Dirt Cake


Dirt Cake is a classic Midwestern dessert that’s loved by all. Grab a spoon and dig in!


You know when you update a classic recipe you grew up with such as tuna noodle casserole or, I don’t know, ham loaf, to not include 8 sticks of butter or heaps of sickeningly sweet brown sugar, then cleverly title the new concoction Not Yo’ Mama’s Something Or Other?

Well I’m doing the exact opposite.

For the second day of new recipes for your 4th of July celebration, I’m goin’ old school with another 80’s dessert that my Mom made every summer growing up, and despite the indulgent pudding, whipped topping, and Oreos in the recipe, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Who’s up for yo’ Mama’s Dirt Cake?!


Dirt cake is a CLASSIC summer staple that I remember my Mom making for nearly every BBQ, picnic and special occasion when I was young, and is one of the best tasting things EVER. I practically wept with joy when she busted it out at a Sunday lunch a couple years ago for the first time in over a decade!


Crushed Oreo cookies are layered with a luscious pudding and cream cheese mixture, then topped with ooey-gooey gummy worms for a fun and festive touch. This dessert is a total crowd pleaser.


Dirt Cake is crazy decadent and delish, plus it’s no-cook and only takes 15 minutes to whip together. How bad can that be?


Start the Dirt Cake by assembling zee ingredients:

  • Instant vanilla pudding
  • Skim milk
  • Cool whip
  • Powdered sugar
  • Butter, softened
  • Cream cheese, softened
  • Oreos


Begin by whisking 2-3.4oz packages instant vanilla pudding with 3 1/2 cups cold super cold skim milk in a big bowl.

Whisk using what yo’ Mama gave ya’ for 5 minutes, or until the pudding is soft set.

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Next fold in 12oz Cool Whip. You could use regular or sugar-free here, if you wanted to.

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Now, in a separate bowl, stir together 1/4 cup softened butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 8oz softened cream cheese until smooth. Make sure yo’ butter and cream cheese are super soft, by the way!

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Now, stir the cream cheese mixture into the pudding mixture until it’s completely smooth.




Next, bust out a package of America’s favorite sandwich cookies – Oreos.


Did you know that Oreos used to be sold in 20oz packages, per my Mom’s original recipe from the 80s? You could practically see the steam coming out of her ears the day she found out they shrunk the package down to 15.5oz, and were selling it for more money. Hell hath no fury like a consumer scorned!


Pop the cookies into a food processor or blender, then process until they’re fine crumbs and deposit said crumbs into a bowl.

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Assembly time!


Spoon 1-1/2 cups cookie crumbs into the bottom of a large bowl, followed by half the pudding mixture. FYI – I used a really WIDE bowl, which made the layers appear uneven. If you want yours to come out a little more even, use a big, tall bowl.

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Add 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs on top…

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followed by the remaining pudding mixture, and the remaining cookie crumbs.

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Top with gummy worms, and fake (new) flowers, if you wish, and serve!


Dirt Cake


Dirt Cake is a classic Midwestern dessert that's loved by all. Grab a spoon and dig in!


  • 2, 3.4oz packages vanilla instant pudding
  • 3-1/2 cups cold skim milk
  • 12oz Cool Whip
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 15.5oz package Oreos
  • Gummy worms, fake flowers (optional)


  1. Combine instant pudding and skim milk in a large bowl. Whisk for 5 minutes, or until pudding is soft set. Fold in cool whip then set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Add to pudding mixture and stir to combine.
  3. In a food processor or blender, process Oreos to fine crumbs.
  4. Spoon 1-1/2 cups cookie crumbs into the bottom of a large bowl. Top with 1/2 the pudding mixture, then 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs, the remaining pudding mixture, then the remaining cookie crumbs. Chill for at least 1 hour then top with gummy worms and/or fake flowers before serving.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


Eating dirt cake is like devouring a sweet & fluffy cloud! It is seriously irresistible.


The pudding and cream cheese combine to make a dense and mouthwatering filling, while the Oreo cookie crumbs provide some texture to the dessert. There is absolutely nothing I would change!


I love the rustic look of the Dirt Cake too, which lessens the pressure of feeling like you need to make an elaborate, star spangled banner-esque 4th of July dessert, know what I mean?


Besides, we’ve got more got more important things to do, like figure out how to finagle yo’ Daddy’s Beergarita recipe out of him in time for the 4th!

