Vegan Thumbprint Cookies
These gluten-free vegan thumbprint cookies are made with pecans and coconut for a twist on the classic Christmas cookie.
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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Tips for Sucess
- Measure the flour accurately. The best way to do this is by using a kitchen scale and following the listed weight measurements.
- Use the same flour as tested. This recipe was made with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour.
- Finely blend pecans. They should resemble grainy flour. A few large pieces left behind are ok but they should be mostly broken down.
- Use thick jam. Use a good-quality jam that isn’t too runny.
- 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!
No. You can substitute all-purpose flour 1:2 for the gluten-free flour.
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.
- 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.
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 and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Gluten-Free Vegan Thumbprint Cookies
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 14
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
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!
- 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
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- Place the pecans in a food processor or high-powered blender and mix until it forms a flour.
- Add the coconut and mix until it forms a paste.
- Place the coconut pecan mixture in a bowl then add the flour and sea salt and stir to combine.
- Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla and almond butter and mix.
- Roll into 14 balls and place on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Press a small well into each cookie using your finger. Carefully press any cracks in the dough back together if it breaks a little.
- Fill each well with your favourite jam.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Easy to make and they turned out perfectly! So delicious – this recipe is a keeper!
These cookies are AMAZING!! They are so delicious. Mine are just a little soft, and I love them that way. I put apricot jam in half the cookies and blackberry chia jam in the other half. I could truly eat the entire batch, LOL! But, I’m putting them away till Christmas Eve, so there will be plenty for my kids and grandkids. Thanks for the excellent recipe! You knocked it out of the park!
Thanks so much, Sherri! They sound amazing with apricot and bluberry jam. I want some now, haha! I hope everyone enjoys them. Thank you for the review and have a great holiday.
These cookies blew me away! They taste like something you’d get from a gluten-filled non-vegan bakery!! I think we’ll be making these ones more often. If you are having trouble getting the flour to mix in with the coconut mixture, a pastry cutter does the trick.
Would almond flour work as well?
Almond flour would be much finer than 1 cup blended pecans so I’m not sure how much you would need but yes, theoretically it should work. I haven’t tested these with flours though, so I can’t guarantee it. Let me know if you try it!
Delicious! Very rich, love the combo of the nutty flavor with the jam.
My hubby and I loved them!!
Nearly had then whole batch to himself.
With all the holidays coming this is a great recipe to be able to have. Everyone wants the ‘sweets’ for the potlucks and this is a great option for me to bring and still have a healthy plant based sweet for others to enjoy. I look forward to trying out this recipe soon!
Delicious! Very rich, love the combo of the nutty flavor with the jam. I used blackberry jam which was a great combo. I had to keep them in the oven much longer than said because they weren’t getting a brown as I expected. Texture is great they melt in your mouth.
soo good! can’t tell diff from regular..except they are better tasting!
My family absolutely loved this vegan cookie recipe. It’s definitely a keeper! Pinned.
Yay, so happy to hear that! Happy holidays. xo.
Gah! I’m elbows deep in this and just realized there isn’t a designated temp at which to bake these. Help!
Sorry, it’s 350F. I will add it!
These seem like they would work so well. I love the fact that they’re gluten free and vegan. It’s important to have at least a few of those recipes around this season, as there are normally some family members who are more sensitive.