Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

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These cookies are the ultimate combination of macaroons and shortbread formed into a delicious coconut thumbprint cookie and filled with nutella! 

After trying these coconut thumbprint cookies, you’ve got to try the raspberry almond thumbprint cookies, these perfect shortbread cookies, or these delicious macaroons!

Photo of a stack of coconut thumbprint cookies

Welcome to day #3 of Christmas cookie recipes and my personal favorite: coconut thumbprint cookies. These cookies are insanely good — soft, buttery, coconut-flavored, and filled to the brim with nutella. What more could you ask for in a bite of cookie?!

While these cookies are a bit time consuming, they are simple to make and well worth the effort. These cookies are definitely unique and would make the perfect addition to a Christmas cookie exchange!

Process shots showing the dough being made

How to make these cookies:

  • Start with the cookie base: beat together the butter and sugars until creamy and light (see picture above to the right). You don’t want the butter melted at all for these cookies!
  • Next add in the egg and extracts. The secret to a super coconuty-flavored cookie? COCONUT EXTRACT! (You can find coconut extract next to other baking extracts in the store.)
  • Then we add in coconut — make sure you grab sweetened coconut flakes for these cookies. Add in salt and cornstarch. The cornstarch keeps these cookies soft & chewy!
  • Then we add in flour and the dough is done! The trick here is to SPOON AND LEVEL the flour measurement. 
    • Instead of pressing a measuring cup into a bag/container of flour (which PACKS in the flour giving you too much), use another measuring cup to spoon flour into your measuring cup. Use the back of a butter knife to scrape the measurement to the top of the measuring cup. This ensures you get the right amount of flour.
  • Measure cookie balls by using a tablespoon measuring spoon — gently pack in the dough, level it off, and that is how much dough you need per cookie. Roll that dough in a ball and chill for at least one hour.
  • Bake the cookies being careful to not overbake (this makes all the difference in a soft & chewy cookie) and then press in the center with a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon.
  • Let the cookies cool and fill them up with nutella!

Process shots making coconut thumbprint cookies -- adding coconut

Tips for making these coconut thumbprint cookies:

  • As with all cookies that rely heavily on butter, make sure to use high quality butter (no margarine or butter spreads!)
  • Room temperature ingredients are important for these cookies — don’t melt the butter or the texture and consistency will be off.
  • Use a fresh bag of coconut; if you have a bag that’s been sitting in your pantry for a bit and the coconut isn’t super soft, your cookies won’t be near as soft or flavorful. Grab a new bag and make sure the coconut is super soft.

Process shots making coconut thumbprint cookies: size of cookie balls

Making these cookies NUT free:

Nutella is made from hazelnuts so to replace that, you can use a chocolate spread (like this Cadbury milk chocolate spread) OR make your own chocolate filling to stuff these coconut thumbprint cookies with.

To make your own chocolate filling: combine 3 tablespoons unsalted butter with 3/4 cup milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate (use your favorite; I like milk chocolate best!) in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave mixture in bursts of 15 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 10 seconds until melted and smooth. Use this in place of the nutella!

Process shots making coconut thumbprint cookies: filling cookies with nutella

Storing these coconut thumbprint cookies:

These cookies are best eaten within 1-2 days of being made. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Baked cookies don’t freeze as well; but the unbaked dough freezes beautifully! TO FREEZE: Drop the tablespoon balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. TO BAKE: you can bake straight from the freezer; just add 1-3 minutes onto the cooking time. Alternatively thaw the dough in the fridge and bake according to directions.

Up close photo of coconut thumbprint cookies stacked on top of each other

More Delicious Cookie Recipes:

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Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies are the ultimate combination of macaroons and shortbread formed into a delicious coconut thumbprint cookie and filled with nutella! 
Print Recipe

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies are the ultimate combination of macaroons and shortbread formed into a delicious coconut thumbprint cookie and filled with nutella! 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Chilling Dough 1 hour
Total Time 38 minutes
Servings 50 small thumbprint cookies
Calories 79kcal
Author Chelsea


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract (find near other baking extracts)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (make sure your coconut is fresh and SOFT)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 and 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour, measured by spooning and leveling (see post)
  • Nutella (about 1/2 cup depending on how full you fill the thumbprints!)


  • In a large bowl, beat together the room temperature butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg, egg yolk, coconut extract, and vanilla extract until just combined.
  • Add in the sweetened flaked coconut, sea salt, and cornstarch. Beat to combine. Finally add in the flour and mix until JUST combined.
  • Lightly pack a tablespoon measuring spoon and level it off. This is the exact size of the dough you need! Roll that dough into a ball and place on a parchment paper lined tray or plate. Cover and chill for one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove from the fridge and place 1 inch apart on a parchment or silpat lined tray. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until no longer glossy on top and VERY lightly browned at the edges. Be careful to not overbake as you'll lose texture and flavor.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute. Press a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon into the center of each cookie. Remove cookies to a cooling rack and let cool COMPLETELY.
  • Transfer a few tablespoons (at a time) of nutella into a ziplock bag. Seal the bag and cut off the tip with scissors. "Pipe" the nutella into the center of each cookie.
  • Enjoy cookies within 1-2 days of making. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 79kcal


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Nutrition Facts for coconut thumbprint cookies



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