Dirt Dessert

Dirt Dessert Recipe

I tend to think I’m a “regular Joe” when it comes to the type of desserts that I enjoy. You’d be surprised how many times I steal a handful of chocolate chips from a bag, eat a chocolate-covered pretzel left over from my last birthday, frequent the local soft serve establishment, and enjoy otherwise very “regular” types of desserts. Yes, I absolutely love creating sky-high layer cakes. No, they are not the only types of things I make or eat. Many times, I crave what I loved when I was a kid.

This “dirt” recipe is one that I remember fondly. I distinctly remember eating it while visiting my parents’ friends during the summer. They had two daughters roughly the same age as my sister and I, and we all got together very often when I was little. My mom’s friend Karen would serve this in individual cups or faux flower pots to all of the kids. I thought it was the coolest thing, and I still appreciate all of the wonderful flavors as an adult. (I even secretly enjoy eating the gummy worms!)

Dirt Dessert Recipe

The old-fashioned Dirt recipe consists of alternating layers of crushed Oreo cookies and a chocolate pudding mixture that has been lightened up with cream cheese and Cool Whip. You can make this dessert as quick and easy as you’d like, or you can substitute homemade versions of the Oreo cookies, chocolate pudding and Cool Whip for a 100% from-scratch dessert. I have written the dessert as it was made by my family, but feel free to make any of those substitutions if you’d like. The combination of flavors is bound to be delicious no matter what!

What were your favorite childhood desserts?

Dirt Dessert Recipe

One year ago: Bacon and Cheese Quiche Tart
Two years ago: Mushroom Barley Risotto
Three years ago: Honey-Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
Four years ago: Mushroom Spinach & Gruyere Quiche
Five years ago: Traditional Madeleines

Dirt Dessert

Yield: 16 to 20 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

A summertime favorite! Dirt dessert is alternating layers of crushed Oreo cookies and a lightened chocolate pudding mixture that is made to look like "dirt", complete with (gummy) worms!

Ingredients:

1 package (about 15 ounces) Oreo Cookies
2 (3.9-ounces) packages instant chocolate pudding
4 cups milk
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces Cool Whip
Gummy worms (optional)

Directions:

1. Crush the Oreo cookies into fine crumbs using a food processor (or, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin); set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together both boxes of the instant pudding with the milk for about 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the powdered sugar, then gradually increase the speed back to medium until a fluffy texture is reached.

4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate pudding, then fold in the Cool Whip until completely combined.

5. The dessert can be assembled in a number of ways - in a rectangular or square serving dish, in a trifle dish, or in individual cups. However you plan to serve it, layer the dessert with alternating layers of the crushed Oreos and pudding mixture, beginning and ending with the crushed Oreos. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) before serving. Decorate the top with gummy worms before serving, if desired.

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63 Responses to “Dirt Dessert”

  1. Hari Chandana on May 20, 2013 at 1:14 am

    OMG.. Sounds really interesting.. great captures !!

    Reply

  2. Ellen on May 20, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I love how simple foods that aren’t all high-falutin’ can be so very delightful. I’ll take some dirt, please:)

    Reply

  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 20, 2013 at 2:13 am

    The pics are awesomely convincing! I think my 6 year old would even think it looks almost TOO real :) You did a great job on this one!

    Reply

  4. Nicky @ Pink Recipe Box on May 20, 2013 at 4:29 am

    This looks delicious! I love the added worms on top. Pinning :)

    Reply

  5. miss messy on May 20, 2013 at 5:58 am

    What a super idea! This is so cute :)

    Reply

  6. Brittany on May 20, 2013 at 6:13 am

    I love this dessert. My Mom made this when I was a kid and in an effort to help her make I went outside and got a bucket of dirt and brought it to the kitchen for her to use! :)

    Reply

  7. Marcie @ flavor the moments on May 20, 2013 at 6:25 am

    This dessert looks so fun, and I love how you made it trifle style! My kids have gotten this dessert in the past with their kids meals at a restaurant and I was jealous. Chocolate pudding and Oreos is more than I can stand! Looks delicious!

    Reply

  8. Terry on May 20, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I haven’t made this dessert in years! For a Steeplechase party one year I went out and bought new 3″ clay pots and put sprigs of silk flowers in the top of the “Dirt”…huge hit! Thanks for bringing back memories!

