Dirt Dessert Recipe
A recipe for classic dirt dessert! This easy summer dessert features alternating layers of crushed Oreos and a chocolate pudding mixture. It is made to look like dirt, complete with (gummy) worms!
I tend to think I’m a “regular Joe” when it comes to the type of desserts that I enjoy. I am more a “handful of chocolate chips” type of girl than a spun sugar, fancy cake kind of girl. Many times, I crave what I loved when I was a kid.
This dirt dessert 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 me and my sister, 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!)
Watch How to Make Dirt Dessert
The old-fashioned dirt dessert 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?
One year ago: Chocolate Dump-It Cake
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Side Dishes
Five years ago: Sausage, Mozzarella & Basil Stuffed Peppers
Eight years ago: Pizzelles
- 14.3 ounce (405.4 g) Oreo Cookies
- 7.8 ounce (221.13 g) instant chocolate pudding
- 4 cups (976 ml) milk
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (56.75 g) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- 8 ounce (226.8 g) container Cool Whip
- Gummy worms, optional
- 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.
- In a large bowl, whisk together both boxes of the instant pudding with the milk for about 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- 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.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate pudding, then fold in the Cool Whip until completely combined.
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
This recipe was originally published on May 20, 2013.
very interesting subject , outstanding post.
Delicious! This is a requested dessert from friends & family!
This recipe has become a birthday treat in our house! Love it, thank you!
Why the heck aren’t people leaving their stars!! This recipe is worth EVERYONE! OMGoodness, so delicious! I’m glad I read the comments, the 1 person that rated this recipe 1 star probably did something wrong. 😬🤪 Thank you for this!
I’m so glad I found this! I used to make this dessert and then lost my recipe. It’s really easy and a kid favorite! Bringing it to Thanksgiving! ;)
Doesn’t come out good! The pudding is so runny..definitely needs less milk or more time to set. My 6 year old was very upset this didn’t come out right…she wanted to make it for the Easter bunny
I had this happen making pies before. Turns out, I bought stove top pudding by mistake instead of instant. Maybe that happened?
Also you must use whole milk, NOT skim milk. I learned that the hard way when making pudding before. My daughter and her friends love this dessert. Have made it for acting camp for the past 6 years, had college students come back for the summer and pop in for the party when they heard there would be “dirt!”
I make this with the vanilla Oreos and vanilla instant pudding, sooo so good.
Hi, first of all thank you for this amazing recipe
Since It is hard to find cool whip in my country , what can i use instead of it?
You can make homemade whipped cream and it will work just fine.
Wow, what a creation. I love the idea of it and it looks delicious too!
I made a slightly different version of this for my grandson’s Birthday…. mixed the Oreo cookie crumbs together with the pudding, whipped cream
and other ingredients mixing in gummy worms and candy rocks. Put the whole thing in a clean new clay pot, stuck a plastic flower and a spade in the top. My daughter took it into his preschool and the kids all loved it! Just adorable!!!!
SAVED! look at those pictures.. I want it, right now!
Wow, this brings back memories. My mom used to make this when I was a kid; it was one of my little brother’s top requests for birthdays! :)
This looks like fun for the little ones, perfect, thank you!
Don’t forget to bury small tootsie rolls in the dirt. Kitty droppings!
Your dirt dessert makes me laugh. I must make it for my children, they’d love it. And yes, I would also eat some of the gummy worms myself! Thanks for sharing. So much fun.
It looks yummy.I’m gonna try it right now
This came out SO good! Thank you for posting this recipe. I’m making it for tomorrow’s Halloween party. It brings back good old memories :) I needed more Oreos and I’m thinking I want to top it off with something else crunchy. Like maybe a crunchy candy, any suggestions? Thank you!
Hey! I just made this and i just wanted to add that I ran out of oreo mixture and had to crush more in the middle of it! so maybe use more than 15! :) Thanks for the recipe!
Hi, I want to make this for my demonstration speech on Wednesday. There are about 25-30 people in my class. Can you please give me the correct amounts of each ingredient to make this? I couldn’t see the serving size for this or I would try to do the math lol. Thank you!
Hi Jessyca, The serving size is 16-20, so you might be okay with the recipe as-is.
Glad to know im not the only one who is doing this for a demo speech lol!
I used your recipe a few months ago when my niece wanted a fun chocolatey dessert. She loved it and has decided to make some for Thanksgiving, tomorrow.Thanks for the great recipe and pic.
