These are the best gluten-free thumbprint cookies. Made with cassava flour, filled with raspberry jam, and drizzled with a delectable almond glaze. Soft, buttery and the perfect amount of sweetness. These cookies are perfect for your holiday cookie tray.
Oh, holiday baking! I have a love/hate relationship with you... first, I want all the sweet flavorful goodness from holiday baked goods, but second I hate all the refined ingredients that come along with them. However, sometimes the refined ingredients win, as is the case with these cookies.
This recipe isn't a typical "clean plate mama" recipe, as it does contain refined sugar (unrefined sugar just wouldn't be the same here). But I do use cassava flour for these gluten-free thumbprint cookies. Cassava flour is a single ingredient gluten-free flour that can typically be used as a replacement for regular flour in baking. It is not highly processed and is grain free, so it's a great alternative in gluten-free baking.
If you're new to thumbprint cookies, these little gems are a type of shortbread cookie that are traditionally filled with jam. I like using raspberry jam, but you can you us any flavor, or ty my homemade chia jam.
Why You'll Love These Cookies
- Grain free - Not only are these cookies gluten free, but they are also grain free thanks to the cassava flour.
- Easy - These thumbprint cookies require only 7 ingredients and minimal prep time!
- Soft and buttery - These cookies have a soft, buttery, melt in your mouth texture.
- Tart and sweet - The tartness of the raspberry jam is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the cookies.
- Cassava flour - This recipe is written specifically using cassava flour, which is gluten free and grain free. I have not tried subbing any other gluten-free flour, so I can't guarantee the same results if you use a different flour. I recommend either Otto's Naturals or Terrasoul cassava flour.
- Butter - Be sure to use room temperature butter.
- Sugar - I use organic cane sugar (I know it's refined, and that's so not like me, but once in while a recipe really is just better with the refined stuff... but hey, I use organic so it's cleaner).
A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
Variations and Substitutions
For dairy-free thumbprint cookies, swap the butter for coconut oil (use refined coconut oil so you don't get the coconut taste) or a vegan butter substitute.
You can really use any flavor jam you'd like. If raspberry isn't your thing, strawberry or apricot would be great options.
How to Make
Making these gluten-free thumbprint cookies is SO incredibly easy. You'll be making these holiday favorites time and time again.
But, plan ahead. You will need to let the dough chill for 1 hour before making the cookies, and then you'll need the cookies to cool for 15 minutes or so before adding the glaze.
Step 1: Using a hand held mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat on med-high for roughly 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add egg and almond extract to butter mixture and then beat on low-speed until egg is incorporated.
Step 3: Add cassava flour to butter/sugar mixture, about ½ cup at a time. Continue mixing on low speed until all flour has been incorporated.
Step 4: Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. After dough has been refrigerated, roll dough into balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Use roughly 1.5 tbsp. of dough for each ball.
PRO TIP: After you have rolled your dough into balls, lightly grease the bottom of a glass cup, or measuring cup, and slightly flatten each ball (this will help get the perfectly round shape you want in your thumbprint cookie and will also help to keep the dough from cracking).
Step 5: Using the back of a 1 tsp. measuring spoon, make an indent in each ball of dough.
Step 6: Fill each indent with jam. Bake at 350-degrees F for 14-16 minutes, or until bottom edges are lightly golden.
PRO TIP: Cassava flour dough is a little stickier than regular dough - to keep the tsp. from sticking, dip the back of the teaspoon into cassava flour before making the indents.
Step 7: Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar (also called confectioner's sugar), almond extract, and water.
Step 8: Allow cookies to fully cool and then drizzle each cookie with the glaze.
Tips and Notes for the Best Cookies
Be sure to remember these tips so your cookies come out perfect every time!
- Use room temperature butter and not butter that has been softened in the microwave.
- Be sure to fully beat the butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy as this helps with the soft texture of the cookies.
- To avoid cracking, tightly roll each ball of dough in your hands making sure the balls are smooth. You can lightly flour your hands if dough is sticky. Also, make sure cookies are put on a cooled cookie sheet for baking. If they touch a warm sheet prior to baking they may start to melt and are more likely to spread and crack.
- After you have rolled your dough into balls, lightly grease the bottom of a glass cup, or measuring cup, and slightly flatten each ball. This helps to get a perfectly round shape for your cookies.
- Before making the indent in the dough balls, dip the back of your teaspoon in cassava flour; this will keep the teaspoon from sticking to the dough.
- Let the cookies cool for about 20 minutes before making the glaze and drizzling over the cookies. If the cookies are warm, the glaze will melt all over the cookies.
Storing and Freezing
Storing: These gluten-free thumbprint cookies should be stored in an airtight container. They will stay fresh up to 3 days at room temperature, or you can store in the fridge for 5-6 days.
Freezing: To freeze, store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw at room temperature before eating.
Yes, you can. I prefer jam. I think jam tastes better and I like the pieces of fruit, but with that said, jelly will also work.
You can also try my homemade chia seed jam for an even cleaner/healthier option.
The key to keeping these nice and round is letting the dough chill before rolling into balls. And keep the dough in the fridge between batches.
Baking the cookies with the jam helps the jam to firm up, so I don't recommend adding after you bake the cookies (or you'll end up with stick/messy cookies).
More Gluten-free Holiday Treats to Try!
Gluten-free Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 Mixing bowl
- 1 electric hand mixer
- 1-2 Baking sheets
For the Cookies
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- ¾ tsp. almond extract
- 1 ¾ cups cassava flour
- ¼ cup raspberry jam
For the Glaze
- ¾ cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tbsp. water
- This cookie dough requires 1 hour of chilling - make sure to plan ahead!
- Using a hand-held mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat on med-high speed for 1-2 minutes until fluffy and creamy.
- Add the egg and almond extract and mix on med-low until just combined.
- With mixer on low, slowly add in the cassava flour ½ cup at a time. Continue mixing until all of the cassava flour has been added and mixed in.
- Place dough in the fridge and allow to chill for one hour (no need to cover the dough).
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Using about 1 ½ tbsp. of dough per cookie, roll the cookie dough into balls and place on one of the prepared cookie sheets. Slightly flatten each ball of dough using the bottom of a glass cup or measuring cup (dip the bottom of the cup on flour to avoid sticking).
- Using a 1 tsp. measuring spoon, make an indent in each ball of dough (dip the bottom of the teaspoon in flour to avoid sticking). Fill each cookie with roughly ½ tsp. of jam.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, or just until cookies are slightly browned on the bottom edges. You don't want to overbake... the softer the better! Allow cookies to slightly cool and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Repeat steps 7-9 until all dough has been used.
- Allow the cookies to cool for about 20 minutes and then make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle over cookies. Allow glaze to set before eating or storing.
- Use the "spoon and level" method when measuring the cassava flour.
- Slightly flattening each dough ball will help get the perfectly round shape and help to keep the dough from cracking. Lightly grease the bottom of a glass (or measuring cup) to do so. See pictures in full blog post as needed.
- If working in batches, keep dough in the fridge and use room temperature cookie sheets for baking.