I’ll let you know how that goes… ;)


What’s your go-to sweet, summertime treat?

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  1. Mandy 06.26.2012

    Aw, this is one of my childhood favorite desserts. My mom never made it, but it was at so many birthday parties I went to! Delicious!

    I think my favorite summer treat is an ice cream cone. Now that I think about it, that’s my favorite winter treat too…

  2. Sarah 06.26.2012

    I love dirt cake! I only have it once in awhile but it’s so good! This seems extra good today because I just got home from biking 20 miles.

  3. Lindsey 06.26.2012

    I love this flash back! And I love dirt cake! :)

  4. Lindsey 06.26.2012

    I loved dirt pudding as a kid, but mainly for the worms! Loved my gummy candy :)
    I love ice cream sandwiches or a banana slush!

  5. Trisha 06.26.2012

    It has literally been YEARS since I’ve had dirt cake and this looks seriously delicious. I just might have to whip up some of this real soon. {drooling!}

  6. Brooke 06.26.2012

    My boyfriend’s mom made it on Father’s Day, and she said the same thing about the Oreo packaging…her recipe from the ’80s called for a 20-ounce bag but they make them smaller now! We had it “worm-less” this time around lol

  7. Andrea 06.26.2012

    Try it with golden oreos. We call it sand in our family. It’s actually really good!

  8. Joanna 06.26.2012

    This made me so nostalgic! I loved dirt cake as a kid. I remember one party where it was actually served in clay flower pots! Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  9. Amanda 06.26.2012

    I will be making this soon for my boys (ages 8 and 1)…one loves the dirt, one loves worms :)

  10. AC 06.26.2012

    I kept seeing “Diet Coke” instead of “Dirt Cake”. I had to re-read a few lines to make them make sense!

  11. Rebekah 06.26.2012

    This is fun to take to a potluck in a sand bucket and serve it with a sand shovel. Although, I think the adults eat this just as much as the kids!

  12. jennyv 06.26.2012

    Call me crazy but I always love when there are a few big unprocessed cookie chunks in the pudding…

    I’ve heard of another version called “Sand/Beach Cake” using Golden Oreos!

  13. jad18 06.26.2012

    Hey, I got my Fitness magazine and you are honored as one of the best blogs. Congratulations!

  14. Ann 06.26.2012

    My mom used to make this too! It was the craze! She would even serve it in a flower pot and stick a bunch of fake flowers in it! Yikes! But so yummy!

  15. Kara 06.26.2012

    Who doesn’t love oreos?!? So making this for my husband :) He will love it!

  16. Allison Rice 06.26.2012

    Dirt Cake!! My mom made this for all of our parties growing up. She would put it in a flower pot — and then put fake flowers in the top. People would honestly think it was a plant!!!

  17. Em 06.26.2012

    Love this! One of my FAVORITE Foods EVER!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  18. Jen 06.26.2012

    We used to make this but used chocolate pudding. We used vanilla with crushed vanilla wafers to top for a “beach” with little umbrellas and gummy fish to top it off, but as someone else mention golden oreos would be delish!

  19. Jeri 06.26.2012

    Yea, I remember it using chocolate pudding also. Sadly, due to a traumatic experience as a child I can not eat chocolate pudding without gagging…or vanilla for that matter. My walking pneumonia was cured with giant antibiotic pills that my parents would have to crush up and put into pudding for me to eat. NASTY!

  20. Food Rookie 06.26.2012

    My mother-in-law gave me this recipe, so I made it for her family Christmas celebration. The only thing I changed was presentation…I made it in a large trifle bowl instead of a 9×13 pan in her recipe. It was a huge hit!

  21. Linda 06.26.2012

    This looks so good. FUN. I have never had it, but will make it. Looks like it would work well for Halloween too.

  22. jesser 06.27.2012

    I loved dirt cake when I was a kid, but my daughter recently had me make it for her b’day and I was shocked at how overly sweet and rich it tasted. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites. She, on the other hand, loved it! I am always all about fruit in the summer and one of my all time favorites is this peach bar recipe: http://annies-eats.com/2010/08/23/peach-crumb-bars/ …. I try to make it at least once a summer, sometimes for my b’day.

