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Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

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Satisfy your sweet tooth with these soft, chewy Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies. Easy to make and bursting with vibrant lemon flavor, they’re the perfect treat for any lemon lover this spring and summer!

This recipe was originally shared in 2023.

front shot of lemon curd thumbprint cookie with bite missing, with more cookies around on lined sheet pan with lemon halves and more flowers behind.

Today, we’re excited to share our newest recipe…lemon curd thumbprint cookies! This recipe combines two of our most popular posts — lemon crinkle cookies and lemon bars. Lemon is a reader favorite on our blog, from classic lemon pound cake to a twist on the Italian classic – lemon tiramisu!

So, these lemon cookies just seemed like the perfect treat to share to bring some much-needed sunshine. ☀️ 🍋

Fresh Lemon In Every Bite

So many lemon recipes call for the use of lemon extract and while that works in a pinch, there is nothing like the fresh, bright flavor of a real lemon. From the cookie to the curd, every bite is bursting with fresh lemon.

thirteen lemon curd thumbprint cookies on small lined sheet pan with chamomile flowers on some cookies, with lemon halves, a bowl of lemon curd, an empty glass, and more chamomile flowers around on marble surface.

Why You Will Love These Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies:

  • Each cookie is like an individual lemon bar!
  • There’s NO chill time and no stand mixer needed.
  • Comes together in just under 40 minutes.
  • Soft, chewy, and melts in your mouth.
  • Full of lemon flavor!
  • Easier to make than you might think.

See what some of our readers had to say:

three stacked lemon curd thumbprint cookies in lined sheet pan with top cookie missing a bite with a small chamomile flower on top, with more cookies around, and lemon halves and flowers behind.

There Are 3 Elements To The Perfect Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookie

During development of this recipe, we tried many different variations of these cookies. We swapped the classic butter-based cookie to oil-based. We also found other small details that make ALL the difference in crafting the perfect lemon curd cookie. Let’s get into it, shall we?

  • Cookie: Like I mentioned above, we spent many hours in the kitchen testing different ways to craft the perfect cookie. When we were first developing the cookie, we used a butter-based cookie similar to our Funfetti Cookies. The butter created a greasy cookie that had an unpleasant flavor and burned on the bottom no matter how we adjusted the recipe or oven temperature. Since we often swap fats in our citrus cakes, like our Iced Lemon Loaf and our Key Lime Pound Cake, we thought…how about we do that for this cookie? With a few tweaks and adjustments to the recipe, we finally achieved a cookie that was tender, FULL of lemon flavor, and melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
  • Lemon Curd: On top of an extra lemony cookie, we filled these cookies with a fresh, bright lemon curd! If you’ve ever made our Pavlova or our Lemon Coconut Cake, this will be very familiar for you. It’s an easy recipe that really provides a delicious flavor. We found that the curd works best if you add it to the cookies AFTER (yes, after!) baking.
  • Sugar: While it might not seem important, we found that unlike our lemon crinkle cookies, these lemon curd cookies needed to only be rolled in powdered sugar! With the addition of lemon curd, rolling the cookies in granulated sugar and powdered sugar caused too much spread; and they were more like pancakes than a cookies. So, we opted to just use the powdered sugar to give it that stunning “crinkle” look without causing too much spread!
overhead close up of leon curd thumbprint cookies.

How To Zest A Lemon

The best way to zest a lemon is with a zester! If you don’t have one, a very fine cheese grater will do, but it’s really worth investing in a zester. It’s a great tool to have! From there, thoroughly wash your lemon and dry it with a towel.

Now, you’re ready to zest! Hold the zester at an angle over a plate (just in case some falls off!) and push your lemon down the zester until you reach the white of the rind. Once you see white, stop zesting and rotate the lemon! Continue as you did before, and repeat until the entire lemon has been zested.

Depending on the size of your lemons, you may need more than one lemon.

First, Make The Homemade Lemon Curd

Instead of diving head first into cookie baking, we gotta make our curd! While you can use store-bought lemon curd to fill these cookies, we really recommend making your own as the flavor is MUCH more delicious and it only takes about 10 minutes! So, go ahead and gather the ingredients listed below.

  • Granulated Sugar – Sugar not only sweetens the curd but also plays a crucial role in thickening. As the curd cooks, the sugar dissolves and helps suspend the egg yolks, preventing them from scrambling and creating a smooth texture.
  • Egg Yolks – These are the thickening agents in lemon curd. When whisked and heated with the lemon juice and sugar, the proteins in the egg yolks begin to solidify (coagulate), creating a thick and creamy custard base. Remember, don’t throw away the egg whites. You can make our Meringue Cookies with the leftover egg whites!
  • Lemon Juice – This provides the primary flavor for lemon curd. The acidity in the juice also contributes to thickening the curd as it reacts with the egg yolks.
  • Lemon Zest – Zest adds a vibrant, fresh lemon flavor that goes beyond the tartness of the juice. It contains essential oils concentrated in the peel, lending a more complex and fragrant lemony aroma and flavor to the curd.
  • Salted Butter – Butter adds richness and creaminess to the finished curd. It is typically incorporated at the end, after the curd has thickened, to avoid separating. A small amount of salt in salted butter helps to balance the sweetness of the sugar and enhance the overall flavor profile.
ingredients for lemon curd with text overlay.

