Red-Nosed Reindeer Thumbprint Cookies

This post may contain affiliate links which means we receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thumbprint Cookies – Bake a yummy batch of reindeer thumbprint cookies, decorated with pretzels and strawberry jam. Easy recipe for your Christmas party or cookie exchange!

reindeer thumbprint cookies made with mini pretzels and strawberry jam, on log platter

One of my favorite old-time Christmas specials, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, inspired these li'l reindeer thumbprint cookies. Strawberry jam really does make the brightest red nose.

Thumbprints are must have Christmas cookies. Just like our favorite cutout sugar cookies and mint chocolate crinkle cookies, they've become tradition every year in our kitchen, and my boys look forward to the Christmas tins being filled with all our favorite holiday cookies.

While these reindeer cookies may seem like a lot of work, they're actually really easy. All you need is a little time, and really, baking and cookie decorating are great ways to spend quality time with your kids this holiday season.

This festive thumbprint cookie recipe is just the thing for a holiday party or cookie exchange. They also make the best homemade gifts for your neighbors, as well as cookies for Santa.

They're just one of many family favorite Christmas recipes.

reindeer thumbprint cookies on log platter with Christmas kitchen towel

WHERE CAN I FIND THE RECIPE FOR REINDEER THUMBPRINT COOKIES?

If you’d rather skip all of my baking tips, important cookie decorating info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the scrumptious thumbprint cookie recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE REINDEER THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Your first step is to mix up your cookie dough.

Start by creaming together (mixing together) the butter and sugar. Then mix the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract into the creamed mixture.

sifting dry ingredients for reindeer thumbprint cookie recipe

Sift together your dry ingredients, and then gradually mix them into the creamed mixture.

mixing dry ingredients with creamed mixture, making Christmas cookies, reindeer thumbprints

HOW TO FORM THE THUMBPRINTS

  • Using a cookie scoop, take about a tablespoon or just slightly smaller scoop of dough, and roll it into a ball.
  • Repeat the above step with the rest of the dough, placing the dough balls on an un-greased cookie sheet. Be sure to leave enough room between each cookie for your antlers. We'll get to those in a minute.
pressing dough into thumbprint Christmas cookies on OXO cookie sheet
  • Using a smooth bottomed glass, you're going to press each cookie flat.
  • Then press your thumb into the center of each cookie, leaving enough room for eyes above and mouth beneath.

Life Made Sweeter has an awesome tip in her recipe for Easy Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies… She uses a round 1/4 teaspoon to make the perfect indentation in the middle of her thumbprints. So brilliant!

NOW LET'S GET TO THE COOKIE DECORATING TIPS

Once your thumbprint indentations are made, you'll fill each thumbprint with a tiny spoonful or dab of strawberry jam. You can add as little or as much as you prefer, but don't overfill because the jam may run out of the cookies as they bake.

strawberry jam thumbprint cookies unbaked on cookie sheet

Also, try to use a thicker jam. This will help prevent any mishaps with Rudolph's nose during baking.

Break mini pretzels in half, and place one on each side of your thumbprint cookies, to serve as antlers.

using mini twist pretzels as antlers for reindeer thumbprint cookies on cookie sheet

You'll need to bake the cookies at this point and allow them to cool before adding tiny eyes and a mouth with black frosting or decorating gel (though I prefer frosting because it hardens). If you don't want to use black frosting, you can use candy eyeballs instead.

decorating reindeer thumbprint cookies with Wilton Sparkle Gel, adding eyes and mouth

And then just give them a sprinkling of powdered sugar, using a powder shaker.

sprinkle powdered sugar on reindeer thumbprint Christmas cookies, thumbprint cookies on log platter

CAN I FREEZE THESE DECORATED CHRISTMAS COOKIES?

So if you're wanting to make these holiday cookies ahead and freeze them, I'd recommend freezing the dough… Or you can freeze the already formed thumbprints.

reindeer holiday cookies on log platter

I don't know that I'd recommend freezing them decorated and all because I'm not sure how the pretzels would handle freezing and thawing.

But you can definitely freeze the dough or unbaked cookies themselves.

Christmas reindeer thumbprint cookies on log platter

IF YOU LOVE THESE REINDEER COOKIES, YOU MAY ALSO LOVE SOME OF OUR OTHER FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES:

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Chocolate Lover’s Christmas Light Cookies

Butter Almond Snowball Christmas Cookies

30 of the Most Scrumptious Classic Christmas Cookies Ever

log platter full of reindeer thumbprint cookies for Christmas and the holidays

KITCHEN TOOLS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer with Mixing Bowl

Sifter

Cookie Scoop

Wire Rack

Powder Shaker

Christmas Cookie Jar or Festive Christmas Tin

RED-NOSED REINDEER THUMBPRINT COOKIE RECIPE

If you love this red-nosed reindeer thumbprint cookie recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

Red-Nosed Reindeer Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

CONNECT WITH ADVENTURES OF MEL!

Be sure to follow me on social, so you never miss a post!

Facebook | Pinterest | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter

Sign up to receive my newsletter, filled with delicious recipes and outdoor travel adventures, in your inbox:

FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION

Yield: 36 servings

Red-Nosed Thumbprint Cookies

Red-Nosed Thumbprint Cookies

Bake a yummy batch of reindeer thumbprint cookies, decorated with pretzels and strawberry jam. Easy recipe for your Christmas party or cookie exchange!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam, *
  • 2 cups mini pretzels
  • 1/4 cup decorating frosting, **
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Start by creaming together (mixing together) the butter and sugar. 
  3. Then mix the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract into the creamed mixture.
  4. Sift together your dry ingredients, including the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  5. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, take about a tablespoon or just slightly smaller scoop of dough, and roll it into a ball.
  7. Repeat the above step with the rest of the dough, placing the dough balls on an un-greased cookie sheet. Be sure to leave enough room between each cookie for your antlers. 
  8. Using a smooth bottomed glass, press each cookie flat.
  9. Then press your thumb into the center of each cookie, leaving enough room for eyes above and mouth beneath.
  10. Fill each thumbprint with a tiny spoonful or dab of strawberry jam.
  11. Break mini pretzels in half, and place one on each side of each thumbprint cookie, to serve as antlers.
  12. Bake the cookies at 350°F for about 15 minutes. 
  13. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on a wire rack. 
  14. After the cookies have cooled, use black frosting to add eyes and maybe a little smile. 
  15. Finally, give your reindeer cookies a sprinkling of powdered sugar, using a powder shaker.

Notes

*You can use any flavor of red jam you prefer, including strawberry, raspberry, cherry, etc.

**I recommend using black decorating frosting, decorating gel, or candy eyeballs for the eyes. If you want homemade frosting, you can make an easy sugar cookie icing; but you won't need very much just for eyes and smiles.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

36

Serving Size:

36 servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174 Saturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 27mg Sodium: 130mg Carbohydrates: 25g Sugar: 10g Protein: 2g
red-nosed reindeer thumbprint cookie recipe for Christmas
reindeer thumbprints Christmas cookies

10 thoughts on “Red-Nosed Reindeer Thumbprint Cookies”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.