Salted Caramel Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are one of my favourite holiday treats to make. I like making treats that  are simple and versatile, like with this buttery shortbread cookie. It's a classic shortbread recipe that you can use as the base for all kinds of delicious treats, including, this Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookie.

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies are fun, because you can put whatever you like into that little thumbprint. Raspberry jam is always a classic, and chocolate is wonderful, of course. But, we really love these Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies.

These adorable little buttery shortbread wells are the ideal holder for caramel sauce and better yet when all of that creamy sweetness gets a touch of salt for balance. Jars of homemade Salted Caramel Sauce are one of my favourite gifts to make for the holidays. If you want to make your own, just check out the easy recipe in the link above.

You can, however, easily make these caramel thumbprint cookies and then use a store bought caramel sauce to fill them. And, then, just sprinkle them up with some salt. This being a holiday treat, I'm going for the fancy and using fleur de sel. This salt, if you can find it, is wonderful to have in your pantry for finishing deserts like these thumbprint cookies, or any time that the salt won't be cooked and needs to shine.

However, don't think that you need to have any fancy salt to make these festive little bites. Any course salt, especially sea salt or kosher salt, will work.

Cookie tip: Chilling the dough before and after shaping, both makes it easier to shape, and then prevents too much spreading during baking. So be sure not to skip this step, it's very important.

These cookies are perfect for a cookie exchange and will disappear quickly from any treat tray. Hungry for more shortbread? Try Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookies, or Butter Tart Shortbread Squares.

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies


Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies – Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 129

Fat per serving: 7.8g

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies – Shortbread Cookie Recipe


  • 1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce
  • course salt, for sprinkling


  1. In a mixer, or in a bowl using a wooden spoon, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy. Stir in flour just until combined. Form into a ball; kneading once or twice until smooth.Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
  3. Remove chilled dough from fridge. Roll into balls about 1 generous teaspoon, and put, about an inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment lined baking sheets.
  4. Supporting the outside of the cookie with one hand, use your thumb to create a well in each ball, smoothing any cracks with your fingers. ( I used a melon baller to measure and shape the dough, and then the back of the melon baller to make the well)
  5. Put shaped dough back into the fridge and chill for another 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 300° Put prepared sheets in center of oven and bake about 25 minutes, until edges are pale golden.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let the cookies cool completely.
  8. When cooled, fill each cookie with salted caramel sauce. It helps to use a squeeze bottle for this. Don't be tempted to overfill, because the filling will run over the sides.
  9. Allow to set, and sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel, sea salt, or kosher salt.

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

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6 thoughts on “Salted Caramel Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

  1. I’ve never made a caramel sauce, maybe because I’m not a fan of caramel in general, but looking at your homemade, and the way it puddles in the thumbprint, I am more than willing to try. The cookies look awesome and I can see why they disappear quickly!

  2. Thumbprints are totally one of my favorite Christmas cookies! My mom always made them with jam; I’ve never had them with caramel sauce! I bet these are decadent.

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