We have made lemon curd hundreds of times since starting our blog. It’s kind of our “secret weapon” for extra lemony flavor! Luckily, it’s SO easy to make and truly minimal effort. All you need to do is whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice together in a glass bowl. Place over a bain-marie (or, pot of simmering water!) and stir continually, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, until thickened.

As a quick precaution, to ensure there are no lumps of cooked egg yolk in your curd, we recommend straining the curd through a fine meshed sieve. Once you’ve done this, just mix in your butter and lemon zest and set aside!

⊹ Tip For Success! ⊹

Do NOT use a metal mixing bowl to make the curd. This will leave a metallic flavor in the curd due to the acidity. You must use a glass bowl.

You’ll Need These Ingredients For The Cookies:

  • All-Purpose Flour – Provides the base structure of the cookie. The gluten proteins in the flour develop when mixed with liquid ingredients, giving the cookie its shape and tender crumb.
  • Granulated Sugar – Because we wanted more structure and less spread, we opted to use granulated sugar to sweeten these cookies.
  • Baking Powder – A leavening agent that produces carbon dioxide bubbles when mixed with liquid and exposed to heat. This causes the cookie dough to rise slightly, creating a softer, lighter texture.
  • Baking Soda – Another leavening agent. Baking soda reacts with acidic ingredients like lemon juice, further enhancing the cookie’s rise and resulting in a slightly more tender texture.
  • Lemon Zest – Infuses the cookie dough with a bright, intense lemon flavor, complementing the tangy lemon curd filling.
  • Eggs – Bind the ingredients together and provide structure to the cookie. Eggs also add richness and a slightly tender crumb.
  • Vegetable Oil – Contributes moisture to the cookies, ensuring a softer texture and helping prevent them from becoming too dry.
  • Lemon Juice – Provides a hint of additional citrus flavor and works together with the baking soda to enhance the cookie’s rise.
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds a subtle depth of flavor that rounds out the sweetness and citrus notes, creating a more balanced cookie.
  • Powdered Sugar (not pictured) – Used for rolling the cookie dough balls before baking. This sugary coating creates the signature “crinkle” look and adds a touch of extra sweetness.
ingredients for lemon crinkle cookies with text overlay.

Make The Cookie Dough

To make the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Set aside. Then, in a separate bowl, combine eggs, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk well. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until combined.

cookie dough in glass bowl.

How To Shape These Cookies

To shape the cookies, we used a medium sized cookie scoop (1½ Tablespoons) and rolled the dough in our palms to create a smooth, round ball. From there, roll the cookie dough balls in powdered sugar and place on prepared pans (15 cookies per pan).

Bake And Then Fill

Place the cookies in a 350°F oven and bake for 12 minutes. You may have noticed that unlike most thumbprint cookie recipes, we will fill these cookies AFTER they are baked. So, once they come out of the oven, immediately use the back of a rounded teaspoon to make an indentation in each cookie.  Fill each cookie with about 1½ teaspoons curd.

Recipe FAQ’s

The time stated in the recipe card is how long it took our curd to thicken. We have a professional gas range and have full control over heating. Depending on your stove and how it heats/cooks, it may take longer. Do not worry! It will thicken.

Yes! Straining the curd makes sure that you have no lumps of cooked egg yolk. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Absolutely! Once the curd is made and cooled, you can transfer it to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

When we were developing and testing this recipe, we found that the butter-based cookies were greasy, crunchy, and had an overall unpleasant flavor. Switching to vegetable oil made these cookies soft, chewy, easier to make, and they bake SO much better!

While you can, you will need to go on and add the curd as well. We tested this recipe both ways and, while it works really well either way, it’s a much cleaner/prettier cookie if you make the indentations after baking.

Of course! You can fill these cookies with any kind of fruit jam/preserves (we like strawberry jam or raspberry jam).

Once these cookies are cooled, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to 3 days. Though, I personally recommend freezing these cookies as they will last much longer!

Since the lemon curd is sticky and very messy if you try to stack it, you will need to freeze the cookies before storing. Place the filled cookies on a parchment lined sheet pan and set the pan in the freezer.

When the cookies are frozen and the curd is set/not sticky, place cookies in a freezer safe zip-top bag or container. If you need to stack the cookies, place a layer of parchment in-between each layer to keep the cookies from sticking to each other. They will keep for 2-3 months!

