Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

I was in the mood for PB & J but had no bread in the house to make a sandwich with, so I decided to make cookies to satisfy my PB & J craving.

No bread?  No problem.

When all else fails, I resort to cookie-making.

These no-bake thumbprints remind me of the thumbprint cookies my grandma used to slave over before Christmas every year.

Except these thumbprints took me 10 minutes to make, no baking was required, they’re vegan and gluten free.

No slaving away involved.

Sometimes running out of bread is a good thing because you can eat cookies instead of bread when PB & J cravings hit.

And cookies are better than bread.

I literally flipped a couple into my mouth seconds after the photo shoot was dismantled.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies (No-Bake, Vegan, Gluten Free)

Makes 10 to 12 smaller cookies, or 6 to 8 larger cookies

1/4 cup peanut butter (I used store-brand, inexpensive, non-“natural”, creamy peanut butter*)

1/8 cup butter, softened (2 tablespoons) – or margarine, Earth Balance, or similar if keeping vegan

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (to make gluten free, use a gluten free flour blend of your choice such almond/oat/peanut/rice flour)

pinch salt, optional

1/4 cup jelly, or to taste (I used strawberry jelly; or use grape, apricot, or your favorite jelly, jam, or preserves)

In a small bowl, whip the peanut butter and butter until creamy. I did this by hand but you can do it in a mixer if desired. Tip: microwave the peanut butter and butter in a microwave-safe bowl for 15 seconds, taking care not to melt them but just soften them, and they will combine easier.  Add the sugars and whip until smooth. Add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, flour (add the flour slowly in case you need slightly less than recipe indicates) and stir until combined.

The dough should be easy to work with and form into balls at this point, but if the dough is dry or crumbly and is not coming together, add a touch more peanut butter and mix until desired consistency is achieved. Conversely, it dough is too wet or sticky, add slightly more flour. Also, chilling the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerator for 20-30 minutes prior to shaping it into balls can be helpful if the dough is a little wet or sticky.

After appropriate dough consistency is reached, roll the dough into 1 inch golf ball-sized shapes. After the balls are rolled, indent the tops with your thumb, making a well for the jelly.  After making the well, I raised the sides of the cookie up by “pulling” the dough up a bit, ensuring they cookies weren’t too shallow to properly contain the jelly. Treat the dough like clay and form the shapes and sides as you see fit. Then full each well with approximately 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of jelly.

Store extras in the refrigerator for weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months for longer term storage. I have successfully stored batches of no-bake cookies and cookie dough balls for many months in the freezer but do as you see fit and use common sense.

Notes: Someone will likely ask me if they can make these with almond butter, cookie butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, or alternate nut butter or spread and the answer is yes; bu,t you may need to play around with the ratio of dry ingredients (increase them) since most other nut butters tend to be runnier than peanut butter and you will need more dry ingredients in order to get the dough to come together.

*I recommend using non-natural peanut butter. Something like Jif, Skippy, or similar. Peanut butter that separates into a solid and oil is not recommended for these cookies.


Raw cookie dough, particularly of the peanut butter variety, is always welcome.  The thumbprint peanut butter dough is some of my favorite to date.

It’s sweet, full of robust peanut butter flavor, and the vanilla flavor is pronounced.

I adore vanilla and it tends to get lost in many recipes, which is why I almost always double the amount if I’m following someone else’s recipe.  And although peanut butter is a strong flavor, the vanilla didn’t get lost at all.

Nor does the jelly get lost.

I made sure to fill the cookie cavities to the brim with jelly.

Okay, I filled the jelly just a little higher than flush with the cookie tops.  I’m on a roll with overflowing and overfilling cookies lately.

What can I say.  I love any kind of dips, spreads, sauces, frosting, and condiments in general are my friends.  They just make everything taste better, and I use a lot of them.

I am that person that needs extra of my extra.  I’ll take 3 french fries with 3 cups of ketchup, please.

I consider jelly a condiment and one that I am not shy about using.

Especially when it’s paired with peanut butter in cookie form.  PB & J is a combination I never tire of.

And I never tire of cookies.

