Apricot Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

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!

cream cheese apricot cookies rolled in sliced almonds and topped with powdered sugar

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.

a stack of 3 cream cheese apricot jam 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake, then cool cookies.
  5. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Optional, but a snowy finishing touch is always pretty.

cream cheese cookie dough shown on flat paddle mixer attachment

cream cheese cookie dough balls shaped with apricot jam in center

cream cheese thumbprint cookies with apricot jam on baking sheet

Other Flavors:

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.)

cream cheese apricot thumbprint cookies on cooling rack

More Favorite Thumbprint Cookies

Print
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cream cheese thumbprint cookies with apricot jam in the center

Apricot Cream Cheese Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours (includes chilling)
  • Yield: 40 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) 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; 115gunsalted 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

  • 67 Tablespoons (120-140g) apricot jam or preserves*
  • optional: 3/4 cup (95g) sliced almonds
  • optional: 3 Tablespoons (23g) confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. 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.*
  6. 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.
  7. Remove from the oven. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once cool, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Sugar usually melts into the jam centers, but remains on the cookie edges.
  9. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

cream cheese thumbprint cookies with apricot jam in the center

54 Comments

  1. This looks so good! I will definitely try this during the holidays.

  2. I tried this and It turned out awesome. Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. Kimberly Willison says:

    Wondering if I could roll them in sanding sugar before baking to give a little glisten. What do you think?

  4. I love making thumbprints. And thank you for the options! My family aren’t apricot fans, but the strawberry and pecans will be a big hit!

    1. Enjoy, Barb! Let me know how the strawberry and pecan combo is.

  5. Would orange marmalade work?

  6. I was planning on making thumbprints and love the idea of having a cream cheese cookie. I think I will try this recipe but I have a question. Can I roll the dough into balls before chilling it for the three hours?

    1. Hi Leah, the dough is incredibly sticky and creamy right after mixing. It will be impossible to roll. Even a cookie scoop could get messy!

  7. This looks really good!
    But I do have a question, I’m not really into fruit preserves or jams, but I love almond. So could I put almond paste (mixed with a few other things to get it softer) in the middle instead of jam.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Emma! I’m sure you could. Maybe a frangipane filling of sorts? I haven’t tested this though.

  8. I think I will be making these as soon as I go buy more cream cheese. As far as dusting your hands with flour goes, I have a nut horn/kiffles recipe that’s cream cheese based that you roll in powdered sugar so they don’t dry out as much. Would that work here?

    1. Confectioners’ sugar works too!

  9. Made the cookies. Delicious and soft cookies.

  10. Hi Sally! I made these today, but they spread a ton in the oven, puffed up, and preserves ended up everywhere! Of course they’re still tasty though! I chilled for a little over 3 hours. Do you have any idea what might’ve gone wrong?

    1. Hi Megan! Did you chill the shaped thumbprints before baking? In addition to chilling the dough as you mention, I find that chilling the prepared cookie help, otherwise they do tend to spread a bit. I’m glad they were still delicious for you! Happy to help troubleshoot further, too.

      1. I think perhaps in my haste to have some cookies, I failed to do this… 🙂 will definitely chill them again the next time I make them! Thank you!

  11. Debbie Martelli says:

    Sally,
    I found Christmas Jam at our local Farmer’s Market and I purchased it. Well it’s delicious; it has strawberries, cranberries and citrus. Do you think this would still pair well with the almond extract and almonds if I used this instead of Apricot? Or should I go in a different direction? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Debbie, That sounds delicious! Yes, it should work well in these cookies. Enjoy!

  12. Hi Sally and Friends,

    Make these every Christmas and always get rave reviews. This year I made an adjustment. Used orange zest, omitted the almond extract, rolled in crushed walnuts and filled with Fig Jam. These are delicious!

  13. I made these today, sooo, sooo good!
    For all the ones in Europe or in countries where cream cheese cannot be found as a “block”: Cream the butter first and add the cream cheese after until combined and follow the instructions as stated.
    I also reduced the granulated sugar to 150 grams and used my own and homemade apricot jam, yum!

    1. Thank you for the positive feedback, Jenny – I’m so glad these were a success for you!

  14. Jacinta Chavez says:

    Hi Sally,

    Just curious why these cookies only baking soda? Is there benefit of doing this vs just baking powder? I read you article about this, but was wondering about this particular cookie!

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Jacinta, there’s quite a bit of acid in this cookie dough so that’s why I prefer to use baking soda. While they’re pretty soft, they aren’t light and cakey as, say, these cakey sugar cookies because there’s not as much lift from the addition of baking powder. Baking soda keeps them a little firmer around the edges with a tighter crumb (similar to a pound cake). Hope this makes sense– just my thought process as I test.

  15. What do you think of putting the jam on, after they have baked ?

    1. Hi Surati, you can certainly do that but the jam will be wet. Baking it in the cookies helps it set.

  16. Would you recommend toasting the almond slivers first? Or they get toasty enough when baking?

    1. Hi Alexandra, you certainly can but they get pretty toasty as the cookies bake.

  17. Kristan Lau-Easton says:

    So I made these cookies exactly as directed except I used peach jam I made instead of apricot. Rolled in almonds, dusted with icing sugar, etc. Etc. OMG these cookies are amazing, I’ll be using this recipe for all eternity. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you loved these, Kristan! I bet they were delicious with your homemade peach jam.

  18. These were so delicious, unlike any cookie I’ve ever had! So moist and flavorful.

  19. I made these with raspberry jam and orange zest because that’s what I had. They are delicious! I chilled mine overnight and they were easy to roll the next day, and I had very little spreading.

    1. Love that flavor combo, Valerie! Thanks so much for your positive feedback.

  20. Hi! Loved the recipe. I’ve made this with a few alterations to cut down on sugar and butter, and as a result the cookies tasted amazing, with a soft texture.
    For the flour I only used 200g of all-purpose and 115 of oatmeal flour. I used low-fat cream cheese and instead of all butter, I swapped 70g of it for coconut oil at similar texture than the room temperature butter. I replaced the sugary contents for 70g of cane sugar (panela) and two tablespoons of agave syrup. I also used two teaspoons of lemon zest (my personal preference). I did not have almond extract but doubled on the vanilla one. I think the oatmeal flour compensated very well with the extra liquid ingredients and the cookies were nothing short of sweet, considering I used strawberry jam. Thanks for the contents 🙂

  21. I made these yesterday and they were a hit with the whole family! The cream cheese really makes them special… will definitely be making again!

    1. Thank you for giving these a try, Michelle. How wonderful that they were a hit with your family!

  22. Lovely, nice and puffy. Delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  23. Lynn Alexander says:

    I’m doing my annual cookie bake week starting Sunday and this is on the list (along with the Red Velvet Kisses).
    Question: Can the almonds be lightly toasted or will that affect the taste?
    Thank you! BTW, your cookie blog, tips and recipes are amazing!
    Lynn

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lynn, They will toast a bit as the cookie bakes but you can certainly lightly toast them before adding them to the cookies for even more flavor. Enjoy!

  24. Bonita Strasser says:

    Love these cookies ! I followed the steps exactly. They turned out perfect! Thank you

  25. I made these today and they were a big hit. Super yummy! I used peach jam as you suggested and it was delicious. Love the almond extract and almond slivers; it makes for such a wonderful cookie. I love how there’s flexibility to chill the dough for a minimum of 3 hours to 4 days. I made the dough on Monday and didn’t get around to baking them until Thursday. They turned out great. The dough wasn’t too sticky either. Thank you, Sally!

  26. I made 6 of Sally’s recipes for Christmas treats this year to drop off for family. Everything turned out great (I can ALWAYS trust your recipes) , but these cookies were extraordinary. I made half with orange marmalade and half with raspberry jam. The toasty almonds add such a fantastic texture and the lemon and almond in the cookies are an unreal flavour combination. Thank you for publishing such fantastic recipes, Sally! Merry Christmas 🙂

  27. Question. My cookies are burnt at bottom at 350 for 14 mins. But tops are not. Any suggestions.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cindy! It sounds like your oven may be too hot. We always suggest using an in-oven thermometer for best results, but you can also try turning your oven down a bit next time.

  28. These are amazing! Didn’t have any lemons, so I put orange zest in the dough, and instead of sliced almonds used finely chopped almonds. Such a tender, crumbly cookie, sooo goood. I suggest you make the indents big, so you have plenty of jamin every bite.

  29. Cookies were delicious – but I just can’t get the confectioner’s sugar to melt into the jam – so not as pretty as yours. Any tips on how to clean up the sugar from the jam to make them picture perfect?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sindhura, If you use a fine mesh sifter to lightly dust the cookies, the confectioners usually doesn’t show up on the centers. If you use a thicker amount it may show up but is still beautiful, I wouldn’t try to scoop it out!

  30. Cheryl Sinoway says:

    This recipe is exceptional! I used apricot and raspberry jam to fill the cookies.
    Don’t forget to sprinkle with confectioners sugar! Melt in your mouth perfection(:

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