Thumbprint Cookies with Cherries

Thumbprint cookies are such a nice holiday treat! These cookies are buttery and almost melt in your mouth. The chopped pecans covering the cookie add a nice little crunchy texture.

easy thumbprint cookie recipe with pecans and maraschino cherries

Traditional thumbprint cookies are topped with jam, but in my family we always use a maraschino cherry. Every Christmas when I was growing up, we would make these cookies. I've continued that tradition with my own family. 

Now that it's December, it's time to start thinking about treats for neighbors. We ususally bake a few different cookies, but these ones are my favorite. My family loves snickerdoodles, but something about these buttery cookies put me right in the holiday spirit.

Thumbprint Cookies with Cherries

baking ingredients to make thumbprint cookie recipe

Ingredients for Cookies

1/2 cup Butter - softened
1/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg - separated
1/2 tsp Vanilla or Almond Extract
1 cup Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Pecans - chopped finely
Maraschino Cherries - halved

Baking Supplies

I have included affiliate links to some of the supplies listed. I will recieve a small portion of any sale in exchange for advertising these products.

Mixing Bowl
2 small bowls
Knife for chopping
Parchment Paper
Cooling Racks
1/4 teaspoon

Baking Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 18 cookies
Prep Time - 9 minutes
Bake Time - 15 Total
Cool Time - 5 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cream butter in your mixing bowl. Add sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Separate egg - add yolk to the sugar/butter mixture and mix. Place egg whites in a small bowl.
  • Add vanilla to mixture and mix until smooth.
  • Combine flour and salt, then add to the wet ingredients. It will be thick to begin with, then will smooth out into a nice dough.
rolling cookie in pecans before baking

  • Shape dough into small balls - about 1 - 1 1/2 inches.
  • Whisk your egg whites in the small bowl.
  • Roll the cookie dough balls in the egg whites, then the chopped pecans.
  • Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
shaping holiday thumbprint cookie
  • Make a small indentation or thumbprint in the top of the cookie. 
  • Place a half piece of the maraschino cherry in the well of your cookie.
  • Return to oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.
  • Take from oven and leave on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove cookies to a cooling rack.
  • You can use your finger, but if they are for a gift, I advise to use the back side of a 1/4 teaspoon to create the well in your cookie.
  • The cookies will be very soft and fragile when the cooking time is done. They will seem to be not finished cooking. They continue to bake during those 5 minutes that they sit on the baking sheet. When cookies are completely cooled, they will be more solid.

What are your favorite cookies to bake for the holiday season?

If you would like other cookie recipes, you are in luck! I've joined with a few other bloggers to share delicious cookie recipes as part of a Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap. Visit a few and you might find a new family favorite cookie recipe!

virtual christmas cookie recipe exchange

Blogs That Are Participating


  1. It is so fun to have family traditions. I love the addition of a cherry instead of jam. Thanks for sharing with the cookie exchange.

  2. I love cherries and your thumbprint cookies look delicious. Pinning to try this soon.

  3. I enjoyed your story of your family's tradition with the cherries. These cookies look like something we'd enjoy. I might try almonds and cherries together.


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