Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

If you find yourself looking for something a little different in the cookie world, look no further than these cookies. Thumbprint cookies certainly aren’t anything new, but the addition of a cheesecake filling is worth some excitement.

The cookies themselves are very simple in flavor. They are made with just a few ingredients. Their simplicity combines magically with the richness of the cheesecake filling for a wonderfully delicious dessert.

There’s not a lot of obvious flavor happening in the cookie dough. I contemplated adding a bit more sugar or augmenting in some other way. Instead, I decided to roll some of them in cinnamon-sugar for a Snickerdoodle-like variation. Then, I could compare the two and decide which works better.

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies are soft cookies filled with sweet cheesecake. Roll them in cinnamon-sugar for a tasty variation.

Honestly? I can’t pick. I love them both! The original version is not overtly sweet, but the cookies are just lovely. To me, the simple cookie serves as almost the crust to the cheesecake. If you’re a big cheesecake fan, you’ll enjoy that the focus is decidedly on the cheesecake filling.

With the cinnamon-sugar version, you get more flavor and sweetness in a quick and easy way. You can use a commercially available cinnamon-sugar, but it’s also very easy to make your own. The most common proportions are 1 tablespoon of cinnamon per 1/4 cup sugar. One of the perks of making your own is that you can adjust that to your taste.

These cookies are definitely a departure from standard cookie fare. And that’s a very good thing. Adding cream cheese is pretty much always a good idea in my book. That beautiful, delicious filling really elevates these thumbprint cookies into something quite special.

Scroll past the recipe to find out how you can win one of my favorite cookbooks.

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 28 minutes

Yield: about 30 cookies

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies


    For the filling:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the cookies:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cinnamon sugar, optional


To make the filling:

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar and salt. Mix until smooth. Add egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla, and beat until smooth.

Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

To make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt and egg yolk, and mix well.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour, mixing just until combined.

Using 1 tablespoonful of dough at a time, roll dough into balls. If desired, roll each ball in cinnamon-sugar. Place cookies about an inch apart on prepared pans.

Make an indentation in the top of each ball with a small tart tamper or the handle of a wooden spoon. Flour the tamper or spoon if needed to prevent sticking.

Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and make indentations again. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden.

Cool completely on pans on wire racks.

After cookies have cooled, preheat oven to 350° again.

Fill indentations with about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese filling. Mound the filling slightly.

Bake cookies 7-8 minutes, or until filling is firm. Cool cookies on pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Then, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Transfer cooled cookies to an airtight container. Place waxed paper or parchment paper between layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Allow cookies to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.


Baker’s Bookshelf Giveaway

Recently, I had a bit of a realization that I’m not using my cookbooks as much as I should. So, I’ve decided to make it a point to use them. And, you are going to benefit from that, too. About once a month, I will make a recipe from one of my dozens of cookbooks and give you the chance to win a copy for yourself.

I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks. Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook has resided in a prominent spot on my bookshelf for the past several years. My deep, abiding love of this book is the very best reason to offer it as my first Baker’s Bookshelf giveaway! To kick this off, I’m offering THREE of you a copy of this amazing book.

Please see all the giveaway details in the giveaway box below. You must be a U.S. resident to enter. Please add bakeorbreak at gmail dot com to your address book so that any email from me won’t end up in your spam folder. The winners must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This giveaway is not sponsored. I am providing all prizes myself.

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  1. Mr. & Mrs. P June 5, 2013 Reply

    THese are so cute!

  2. Tahnycooks June 5, 2013 Reply

    Love snickerdoodle too! Bite size cheesecake….ummmm, hello?!? Delish!

  3. Holiday Baker Man June 5, 2013 Reply

    Tasty little bites!

  4. sara June 5, 2013 Reply

    These cookies look amazing – super yummy! Definitely need to try them. :)

  5. What a great filling for these cookies

  6. JEP June 5, 2013 Reply

    These would make a great addition to a holiday cookie exchange.

  7. Alyse June 5, 2013 Reply

    Wonderful. Now, I am hungry.

  8. Maggie June 5, 2013 Reply

    I used to buy these at my grocery store with a chocolate base that had mini chocolate chips in it. It was delicious and I was so sad when they stopped making them/I moved away. Any chance you might make these in a chocolate variety at some point?

  9. Ronda June 5, 2013 Reply

    These look delish!

  10. Rena June 5, 2013 Reply

    Yum! Very excited for this series:)

  11. Jamie June 6, 2013 Reply

    Looks like a great variation from the old jam standby!

  12. Joanne June 6, 2013 Reply

    I am a big fan of cream cheese frosting so I imagine I’d LOVE these cookies! Such a fun twist on a classic.

  13. Vicki @ WITK June 6, 2013 Reply

    This is such a unique cookie, and I love all things cheesecake! Gotta try these!

  14. sharon watkins June 7, 2013 Reply

    what wonderful cookie idea,i love all cheese cake recipes

  15. Ashley June 7, 2013 Reply

    What a fun twist on a classic cookie. And I love snickerdoodles, so the cinnamon sugar coating sounds awesome!

  16. Melissa June 8, 2013 Reply

    These look wonderful! =)
    Now…Im hungry.. lol

  17. These are genius! I love thumbprint cookies but the jam filling doesn’t do it for me- this sounds wonderful!

  18. Love these cookies! Pinned them for later.

  19. Julia June 20, 2013 Reply

    Wow! I have never heard of adding cheese to cookies, but this sounds delicious. I’m a huge cookie fan, but I’m getting bored of the classic chocolate chip or sugar cookie. This is such an innovative way of transforming cookies into a wonderfully inventive dish! I love how daring this is and I can’t wait to try it!

  20. Melissa July 7, 2013 Reply

    These look so good! =)

  21. Jenny December 7, 2013 Reply

    Do these cookies need to be refrigerated for storage, because of the egg & dairy, or can leftover cookies (assuming there are some) be left at room temp?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry December 10, 2013 Reply

      Hi, Jenny. If the cookies will be eaten within a couple of days, I wouldn’t necessarily refrigerate them. I kept mine refrigerated because I knew they wouldn’t be eaten that quickly.

  22. Georgia December 11, 2013 Reply

    A lovely variety for the holidays!

  23. Chrissy December 14, 2013 Reply

    Am I reading this wrong or are the cookies spending almost 1/2 hr in the oven? Is that correct?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry December 14, 2013 Reply

      Hi, Chrissy. Yes, that’s right. Keep an eye on them for the second round of baking. They will just need to bake until the edges are beginning to brown.

  24. Amy December 23, 2013 Reply

    My mother and I made these cookies for Christmas tonight, and let me just say…. they were horrible. The dough tasted like, dough and wasn’t very good. When we took them out of the oven they all cracked and fell apart. We doubled the recipe so we would have gotten 60 cookies …. we have 18 that are decent. The filling was good, but the rest of it was horrible. I have no idea why this happened but the cookie itself was dry as well. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. It was a waste of butter and ingredients. Very disappointed :(

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