More Lemon Recipes You May Like:

lemon thumbprint cookie with bite missing and flower on top with more cookies around on parchment paper.

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When you make these Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

Happy baking!
x, Caylie

front shot of lemon curd thumbprint cookie with bite missing, with more cookies around on lined sheet pan with lemon halves and more flowers behind.
4.48 from 42 votes

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

Soft, chewy, and extra lemon-y! These Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies are like your favorite lemon bar, only BETTER. Ready in about 35 minutes, full of lemon flavor, and require no refrigeration time. These cookies are the perfect treat to bake any time of year!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 14

Ingredients
 

Lemon Curd

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter, sliced, room temperature

Cookies

  • 1⅝ cups all purpose flour*
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Coating

  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Instructions
 

Lemon Curd

  • Combine sugar, egg yolks, and lemon juice in a small glass bowl.
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Place bowl over a pot of simmering water.
  • Cook, stirring continually with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
  • Stir in butter and lemon zest.
  • Set aside to cool.

Cookies

  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest in a large bowl.
  • Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  • Whisk well.
  • Pour over dry ingredients.
  • Stir until combined.
  • Use a medium (1½ Tablespoon) cookie scoop to portion dough.
  • Roll dough into balls.
  • Roll each ball in powdered sugar.
  • Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, until cooked but still slightly soft on top.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Immediately use the back of a rounded 1½ teaspoon measuring spoon to make a rounded indentation within the center of each cookie.
  • Fill each cookie with about 1½ teaspoons curd.

Notes + Tips!

*This recipe was written using an average of the dip and sweep method for measuring flour and the spoon and level method. If you are using a scale, you will need to add 3/4 oz or 22 g  to the measurement for each cup of flour.
  • Room temperature is about 70℉.
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure accurate cooking temperatures.
Easy Substitutions:
  • You can use store-bought lemon curd.
  • Store-bought lemon juice may be used for this recipe, but the flavor will not be as strong and may have a metallic flavor.
Our Best Tips For Success:
  • When making the curd, the texture should be about pudding consistency. It takes anywhere from 10-25 minutes to thicken. Just be sure to use a GLASS bowl and place over a simmering (not boiling) pot of water.
  • Don’t waste the egg whites from the curd! Use them to make our meringue cookies or save the rest for breakfast!
  • Don’t skip lining your pan!
  • Fresh juice is always better. While using store-bought is convenient, the flavor of fresh squeezed lemons is unmatched.
  • You can use a rubber spatula to fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients to ensure you don’t overwork the dough. Mix until just blended together and you don’t see any flour. The dough is very stiff and may seem a bit dry, but once all the flour is incorporated, it will be fine!
  • The cookie dough is a little sticky. Be sure to clean your hands often when rolling.
  • Even when fully baked, these cookies should be pale. You do not need to brown them!
  • Don’t skip coating them with powdered sugar.
  • For the best results, sift the powdered sugar before you roll the cookies!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 182IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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29 Comments

  1. So happy with how these cookies came out! Quite difficult forming the dough into balls but worth the effort! Had to make two batches of the curd; the first try the curd did not thicken. I messed by forgetting to add the butter to my curd though. How would this effect the taste or should I try to scoop the curd out, reheat and proceed with the butter and refill? They are intended to be gifted. Thank-you!

    1. Hi Sharon! The butter makes it smooth and silky. Do not scoop it out and try to recook. It won’t work. Just taste one of the cookies and see how they taste. If you’re happy, go with it. Otherwise, you’ll need to remake. Let me know if you have any further questions.

  2. 5 stars
    These are amazing…the cookie bakes up nice and light…I made the indentation an then added the curd before baking…they turned out beautifully…sent these to two different Christmas parties…and the host never put them out at either event because …they were just too good to share

  3. 3 stars
    I received 7 pounds of organic lemons from a friend’s tree a couple of weeks ago and made lemon curd to use them up. I used a different recipe for the curd but it was almost identical to this one. No problem with the lemon curd. My problem was with the cookies flattening out so much that it was impossible to make an indentation after baking. I tried to salvage the flat cookies by making sandwich cookies with lemon curd in between but I personally feel that the sweetness of the cookie is too much with the sweetness of lemon curd. I think lemon curd would pair better with a plain, less sweet shortbread. I made dozens of other cookies this month for the holidays, using the same containers of leavening I used for these cookies, and they all came out as expected without flattening. I think the flatness of these cookies could be due to other factors. What else could it be? Altitude? I’m at 6800 feet. I baked them in a propane oven at 350 Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.

    1. Hi Barrie! I’m sorry to hear these cookies didn’t work for you. The altitude could certainly be a factor. With the thinner atmosphere, they would almost certainly have risen too fast and fallen flat. There are a lot of other adjustments needed when you are at that altitude, tweaks to the dough and a different oven temperature for sure. I’m not an expert on that. We lived in the mountains for a while, but no where near that altitude. As far as the sweetness goes, since you used someone else’s curd, I can’t give you an answer. When made with our complete recipe, ours are balanced.

