Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies combine the warm and spicy flavors of a soft gingerbread cookie with a cream cheese filling. It could be the perfect holiday cookie, especially since my gingerbread crinkle cookie is already perfect on its own! Be sure to add these cookies to your list of holiday treats and Christmas Cookies!

Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies on a cookie sheet.
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A thumbprint cookie is a cookie that has an indentation in the center to hold a variety of ingredients like this cream cheese filling in the gingerbread thumbprint cookie. But, you don’t necessarily have to use your thumb (unless you want to); I find that using the edge of a spoon works best! I also have a variety of thumbprint cookies like Lemon Blueberry, Raspberry, and Turtle Thumbprint cookies. I even have a savory thumbprint appetizer, my Cheesy Thumbprint, that you will want to try!

Pressing Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies and then adding frosting after baking.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Butter: You will use unsalted butter in both the gingerbread cookie dough and the cream cheese filling. Using unsalted butter helps you control the amount of salt in recipes.

Sugars: You will need brown sugar, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar for this recipe. Light brown sugar is used for its subtle caramel flavor and moist texture in the cookie dough. You will use granulated sugar for rolling the dough and use confectioners’ sugar in the cream cheese filling.

Molasses: Look for unsulphured molasses to use in these cookies. Unsulphured molasses (regular molasses) is richer, thicker, and sweeter than sulphured. It is made with fewer preservatives because it is made with more mature sugarcane. Sulphured molasses has added sulfur dioxide to the younger sugarcane, which can alter the flavor of the recipe. There is also a variety of molasses called blackstrap. Do not substitute molasses in a recipe (including this one) for blackstrap unless the recipe is very specific about using it. 

Spices: Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves are the spices in the cookies, making the cookies a beloved holiday treat!

Cream Cheese Filling: The recipe for the cream cheese filling is the same combination I used for my Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies and Homemade Carrot Cake, it is THAT delicious of a frosting!

Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies on a white plate on a white counter.

Sure! If you want to get the gingerbread cookie dough made in advance, you can store it in the refrigerator or freeze the dough for longer storage. This is a great way to get a head start on this recipe, especially during the busy holiday season!

To Refrigerate Dough: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To Freeze Dough: To freeze the dough, first, get the dough mixed. Next, scoop the cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet. Then, place the sheet of cookie dough into the freezer until solid (1-2 hours). Once solid, store the cookie dough in a freezer-safe bag that is labeled, dated, and includes the baking instructions. When ready to bake, let the dough thaw enough to roll in the granulated sugar and make the indentation.

Stack of Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies.

Storing and Freezing Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies

  • After the cookies have been baked and frosted, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • You can freeze these cookies frosted or unfrosted. First, lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer until frozen. Then, transfer the frozen cookies to an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to one month. Don’t forget to label and date your container!

For more cookie tips, check out my Guide to Freezing, Baking, and Storing Cookies.

Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies on a cookie sheet on a white counter.

Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies combine the warm and spicy flavors of a soft gingerbread cookie with a cream cheese filling. It could be the perfect holiday cookie, especially since my gingerbread crinkle cookie is already perfect on its own! Be sure to add these cookies to your list of holiday treats and Christmas Cookies!

Ingredients

Cookie

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks / 170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (84 g) molasses
  • 2 ½ cups (312.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • cup (67 g) granulated sugar

Cream Cheese Filling

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cookies

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and brown sugar together.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add in the egg and molasses. Mix for about 30 seconds to incorporate, then turn the mixer to medium-high and blend until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, beating until combined.
  • Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto one of the lined baking sheets.
  • To a small bowl, add granulated sugar.
  • Roll each dough ball in granulated sugar until completely covered and place on a lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a small impression in the center of each ball.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely before adding the filling.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Blend for 1-2 minutes on medium speed until fully incorporated. (You can also use a hand-held mixer.)
  • Gradually add confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

Assembly

  • Fill each cookie with about 2 teaspoons of the cream cheese filling. Using an offset spatula, spread out the filling.
  • Enjoy!

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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:

Autumn

OK, these are REALLY good! The soft gingerbread cookie is amazing on its own, and then you top it off with a cream cheese frosting for an upgrade you didn't even know you needed. This one is definitely going on my holiday cookie list!

Elizabeth

You can't go wrong with this gingerbread crinkle cookie (it's one of my favorites), so adding the cream cheese frosting on it is the icing, literally, on the cookie! And, they look lovely for sharing during the holidays!

Bella

These are cute little cookies. The gingerbread flavor goes so well with the sweet and creamy filling!

Annabelle

These are perfect for the holidays. They have all the nostalgic flavor of gingerbread with that delicious cream cheese frosting!

Selena

Such a great cookie! The perfect soft ginger cookie with the cream cheese filling in the middle is just a perfect combo!

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Soft gingerbread is my favorite. I made a recipe like this one, but was too “runny” to make into cookies, so spread in a 9×13 pan and made bars instead.
    Used the same frosting recipe. I am loving every morsel.

  2. I try a lot of recipes. While this one sounded very good, overall, it didn’t deliver. The flavor is bland. I notice there is unsalted butter as well as no salt added. I mistakenly used salted butter – it really didn’t add much flavor. I followed the recipe exact but the cookies did not maintain a thumbprint well. I did put the cream cheese frosting on. Not a repeat recipe for me. I feel like it really needs salt and maybe vanilla.

    1. I read your comment and was horrified. And confused. So I immediately made them again and brought them to a gathering with 20+ people. (who are very honest and have told me in the past if a recipe didn’t pass their criteria) I said “please let me know your very honest feedback on this cookie, no matter how trivial, I want to improve it if I can.” I had people come up to me individually and say it was the best cookie they ever had. Some said that they didn’t like other gingerbread recipes but this one was exceptional. “The flavor.” That was the most heard response.. the flavor is amazing. “It’s just so good.” I am baffled at how you could have made the recipe as-is and found them bland. Do you have a preference for spicy? Do you think all gingerbread is bland? Did you substitute an ingredient other than butter? There is just no way that this is a bland cookie, and I have at least 20 in-real-life testimonies to prove it. Should you want to try again and add salt and vanilla (I personally wouldn’t add either, unless you want to add to the frosting) please do let me know what thoughts.

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