I made this dessert for a party and it was dirt soup. Did not thicken. I followed recipe to a “t”. Very disappointed.
I just made 2 batches of this for our families Christmas in July party tomorrow. I made one by following the recipe exactly and the second I decided to try an ‘adult’ version. So instead of using the 4 cups of milk I put in 1.75cups of baileys and then 1.75 cups of milk and added a big more cool whip so it would thicken up. It is delicious!!! I then soaked the worms in some vodka so they are ‘adult’ too!!! I love taking an already great dessert and making an adult version of it.
This is delicious! Just wondering if anyone knows if it could be made Tuesday for a Thursday pot luck if it was kept refrigerated or would the cookies go too soggy? ( Wednesday really busy)
Hi Debbie, The cookies will get soft, but they shouldn’t be soggy. I think that would be okay.
Thanks so much for posting the old school version. I’ve been looking for 2 days for the one with choc pudding, and no confectioners sugar!
I made this for our Halloween party dessert yesterday. I made it in a 1sx9 pan instead of the trifle bowl (no room in the fridge otherwise!). Best dirt cake ever!!!! Yum!!!!!!
Can this be made before we are going away and want to make them for my sons party two days before the trip??
Hi Meghan, I think making this one or two days in advance would be okay, but I wouldn’t do it any sooner than that.
This would be great for Halloween :D
I am going to make this except with homemade pudding and making my own whip cream. Love the idea! Thx
well i tried to make it. tried being the key word. i figured the chocolate pudding and milk mixture would thicken up during the five minute waiting period or while i was mixing the cream cheese and cool whip but it did not. and when i tried to fold everything into it..well it just didnt work bc its lkike folding fluffy cream into milk its just floating bits. what did i do wrong? :(
Do you crush the Oreos with the creme in the middle or just the cookie part of it?
Hi Daisy, Yes, crush with the cream in the middle!
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.
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
Hi Crystal, It’s a 2-quart trifle bowl; it measures 8 inches in diameter and 8.5 inches high. I hope that helps!
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?
It’s 3.4 quarts.
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.
Do we have to wait till room temperature?
Hi Vana, No, you can eat it straight from the refrigerator.
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.
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!
Hi Rachel, Simply, use a rubber spatula and gently stir together. You don’t want to beat it or whisk it.
Can you use pudding that you cook?
Can you use pudding that you cook instead of instant?
You can definitely use stove top pudding, but make sure it is fully cool before adding other ingredients!
Yes, definitely, as the previous commenter suggested, just be sure to let it cool!
I dont think so because the molecules of the dirt would generate to much energy with the worms and could explode.
Is it possible to make this without the cream cheese? Maybe by substituting more whipping cream?
Hi Nicole, You could do that.
I am so making this for our 4th of July party tomorrow!!! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!!
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!
Hi Carolyn, You can use fresh whipped cream.
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!
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.
I measured this out using 10oz cups and I was just and I mean just able to get 10 of them…they were not full to the top of the cup about 1/2″ below. So using 8oz cups you should get 10 full cups for sure!!!
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.
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!! :)
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!
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
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.
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!
My grandma used to make this for family dinners. Such good memories from this dessert!
What a great and fun idea!
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!
Ahhh classic! We call these “mud cups” the gummy worm is the best part! :)
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!
This is super fun. We made these for a get together last year and they were a huge hit!
I forgot to mention I use the Vanilla pudding.
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.
I LOVE your adaptations! So creative!
Such a classic! We called them “Cups of Dirt” :) I forgot how simple it is to make!
This looks awesome!
My kids would go absolutely nuts if I made this!
“Worms in dirt”!! That’s what we called it when I was little. Such great memories of eating this!
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!
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!
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!
Oh I just love this! Even us adults can appreciate the fun dirt dessert. Gummy worms are still a favorite of mine.
Oh, gosh… the perfect dessert for our summer family picnic for all the little ones! Thanks for the memory, and thanks for the recipe!
I remember this dessert! One of my other favorite desserts from my childhood is broken glass. Nothing like jello and whipped cream.
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.
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.
I remember this from when I was a kid! So cute! Thanks for bringing back fun memories! :)
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!
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!
This is such a fun dessert! It tastes soooo delicious!
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!
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!
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! :)
What a super idea! This is so cute :)
This looks delicious! I love the added worms on top. Pinning :)
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!
I love how simple foods that aren’t all high-falutin’ can be so very delightful. I’ll take some dirt, please:)
OMG.. Sounds really interesting.. great captures !!