A Spicy Perspective

Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies

Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies Recipe – ​​Tender buttery shortbread thumbprints with sparkling lemon centers. These little gems are a wonderful addition to holiday parties!

Side view of the lemon drop thumbprint cookies recipe looking beautifully baked

We Love Thumbprint Cookies

Second only to chocolate chip cookies, thumbprints are the most requested cookie from my friends and family. I make all different varieties, some with coconut, some with caramel and chocolate, yet most with jam centers.

There is something endearing about thumbprint cookies that keeps you coming back for more. I love the addition of the tangy-sweet lemon curd in these Lemon Drop Cookies, but it almost doesn’t matter what you fill them with.

Top view of the cookies on the baking sheet all lined up in rows

Lemon Cookies Made With Love

Upon the first bite of a thumbprint you think… Simple, nothing special or fancy here. Then you eat another, and another, trying to figure out how these no-frills cookies can be so addictive.

While pondering your explanation, you look down and discover you’ve just eaten the entire plate of cookies on your quest of unleashing their alluring secrets.

That’s just it! The fact that they are just butter cookies holding a little filling makes them irresistibly perfect. They are simple and made with love.

Sheet pan with the dough balls and using a thumb to press the indents for the lemon custard

A Lemon Cookie Recipe For All Occasions

Life’s greatest pleasures aren’t always luxurious or extravagant. Consider family picnics in spring, hiking down a mountain trail to a little-known waterfall, taking time to bask in the sun after a week of rain. I often find the simplest things can be the most gratifying!

That’s what cookies offer… A simple blissful moment in edible form. Plus, thumbprint cookies are fun and easy for kids to make. What’s not to love?

Using the smallest little spoon to put a dollop of custard into the indent of the dough

What Ingredients You Will Need 

  • Unsalted Butterat room temperature
  • Granulated Sugar – superfine white sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Zest of a Lemon – not the juice, just the zest
  • All-Purpose Flour – or your favorite gluten free baking mix
  • Kosher Salt
  • Lemon Curd you can use a store bought or homemade version
  • Turbinado Sugar for sprinkling on the cookies after baking (can omit this if you wish)
Hand holding up a lemon drop cookie for the camera for you to get a good up close look at the

How To Make These Lemon Drop Cookies

These irresistible Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies are tender and buttery with a touch of lemon zest in the dough. They have a dollop of zingy lemon curd resting in the middle so that each bite offers a bit of contrast.

  1. Prep Oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Cream. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest together until smooth and fluffy. Scrape the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt. Add the flour a little at a time, until it is just combined.
  3. Roll the Cookies. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1-ounce balls. 
  4. Shape Thumbprints. Place the balls on the cookie sheets and press with your thumb to create a cavity in the center. It helps them to keep their shape if you hold the sides of the dough ball with the other index finger and thumb. Press any cracks back into place.
  5. Curd Filling. Fill each indentation with a scant spoonful of lemon curd. (Use just a little more if filling with jam.) 
  6. Bake. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.
  7. Once the Lemon Thumbprint Cookies cool, they stack well, making them great for edible gifts and potluck take-alongs.

You are going to love these little beauties!

Get the Full (Printable) Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies Below. Enjoy!

Handful of lemon cookies laid out on a charger perfectly baked

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Long Do These Lemon Cookies Last?

You can keep these lemon thumbprint cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. 

Can I Freeze These Cookies?

Yes, you can keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Wrap well to avoid freezer burn. When you are ready to serve them, thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

Is This Recipe Missing Eggs?

Nope. Butter cookies generally do not contain eggs. This creates a buttery slightly crumbly texture.

Can I Use Brown Sugar Instead of Turbinado Sugar?

The turbinado sugar is primarily for looks. It gives the cookies a bit of sparkle! You can omit it, or substitute any other sugar on top.

One cookie has a bite taken out of it laying on the baking sheet with the others

Other Great Cookie Recipes

Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies
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4.84 from 6 votes
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Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Amazing tangy Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies – Tender buttery shortbread thumbprints with sparkling lemon centers.
Servings: 36 cookies

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest together until smooth. Scrape the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt. Add the flour a little at a time, until it is just combined.
  • Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1-ounce balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Place them on the cookie sheets and press with your thumb to create a cavity in the center. It helps them to keep their shape if you hold the sides of the cookie with the other index finger and thumb. Press any cracks back into place.
  • Fill each indentation with a scant 1/4 teaspoon of lemon curd. (Use just a little more if filling with jam.) Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pc, Calories: 138kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 38mg, Potassium: 14mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 235IU, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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28 comments on “Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies”

  1. Pingback: Straightforward Orange Curd Recipe – A Spicy Perspective – Dessert Punch

  2. these look soooo good, i’m going to make them and drizzle some white chocolate on top! I’m just wondering how much zest to use for a dozen, because when I adjust the recipe it says “zest of one lemon” no matter the yield, and i’m not sure what the original yield is!!

  3. Absolutely awesome cookies! Everyone who tried them loved them. And I was so happy that they looked just like yours! So good too. About to make another batch as I have more lemon curd. Don’t want it to go to waste. 😁

  4. The cookies tasted good, but so they did not look very nice.

  5. Pingback: 20 Incredible Lemon Dessert Recipes- A Cultivated Nest

  6. My cookies just became flat when I baked them (and I made pretty deep thumbprints because I love lots of lemon curd). I still managed to shove an indent in them after they baked to hold the lemon curd, but definitely didn’t work like I imagined… Don’t know what I did wrong, I followed the recipe step by step! Oh well.

  7. I was skeptical about the recipe – at first my dough turned out very dry. I tried balling up the dough, but it just crumbled so I added one egg and a teaspoon of almond milk and these turned out fabulous!
    I made half the batch with lemon curd and half with blackberry preserves, which is a nice combination. I also made them in half ounce balls, so very small, and I got 6 dozen bite sized pieces. Delicious!

  8. Pingback: Fruity Pillow Cookies - A Spicy Perspective

  9. Do you have a recipe for lemon curd?

  10. Pingback: Thumbprint Cookies Recipes You Will LOVE - landeelu.com

  11. Is this recipe missing eggs?

  12. oh these are looking so tasty. Love lemon cookies!

  13. Pingback: Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies - Makers Bakers Movers & Shakers

  14. I love jam filled cookies!  They are perfect for tea-parties with my granddaughter!

  15. I have just made a batch of lemon curd so now I am halfway there.

  16. Love these lemon cookies. Thank you and  have a great weekend.

  17. I made these today, coffee house size, and the recipe was perfect. They’re delicious! :)

  18. I love lemon desserts and baked goods. These look lovely!

  19. I love using lemon in baking. These sound wonderful. I saved your recipe for next time when I make cookies.

  20. I made lemon curd thumbprints last month and the curd bubbled up in the oven and spilled over! They didn't look half as adorable as yours but they still tasted pretty good. Now I see you've used just 1/4 tsp for each cookie; wish I'd seen your recipe sooner LOL

  21. charming! delicious looking little cookies.

  22. These look gorgeous, Sommer! I will come back to this recipe to make as petite little gifts in the future, as they are so pretty and sound delicious. I generally am not attracted to "jam" cookies, as I find them too sweet, but a lemon curd center changes everything! Yum.

  23. Ooh lemon curd in thumbprints! There's something I've never tried! Looks delicious!

  24. I love lemon and really love thumbprints. It never occurred to me to try thumbprint cookies this way. Thanks! I will try it!

  25. I love citrus flavor in desserts. Thanks for thsi dessert, I would try it soon.

    Chitra Ahluwalia Pal
    http://chitrapal.blogspot.com