Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans

Home » Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans

Preview: Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies are a traditional thumbprint cookie featuring a lemon curd filling in a pecan-studded cookie. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for a dressier look.

A couple of nights ago, my husband and my Alabama sister went through my freezer looking for these cookies. After eating several, they said, “Be sure to tell everybody these are really good.”

I replied, “Thank-you. Get out of my freezer!”

If you’re looking for a lemon-flavored cookie to add to your Christmas cookie tray, these would be my first choice.

LEMON-PECAN THUMBPRINT COOKIES on a rectangular serving plate

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Recipe inspiration:

My daughter-in-law’s brother does a fabulous job decorating homes (interiors only) for Christmas. Part of our deal was the promise of a lemony treat.

So I set to work on these Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies. They are a variation of my husband’s favorite Christmas Thumbprint Cookies.

To save time, I mixed the pecans into the dough instead of coating the cookie, used lemon curd instead of frosting in the center, and sprinkled the finished cookies with powdered sugar.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • FLOUR: The flour of choice in this recipe is all-purpose, bleached or unbleached.
  • PECANS: Since the pecans are inside the cookie, toasting them will add a lot of flavor. You can toast them in the oven but I prefer to toast all nuts in a microwave. Be sure they cool before adding to the cookies.
  • SALT: I use Kosher salt in all my cookie recipes, but table salt or sea salt is also fine.
  • BUTTER: Let the butter come to room temperature for best results. I don’t recommend substituting margarine for the butter. The buttery flavor is the calling card for this recipe.
  • EGG YOLK: Egg yolks add richness to this cookie. Adding the egg white will change the texture. Freeze the egg white and save it for another recipe.
  • LEMON CURD: You don’t need much so buy the ready-made stuff if you can find it at the grocery store. If not, here’s my recipe for making lemon curd in the microwave. If you prefer, use the orange curd or lime curd variation in that recipe.

Kitchen Secrets for Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies:

  1. Toasting nuts makes a difference. Skip it and miss out on the best flavor. Toasting nuts takes only 2 minutes with a microwave.
  2. Putting the cookies in the oven for a couple of minutes before making a crater helps soften the dough so you won’t have cracks around the edge that leak filling.  No guarantees–you may still get a few–but it works for me.
  3. Be sure cookies are completely cooled before dusting with powdered sugar or it will melt and disappear.

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes. Double wrap (plastic wrap and a plastic storage bag or container) and store in the freezer for a month.

Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

logo for saladinajar
Join our community of adventurous cooks, and you, too, can create homemade food worth sharing.

If you want inspiration and exclusive tips, add your email and press the button. (Don't worry. I won't sell your email.)

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans

The traditional jelly thumbprint cookie gets a makeover with a lemon curd filling in a pecan studded cookie.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Cookies
Servings 18 cookies


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour - 120 grams
  • ¾ cup pecans - toasted
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup butter - softened
  • cup sugar - granulate
  • 1 egg yolk - from a large egg
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place flour, toasted pecans and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
  • Use electric mixer to combine butter and sugar, beating until light-colored and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mixing well. Pour flour mixture into the egg mixture all at once and gently combine just until flour disappears. Scrape bowl a couple times to be sure there are no chunks or streaks of butter left unmixed.
  • Roll dough into tablespoon-size balls and place onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. (If dough is too soft to handle, chill for about 30 minutes.)
  • Bake for 2 minutes. Remove tray and use your thumb or a small cork to make an indentation in each cookie. Bake another 8-9 minutes and remove cookies from the oven.
  • Working quickly, re-indent center with thumb or cork and fill with a half-teaspoon of lemon curd. Return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes until cookies start to brown on the edges. Allow cookies to cool about 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack. When completely cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.



Nutrition Facts
Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans
Serving Size
1 cookie
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Keywords: lemon cookieslemon curd cookiespecan thumbprint cookiesthumbprint cookie recipe
Like this recipe? Thanks for leaving a 5-star rating inside the recipe at the top! 🤩

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


  1. I like such cookies and these looks really delicious 🙂

    have a great weekend,

  2. Well, I can’t steal these from your freezer, but I can steal the recipe, right? Thank you…anything lemon has my attention immediately. Anything that look this good in a photo also have my immediate attention. Looking forward to making and eating these!

    1. Of course you can steal the recipe, Kayte. If your family likes lemon, they will love these.

  3. I can’t wait to see the tree! Rob said these were delicious!

  4. I wanted to post a picture of my tree but couldn’t get a picture to do it justice. You two have the magical touch when it comes to Christmas decorating.

  5. I can’t wait to try these. Thumbprints are a favorite around here, but I think they’re a pain to make because there are so many steps, coating them with nuts (first, the egg whites, then the ground nuts . . .) My son read your recipe over my shoulder and said, go for it!

  6. Rob Fisher says:

    Your decorator thinks these cookies are AWESOME!!!!! I did have to share.

  7. Good post. :+) I am still wanting more cookies right now. You have absolutely the best freezer I have ever raided. Not only are the contents good, but it is actually organized. Thanks for being a great hostess, as always –

  8. These sound so delicious! Thanks for all the very useful tips at the end!

  9. I just made thumbprints cookies myself and love that you have posted a new and great recipe to an old favourite! Sounds as if everyone came out on top of this cookie-tree decorating swap!

  10. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Girl, you KNOW that you had me at lemon! These cookies are so pretty!

  11. Lucky decorator! These look soooo…. good!

  12. mmm…I know these would be one of my favorite since I really like lemon curd. Great food styling.

  13. I made these for a cookie exchange and was a little afraid because not everyone likes lemon the way I do. I think folks were so tired of chocolate that these were among the first to go. I will definitely make them again. I also want to put Rob on my speed dial.

  14. Sounds delicious and I agree with Scooter-I love lemon and am sure they are a welcome change to everything chocolate- although I love that too. Will have to try these for the holidays!

  15. Great looking cookies. Now I know how that extra jar of lemon curd in the pantry will be used for Christmas baking.

  16. Jules @ Everyday Mommy says:

    Okay. That’s it. Your photos are just plain dangerous. Your blog needs a warning label 🙂

  17. Jules @ Everyday Mommy says:

    I can’t stop staring at these cookies.

  18. I made these with freshly ground whole wheat flour. They are very good!

  19. 5 stars
    The cookie recipe itself is amazing.
    I opted to forgo the lemon curd and 10x sugar to cut on carbs. Instead, I added about a tblsp of grated lemon rind to dough. Thank you for that base recipe!

    1. Janet, I like your changes. The lemon curd and powdered sugar are mostly for looks anyway. I can imagine the lemon rind gave it much more flavor. I’m going to try that the next time I make these cookies. Thanks so much for writing.