These jam thumbprint cookies are not only buttery delicious but they're beautiful, too! Perfect to enjoy during the holidays, these festive looking morsels are so melt-in-your-mouth good that you would never guess that they're gluten free!
The holiday season is the season for cookies, and these festive looking jam thumbprint cookies are a must! Inspired by Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprint Cookies, which are truly delicious, I've made these beauties gluten-free and I've also reduced the sugar! Let's get to it!
- Brown rice flour
- Almond flour
- Tapioca starch
- Vanilla extract
- Egg (for egg wash)
- Coconut flakes (aka dessicated coconut)
- Jam or preserves (do not use jelly)
How To Make the Cookie Dough
Start by beating the room temperature butter and sugar with a mixer or whisk until fully blended and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula partway through beating.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and either beat with a mixer or use a spoon or rubber spatula to mix it into a dough.
On a work surface lightly dusted with tapioca starch, shape the cookie dough with your hands into a disc about 1" thick. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes.
How To Make the Cookies
Remove the cookie dough from the fridge portion the dough into chunks about 30 grams each. Roll each chunk of dough between your hands to form a ball.
Place the ball into a bowl containing the egg wash, then roll the cookie dough ball in a separate bowl containing the coconut flakes, making sure to coat the ball completely.
Place the coconut-coated cookie balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using the tip of your pinky finger, tip of a wooden spoon, or a ⅛ teaspoon measuring spoon, press a dimple into each cookie ball. Fill each dimple with about ¼ teaspoon of jam (I use raspberry jam).
Bake the cookies in a preheated 350F/180C oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
Commonly Asked Questions
Yes, you can and they will add more sweetness to the cookies. They tend to be stiffer than unsweetened coconut flakes, so you made need to press them into the dough balls to make sure they stick.
Yes. Shape and wrap the cookie dough as per the recipe and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Let the dough sit for 15-20 minutes at room temperature so that it is easier to roll into balls.
Cornstarch or potato starch will work.
Yes, but I have always gotten the best results using raspberry jam for some reason. Make sure to use jam or preserves, not jelly.
Store the jam thumbprint cookies in a container at room temperature or in the fridge. They are more crumbly when eaten the same day they are made, and will hold together better when eaten the next day.
Enjoy a cookie (or two) with your favorite hot beverage, or try my recipes for Ginger Honey Tea, English Tea Latte, Coffee Milk Tea, or Poached Pear Ginger Tea. And don't forget that these thumbprint cookies are gluten-free, but they're so good that you would never know it!
More Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes
Looking for more gluten-free cookie recipes? Definitely check delicious options like my:
These festive looking jam thumbprint cookies are delicious and practically melt in your mouth. They are perfect for making during the holidays, and they also make a wonderful gift! Pack some in a cellophane bag, tie it up with a pretty ribbon and anyone would be thrilled to receive it! Or...keep them for yourself! 🙂
Gluten-Free Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- 225 grams butter, room temperature
- 50 grams sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 140 grams brown rice flour
- 130 grams tapioca starch
- 80 grams almond flour
- 1 egg, for egg wash
- 1 tablespoon water
- Unsweetened coconut flakes/shredded coconut
- Jam or preserves
- Combine room temperature butter and sugar and cream together using either a mixer or whisk. Add vanilla and mix.
- Whisk together brown rice flour, tapioca starch, almond flour in a separate bowl. Add to the creamed butter.
- Beat mixture together until dough comes together and there is no more loose flour at the bottom of the bowl.
- With hands lightly dusted with brown rice flour or tapioca starch, press and shape dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven 350 deg F (180C).
- Beat together 1 egg and 1 tbs water for egg wash. Set aside.
- Remove dough from fridge and portion out into 1 ¼" balls (about 30 grams or 1 oz. each).
- Roll each dough ball in egg wash, being sure to let any excess egg drip away before rolling it in shredded coconut. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Press an indentation into each dough ball with the back of a ⅛ teaspoon measuring spoon, your finger, or the tip of a mixing spoon handle.
- Fill indentation with about ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon jam. Do not overfill.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Let cookies cool 10 minutes on the pan before using a spatula to transfer them to a sheet of foil on the counter to cool completely.
- Store cookies in a container at room temperature or in the fridge.
- Volume Measurements:
- 225 grams butter = 1 cup
- 50 grams sugar = ¼ cup
- Gluten-free flours are best measured by weight for the best results.
- Make sure the butter is room temperature so it is easier to blend with the sugar.
- Refrigerating the dough for 30-40 minutes before shaping into balls allows the butter to firm up and makes the dough easier to handle.
- Be sure to use jam or preserves, not jelly.
- Make the dough ahead and keep it in the fridge. On the day of baking, let the dough sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes so the dough is soft enough to handle and roll into balls.
- Sweetened coconut flakes can be substituted for unsweetened. They may need to be pressed more into the cookies to stick and they will make your cookies slightly sweeter.
- Skip the coconut completely, if desired.
- Be sure not to overfill the indents with jam. I use about ¼. Any more and the jam may bubble over.
- These cookies will hold together better when eaten a day after making them, or if they are kept chilled. They are delicious on the same day of baking, but will be more crumbly.
- Recipe inspired and adapted from Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprint Cookies.
**This recipe was originally published December 15th, 2019 and updated December 5th, 2022 with new photos, new writing, and updated recipe.
Lisa, I am wondering if you've tried another flour instead of rice flour. I can't use rice, so I was thinking of subbing another GF flour in it's place, any suggestions? Thanks.
Hey Maria! While I have not tried substituting the rice flour myself, oat, millet, sorghum, or buckwheat are all possible options you can try (although buckwheat will affect the color). Let me know if you try one of these and thanks for the question!
So Lisa, I had buckwheat, but thought it might be too strong. I decided to go with chickpea flour. The cookies actually turned out great, my son is really loving them. They hold their shape and are slightly crisp, with a slightly nutty taste. But I think I will take this same recipe, using the chickpea flour and make tea cakes. I think this dough will work great, keep their round shape and covering them with powder sugar will add a nice bit of sweetness. Anyway, it worked out well, better than I expected.
Thanks so much for checking back in, Maria! I'm really glad to hear that chickpea flour worked as I have never used it! I'm so glad you and your son like it and tea cakes sound like an awesome idea!
Does 1 egg go in the batter or is that only egg wash? I made these and they just spread on the cookie sheet to be completely flat. 2nd batch is baking now in cupcake liners-
Hoping that works.
The egg is only for the egg wash. The cookie is a shortbread, so there is no egg in the dough itself. The egg wash merely acts as a glue for the shredded coconut. I hope that helps, Zelka.
Half a cup butter is only 113 grams. That's a huge difference. I wonder which is correct, the half a cup or the 225g? Thanks.
When I made these with 1/2 cup of butter they didn't come together. I ended up adding a few tbsp water but they turned out very crumbly. I would assume the grams measurement is correct but it should be 1 cup butter, not a half.
I'm so sorry, Lauren. It was a typo on my part and the 225g/1 cup measurement is correct. I have corrected the recipe to show the correct volume measurement. I hope you'll give the cookies another try. Thanks for your comment.
No problem! Thank you for your clarification!
Big apologies, Erika. The weight measurement of 225g is correct and the "1/2 cup" note was a complete typo on my part. I have updated it to reflect the correct "1 cup" equivalent measurement.
All good:) Banking them today.
Wonderful! Please let me know how they turn out!
I LOVE thumbprint cookies. There's something so cute and delightful about them. And yet, I feel like I'm often let-down by them if they're not homemade (not enough filling, methinks). These look incredible, and I love the cakey, crumbly consistency you managed to get without using conventional flour. Cheers!
These sound so delicious and I love that they're gluten-free!
These are great! Gluten-free holiday baking can be so frustrating, but these are beautiful!
Thanks, Marieke! Yes, those on gluten-free diets should be able to enjoy their holiday cookies, too, right?
So good and so simple! I love this reliable recipe with wholesome real ingredients. Thanks for sharing Lisa!
Love thumbprint cookies! And I love the simplicity of this recipe. Happy holidays!
Thanks, Jessica! Happy Holidays to you, too!
Thumbprint cookies are a tradition for us, and I love the crumbly texture of these ones, Lisa. Since I need to bake some gluten free now, I can't wait to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Colleen. Let me know when you make them!