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Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

4.50 from 12 votes
Total: 54 minutes
Serves 28

Soft, buttery, gorgeous-looking and decadently yummy Dulce De Leche thumbprint Cookies are here to brighten up your holiday season! It is a classic holiday treat to share with your guests and family, along with evening tea or coffee. Spread it on your holiday cookie tray, and these eye-catching treats make quite a statement. 

Trust me; these are truly delicious, and one can’t have just one!

Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies on a tray

If you are an ardent fan of shortbread, you will surely love these thumbprint cookies with a melt-in-your-mouth texture which is delicate in the center and a little crisp and crumbly at the edges.

These mouthwatering treats are straightforward to make and are very versatile too.

You can fill the center indents with any filling of your choice, making these cookies even more irresistible by adding extra flavors.

What are Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

Dulce De Leche (pronounced as – Dool-seh-deh-Leh-Cheh) is sweet milk, as it is called in Argentina, the country of its origin. It is a dessert prepared by caramelizing sugar in milk. 

The thumbprint cookies are so-called because they have an indentation in the center, purposely made for adding a flavored filling.

The indent is made either with the help of a tart tamper, the back of a spoon, or the end of a rolling pin.

And made with a handful of simple ingredients like all-purpose flour, sugar, and butter, these cookies are super indulgent and perfect for the holidays or any occasion!

You can even carry Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies when traveling, as they are completely fuss-free and easy to pack.

Thumbprint cookies filled with Dulce De Leche spread

Reasons You’ll ♡ Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

These all-time favorite Dulce-de-Leche cookies with buttery creaminess and drool-worthy flavors are loved for more than a single reason —

  • Easy to make
  • Make ahead recipe
  • Scalable recipe
  • Extremely versatile
  • The filling options are endless
  • Kids-friendly recipe!

The best part is that these thumbprint cookies can be made in large batches and stored to relish later.

Ingredients for Thumbprint cookies

Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies Ingredient List

All-purpose Flour — The cookies get their structure and texture from the base ingredient, all-purpose flour. Because of its moderate protein level (between 10-13%), I have used all-purpose flour for the Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies.

Cornstarch — Combined with the all-purpose flour, cornstarch produces rich and tender cookies that are super delicious and well-textured.

Salt — A pinch of salt balances the rich flavors and the delicious sweetness.

Butter — Softened butter is an essential ingredient that lends richness and buttery flavors to the Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies and makes them super delicious.

Sugar — Fine sugar is added for sweetness and flavor.

Vanilla essence — This adds a caramelly richness and warm flavors to the thumbprint cookies. 

Dulce-de-Leche — This flavored caramel sauce brings fun to the recipe. You can substitute it with jam, custard, or any spread of your choice.

Freshly baked thumbprint cookies

Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies Tips and Variations

Butter is an essential ingredient — This recipe works best with butter, not margarine or oil. Use softened butter only for these cookies. If it is kept in the fridge, remove it from the refrigerator and set it on the counter until soft.

Measure the flour — Correct measurement of the ingredients always yields excellent results. So, measure the flour correctly. More of it will make crumbly and dry Dulce De Leche cookies, so make sure the measurement is correct. 

Use fine sugar — Fine sugar absorbs extra moisture from the other ingredients and lends a tender and flaky texture to the cookies. Upon melting, it helps the cookies spread decently and takes a darker tinge and crispier texture. 

The buttery texture yields great cookies Upon mixing, the dough should feel extra buttery when pressed between hands. This indicates a perfect buttery consistency. Take care not to let the dough feel crumbly. If it is difficult to bind, add some soft butter to the mixture and bring it all together. 

Substitutes for vanilla essence Almond makes a beautiful substitute for vanilla essence in this recipe. 

Chill the dough before baking When chilled, the cookie dough retains its shape much better because of the butter present in the dough. Chill the dough until it is perfectly firm and the butter doesn’t melt when the cookies are placed into the oven for baking. 

Color of the cookies — These cookies don’t turn golden brown like other cookies but stay ivory in color due to the baking soda’s absence. Baking soda is generally added to accelerate the browning process of the cookies. However, the base of these delicious cookies gets slightly browned as they are in direct contact with the hot baking sheet. 