    Reply

  9. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on May 20, 2013 at 8:21 am

    This is such a fun dessert! It tastes soooo delicious!

    Reply

  10. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on May 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

    This looks like a lot of fun! A family friend of mine used to make something very similar so this recipe brings back a lot of good memories. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  11. Tieghan on May 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I used to love this as a kid! for one it is so good, but two? Hello gummy worms!
    I have to make this soon!!
    Love your photos too!

    Reply

  12. Aimee St.Germain (Cooking the Strip) on May 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I remember this from when I was a kid! So cute! Thanks for bringing back fun memories! :)

    Reply

  13. Paula on May 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

    My grand-daughters have fun ordering this when they eat at their favourite Italian restaurant. They would be so surprised if I served this to them one time when they are here for a sleepover.

    Reply

  14. Eva @ Eva Bakes on May 20, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I haven’t had this dirt dessert since I was in elementary school. My friend’s mom also served it in a flower pot, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! What a fun trip down memory lane.

    Reply

  15. Jackie H on May 20, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I remember this dessert! One of my other favorite desserts from my childhood is broken glass. Nothing like jello and whipped cream.

    Reply

  16. Mary Ann on May 20, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Oh, gosh… the perfect dessert for our summer family picnic for all the little ones! Thanks for the memory, and thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  17. Leah | So, How's It Taste? on May 20, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Oh I just love this! Even us adults can appreciate the fun dirt dessert. Gummy worms are still a favorite of mine.

    Reply

  18. Lindsey on May 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Love this dessert! My roommate in college introduced it to me but we always used vanilla pudding mix instead of chocolate. Next time I make it I’ll have to give it a try with the chocolate pudding mix like you did!

    Reply

  19. Tracy on May 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    OMG. My college roommate used to make it and I’ve requested it for every get-together. Can’t wait to make this!! Love the worms!

    Reply

  20. Kay on May 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Just made it for my daughters birthday dessert tonight and it turned out adorable. I’m sure after it sets for the 4 hours it will taste delish! Thanks for posting!

    Reply

  21. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on May 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    “Worms in dirt”!! That’s what we called it when I was little. Such great memories of eating this!

    Reply

  22. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on May 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    My kids would go absolutely nuts if I made this!

    Reply

  23. nessa on May 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    This looks awesome!

    Reply

  24. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on May 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Such a classic! We called them “Cups of Dirt” :) I forgot how simple it is to make!

    Reply

  25. George Eskholme on May 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I have made Dirt pudding several times. I use different types of gummies at different times. I once used gummy strawberry’s in June and laid them on top like a strawberry bed. I also use the Golden Oreos and put it in a beach pail with gummy fish. The golden Oreos make it look like sand. My brothers family sometimes requests I make it. It is really good.

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2013 at 12:35 am

      I LOVE your adaptations! So creative!

      Reply

  26. George Eskholme on May 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I forgot to mention I use the Vanilla pudding.

    Reply

  27. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on May 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    This is super fun. We made these for a get together last year and they were a huge hit!

    Reply

  28. Kathy on May 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    The last time I had this was probably in elementary school. I’m looking forward to introducing it to my kids! They will love it!

    Reply

  29. Christina @ Diary of a Teenage Baker on May 20, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Ahhh classic! We call these “mud cups” the gummy worm is the best part! :)

    Reply

  30. Elle on May 21, 2013 at 3:29 am

    This is very sweet, and as a trife-lover I would definitely go for that! My childhood favourite though was always my aunts sherry roll – chocolate chip cookies dipped in sweet sherry, sandwiched together into a roll with whipped cream, at which point the whole thing was covered in more cream and sprinkled with grated chocolate! Unsurprisingly maybe, I wasn’t able to eat it much!

    Reply

  31. Lisa @ silkandcookie on May 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    What a great and fun idea!

    Reply

  32. Mitzi on May 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    My grandma used to make this for family dinners. Such good memories from this dessert!

    Reply

  33. Laura Dembowski on May 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I used to love eating this dirt when I was young. This recipe is bringing back great memories. I had no idea there was more to it than oreos, pudding, and gummy worms. I am on a HUGE gummy worm kick lately!

    Reply

  34. Melissa on May 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Looks great, I am going to try this! Is Cool Whip just like whipped cream? I’m in Australia and haven’t heard of it

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Hi Melissa, Cool Whip is what’s referred to as a “whipped topping”. It’s a fake whipped cream, basically – it’s packaged and stabilized. You can definitely replace it with regular whipped cream, though.

      Reply

  35. JanetFCTC on May 24, 2013 at 1:02 am

    This is something I’ve always wanted to make for my kids but for some reason have just never gotten around to doing. Looking at yours has me wanting to do it all over again. YUM!

    Reply

  36. Theresa D on May 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    A friend of ours always made this with vanilla pudding, saying she preferred it to the chocolate. I haven’t had this in years and have been craving it like crazy…looks like I no longer have an excuse not to make it! Thanks!! :)

    Reply

  37. Chris on June 2, 2013 at 5:25 am

    I’m going to make this with my sisters kid, she’s almost 6, we are going to have a blast! She really likes chocolate, and enjoys participating in cooking too.

    Reply

  38. Rosie on June 6, 2013 at 9:09 am

    How many individual cups would this recipe make? (if using 6/8 oz cups) Having a “Dirt” themed party for my son’s second birthday! Loved this dessert as a kid, and can’t wait to share it with him!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 6th, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Hi Rosie, Unfortunately I didn’t measure this out into individual cups, but I’m guessing you’d get at least 8 to 10, probably more.

      Reply

  39. Carolyn on June 10, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I have been dying to make this for my kids for years, but I live in Europe where Cool Whip does not exist. Do you have a recipe to replace the cool whip? Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 10th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Carolyn, You can use fresh whipped cream.

      Reply

  40. Trisha D on July 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I am so making this for our 4th of July party tomorrow!!! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!!

    Reply

  41. Nicole on July 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Is it possible to make this without the cream cheese? Maybe by substituting more whipping cream?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 9th, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Hi Nicole, You could do that.

      Reply

  42. Joan on October 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Can you use pudding that you cook?

    Reply

    • Joan on October 25th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Can you use pudding that you cook instead of instant?

      Reply

      • Katherine on October 25th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

        You can definitely use stove top pudding, but make sure it is fully cool before adding other ingredients!

        Reply

      • Michelle on October 26th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

        Yes, definitely, as the previous commenter suggested, just be sure to let it cool!

        Reply

  43. Rachel on October 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Hi, I have a question on the one step I would like to make this tomorrow. I wasn’t sure what you meant by “fold the cream cheese mixture”. 4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate pudding, then fold in the Cool Whip until completely combined. Do you just mix it all together on step 4? I can’t wait to make this!! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 29th, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Rachel, Simply, use a rubber spatula and gently stir together. You don’t want to beat it or whisk it.

      Reply

  44. Brittany on February 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I grew up with this recipe. We called it dirt cake here in the south. Huge hit with everyone but I grew up with it being vanilla instant pudding.

    Reply

  45. vana on March 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Do we have to wait till room temperature?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 8th, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Vana, No, you can eat it straight from the refrigerator.

      Reply

  46. Crystal on March 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I see the reciepe makes for 16-20. My question is what are the dimensions of trifel bowl u used in the pic for that recipes? Thank you

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 13th, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Hi Crystal, It’s a 2-quart trifle bowl; it measures 8 inches in diameter and 8.5 inches high. I hope that helps!

      Reply

      • Crystal on March 13th, 2014 at 6:18 pm

        My dish is 11″ in diameter and 12″ inches high. What would I need to change the ingredients to so I can serve it ad a full dish?

        Reply

        • Crystal on March 13th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

          It’s 3.4 quarts.

          Reply

          • Michelle on March 15th, 2014 at 10:36 am

            Hi Crystal, Since 3.4 quarts is 1.7 times as large as 2 quarts, if you want to fill the bowl, then I would increase the recipes by 1.5x.

            Reply

  47. Amy on March 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    This turned out so good! I made it for my friends birthday because this is her favorite. The only thing I changed was I made extra pudding and made layers of your chocolate mixture and pudding, then topped it off with cookies instead. So glad I found this recipe.

    Reply

  48. Daisy on April 14, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Do you crush the Oreos with the creme in the middle or just the cookie part of it?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Daisy, Yes, crush with the cream in the middle!

      Reply

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