These thumbprint-style apricot cream cheese cookies include cream cheese in the dough, so they’re extra tender and soft. They’re flavored with almond extract and refreshing lemon zest, rolled in sliced almonds for a little crunch, and filled with apricot jam or preserves. Strawberry, peach, or raspberry are also delicious!
Tell Me About These Apricot Cream Cheese Cookies
- Texture: Have you ever tried lemon ricotta cookies before? These apricot cream cheese thumbprint cookies have a similar melt-in-your-mouth texture with the bonus of a jammy filling. In fact, if cream cheese pound cake was a cookie, it’d be this. The almonds add a little crunch, so if you crave a little texture contrast– don’t skip them.
- Flavor: When I first tested this recipe, I kept the cookie dough plain. It’s sweet with a little tang, but benefits from extra flavor. In another test batch, I added lemon zest for a fresh zing and almond extract, both of which pair beautifully with the apricot center. If you enjoy soft and fruity cookies, you’ll enjoy biting into these!
- Ease: Mixing the cookie dough together is pretty easy, but assembly requires a little extra effort– rolling the dough balls, coating in almonds, making a thumbprint, and filling with jam. Take your time and don’t rush.
- Time: Set aside enough time to chill the cookie dough. We use enough cream cheese in the dough to make a uniquely tender cookie, but it also creates a very sticky creamy dough. This dough needs time in the refrigerator to thicken properly before shaping and baking. As you wait– and if you need more cookies– bake some no chill cookies like these crunchy crisp lace cookies.
Overview: How to Make Cream Cheese Apricot Cookies
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the recipe so you understand each step before you get started.
- Make the cookie dough. This is a pretty straightforward cookie dough, but includes the addition of extra creamy cream cheese. In step 2 below, cream cheese and butter should be thoroughly mixed together before adding the sugar. The two are different textures– cream cheese is much softer than butter. My tip is to beat the cream cheese in your mixer until very soft and smooth. Then add the softened butter and beat together until combined.
- Chill the cookie dough. After you combine the wet and dry ingredients as detailed in the recipe below, it’s imperative to let the dough set in the refrigerator.
- Roll dough into balls. Measure 1 Tablespoon of chilled cookie dough per cookie and roll into balls. Even after chilling, this dough is sticky. I find it’s helpful to lightly coat your hands in flour or confectioners’ sugar as you work– but only if dough seems wet. Roll each dough ball in sliced almonds, an optional addition but the crunch is delicious. Make an indent into each coated ball and fill with jam or preserves. My hack for thumbprint cookies? Use the end of a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. You can see how I do that in my caramel apple spice thumbprints recipe. Of course you can use your thumb, but this way isn’t as messy.
- Bake, then cool cookies.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Optional, but a snowy finishing touch is always pretty.
If you’re not into almond & apricot, here are some other suggestions:
- Strawberry Pecan: Skip the almond extract and lemon zest. Roll in finely chopped pecans and fill with strawberry jam.
- Blackberry Almond: Swap apricot jam or preserves for blackberry jam or preserves.
- Apple Butter Walnut: Skip the almond extract and lemon zest. Roll in finely chopped walnuts and fill with apple butter.
- Blueberry: Swap apricot jam or preserves with blueberry. (If you need a recommendation, I really like Bonne Maman wild blueberry preserves.)
More Favorite Thumbprint Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints
- Peanut Butter Jam Thumbprints
- Caramel Apple Spice Thumbprints
- Raspberry Almond Thumbprints (Shortbread Style)
Apricot Cream Cheese Cookies
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours (includes chilling)
- Yield: 40 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These thumbprint-style apricot cream cheese cookies include cream cheese in the dough, so they’re extra tender and soft. They’re flavored with almond extract and refreshing lemon zest, rolled in sliced almonds for a little crunch, and filled with apricot jam.
- 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces (170g) block full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Rolling & Filling
- 6–7 Tablespoons (120-140g) apricot jam or preserves*
- optional: 3/4 cup (95g) sliced almonds
- optional: 3 Tablespoons (23g) confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the butter and beat until combined, scraping down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on low until combined. Dough will be very creamy, sticky, and soft. Cover and chill the dough for at least 3 hours (and up to 4 days) in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll into balls, 1 Tablespoon of dough each. Dough gets sticky as you roll, so feel free to lightly dust your hands with all-purpose flour or confectioners’ sugar as you work. Roll each ball into sliced almonds. Arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Indent your thumb or the bottom end of a rubber spatula or wooden spoon into the center of each dough ball to make a crevice. Spoon a heaping 1/2 teaspoon jam/preserves into each indent. *These cookies do have the tendency to spread especially if the dough has been sitting out and handled long enough before baking. Placing the shaped thumbprints in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before baking helps. You can place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator, then place in the oven to bake.*
- Bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. The jam won’t look completely set, but will set as the cookies cool.
- Remove from the oven. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Sugar usually melts into the jam centers, but remains on the cookie edges.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (see step 3). You can also freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll in almonds, make an indent into each, and fill with jam before baking. Baked cookies with jam filling and with or without confectioners’ sugar dusting, freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving.
- Cream Cheese: Use 2/3 of an 8 ounce block of full-fat cream cheese. Do not use cream cheese spread or whipped cream cheese. Do not use the whole block either– that’s too much and the cookies will over-spread. If using low fat or fat free, keep in mind that the texture of the cookies will be different. They won’t be as rich and could spread more. I recommend full-fat.
- Jam: Use any jam, jelly, or preserves you enjoy. Apricot and peach are two favorites with this dough. I usually use Bonne Maman apricot preserves.
- Lemon Zest, Almond Extract, and Sliced Almonds: Feel free to leave out the lemon zest or replace with orange zest. You can skip the almond extract. No need to replace with anything, but you could replace with 1 teaspoon lemon juice if desired. Rolling in sliced almonds is optional. Sliced almonds are best for rolling since they’re flat. Feel free to skip them or replace with chopped almonds, chopped pecans, or chopped hazelnuts.
Keywords: thumbprint cookies, apricot, cream cheese
Reader Comments & Reviews
I love your recipes. I forgot the egg when I made these cookies (that’s what I get for multitasking) but they still came out great, fluffy and creamy and wonderful.
I like these cookies but they’re not for everyone. The flavors are subtle and light. The combination of almond, lemon, and vanilla imparts a danish-like flavor. If you like a light-flavored cookie this is it. If you are expecting a flavor punch, this is not it. I used a fruit spread which made the flavor even more subtle. If I make these again, I’d use regular preserves to create more depth.
This recipe really didn’t work for me. The dough is very sticky, so you can’t easily portion with a cookie scoop and forming indentations for filling is a frustrating and sloppy process. This cakey cookie puffs up a lot in the oven which results in a high cookie to filling ratio which is not how I’d like a cookie
If I was looking for a soft cookie, I’d probably go with a more flavorful ricotta cookie, and if I wanted a thumbprint, I’d go with a denser cookie.
I love all of your recipes and (almost) always stick to the recipe. This morning, I didn’t have sliced almonds for the apricot cream cheese cookies. What I did have was a package of pistachios and recently made candied orange peels. I chopped those two together in the food processor and rolled the cookie balls in the mixture. OH MY GOODNESS! Two thumbs up!!
Sorry, this is a question rather than a review! I have some salted caramel left over from the apple cheesecake pie I made for Thanksgiving (don’t ask me how!). I want to use it in some thumbprint cookies. Do you think I can replace the jam in this recipe and fill with the caramel instead? I would drop in after baking, so it would harden up while the cookies cool and meld together. I’d also leave out the lemon zest. Please let me know if you think this will work!
Hi Jennifer, that should work just fine! We use salted caramel in these similar caramel apple thumbprint cookies. Let us know how they turn out for you!
We have nut allergies in our family, do you think sunflower seeds would be an appropriate sub for the almonds? Thanks
Hi Shelley, that should be fine or you can simply omit them. We make them without often!
Is the recipe 6 oz. which is 3/4 of the block of cream cheese or 2/3 of block?
Hi Lynn, a standard full block of cream cheese is 8oz, so you’ll need 3/4 of the block.
Any thoughts on using a
Gluten free flour? Almond?
Hi Jessica, We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flours, but your best bet would be a 1:1 flour substitute (like Cup4Cup). If you try it, let us know how it goes!
These are so good. I used peach preserves and loved the result. Mine looked a little messier but, the taste is the important thing!
I almost strictly bake Sally’s recipes. I also know from experience that almost everything is a tad to sweet for me. Usually I remedy that with kosher salt. These cookies are great though! I made no edits. I want to put a lemon glaze over them next time (like in the blueberry lemon scone recipe that i make constantly.)
Also, these are pretty foolproof. Read the _whole_ post. This is one of the only sites where I enjoy the entire recipe post because it gives tips, tricks and context. This one is good for toddlers as well. They like to roll the balls through the almonds.
Do you think if I added more flour that would keep them from flattening no much
Hi Jennie, it may take some testing to use Neufchâtel cheese and extra flour to make up for the thinner cheese. Let us know if you give it a try!
I only have Neufchâtel cream cheese. Do you think it would be ok to use in this recipe?
Hi Jennie! Neufchâtel cheese is softer than cream cheese and may result in a softer dough that spreads too much when baked.
Do I have to roll in almonds my sister who I am making for today does not like almonds.
Hi Sam, you can leave out the almonds if desired.
I accidentally misread this recipe and added 1/4 tsp baking powder instead of 1/4 tsp salt. I went back and tried to add in the salt but of course the baking powder was already incorporated. Do you think these will still work?
Hi Rhetta, the texture will likely be a bit different with the addition of the baking powder, but it’s still worth a shot to bake them up.
I accidentally added the whole 8oz of cream cheese!! What should I do? Add a little more flor and sugar??
I made these and agree that they are more like cakey- good but not my favorite
1 MILLION STARS!! I made these around the holidays last year and will be making them again this week. They are not overly sweet and have a great texture.
Could I roll these in dessicated coconut rather than any of the nut options? Also, would you recommend sweetened or unsweetened coconut? Thanks!
Hi Ella! Coconut acts more like a dry ingredient than a mix-in in baked goods. It would take some testing to get right – that said, we would try sweetened coconut. Let us know if you give it a shot!
I doubled the recipe to make more.I chilled the dough overnight.
I have made thumbprint cookies before and they were usually very buttery and somewhat crumbly. I was a bit disappointed with this recipe because it came out more cake-like in texture rather than buttery as I was expecting.
The recipe does say that these are extra soft and flavored with lemon and almond extract. They cube out larger and softer than most store bought thumbprints.
I don’t have cream cheese on hand. But I do have full fat Greek Yogurt, full fat sour cream, and heavy cream. Which of these would work best has a substitute for the cream cheese? And what would be the substitution ratio?
Hi Nina, we haven’t tested any of those substitutions, so we’re unsure of the results and how they might impact the dough. For best results, we recommend waiting until you can use cream cheese.
I am a huge fan ! I make most of your quick breads and muffins recipes. Thank you! This is the first time I make these Apricot Thumbprints. They taste amazing. Soft and buttery with Bonne Maman apricot preserves. I used toasted pecans because that’s what I had on hand as well as orange zest. My family really enjoyed them. I baked a dozen and froze the rest of the cookie balls until next week. Thank you for your wonderful recipe!!
Super easy to make and taste great! I only got 23 cookies so maybe my Tablespoon scoop is bigger than yours!
I just made these for Easter and everyone absolutely raved about them! They are the perfect cookie! Texture was amazing, packed with flavor and they looked bakery made! I can’t wait to swap in different flavors!! Thanks Sally!!!!!!
Yum! My mom used to make these every year around Christmas. Hers were more like shortbread. I like these better (shh don’t tell!). I used your lemon curd recipe to fill, and rolled in chopped pecans. Next time I might incorporate the nuts directly into the dough instead.
I absolutely loved how the cookies turned out!! So moist yet well-structured, perfectly complimenting flavors, and the extra crunch of almond slivers…heaven! Thank you so much, Sally for another amazing recipe! These cookies were mildly sweet, barring the jam of course, which I loved although now I am wondering if I accidentally measured the sugar wrong. Are these cookies expected to be mildly sweet?
Hi Ritz, thank you for your positive feedback! Yes, these could be considered a mildly sweet cookie. We’re so glad to hear you enjoyed them.
Hi, can you make the dough and freeze it to make the cookies closer to Christmas?
Sure can, Stacey. See the freezing instructions in the recipe notes.
I made this recipe today and it’s delicious. I filled the centers with wildberry preserve and used orange zest. I doubled the recipe as I was doing little giveaways for my friends.
I made these for my fiancé’s parents and they were a hit! The cookies were soft, buttery, and not too sweet. I like how the recipe is flexible and you can chill the dough for up to 4 days before baking. I am definitely going to make these again with other flavors like strawberry, blueberry etc. Thank you for a great recipe!