Scott said the PB & J Thumbprints are his newest favorite dessert, which is a whopping two days after he last claimed that with the Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies with PB Cups & PB M&M’s.  Men.  So fickle.

Other recent no-bake cookie dough and cookie balls using peanut butter (or cookie butter spread) include:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (No Bake, Vegan, GF)

Cookie Butter Spread Ginger Molasses Cookies (No Bake, Vegan, with GF option)

Pretzel, Peanut, Caramel, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles (No-Bake with Vegan & GF options)

I have an entire post devoted to No-Bake Balls, Bites, and Truffles here

Have you ever made thumbprint cookies?

Do you love the combination of peanut butter and jelly?  Peanut butter and chocolate?

PB & J is great.

PB & C is my other favorite way to eat peanut butter:

Nutella & Peanut Butter Graham Bars with Chocolate Frosting (No Bake)

Nutter Butter Special K Bars (No Bake)

 Happy peanut butter eating.  January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day.


  1. Vegan? Second ingredient is butter! I’m assuming I could sub vegan margarine or coconut oil. They look delish, and I can’t wait to try!

    • Sorry that I didn’t write out Earth Balance or maragine, but I just edited the post; yes you can use those. I would not use coconut oil. I think the dough would get too “slick” and gloppy but you could try it. However, I’d stick with vegan butter/margarine.

  2. OMG, I really wish I didn’t have a hair apt tomorrow ~ Maybe I’ll wake up extra early & make these before going out (& bring them with me for a snack!!)
    Thanks, I’m drooling!!!

  3. 10 minutes? I’m in!!

  4. Pingback: Peanut Butter Recipes

  5. i swear we have the same cravings. I wanted these so bad today. Maybe with apricot jam though. And a cup of coffee? Oh yes, thats it~

  6. These look so easy, yet impressive! Just my kinda thing! I am sure they would look super cute in heart shapes for valentines day!

  7. I agree with Heidi, they really would be ideal for v-day! Hubby would be chuffed to have these served up.

    • And they don’t have to be in heart shapes to be great for VDay…the red jelly is fitting as is and you can throw a few chocolate hearts on the plate and call it a day :) That way you don’t have to roll out any hearts. Unless you want to, of course!

  8. Those look SO good! My mom makes thumbprint xmas cookies, but hers are shortbread base and have chopped nuts around the outside and not nearly as much jam. Clearly she needs to subscribe to your blog to find out where she’s going wrong. :)

    • And girl the whole baking, shortbread, rolling..all that mess and dough and chaos and baking and shortbread is prone to burning and getting dry…seriously…this is a 10 minute special and of course, double the amount of jam most people would use is the only way I roll.

      Been thinking about you. Hoping all is well.


  9. What a good idea, these look way better than a sandwich!

  10. Oh these look like my kind of treat – simple to make but delicious! :)

    I’m going to make some today ready for my daughter’s after-school snack, thanks for the recipe!

  11. Oh, & I currently have 3 of your recipes open on my iPhone (my version of a must make asap list!) – your caramel apple bars (one of my favourites), caramel pb & j bars, and now these…so I guess you could say I like pb & j! ;)

  12. Pingback: Ball Recipes

  13. Mmm these cookies wouldn’t last the day in my house. They look too good!

  14. I love how deep you made the thumb print on these – they’re practically cups and that makes me very happy :)

  15. So cute!!! Happy National Peanut Butter Day! Get ready for a day full of pb eats :P

  16. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had a thumbprint cookie actually. I have marked recipes thinking they looked fantastic, sometimes more elegant. But never made them and can’t recall eating them.

  17. I’ve never been into thumbprints, but I can get into the no-bake pb cookie part here. I like jam in things – I use it as a mix in for homemade salad dressing and stif fry sauces. I love the sweet-savory combo with jam.

  18. 10 minutes?! That’s a winner, goes in my recipe book! Thanks!

  19. I can’t wait to try these! They remind me of something that I once made with my friend and her Babci when we were little. I brought them up a couple of times over the years, thinking it was some secret family recipe, but she had no clue what I was talking about! Yay!

  20. Those cookies are so versatile, they could be filled with anything!

  21. I had no idea it was national pb day but I just posted quite the PB recipe myself this morning! Love how quick and easy your recipes are, seriously no crazy ingredients or spending over an hour making something. That’s definitely my kind of style as well.