Thumbprint cookies filled with Dulce De Leche spread

Roll the cookie dough into balls When rolled between the hands, the dough should form smooth balls devoid of any visible creases or joints. The warmth of your hands helps the butter to soften, resulting in smooth and crack-free cookie balls.  

For perfect indents The cookies can have perfect dents with the help of a spatula end; always press them down with a back of a spoon or with a tart tamper for perfect indents. You can even prefer thumb imprints, but you may sometimes end up with distorted-shaped Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies.

Prep before baking Always place the cookies on a cool cookie sheet at room temperature to prevent them from spreading before baking. This is a secret tip for just about every cookie recipe. Also, ensure your cookie sheet has cooled completely before placing your next batch of cookies, as they will start melting even before baking. 

Line the baking tray with parchment paper Always line it with parchment paper to easily remove cookies when baked. 

Leave spaces between the cookies When placing the cookies on the baking tray, always leave enough space between them for spreading and evenly baking. Closely placed cookies may result in under-baked and sticky cookies.

Refrain from over-baking Over-baking results in dry and browned cookies, so prevent over-baking. Just bake them for the mentioned duration and enjoy the perfectly baked cookies. 

Remove the cookies after resting — Although it is tempting to eat the thumbprint cookies right away, let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before lifting them from the baking tray. The cooling time gives the butter and sugar time to meld together and harden, providing these cookies with a firm texture. Gently lift each cookie and transfer it immediately onto the cooling rack. Let them cool completely, and then store them in an air-tight container. The dulce-de-leche thumbprint cookies taste better when cooled. 

Adding the filling The filling can be added before or after the cookies are baked. I added the filling after the cookies were baked. You can add the spread of your choice to the cookies before baking and follow the instructions mentioned in the recipe card.

Perfect gifting option — These melt-in-mouth dulce-de-leche thumbprint cookies are ideal for the festive season. Just wrap these homemade cookies, and these make an excellent gift for a holiday cookie exchange.

Variations — Instead of a Dulce-de-Leche spread, you can fill the thumbprint with just about anything. Some great options include – 

  • Melted chocolate
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Lemon curd
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Nutella
  • Marmalade
  • Any kind of jam-like raspberry jam, strawberry jam, or mixed berry jam. Just make sure you use a thick jam, as a runny jam will ruin your thumbprint cookies. 

Thumbprint cookies filled with Dulce De Leche spread

Let me know what you think!

These Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies taste just like the store-bought ones. Give these lip-smacking cookies a try, and I am sure they will satisfy all your sweet cravings.

The recipe card below provides pictorial instructions to reach successful baking. So, let’s gather our ingredients and take the plunge!

Should you make these thumbprint cookies, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. 

And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.

Follow the Step-by-step instructions to make the best Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

4.50 from 12 votes
Soft, buttery, gorgeous-looking and decadently yummy Dulce De Leche thumbprint Cookies are here to brighten up your holiday season! It is a classic holiday treat to share with your guests and family, along with evening tea or coffee.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 14 minutes
Rest: 30 minutes
Total: 54 minutes
Calories: 109 kcal
Servings: 28




  • 1 cup Butter soften to room temperature
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon Fine Sugar
  • teaspoons Vanilla essence



