Peanut butter thumbprint cookies are made with a soft peanut butter cookie base that's filled with sweet strawberry jam. They're the perfect combination of salty and sweet!
Peanut butter and jelly is a classic combination. If a pb&j sandwich is a nostalgic comfort food staple for you, then you're going to love this cookie version.
Gluten-free peanut butter cookies are filled with strawberry jam (or your favorite flavor jam) and baked to perfection in the oven. The cookies are crisp around the edges and soft in the middle, with a gooey fruit filling.
Make peanut butter thumbprint cookies any time of year. The dough requires no chilling time so you can have a batch ready in less than an hour. They also look great on a holiday cookie tray for Christmas!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Peanut butter - Store-bought creamy peanut butter works best in this recipe (I used JIF brand). I do not recommend using natural/homemade peanut butter in this recipe because the dough turns out dry and does not hold together well.
- Sugar - We're using a combination of granulated and brown sugars, which add sweetness and help keep your cookies moist after baking.
- Egg - Holds the cookies together and adds structure. Egg cannot be omitted from the recipe.
- Vanilla extract - Enhances the flavor of the cookies.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of the cookies.
- Baking soda - Helps your cookies rise in the oven. Cannot be substituted with baking powder, the two are not interchangeable.
- Jam - Use your favorite flavor. I recommend strawberry or raspberry jam, but any flavor will work.
Tips and tricks
- Crumbly dough - Once your dough is mixed together, it will look a little crumbly. However, it should hold together when pinched between your fingers and roll easily into balls.
- Thumbprints - When making your holes for the jam, use a small measuring spoon, like ½ teaspoon shown above, the end of a wooden spoon, or your thumb (this is where the name comes from!). Make sure the thumbprints aren't too deep - the cookies need some structure on the bottom to maintain their shape.
- Fill with jam - Fill each hole with a heaping amount of jam. The cookies will spread in the oven and you'll need a bit more jam than you'd think.
- Parchment paper - Use parchment paper, not a greased baking sheet. Peanut butter cookies are a little greasy already. When baked on a greased cookie sheet, they'll spread more than they should.
Frequently asked questions
Thumbprint cookies can spread too much in the oven if you're baking them on a greased baking sheet instead of using parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The extra grease, in addition to the peanut butter in the cookies, will cause them to spread more than they should.
If your cookies are spreading too much, refrigerate your dough for up to 30 minutes before baking the next sheet. Cold dough spreads less in the oven.
If your cookies are crumbly and dry, they may have been overbaked, causing them to dry out in the oven. This could also be due to substituting or omitting ingredients. Since this recipe has so few ingredients, I don't recommend substituting or omitting anything that I didn't recommend in the 'ingredients and substitutions' section above.
This is normal for peanut butter cookies! Don't worry, they'll turn out just fine.
Any flavor of jam, like strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry, will work in this recipe. You could also use Hershey's kisses (added just as the cookies are removed from the oven) to make peanut butter blossoms. Melted chocolate or caramel could also be piped into the centers of the cookies after baking.
No, I do not recommend using a natural peanut butter or homemade peanut butter (any type where the oil separates from the solids) for this recipe. Store bought brands, like Jif or Skippy, work best.
Cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 cup (270 g) smooth peanut butter
- ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (53 g) brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (170 g) strawberry jam
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. (I do not recommend using a greased baking sheet for this recipe - the cookies will spread too much.)
- In a large bowl, add peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Mix with a hand mixer until creamed and fluffy, about a minute. Add egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, mixing until well combined, about a minute.
- Scoop dough using a small cookie scoop or shape by hand into 1 inch balls. Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently press the centers in using a small measuring spoon, the end of a wooden spoon, or your thumb. Fill holes with a heaping amount of jam.
- Bake for about 11-13 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges and cookies look set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely (your cookies will be very tender straight from the oven and are much easier to handle when cooled).
- Cookies will keep for 5 days in a sealed container at room temperature. To help keep cookies fresh, place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed.
- I do not recommend using natural/homemade peanut butter for this recipe (the type that separates as it sits). Your dough will turn out dry and the cookies will not hold together well.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!