  22. Girl, you are a baking machine!!!! Look at you go!!!!

    I am not a big fan of jelly, but I do loooooove peanut butter.

  23. wow what great cookies you have here. You need a cookie book!

  24. UGH AVERIE. I’m making today the day to stop eating junk including food that hates me, like peanut butter! (I love it so). Alas :D These look super yummy.

  25. yumm! so whens the dessert recipe book coming out? :)

  26. Peanut Butter ANYTHING is amazing! In fact, I just ate apples dipped in PB as part of my breakfast ;)

    Peanut butter and chocolate is my favorite!

  27. Where do I start, let me count the ways. I was craving peanut butter too the other day, bought ingredients for my fav, pb cookies but never got to them. Now I’ll just have to try your no bake pb and jellie cookies. yummmmy!

  28. These look amazing!!!! I love all things peanut butter. Your flourless pb cookies are one of my favorites!! My daughter and I made your banana oat cake for breakfast this morning. Super easy and yummy!!!

  29. yay for celebrating food holidays :)

  30. YUMMY! I’m kind of a jam fiend, and since I’m a PB fiend too, these are perfect. I love that they’re no-bake!

  31. I’m drooling! Must give these a try ( I say that with all of your recipes )

  32. Ahhh growing up my mom would make jam filled cookies that were called “Kris Kringle Cookies” and I would always think they were named after me….I love jam in my cookies :)


  33. Oh my… my tummy is a grumbling with these treats! They look amazing. pinning!

  34. Those are adorable! I am loving this National PB Day because all the best PB recipes are coming out to play… :)

  35. One of the first vegan cookies I ever made was pb & j thumbprint cookies out of my Colleen Patrick-Goudreau cookbook. They were so tasty– and these look very similar!! Classic combo, you can’t go wrong :-)

  36. HA!! I just made a no bake pb cookie for an upcoming post!! I LOVE them, beyond that, they’re just so damn easy!

  37. I have never made thumbprint cookies before. But I know the recipe I’ll use for my first experiment with them!

  38. “When all else fails, I resort to cookie-making.” <– we are too similar ;) These look awesome!!

  39. These look amazing, Avery. What a fabulous idea!

  40. oh. my goodness. right when i saw this picture my hand automatically clicked!
    these are both adorable and delicious-looking, definitely making this soon (I just bought pear and fig jam from whole foods the other day, I’ll probably try out the pear)

    to celebrate national peanut butter day, i ate all three meals with peanut butter! :)

  41. What a perfect way to celebreate National Peanut Butter Day!!!

    I have some fresh Cherry Butter from Door County, Wis that would go great with those cookies!

    • Door County, as in Wisc!! I grew up in MN and would go to Door County over the summer on family trips and loved eating Door Co. cherries!

    • It is one of my favorite places!!! I stock up on dried cherries and jellies every time we go.

      There are tons of pictures of the BOY and I eating and hiking our way through the Door County on my blog. We love it up there and are already planning our trip for this summer.

  42. Pingback: Caribbean Citrus Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  43. These look so inviting, especially the beautiful globs of red jelly.

  44. These look creative and delicious, awesome job! I’ve never made thumb print cookies, but they look fun and you csn’t go wrong with nut butter.

  45. Oh – I meant to tell you that! I made them and they were all eaten in one sitting! My boys loved them, especially my oldest, who is a total peanut butter lover. They asked when I was going to make them again! I think I am going to make a double batch for my nephews bday party! I just love your recipes! My family loves them and they are always so easy! Right up my alley, girl! :-)

  46. Oh my gosh! These are like a vegan/healthier version of my PB & J thumbprints! LOVE! I love that they only make 10-12 cookies too. Love small desserts ;)

  47. These thumbprints look awesome! I feel compelled to feature you in my Friday Food Fetish roundup and on Pinterest. Let me know if you have any objections and keep the amazing food coming…

  48. Pingback: January 2012 Recipes

  49. Pingback: Love Veggies and Yoga Guest Post: Averie Sunshine Dessert Recipes — Family Fresh Cooking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *