These lemon thumbprints are made with a melt-in-your-mouth buttery almond cookie and filled with zesty lemon curd.
I can’t tell you how much I adore these cookies. ♡
They’re like little lemony rays of sunshine and just so yummy and perfect for springtime.
I’ve been playing around with this recipe for the past few months and have finally landed on the balance of flavors that I think you’re going to love. The thumbprint cookie base here has a light melt-in-your-mouth texture, it’s sweet but not too sweet, perfectly buttery, and accented with hints of almond and vanilla. Each cookie then is filled with generous pools of tart lemon curd — well-worth the extra 15 minutes to make homemade, by the way — which perfectly complements the cookies with a burst of zippy, sweet, lemony flavor in each bite.
They’re seriously the most delightful little cookies and our friends have raved every time we’ve served them. So if you love a good lemony cookie, I hope you’ll give them a try!
Lemon Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients
Here are a few brief notes about the ingredients you will need to make these lemon thumbprints:
Lemon curd: As mentioned above, I highly recommend making a batch of homemade lemon curd for these cookies if you have an extra 15 minutes! It’s easy to make with 5 ingredients and using freshly-squeezed lemon juice really makes the flavor pop. That said, if you’re in a pinch, store-bought lemon curd will work just fine here too.
All-purpose flour: We’ve tested these cookies using traditional all-purpose flour and gluten-free all-purpose flour and both work well!
Almond flour: We will also add some almond flour to the cookie dough for texture and extra almond-y flavor.
Salt: Necessary to bring out the best of these delicious flavors! (Feel free to add an additional sprinkle of flaky sea salt to finish, if you like a salty cookie.)
Butter: This recipe uses unsalted butter, but if you only have salted butter on hand, just omit the 1/2 teaspoon of salt included in the recipe.
Sugar: Cane sugar or basic white granulated sugar can be used to sweeten the cookies.
Vanilla and almond extracts: We recommend using a hint of both extracts.
Lemon zest: We will add the zest of one lemon to give the cookie base a hint of lemony flavor too.
Tips For Making These Thumbprint Cookies
Full instructions are included in the recipe box below, but here are a few additional tips for making these lemon curd thumbprint cookies:
Make the lemon curd first. If you do, in fact, decide to make homemade lemon curd for this recipe, I recommend making it first so that it can have some time to cool in the refrigerator before filling.
Use a rounded teaspoon. Traditional thumbprint cookies are indented with (yes) your thumb, which can totally work. But if you’re interested in more uniform, even indents, I find it’s easiest to use a round 1-teaspoon measuring spoon.
Don’t worry if the dough cracks. As you can see from the photos, this dough does not use eggs and is meant to be a touch on the drier side, so it’s totally okay if it cracks a bit as you make the indents.
You’re welcome to add the curd before or after baking. I personally like the texture of the lemon curd better when it is added after baking, so that it’s still a bit soft. But it’s equally delicious added to the thumbprints before baking, which allows it to set up much more quickly. If you do choose the latter, be sure not to overfill the cookies to prevent the lemon curd from leaking out while baking.
Here are a few additional ways that you’re welcome to customize this recipe if you would like:
Add flaky salt: Sprinkle on a pinch of flaky sea salt to the cookies after adding the lemon curd.
Add ginger: Add a teaspoon of ground ginger to the dough if you would like a hint of ginger flavor.
Use a different type of citrus: Use orange, lime or grapefruit in place of the lemon.
Make it gluten-free: Use a gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour blend in place of traditional all-purpose flour.
Make it vegan: Use vegan butter and a vegan lemon curd.
More Lemon Dessert Recipes
Looking for more lemon dessert recipes to enjoy? Here are a few of our favorites:
1/2 cup (115g ) cane sugar (or white granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon curd
Prep oven and baking sheet.Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix dry ingredients.In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and salt until combined.
Mix the dough.Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or see hand mixer instructions below). Using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for about 1 minute, or until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon zest and briefly mix to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Form the dough.Roll the dough into 1.5-tablespoon balls (about 20 grams each) and place a few inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Use a round teaspoon or your thumb or the bottom of a wooden spoon to press an indent into each dough ball.*
Bake.Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until the cookies are very lightly golden. Transfer the pan to a wire baking rack. Use the same teaspoon/spoon/thumb to immediately re-indent the cookies while they are still soft, then fill with lemon curd.
Lemon curd timing: Feel free to add the lemon curd before baking (at the end of step 4) or after baking (as written in step 5). Both approaches taste great but yield a slightly different texture. If you add the lemon curd before baking, it will set up immediately. If you add the lemon curd after baking, it will still be a bit soft and spreadable.
These looks delicious!
Could you recommend a replacement for the almond flour? I would love to bring to my school for staff, but we have nut allergies. Thoughts?
Does the lemon curd not get sticky or ooze out once added?
Hi Ali, just finished baking these, including homemade lemon curd of course. They are absolute delicious. Thank you for this great recipe. It’s a keeper for sure. How and how long shall I store them ?
Best regards from up north
I just made the lemon thumbprint cookies and have the same questions you asked- how do I store them and for how long? Do they need refridgerated? Did you ever receive an answer? thought I’d reach out to you to see.
THhank you for your help if you have any.
I don’t see the hand mixer instructions listed
These turned out great. I baked 12 minutes, made a thumbprint, added lemon curd and baked about 4 minutes more. Helped to “set” the curd. I baked one batch too long and the cookies turned too brown and the curd turned a dark yellow. Not as pretty. Watch carefully.
Any storage suggestions? I’d like to make ahead of time for a party but don’t want them to be soggy.
Can you freeze these cookies?
How long can one keep this in an airtight packaging?????
Do we have to use almond flour? Is there a replacement?
Wow. These were so simple and turned out fantastic. I baked 1 pan (13 min on an air bake cookie sheet). Of course, I hadn’t made the lemon curd in advance, so I made the curd and will fill the ones I baked tonight in the morning when the lemon curd is cool. And, I will bake the rest and test out the partial bake with lemon curd! The cookie itself is really perfect. Also, I use King Arthur flour 120g/cup, and I bought Trader Joe’s almond flour, so I followed g/cup listed on the bag (30g/1/4 cup) for a total of 160g ….
I made these today and they are so good! Cannot wait to share them. Thank you!
Can I make these without the almond flour and extract? I love almonds but I recently developed an allergy to them, outta nowhere! 😢
These were perfect!!