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Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

As much as I love Pecan Pie, sometimes I just want to pop a bit in my mouth instead of a whole slice. Since I’m a cookie queen and can’t resist making batches during the holiday season, I wanted to put these two famous seasonal desserts together. Here is my version – Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies! They’re a butter soft drop cookie that’s filled with pecan pie. They flatten as they bake and you’ve got a little buttery cookie with the filling in the middle.

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

If you’ve ever made a pecan pie, you know that the filling is really easy to throw together, but the crust portion can be stubborn. Instead of wasting your time fiddling with the pie crust, just get rid of it all together! You’re getting all of the great pecan pie flavor without the tough baking part.

Making these Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies have become a part of our traditional fall desserts to enjoy. My Husband was the one who originally requested this style of cookie. All of the recipes I found had a gooey topping of pecan pie filling. I didn’t like the stickiness and how the topping fell off.

These Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies have the filling baked in the center. By making an indentation in the round ball of dough, you’re creating a pocket for the filling to bake. No gooey mess and all of the pecan pie filling that you love – baked with a crunch.

Want more great fall cookie recipes? These recipes are great from early fall to Christmas:

How To Make Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

I think I write this in every single cookie recipe I have on my site, but it’s because I truly believe it makes a difference. You need to invest in nice baking sheets for cookies and I swear by silicone baking mats. The mats help the cookies bake evenly and prevent them from sticking to your cookie sheets. If you don’t want to invest in silicone baking mats, you can use parchment paper. 

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect fall dessert!

The Best Reasons To Make These Cookies

Not that I need to give anyone a reason, because they’re delicious, but they shine during the holiday season. Make them as a Thanksgiving dessert, for a dessert tray, to give away as a homemade gift or even for teachers. Since pecan pies are so popular, and they’ve got a lot of fans, people love these cookies. It’s just a little bite of the pie you love.

If I have any leftover cookies, I crumble them and enjoy them over homemade vanilla ice cream. It’s absolutely delicious to have the pecan pie flavor over ice cream. It’s great to enjoy when they’re just about to go stale because the ice cream adds life back into the cookies – a match made in heaven.

How To Keep Your Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies Fresh

After your cookies have cooled completely, store them in an air-tight container. They’ll stay fresh, without refrigeration, for 3-4 days. If they start to harden and not have the soft buttery texture that they had in the beginning, add a slice of bread to your storage container. They’ll soften again.

How Are The Cookies Filled?

It’s not hard to fill the cookies. You gently use your thumb to make an indentation. After that, gently add the filling with a teaspoon in each round ball of dough. As they bake, they’ll spread and showcase the pecan pie filling more.

How to make pecan pie cookies

Can You Freeze Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies?

Yes! You can freeze the cookies after they’ve baked and cooled. I use freezer bags to store them and they’ll last in the freezer for 3 months. Let them thaw to room temperature before enjoying again.

What You Need From The Grocery Store:

  • Shortening
  • Brown Sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla Extract
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Optional: Vanilla Frosting For Garnish OR Chocolate Candy Wafers

Directions To Make Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350º. In a stand mixer (or large bowl), cream the shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy – about 5-7 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Making the shortbread base

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the cream mixture and mix well.

Dry ingredients for pecan cookie

Form the dough into individual 1-inch balls. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb to make an indentation at the top of each ball.

Pecan pie filling

In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Gently spoon the filling, with a teaspoon, into each indentation that you made. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let them completely cool.

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies ready to bake
Yield: 24 Cookies

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

These Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies have a buttery bottom and then they're filled with a traditional pecan pie filling. They're the best of two desserts!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 31 minutes


  • 3/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

For The Filling:

  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy (5-7 minutes).
  2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add it to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  4. Shape into 1-inch balls, placed 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet with silicone baking mat.
  5. Gently use your thumb to make and indentation in the center. In another bowl, combine the filling ingredients: chopped pecans, light brown sugar and heavy whipping cream. Spoon it into the cookie indentation.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before transfering to a wire cooling rack.


Keep the cookies fresh by storing them in an airtight food storage container. Cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed again before enjoying.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 182Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g

**Nutrition is calculated by a third party. Actual values may vary.

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