Dirt Pudding

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Whether you call it Dirt Pudding, Oreo Dirt Dessert, or Dirt Cake, this no-bake dessert brings joy wherever it goes!

Featuring layers of creamy whipped vanilla pudding and Oreo cookie crumbs, Dirt Pudding with gummy worms is a fabulous make ahead dessert that’s beloved by kids and adults alike!

A Family Favorite: Oreo Dirt Pudding

Dirt pudding is a classic creamy dessert that's loved by kids and adults alike!

If given the choice, my husband ALWAYS picks Dirt Pudding over any other dessert. It doesn’t matter what the competition looks like.

Strawberry Bundt Cake? No. Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies? Nata. Homemade Brownies? Maaaaaaybe.

But 6 out of 7 days of the week, he’s going to choose dirt pudding.

It’s not that he doesn’t like other desserts. (Thank goodness! That would make for a difficult marriage). It’s just that he really, really LOVES Dirt Pudding.

Worms In Dirt Dessert: Every Kid’s Dream

Sand shovel scooping up Oreo Dirt Cake with gummy worms.

So what is dirt pudding, exactly? All the variations–dirt cake, dirt dessert, Oreo pudding, worms in dirt–refer to a layered no-bake dessert that combines fluffy, creamy pudding with buttery crushed Oreos.

I grew up eating dirt pudding at every church potluck and family reunion. My aunt layered the dessert in a big (clean) sand bucket or lined flower pot, sprinkled it with gummy worms, and served it with a little shovel.

All of us kids rushed to the front of the potluck line (rude) just to make sure we got a scoop. There was nothing worse than arriving at the dessert table and realizing all the dirt dessert was gone.

Thankfully, we’re adults now and can make this easy Dirt Pudding recipe any time we want, and trust me, we’ve made it a lot.

We made this recipe for my son’s farm themed birthday party, and again for a Monster Truck themed birthday party. (We topped each dirt cup with a mini monster truck for our party favors, and it was a HUGE hit). 

So whether you’re making this for a backyard BBQ, a birthday party, a family reunion, or just a fun family dessert, Dirt Pudding is always the right answer.

Key Ingredients & Substitutions

Sure, you could do things the hard way with homemade pudding and freshly whipped cream. 

But the dirt dessert I know and love is made with store bought shortcuts like instant pudding and Cool Whip, and it tastes absolutely delicious!

Cool Whip, milk, Jello pudding, Oreos, butter, cream cheese, gummy worms, and powdered sugar on a white table.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oreos– I recommend sticking with the name brand on this one, unless you have an off brand variety you really love. We use regular Oreos, not Double Stuff.
  • Butter– Melted salted butter is added to the cookie crumbs to help them stick together and make the best clumpy texture for “dirt!”
  • Milk– We’ve used both whole and 2% milk, but we don’t recommend substituting skim or non-dairy milk.
  • Instant vanilla pudding or chocolate pudding– Make sure to pick up the instant variety, not the “cook and serve.” We do find that the Jello name brand tends to taste the best and have the best texture, but we’ve used off brands before, and everyone still loved it.
  • Cream cheese– It’s important to bring the cream cheese to room temperature before starting the recipe to avoid a lumpy pudding mixture.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cool Whip or whipped topping– Make sure to defrost it in the fridge overnight!
  • Gummy worms- 100% optional, but also 100% adorable and a kid favorite!

How to Make Dirt Pudding

Step 1: Make the Oreo dirt. Start by crushing up the Oreos. I like to put them all in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to beat them into coarse chunks. Alternatively, use a food processor to pulse until the Oreos are broken into mostly small crumbs. Pour the butter into the Oreos and give it a shake to coat.

Tip: I find the recipe tastes best when there are both big and small chunks of Oreo, so don’t feel like you need to pulverize them completely!

Crushed Oreos and butter in a ziplock bag.

Step 2: Make the pudding. In a bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding until starting to thicken, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Instant French vanilla pudding whisked in a white bowl.

Step 3: Make the creamy filling. In an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium high speed until smooth. Add the pudding mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Fold in the Cool Whip.

Step 4: Assemble. Layer the pudding with the crumbs in a bowl, bucket, or pan, ending with the crumbs on top. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Storage and Make Ahead Instructions

Dirt Pudding is, by nature, a make ahead recipe. You’ll need to allow it to chill for at least four hours, but we think it’s best chilled overnight.

Take advantage of it being a make ahead recipe and prepare it the day before you want to serve it! The soft, pudding soaked Oreos are absolute perfection after a full day in the fridge.

Dirt Pudding should be stored in the fridge, covered with a lid or saran wrap. Leftover dirt dessert will last around 3 days. We’ve certainly eaten it on day 4 and 5, but after day 3 the Oreos start to go toward the dark side of mushy.

This Dirt Pudding recipe is perfect for family gathering and loved by kids and adults alike!

How to Serve Oreo Pudding

  • My favorite way to serve dirt pudding is in a cute sand pail like these.
    • Pro tip: If your bucket is large (8 inches tall or more), place the whipped topping lid as far down the bucket as it will go. This cuts off some of the space at the bottom and makes sure your pudding layers reach the top. This serving method is a huge hit with kids!
  • You can also make a “dirt cake” by spreading thin pudding and Oreo layers in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • Glass trifle bowls are also lovely and allow you to see all the layers!
  • You can also make individual Dirt Pudding cups–just like in our Pumpkin Dirt Pudding parfaits.
This crowd pleasing Dirt Pudding disappears at parties!

FAQs

Do I have to add butter to the Oreos?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is, I highly recommend it. We’ve tested this recipe with the butter and without, and we definitely prefer it with. The salted butter adds flavor and helps the Oreos clump together in a way that’s pleasing to look at and even better to eat.

Can I halve this recipe?

Absolutely. You can cut the recipe in half.

Can I use Double Stuff Oreos?

Yes, you can, but the texture is not quite as nice, and it’s a bit too sweet for our tastes. We prefer less cream filling, and more chocolate cookie crumbs.

Can I use cook and serve pudding instead of instant?

You can use cook and serve pudding for Dirt Pudding, but you MUST cook the pudding according to the package directions, and let it set up completely in the fridge before continuing on with the recipe.

Can I make chocolate dirt pudding or another flavor?

There is disagreement in our home about what makes the absolute BEST dirt pudding. My husband prefers his dirt recipe with chocolate pudding. I prefer it with French vanilla pudding.

We’ve also tried chocolate fudge pudding and a mix of chocolate and cheesecake. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even divide the pudding mixture in two and alternate layers of chocolate pudding and vanilla pudding. It’s really up to you!

For Halloween, we love to use pumpkin pudding and make Halloween Dirt Pudding!

All that to say, YES! You can absolutely make chocolate dirt pudding or whatever other flavor your heart desires!

Spoonful of Oreo DIrt Dessert being lifted out of a red sand bucket.

More Recipes for Oreo Lovers

Sand shovel scooping up Oreo Dirt Cake with gummy worms.

Dirt Pudding Recipe

Creamy vanilla pudding and crumbled Oreos combine to make this much loved Oreo Dirt Dessert, or as we call it, Dirt Pudding!
4.5 from 278 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 15
Calories: 416kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 18 – 19 oz. Oreos (*SEE NOTE 1)
  • 6 Tablespoons salted butter (melted)
  • 3 1/2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
  • 2 boxes instant French vanilla pudding (3.4 oz each *SEE NOTE 2)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 12 ounces whipped topping (thawed)
  • Gummy worms (optional)

Instructions

  • Place Oreos in a large ziplock bag and seal. Use a rolling pin to crush Oreos. We like it best if there is a mix of larger and smaller crumbs, so don't feel the need to pulverize them completely. Pour melted butter in the bag and shake to combine. Set aside. Alternatively, use a food processor to crush the Oreos.
  • Whisk the milk and pudding mix together in a bowl until starting to thicken, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  • Place the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium high speed until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.
  • Fold the pudding in, beating on low speed until well combined. Stir in whipped topping.
  • If you're using a large pail to serve the pudding (8 inches or taller), place the whipped topping lid upside down in the bottom. This shortens the pail and makes it so the pudding will go all the way up to the top. Place a layer of pudding at the bottom, followed by a layer of the Oreo mixture. Repeat layers until both are gone, ending with the Oreos. Arrange gummy worms on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Video

