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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

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.

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Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at

Hope to see you again soon!

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans

The traditional jelly thumbprint cookie gets a makeover with a lemon curd filling in a pecan studded cookie.
Paula Rhodes
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.


Serving: 1cookieCalories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 27mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 174IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Keyword lemon cookies, lemon curd cookies, pecan thumbprint cookies, thumbprint cookie recipe
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating


Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

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

Jules @ Everyday Mommy

Monday 13th of December 2010

I can't stop staring at these cookies.

Jules @ Everyday Mommy

Monday 13th of December 2010

Okay. That's it. Your photos are just plain dangerous. Your blog needs a warning label :)


Monday 13th of December 2010

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


Monday 13th of December 2010

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!