/Dirt Cakes Automatically Make You the Coolest Kid
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Dirt Cakes Automatically Make You the Coolest Kid

Cups of Dirt Cake with Gummy Worms
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Growing up, dirt cakes were a special treat reserved for the best birthday parties, school events, and backyard picnics. As a kid, not only did I love the combination of creamy chocolate pudding and crumbled Oreos, but I also loved the ick factor of eating “dirt” and “creepy crawlies.”

Didn’t grow up digging into dirt cakes? Dirt cakes are a dessert often served in individual cups. Crumbled Oreos made to resemble dirt are layered between fluffy chocolate pudding. Gummy worms always go on top. They are often served at birthday parties and school events because of their wow factor and convenient single servings. Plus, they are a no-fuss, no-bake, easy dessert.

Where Did Dirt Cakes Originate?

Dirt cakes are believed to be a spin on the Mississippi mud pie, a popular chocolate dessert from the 1960s. Dirt cakes took the concept of layering chocolate cookie crumble and pudding, like a trifle. It was first seen in the 1980s in the American Midwest, specifically made for kids. Over time, many variations of dirt cake have been made, using different kinds of crumbled cookies, flavored pudding, and candy on top.

Tray of Dirt Cake Cups with Gummy Worms
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Have Fun! Make It Your Own

While a classic dirt cake is made with chocolate pudding and Oreo cookies, there are endless ways to put your own unique spin on it. Here are some ideas:

  • Use vanilla cookies with vanilla or banana pudding.
  • For a mint chocolate pudding, add 1/4 teaspoon mint extract.
  • Use gingerbread biscuits and butterscotch pudding.
  • Add a layer of toasted coconut flakes for a tropical version. 

Dirt Cake Without Worms

Classic gummy worms are the traditional garnish, but any type of gummy candy works. I would recommend sticking to the theme of slimy insects and creatures—gummy frogs, spiders, or alligators. Avoid sour-coated gummies since the flavors clash with the creamy pudding.

Cups of Dirt Cake with Gummy Worms and Spoons
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Best Cup for Serving Dirt Cakes

I love making these in 5- to 6-ounce clear cups—that way you can see the layers! Parfait glasses, stemless wine glasses, or dessert cups are perfect. If you prefer one large dirt cake, use a clear round bowl or a trifle dish.

Plan Ahead, But Not Too Far Ahead

These dirt cups are best enjoyed the day of, but can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept covered and refrigerated. They will keep for up to 4 days, but the crumbs will lose their texture and become soft. Plus, the gummy words will harden in the fridge. I would not recommend freezing them. 

If you’d like to plan ahead and serve the most delicious dirt cups, refrigerate the pudding only, tightly covered. Keep the Oreo crumbs and gummy worms out of the fridge. Assemble the dirt cups right before serving. 

Cups of Dirt Cake with Gummy Worms
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

We Love Oreos as Much as You Do

Prepare the Oreo crumbs: 

Place the Oreos into a large zip top bag. Seal it, leaving a small opening for the air to escape. Use a rolling pin to crush the cookies into gravel-sized crumbs. 

You can also do this in a food processor—just pulse it.

Bag of Crushed Oreos Next to a Rolling Pin and Uncrushed Oreos for Dirt Cake Recipe
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Make the cream cheese mixture: 

Add the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and use a handheld mixer to beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Bowl of Whipped Cream Cheese Using a Hand Mixer for Dirt Cake with Gummy Worms
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Make the pudding mixture:

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and pudding mix until combined and thickened. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the Cool Whip.

Bowl of Chocolate Pudding Mix and Cool Whip for Dirt Cake
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva


Scrape the pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture, and mix until smooth and fully combined. 

Chocolate Pudding Mixture in a Bowl for Dirt Cake Recipe
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Layer and decorate:

Add 2 tablespoons Oreo crumbs into the bottom of each cup. Top with about 1/4 cup pudding. Repeat until filled, ending with crumbs on top. Garnish with gummy worms.

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Assemble Dirt Cake with Crushed Oreos and Chocolate Pudding
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva
Cups of Dirt Cake with Gummy Worms and Spoons
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva