Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies are a great recipe to add to your repertoire for year-round baking. The combination of sweet buttery cookies filled with rich and tart lemon curd is endlessly satisfying. These little beauties are perfect in the spring and summer for a light, tangy treat and are sure to stand out at your cookie exchange over the holidays.
Why We Love This Recipe
- These thumbprint cookies with lemon curd are endlessly riffable with different fillings.
- With under 10 ingredients, it is simple to throw together any night of the week.
- These lemon curd cookies have the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
- Unsalted, softened butter
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon zest (optional)
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Ground nutmeg (optional)
- Lemon curd - you can use store bought or homemade
See recipe card below for quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Use your favorite jelly or jam to fill the cookies in place of the lemon curd. Or, feel free to mix and match to have different varieties in one batch of cookies!
- For a more decadent version of these lemon filled cookies, omit the lemon zest and fill each delicious cookie with chocolate-hazelnut spread.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In the large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or using an electric mixer, beat the room temperature butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, then add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and nutmeg if using.
Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a cohesive dough forms.
Step 4: Roll cookie dough into 1 tablespoon-sized dough balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart. With the back of a small cookie scoop or your finger, press into the middle of each cookie dough ball to create a deep indentation. Refrigerate the cookie dough for 30-60 minutes.
Step 5: Bake cookies at 350°F for about 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and fill the center of each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd. Turn the oven off, and place the cookies back in the oven for an additional 2 minutes. If the lemon curd is not smooth on top, gently shake the pan until smooth. Cool the lemon curd cookies on a wire rack.
Tip #1 - Adding the lemon zest to the cookie dough ensures a bright, lemony flavor in every bite of these lemon thumbprint cookies.
Tip #2 - Don't skip the chill! It's important to refrigerate the dough before baking so your lemon filled cookies hold their classic thumbprint shape and don't spread.
Tip #3 - The nutmeg in the cookie dough adds a warm, unique spice. My grandma always adds it to her sugar cookies! If you don't have nutmeg on hand or you don't love the flavor, simply leave it out.
Tip #4 - For quick and easy cookies, use store-bought lemon curd! My favorite kind is from Trader Joe's, but you should be able to find it in any grocery store by the fruit preserves. If you'd like to make your own, I recommend this lemon curd recipe.
Refrigerating cookie dough before baking allows the butter to begin to harden and reduces spreading in the oven.
Baking soda and powder are leavening agents that help baked goods rise. However, these cookies are meant to maintain the shape we give them, so we don't want them to rise.
These cute cookies get their name from the filled dimple in the center, often created using your thumb to create a thumbprint in the dough.
Room Temperature: These cookies should not be stored in the refrigerator.
Refrigerator: Store cookies with lemon curd in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Freezer: Store baked, unfilled thumbprint cookies in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, bring to room temperature and fill. If you'd like to freeze the dough, I recommend rolling and indenting each cookie, flash freezing them on a sheet, and then transferring them into a freezer-safe bag for up to 1 month.
Did you try this recipe? I'd love to see it! Tag @brokenovenbaking on Instagram & Facebook and leave a ⭐️ review below!
Easy Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies
- Cookie sheet
- Cookie scoop 4-teaspoon capacity
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Hand mixer or stand mixer recommended
- Wire cooling rack
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest optional
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour weighed in grams (see metric tab) or spooned & leveled
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
- ¼ cup lemon curd store-bought or homemade
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes on medium speed). Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and nutmeg. Stir them into the wet ingredients until no flour streaks remain.
- Scoop and roll cookie dough balls, then place them on a cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart. Press into the centers with the back of the cookie scoop to create a deep well. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes while the oven preheats to 350°F/177°C.
- Bake cookies for 8 minutes, then carefully fill each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd. Turn off the oven and place the cookies back inside for 2 minutes. If needed, shake the tray gently to smooth out the lemon curd.
- Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.