, pecan filled cookies on a cooling rack

Thumbprint Cookies

These classic Christmas cookies start with a basic sugar cookie dough.

Then, each cookie is topped with a sweet mixture of brown sugar, honey, and chopped pecans.

These are one of our favorite Christmas treats each year.

Of course, there is no reason you can’t make these delicious treats any time of the year. We just love making them at Christmas time.

Thumbprint cookies recipe filled with pecan pie filling, all homemade, cookies in rows on cookie rack

Tools / equipment needed

  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Saucepan

How to make thumbprint cookies

It really doesn’t get much easier than this.

Find the complete pecan pie thumbprint cookie recipe at the end of this page.

  • Make the cookie dough

This is what it should look like; quite crumbly looking. It should be crumbly, but not powdery. It will hold its shape and be able to roll into balls when worked with your hands.

Thumbprint cookie dough in a white bowl

  • Roll the dough into 1″ balls and roll them in sugar
  • Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Press your thumb in the center of each ball

Putting thumbprint sugar cookie dough onto a sheet pan

  • Bake; remove from oven and allow to cool (move to cookie sheet after 5 minutes out of the oven)

Thumbprint pecan cookies fresh out of the oven before the pecan pie filling goes into them

  • While the cookies are baking, make the pecan pie filling
  • Add pecan pie filling

Thumbprint cookies recipe with pecan pie filling

Variations to this recipe

To add a little color to your cookies, you can roll them in red or green sprinkles.

Add a glaze to the top by mixing heavy whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar. Just do a little zig-zag for decoration. Thumbprint cookies with icing look very festive.

Or, instead of sugar cookie dough, you can use peanut butter cookie dough instead. You might want to use chopped peanuts rather than chopped pecans if you make them this way.

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Other filling options

When it comes to making thumbprint cookies or pecan cookies, a sweet nut filling is traditional. But, if you want to try a few different variations, you certainly can.

  • Melted chocolate
  • Jam, jelly, or preserves
  • Maraschino cherry
  • M&M’S
  • Lemon or lime curd
  • Cherry pie filling
  • Frosting (add after you remove them from the oven)

*old photos below, I’ve gotten better at taking pictures 🙂

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Tips for making the perfect pecan cookie

This recipe for thumbprint cookies is very easy to make.

But, here are a few simple tips to make the process as easy as possible.

  • When measuring your ingredients, be sure to weigh them. A kitchen scale will help you get the exact amount of each ingredient.
  • Roll the dough between your hands until there are no cracks. You want it to be completely smooth. If there are cracks, there will be cracks in your cookies.
  • If your dough is too sticky, refrigerate it for a few minutes and start rolling again.
  • Always put the cookies on a cold cookie sheet to bake them. If you put them on a hot cookie sheet, they are more likely to spread.

Can I freeze the Thumbprint cookie dough?

Yes, you can make the dough, roll it into a large ball and freeze it.

This way, you can save time when you want to bake the cookies.

Freeze the cookie dough for up to six months. Allow it to defrost overnight in the refrigerator the night before you want to bake.

Do I need to refrigerate thumbprint cookies?

No, you can keep these cookies at room temperature unless it’s very hot.

If you use jam instead of the pecan filling, you may want to refrigerate them to keep the jam firm.

The cookies should last for 5-7 days at room temperature.

If you want them to last longer than that, you can freeze the cookies for up to six months. Just let them defrost for a few minutes on the counter before eating.

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More cookie recipes

These spicy ginger molasses cookies are soft, chewy, and have just the right amount of heat to give you everything you desire in a cookie – FLAVOR! Perfect for Christmas, New Years, or any other special occasion. 

Mint chocolate chip cookies around the holiday are always welcomed at our house, especially when they’re chock full of M&M’s! Try this festive mint Christmas cookie recipe today and you’ll see why.

These easy 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies take 30 minutes or less to make! Three ingredient peanut butter cookies are delicious and you likely already have the ingredients in your pantry.  

Or, here’s a slightly different idea that everyone will love. Do you need Christmas cake ideas? This fun frosting filled Christmas cake recipe fits perfectly in your hand.

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You might also like:

Pecan thumbprint cookies for Christmas or holidays, pecan pie filled cookies

Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Scrappy Geek
Pecan thumbprint cookies. Sugar thumbprint cookies filled with easy homemade pecan pie filling.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 28 cookies

Ingredients
  

Filling

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup pecans finely chopped

Cookies

  • 3/4 cup sugar + sugar for rolling the dough in
  • 1 cup butter; softened to room temp (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions
 

Filling

  • Combine butter, brown sugar and honey in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until you've just reach a boil.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the pecans and set aside to cool while you prepare your cookies.

Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prepare a baking sheet with parchment or non-stick liner (butter + flour works too!)
  • In a bowl, mix the butter and the 3/4 cup sugar on low speed until smooth (about 60 seconds)
  • Add 1 1/2 cups flour and continue beating on medium-low until just blended (about 60 seconds), add additional flour as needed to make a crumply dough you can press together with your fingers to create balls
  • Using your hands, knead and roll 1 inch balls of dough. Roll each ball in the sugar we set aside
  • Place dough balls on the prepared baking sheet (I like these parchment paper sheets), about 1 to 2 inches apart. Use your thumb or finger to create wells in the middle of the cookies. Pinch edges back together if there are too many cracks
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the top of the cookies look dry, remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  • Once cool, repress the wells if needed and add 1/4-1/2 tsp of pecan filling
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Do not overmix the dough. Overmixing cookie dough will result in the cookies spreading too thin in the oven.
The dough should be very flaky looking, but not powdery in the mixing bowl after incorporating the flour. Stop mixing once the flour is just incorporated. 
If your dough is too powdery and unable to hold a ball form, add 2-3 tablespoons softened butter.

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