Notes

  • Note 1: We prefer using regular Oreos, not Double Stuf. Use 1 1/2 of the standard size packages of Oreos if you don’t have family size.
  • Note 2: You can use any flavor of pudding you like, but French vanilla is our personal favorite. If you use cook and serve, you MUST cook the pudding first, then allow it to chill completely in the fridge before proceeding with the recipe.
  • Note 3: Dirt Pudding can also be layered into a 9 x 13 inch pan to make a Dirt Cake, or layered in a trifle bowl or individual cups.
Note 4: Dirt Pudding will keep, covered, in the fridge for about 3 days. It is still safe to eat beyond this, but the Oreos start to get a little too mushy after that point.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword dirt cake, dirt pudding, dirt pudding recipe, oreo dirt dessert, oreo pudding

Nutrition

Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 453IU | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a review, Mention @NeighborFoodie, or tag #neighborfoodies!

39 Comments

  1. How long can this sit out during serving? Mine turned very soupy after sitting out for only like an hour. Still tasted very good and goy lots of compliments, it was just very soupy.

  2. Can you make this with regular pudding mix if you prepare the pudding and let it set up before adding it to the other ingredients?

    1. I’m sorry, I’m not very familiar with Oreo Coasters, but I probably wouldn’t recommend using them, as you want some of the texture of the regular Oreos to remain, even after adding the butter and letting them sit in the pudding.

  3. Love this! Forgot how to make it and couldn’t fine the recipe so I looked online and found this it’s honestly one of those deserts you have as a kid that even as an adult never gets old! Thank you for sharing! Made mine into a Halloween themed desert by making it look like a graveyard and I honestly couldn’t think of a better desert to do it with!

  4. It says small box of pudding in the recipe, but doesn’t have an ounce size, does small mean the 3.4 oz box?

    1. I used a pretty standard size pail here- it was about 8 inches across the top and 9 inches tall.

  5. I am not sure if this is missing a step, but I didn’t see anywhere it said to take the filling out of the Oreos. It also says that Double Stuff Oreos work as well, however I ended up with 1/3 of the Oreo crumbs stuck to the inside of the bag in a mushy paste. I think if I make this recipe again I’ll remove and save the filling to either augment or replace the cream cheese step depending on how much filling there is.

    1. I’ve made this both with butter and without, and prefer it with the butter. The butter adds flavor AND helps the Oreos to clump together. However, the recipe will still work without the butter if you decide to omit it.

  6. This looks delicious! We had a family friend who used to make this pudding when we were children and I didn’t have the recipe so I’m going to try yours. She always served it in a (new and clean) flowerpot lined with tin foil, and she’d tin foil the bottom of a fake plant and stick it in the “dirt” and serve with a trowel. I remember being totally fooled as a child the first time she served it to us!

    1. Oh what a bummer! Unfortunately this does not freeze very well. it will keep in the fridge for about a week, so hopefully you can make a dent in it or share with friends and neighbors!

  7. Thank you for sharing my children (now adults) favorite dessert. I misplaced the recipe many years ago. I’m so happy to surprise my family for this Thanksgiving!

  8. Not enough Oreos in this recipe, it didn’t turn out the way your photo looked. The pudding to Oreo ratio was way off. I should have gotten the family size package instead of regular size.

    1. It helps soften the Oreos and adds flavor. I know it sounds like just extra calories, but I’ve made it with and without and do prefer it with the butter. That said, it can absolutely be omitted if you prefer!

    1. I have not tried it with almond milk, but have heard you can make instant pudding with almond milk, but use half the amount called for on the package. If the person is lactose intolerant but not allergic to milk, I would just recommend using lactose free milk. It tastes and behaves exactly the same in recipes! Good luck!

      1. From what I’ve read and experienced, lactose free milk is a misnomer. It still contains lactose; they’ve just added in the enzyme that our bodies don’t create to help break it down. As such, it can still make a person’s stomach upset. I’d recommend sticking with the milk substitute.

    1. It will keep for several days, but the Oreos will start to get soggy after the first 24 hours. If you’d like, you can prepare the Oreos and pudding separately and then assemble a few hours before you’re ready to serve.

4.54 from 278 votes (278 ratings without comment)

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