Main photo of Dirt Cake

Dirt Cake is a classic Midwestern dessert recipe that I remember my Mom making for nearly every summer BBQ, picnic, and special occasion when I was young. It is one of the best tasting desserts – EVER – and super simple to whip up.

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

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How to Serve Dirt Cake:

My Mom always served Dirt Cake layered in a large glass bowl, but this is the perfect summer dessert recipe to get creative with. Layer the ingredients in plastic cups for an individual presentation. Add faux or even edible flowers for a more convincing garden look. You can even play around with the color of the pudding and/or sandwich cookies to cater to different holidays!

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What’s in Dirt Cake?

  • Instant vanilla pudding
  • Skim milk
  • Cool whip
  • Powdered sugar
  • Softened butter
  • Softened cream cheese
  • Oreos

Psst! Need to eat gluten free and/or dairy free? Check out my GF/DF Dirt Cake recipe!


Step 1: Make the Pudding Layer

Begin by adding instant vanilla pudding and cold skim milk to a large bowl.

Whisk vigorously for 5 minutes, or until the pudding is soft set.

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

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In a separate bowl, stir together softened butter, powdered sugar, and softened cream cheese until smooth.

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Add the cream cheese mixture into the pudding mixture then stir until very, very smooth.




Step 2: Make the Cookie Layer

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!


Anyway, 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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Step 3: Assemble the Dirt Cake

Spoon 1-1/2 cups cookie crumbs into the bottom of a large bowl followed by half the pudding mixture. I use a really wide bowl which made the layers appear uneven in these photos. If you want yours to appear more even you could use a trifle 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 then the remaining cookie crumbs.

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Top the assembled Dirt Cake with gummy worms and flowers, if you wish, then serve. I hope you love this sweet and seriously scrumptious taste of the Midwest! Enjoy!

Close up photo of plate of oreo dirt cake

More Easy Dessert Recipes:

Dirt Cake

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Dirt Cake is a classic Midwestern dessert that's loved by all. This festive, summer dessert recipe is a cinch to whip up.


serves a crowd

  • 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 then stir to combine.
  3. In a food processor or blender, process Oreos to fine crumbs. Spoon 1-1/2 cups cookie crumbs into the bottom of a large bowl. Top with 1/2 the pudding mixture followed by 1-1/2 cups cookie crumbs, the remaining pudding mixture, and 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,