  23. Kanoe 06.27.2012

    Oh Lord LOL! We used to make these in the little cups for ourselves(aka the kids HAHA) at summer camp & just because LOL!! Yummy! My favorite summer sweet that I can remember has to be Nana Puddin or as we know it Banana Pudding LOL! Yum-O :-)

  24. Irene 06.27.2012

    Perfect timing!
    THIS is what I will make for the cookout I am going to and was asked to Bring a Dessert.

  25. Lauren T 06.27.2012

    Oh this brings back memories of my childhood too! We made it at home a few times, but I remember always getting it at Bennigan’s back in the day off the kid’s menu. It was so good! This recipe looks even better though!
    Have you ever had oreo balls? If you haven’t it consists of cream cheese, crushed up oreos, and melted white or regular chocolate…SO good! Be sure to try it if you haven’t already!

  26. I love how you left this recipe just like it is :) Some things can’t be messed with!

  27. So funny – I can remember my mother being so excited to serve this for one of my brother’s birthdays. Brings back such good memories! Thank you!

  28. Hooray for no-bake desserts! Anything with crushed Oreos in it is a keeper in my book. I love how fun this is for kids too!

  29. Sara 06.27.2012

    My first day of 3rd grade, our teacher passed out a flower pot with flowers to each student and had us keep them on our desks for awhile – she had all of us fooled! She eventually told us the flowers were fake and that wasn’t dirt in the pots – it was dirt cake! Finding the gummy worms in there was so much fun :)

  30. Jessica Jann 06.27.2012

    OMG!!!!!!! droooooool worthy….LOVE UR BLOG!!!!!

  31. Liz 06.27.2012

    Very very fun! This reminds me of when I was a kid.

  32. jacie 06.27.2012

    oh my goodness… we used to have this at vacation bible school all the time. my mouth is watering!

  33. Jeninnc 06.27.2012

    And now I’ll be adding Oreos, cream cheese, and Cool Whip to my grocery list for the week:). Haven’t had dirt cake in for-EVER!

  34. […] Meanwhile get the Chipotle Cherry Salsa ready. THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER!!! Ahem! That is to say, the smoky-sweet-tart combo of fresh cherries and chipotle peppers in adobo is simply genius. (Can we all please acknowledge the extra package of Oreos that Ben snuck into our cart this weekend! As if I didn’t have enough temptation on my hands!) […]

  35. It’s decided… I’m making this for my office next week! Done :)

  36. ally 06.28.2012

    this reminds me of birthday parties circa 2000! loving it. total delicious nostalgia!

  37. […] I do think part of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle is occasionally splurging on things like Dirt Cake and Baked Beans, which is why I occasionally post indulgent recipes too. Willpower is not infinite, […]

  38. Marci Johnson 06.30.2012

    I love simple recipes like this!! So much fun and perfect for family picnics and adorable twin nephews (mine!) to enjoy!

  39. Angie Sprung 07.04.2012

    I made this for our get together this evening…my kids are DYING to try it!! I remember making this cake in preschool for a program, thanks for an AWESOME blast from the past! Hope my kids enjoy it as much as I did!! :) Happy 4th!
    P.S. Dirt cake for the kids, beergaritas for the adults…I THINK SO!

  40. Love desserts like this!!!!!

  41. […] Angel Food Cake family. We’ve definitely carved out parts in our hearts (graphic) for Dirt Cake, Boozy Berry Cups, and Peaches ‘n’ Cream Cupcakes for other warm-weather dessert […]

  42. […] you are 99% guaranteed to be served Judy’s Baked Beans, Grandpa’s Pasta Salad, and Yo’ Mama’s Dirt Cake, or any combo of the three, but always, always, always Mom’s Classic Potato Salad. […]

  43. […] Dirt Cake. An amazing twist on the classic you grew up with! Your kids will go nuts for this one by Iowa Girl Eats. […]

  44. […] Dirt Cake. An amazing twist on the classic you grew up with! Your kids will go nuts for this one by Iowa Girl Eats. […]

  45. […] the nostalgia of making and eating recipes I remember my Mom whipping up every summer like Dirt Cake, Classic Potato Salad, and Judy’s Baked Beans. Or perhaps it’s the thrill of giving […]

  46. […] Dirt Cake from Iowa Girl Eats Speaking of munchkins, how fun does this look?! I think any kid would love to have this served up for a special dessert! […]

  47. Sherry 07.01.2015

    I make dirt cake and sand a lot. The only thing I have changed is not adding the powdered sugar and butter. I find it to be way too sweet.

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