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Dairy-Free Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

It’s Christmas! Let the Christmas cookie baking begin!

Listen, even before I was trying to make our food a little healthier, I loved baking homemade Christmas cookies. I grew up on sugar cookies (that we later tweaked to make with more real food).

Nothing beats homemade Christmas cookies over the holidays.

Dairy-Free Thumbprint Cookies

Today we’re going to make dairy-free thumbprint cookies. It’s a classic cookie I remember making and eating with my grandma over the holidays. Simple, sweet, and delicious…but also loaded with butter.

When my kids were little, we had a dangerous dairy allergy. After years of baking with real butter, we had to find something else to put in our cookies.

Here’s the key to dairy-free Christmas cookies: Palm shortening.

It’s a plant-based shortening that makes buttery, flakey dough, creamy dairy-free frosting, and works great for sauteeing and deep-frying. Palm shortening is perfect for dairy-free baked goods.

We buy ours at Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, or Amazon. You can buy it in bulk at Wildly Organic. Thrive Market also carries it!

RELATED: Beginner’s guide to going gluten or dairy-free.

thumbprint cookies

Healthier Dairy-Free Christmas Cookies

If you use palm shortening instead of butter, your thumbprint cookies will be dairy-free and safe for anyone with a dairy allergy or who is trying to eat more plant-based (bonus: they’re already egg-free!).

However, if you also want to make these dairy-free Christmas cookies a little healthier, try these substitutes. Each one changes the recipe a little bit, but they’re all delicious.


Substitute the flour in this recipe with several alternatives.

In this recipe, I used soft whole wheat flour that was freshly ground. We have a Wondermill, and soft white is our favorite whole wheat flour for pastries and desserts.

RELATED: Katie loves her Mockmill grinder. Get her review here!

This recipe also works great with gluten-free flour, spelt flour, or einkorn. Plain unbleached flour works too.

Almond Flour

Almond flour creates a nice texture and flavor in these cookies and makes them a little less grain-y and full of gluten. Yay for real food!


This is a shortbread recipe and the butter typically plays a starring role in the flavor and texture. If you’re not dairy-free, butter is better. However, palm shortening is a fantastic substitute. You lose some of the buttery flavors, but none of my recipe testers could tell that this was a dairy-free recipe. It’s just a delicious cookie.


In this recipe, we use maple syrup. It’s an easy substitute that adds flavor as well as subtle sweetness. Since these cookies are topped with jam, you can make the actual shortbread less sweet without missing the sweet cookie.

Honey is about twice as sweet as maple syrup, so that makes a great substitute. You can also use 1/2 cup coconut sugar or regular sugar in this recipe.

Vanilla & Almond Extract

Look for real extract, not artificial flavor. These can be expensive, but they keep for a long time, and typically it’s more cost-effective to buy in larger quantities.

RELATED: Make your own homemade vanilla extract to save time and money.


Use any kind of jam you are comfortable with here. We love raspberry juice-sweetened jam. Try it with homemade chia jam or other flavors, like strawberry!

The final ingredient is Salt. Of course, we’re going to recommend real salt.

thumbprint cookies

Dairy-Free Christmas Cookies You’ll Love

Just because you’re dairy-free, you don’t need to miss out on all the delicious classic Christmas cookies. Palm shortening is an easy one-to-one substitute that’s not too expensive and keeps really well in your cupboard. One container should make plenty of cookies for you all season long.

Use it to bless plant-based or dairy-free friends with their favorite homemade dairy-free thumbprint cookies.

More Dairy-Free Christmas Cookies You Might Love:

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dairy-free thumbprint cookies

Dairy-Free Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

  • Author: Stephani Jenkins
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10min
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Diet: Vegan


Today we’re making classic thumbprint cookies, but dairy-free!



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  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, beat together all of the ingredients except the jam until it comes together in a smooth dough.
  3. Scoop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto a baking sheet, setting them about 1-inch apart. Wet your hands and roll the dough into smooth balls.
  4. Gently press the center with your thumb, creating a shallow indent (you can also use the back of a measuring spoon). Scoop a scant teaspoon of jam into the center of each one.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Store the cookies in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Adapted from Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs


  • Serving Size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 207
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 71g
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 23g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: Holiday baking, Christmas cookies

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Dairy-free thumbprint cookies
What’s your favorite jam for thumbprint cookies?
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