These gluten-free vegan thumbprint cookies are made with pecans and coconut for a twist on the classic Christmas cookie.

Thumbprint cookie leaning against a plate of cookies, stack of cookies beside it.

With pecans, coconut, vanilla and maple, these delicious vegan thumbprints have the most wonderful flavour. The almond butter makes them buttery soft and filled with sweet jam, they’re everything you’d want in a holiday cookie!

Recipe Features

  • Soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture (but no butter or oil needed!).
  • Amazing nutty flavour.
  • Vegan (eggless, dairy-free), gluten-free, oil-free and refined sugar-free!
  • Easy to make with 7 ingredients.
  • They freeze well so can be made in advance.

Ingredient Notes

Various baking ingredients in small bowls with labels.

A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.

  • Pecans: Use plain, raw pecans without added oil or salt. These can be substituted with almonds, walnuts or a combination of raw nuts.
  • Almond Butter: Use plain, natural almond butter that’s not too dry, or substitute peanut butter or sunflower seed butter.
  • Coconut: Use fine or medium shredded (desiccated) coconut. Once blended the coconut releases oils that bind everything together and add moisture.
  • Gluten-Free Flour: Use a gluten-free flour baking blend such as Bob’s Red Mill. A pre-blended gluten-free flour has the right ratio of binders and flours to make the recipe a success. You can substitute regular all-purpose flour.
  • Maple Syrup: The perfect flavour and consistency for these cookies though you can substitute agave nectar or brown rice syrup if you like.
  • Jam: Raspberry, strawberry or this blueberry chia seed jam are all delicious but any homemade or store-bought variety works. Apricot jam would be yummy too! You can even do a mix so you have different colours.

Step-by-Step with Photos

Step 1. Blend Pecans

Place the pecans in a food processor and blend them into a grainy flour consistency.

Blended pecans in a food processor with small bowls of jam, maple syrup and vanilla beside it.

Step 2. Add the Coconut

Add the coconut mixture and blend for a few minutes until it starts to form a paste. It will seem somewhat oily at this stage. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Coconut and pecans in a food processor.

Step 3. Mix Dough

Add the flour and salt and mix well, then add the maple syrup, vanilla and almond butter and mix it all up until all the flour is incorporated and it forms a moldable cookie dough.

Raw cookie dough in a mixing bowl with a spoon. There are small dishes of jam, vanilla and almond butter around the bowl.

Step 4. Shape Cookies

Roll the dough into 14 balls and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use your thumb or the back of a small measuring spoon to press a small well into each cookie.

Quick Tip: If any large cracks form in the dough as you’re creating the wells, carefully press them back together with your fingers. A few small cracks are ok.

Hand using a thumb to press small divots into raw cookie dough balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Step 5. Fill with Jam

Fill each well with your favourite jam. You can use any store-bought or homemade jam like this chia seed jam. I like to use raspberry or strawberry jam for these cookies.

You could also bake them without the jam then add caramel or melted chocolate after they bake!

Spooning jam into thumbprint cookies on a baking tray.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350 F and then let them cool completely on the pan. They’ll be fragile when they come out of the oven so be sure to let them cool to firm up. Once they feel solid, they’re ready to enjoy!

A broken open thumbprint cookie to show the inside texture of the cookie.

Tips for Sucess

  1. Measure the flour accurately. The best way to do this is by using a kitchen scale and following the listed weight measurements.
  2. Use the same flour as tested. This recipe was made with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour.
  3. Finely blend pecans. They should resemble grainy flour. A few large pieces left behind are ok but they should be mostly broken down.
  4. Use thick jam. Use a good-quality jam that isn’t too runny.
  5. Mix the dough well. There is no gluten in these so you don’t have to worry about overmixing the dough. Make sure everything is well combined. You can use your hands to help if you like!
A stack of 4 thumbprint cookies beside a plate of cookies.

FAQs

Do I have to use gluten-free flour?

No. You can substitute all-purpose flour 1:2 for the gluten-free flour.

Can you freeze thumbprint cookies?

Yes! These cookies are freezer-friendly for up to 3 months (with the jam is fine!). Let them cool completely then store them in an airtight container in layers with a piece of wax paper or parchment paper between each layer so they don’t stick together.

Variations

  • Add up to 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • Try 1/2 tsp spices like ginger, cardamom or allspice.
  • Add 2-3 tsp almond extract.
  • Use lemon curd instead of jam.
  • Add 1 tsp lemon zest to the dough.
  • Roll the cookie dough balls in granulated sugar before pressing.
  • Drizzle with glaze or dust with powdered sugar after baking for a pretty effect and yummy treat!
  • Bake without the jam then fill with peanut butter, date paste, homemade caramel, chocolate ganache or melted chocolate and let them cool.
  • Try a layer of peanut butter under the jam for PBJ thumbprints.
Baked vegan thumbprint cookies filled with raspberry jam on a baking tray.

How to Store

  • Room temperature: Let cool completely then store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in a cool, dry place.
  • Fridge: Let cool completely then store in an airtight container for up 2 weeks.
  • Freezer: Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. If they’re in more than one layer in the container, place a piece of wax paper or parchment between the layers to prevent sticking.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

Print
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A stack of 4 thumbprint cookies beside a plate of cookies.

Gluten-Free Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 14 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These gluten-free and vegan thumbprint cookies are made with coconut and pecans for a delicious twist on the classic. These always go quick so consider making a double batch. They freeze well so can be made in advance!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (150 g) raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) fine or medium unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup (74 g) 1:1 gluten-free baking flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (75 g) pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) almond butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • jam for filling such as strawberry or raspberry

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the pecans in a food processor or high-powered blender and mix until it forms a flour.
  3. Add the coconut and mix until it forms a paste.
  4. Place the coconut pecan mixture in a bowl then add the flour and sea salt and stir to combine.
  5. Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla and almond butter and mix.
  6. Roll into 14 balls and place on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  7. Press a small well into each cookie using your finger. Carefully press any cracks in the dough back together if it breaks a little.
  8. Fill each well with your favourite jam.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes (see notes) them a then remove from the oven and let cool completely before handling. This step is important and they need to firm up as they cool.
  10. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Notes

Baking Time: If you like them a little gooey in the middle, bake for 10 minutes. For a more well done cookie, leave them for 12. Either way, let them cool before handing. I liked them with 10 minutes baking time.

Storage: Let cool completely then store in a sealed container at room temperature for 4 days, in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nuts: Pecans may be substituted with almonds or a mixture of the two.

Keywords: gluten-free thumbprint cookies, vegan thumbprint cookies

Update Note: Originally published December 21, 2017. Updated with new photos and text August 4, 2020.