  • Combine sugar and soften butter in a mixing bowl.
    Tip — Soften butter is essential for the structure of thumbprint cookies.
    Cream butter and sugar
  • On medium speed, cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer 9fitted with the paddle attachment) until they are light in color and fluffy. While the creaming is in process, add vanilla essence.
    Tip — The fat from the butter will lend a light yet crisp texture to our cookies without the addition of baking soda or powder.
    Creamed butter and sugar
  • Lower the speed setting to low and slowly spoon the flour, cornstarch, and salt into the butter+sugar mixture. Mix until it forms a soft dough.
    Tip — You want the cookie texture to be light and crisp, therefore, do not over-mix the dough.
  • Transfer the cookie dough to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes.
    Chill the cookie dough
  • Once the cookie dough is chilled and firmed, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
    Form walnut-sized balls from the cookie dough. Roll the dough into perfect balls with no visible creases or joins. Set it on the baking sheet. 
    form Thumbprint cookies
  • Use the back of a spoon or a tart tamper to make an indent in each thumbprint cookie. Gently press the center of the cookie down to make an indentation.
    Make the indent in the cookies
  • Place the cookies at least 1½ inches apart on the greased baking sheet.
    Chill the cookie dough
  • Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges. Make sure not to overbake the cookies. 
    Tip — These cookies are tender when they come fresh out of the oven, so let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 -7 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Freshly baked thumbprint cookies
  • Spoon the Dulce De Leche topping into a pastry bag. Use scissors to snip a small corner off the pastry bag at the end. Fill each cookie indent with about ½ teaspoon of topping. Serve and enjoy!!
    Thumbprint cookies filled with Dulce De Leche spread



Frequently Asked Questions

Can I store these dulce de Leche cookies?
Yes, sure, you can. Once baked to perfection, cool the cookies perfectly, transfer them to an airtight container, and store them on the counter. You don’t have to refrigerate the cookies. They stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Since they are filled with a filling, I don’t recommend stacking the thumbprint cookies.
How do I keep my Thumbprint cookies from cracking?
To prevent your Thumbprint cookies from cracking, please consider the following – 
  • Make sure the dough is soft, like modeling clay (after refrigeration).
  • Roll the balls tightly between your palms until they are smooth and completely free from cracks.
  • Now, using a teaspoon, slowly make an indent into the cookie. Make sure the indentation is slight and not hard-pressed.
  • If you see the dough starting to crack, you can pinch the dough back together successfully!
Can I freeze these Thumbprint cookies?
Yes, you certainly can. Place the baked and cooled cookies in a single layer between the parchment paper in an air-tight container or resealable plastic bag and store for up to 3 months. Defrost it at room temperature before eating.
Can I freeze the dough?
Yes, you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months by tightly sealing it into a freezer bag. When ready to bake, take the dough out of the freezer, thaw it thoroughly and then bake it into delicious cookies.


Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided above is approximate. Variations may exist due to the ingredients/brands used. These numbers should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.
Author: Ruchi
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Egg-free, Vegetarian

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  1. Varshika says:

    Is cornstarch the same as corn flour? Can we use cornflour here?

    • Ruchi says:

      Yes. Cornstarch and corn flour are the same. No difference – depends on which country you are in. One reason for the confusion between cornstarch and corn flour is that-
      In the USA, it’s referred to as cornstarch and in the UK (and other countries)cornstarch is referred to as corn flour- Just another name for exactly the same thing.
      To be sure, cornstarch is a very finely milled, smooth, white powder.
      On the other hand, if the packet says CORN FLOUR and the flour is coarse and gritty, it’s cornmeal a.k.a. Makkai ka atta – Not to be used for cakes.Hope that helps!!

  2. Those look SO pretty, and your step-by-step photos are really handy for first-timers, thanks so much! I’m a big dulce de leche fan so will bookmark these to try soon!

  3. Ellen says:

    These will be wonderful for the holiday cookie exchange at work! I always like to bring something new!

  4. Mary Bostow says:

    These cookies are very cute! Oh yum! My whole family would go crazy for these! Wow and wow, this is so delicious and it makes my mouth watering

  5. Shanika says:

    These cookies are so cute! I love the Dulce De Leche in the middle. They are perfect for the Holidays!

  6. this is such a drool worthy cookie I would sure love to be eating these right now they look delicious

  7. Veenas says:

    5 stars
    Nice Blog !! A Very Yummy Wonderful Indian Recipe !!! WOW Nice Photos to See. I’ll Definitely Try it. Thank You for Sharing that Lovely Food.

  8. Christy says:

    5 stars
    My daughters made the cookies over the weekend and they came out heavenly. The Dulche gives them a delicious flavour and they are not too sweet. Thank you so much for a great recipe. It is going done in our recipe book as a keeper.

    • Ruchi says:

      Thank you, Christy, for your kind words. Glad to hear that you and your lovely daughter enjoyed this recipe. 😊