  4. 4 stars
    I made these cookies today for the first time. Followed directions exactly as written but curd did not thicken, even at 170 degree. I whisked 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and slowly added. Presto…. Perfect and delicious curd. The cookie batter was thick and crispy and holds the curd perfectly.

  5. 3 stars
    l made them. the curd is fantastic, followed the recipe, came out grate. but what the cookies concerned, the dough seem to be ok, but out of the oven, they came out flat.
    l wasn’t satisfied. what did l do wrong? l baked them 12 minutes at 175 degrees.
    any help? thank you for your replay.

    1. Hi Renata! It sounds like either you baking powder or your baking soda have gone flat. An easy way to check is to spoon some baking soda into a bowl and add a little vinegar. If it fizzes, it’s good. With baking powder, spoon some into a bowl and pour some really hot water over it. If it fizzes it’s good. If leavening is not the problem, let me know and I’ll help you troubleshoot it.

      1. l’m afraid, both leavening powder were good, tested it.
        all the same, the biscuits are fabulous, the taste is amazing, so l’ll keep the recipe,
        perhaps next time l’ll be luckier, hehe

  6. 5 stars
    These are ridiculously delicious. I had some lemon curd in my freezer and wanted to make my boyfriend a lemony treat! Wow! And EASY

    1. Hi Shannon! We’re so happy to hear you enjoyed these cookies. They are some of our favorites! We hope you find more recipes to share with your loved ones on our blog 💛✨ x, Caylie

  7. 2 stars
    Unfortunately, these cookies came out pretty dry for me. I’m not sure why, I correctly measured all of the dry ingredients and followed the recipe exactly. I was hoping they would be more soft and chewy, but they almost had a stale texture. I may try it a second time just to make sure.

    1. Hi Leah! I’m so sorry to hear these cookies didn’t turn our right. I would love to help you troubleshoot this! If the cookies were hard/crumbly in texture, this may be due to over-baking the cookies. We hope you try this recipe again! Please let us know if you ever have any questions. We’re always here to help! x, Caylie

  8. 2 stars
    The curd tasted almost metallic and very eggy. I’m not sure if there wasn’t enough sugar in the there but I followed the recipe. The cookies without the curd tasted amazing and I really loved the chewy texture. Not sure what I did wrong with the curd, big bummer 🙁

    1. Hi Gianna! I’m glad you liked the cookie, and I would love to help you troubleshoot the curd. Did you put the curd in a metal bowl at any point? Coming into contact with metal can cause a metallic taste. As far as eggy, you probably overcooked your curd. I hope you decide to try again. If you do, let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be happy to help.

  9. 3 stars
    The texture is strange, not what I would expect from a thumbprint cookie. It was chewy, which was probably due to the oil. The curd also doesn’t set firm, so we found it a bit runny. Overall I was disappointed, as I had high hopes.

    1. Hi Angel! We intended for this cookie to be chewy. It’s a combo of our readers favorite recipes on the blog! If the curd didn’t set, it sounds like it wasn’t cooked long enough. We have a professional gas range that we cook on, so ours may cook faster than others. There are photos in the post above to help you know what texture everything should be. I hope you try these cookies again! x, Caylie

    2. If your curd is runny, it is because you did’t cook the mixture long enough for the eggs to thicken the mixture.

  10. Hi there. These look fab. Wondering if the curd sets and if these would be good packaged in a box.
    Thanks!!

    1. Hi Randi! The curd does set up (as-in, when you take a bite, it won’t spill out!), but it will not work packaged in a box, as the curd still is very soft and sticky. Hope this helps and I hope you try these cookies! x, Caylie

  11. The number of eggs between metric and US measurements is inconsistent… I used the metric measurements and it said to add 2 eggs to the dough and it definitely ended up too wet, even with extra flour :’) they still tasted okay because of the curd though!

    1. Hi! Thank you for letting us know about the inconsistency. The recipe card is now fixed! Glad to hear the cookies still came out okay 🥰 x, Caylie

  12. I’m kind of afraid to try this cookie recipe as I’m finding as I copy it, that the ingredient lists for both batch size and metric conversions are not consistent with each other. Curd states 4 yolks for 1X, but on metric it states 6 yolks. This inconsistency continues through both categories. I’m confused.

    1. Hi Rea! I apologize for the confusion. The metric conversion is built into the recipe card. It’s usually pretty accurate. I’m not sure what happened this time, but it looks like all the ingredients were multiplied times 1.5. I really appreciate you calling this to my attention. Everything is corrected now. Make sure you reload the page to get the corrected version. Let me know if there is anything else, or if you have any questions.