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Oreo Dirt Cake

This Oreo pudding dessert is a family favorite! Our Oreo Dirt Cake recipe is super easy and calls for layers of crushed Oreos alternating with pudding, cream cheese and Cool Whip.

Close up cross section of a creamy and delicious dirt cake recipe with a rich pudding layer sandwiched between layers of crushed Oreos.

Dirt Cake in a 9×13 Pan

This classic dirt cake or dirt pudding dessert is almost always brought to big family parties or potlucks because it’s always a winner that kids and adults love! Just like Chocolate Delight you expect to find at least one of these two pudding dessert recipes on the buffet table.

Oreo cookies are a family favorite dessert. Rather we mix them in Oreo Crispy Cookie Treats or make a pie crust for our Oreo Peanut Butter Pie we LOVE them! I try to keep a hidden pack somewhere when I want to make this recipe. Otherwise the Oreos are likely to disappear!

Pudding is so good on it’s own, but when it’s enhanced with powdered sugar and whipped topping and topped with Oreos vanilla pudding becomes irresistible! A similar filling mixture in our Cream Puff Cake reminds me of how amazing a pudding filling can be.

9 x 13 glass dish of easy dirt cake

Using a basic 9×13 pan is my preference because it’s the quickest way to make this recipe. I always use a clear 9 x 13″ pan so you can see the layers.

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A 9×13 glass dish with a lid is so simple to fit in the refrigerator and easy to transport. Plastic wrap or foil are better than leaving the dish uncovered, but a firm plastic lid makes the dish stackable and it is reusable too.

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Since our recipe for dirt cake with Oreos is always popular with all age groups it is fun to share!
  • This no-bake dessert is great to make because it is easy, popular and can be decorated so many ways: with Peeps for Easter, gummy worms or artificial flowers growing out of the “dirt” in the summer, or like a graveyard for Halloween.
  • Can be layered in a taller trifle dish or glass bowl with very little extra effort.
  • Can be made up to 24 hours ahead of serving.
Spoonful of Oreo dirt cake over plate of pudding dessert

Ingredients Needed To Make Dirt Cake

  • Oreos – or another generic chocolate sandwich cookie that’s tastes great.
  • Instant vanilla pudding – be sure to use the instant pudding as cook and serve pudding won’t work well in this no-bake recipe. We love vanilla, French vanilla and even cheesecake instant pudding.
  • Cool Whip – is the most common, but a generic frozen whipped topping works fine too.
  • Powdered Sugar – also known as confectioners sugar this will sweet the pudding mixture even more. Some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk in place of powdered sugar and that filling is a bit sweeter than this option.
  • Milk – we typically use 2% milk, but 1% or whole milk also work fine
  • Cream Cheese – I notice a slight improvement in flavor when using Philadelphia brand, but generic will help save a little money.
  • Butter – because all the dairy flavors in this pudding dessert are what make it the best!
Ingredients to make Dirt Cake on a wooden table are Oreos, instant vanilla pudding, powdered sugar, Cool Whip, milk, butter and cream cheese

These are the exact ingredient needed to make Dirt Cake for a Crowd. You just need a much bigger mixing bowl to make the filling.

Decorating Dirt Pudding

I made this recipe for a 4-H cooking contest and put a couple more layers of cookies and cream in a sand bucket, added gummy worms on top and served with a little shovel. A garden pot can be used and artificial flowers added to the top for a fun flair.

Gummy worms are often added to this dirt themed dessert. Gummy worms can be laid in the cream layer, laid on top of the Oreo “dirt” or mixed in a couple layers with only part of the gummy worm sticking out of the cookie crumbs.  After testing we find that laying them on top is the easiest option!

Gummy worms laying on top of layers of dirt dessert made of pudding, cream cheese, Cool Whip and crushed Oreos.

Peep bunnies are super cute at Easter. There are many more spooky options using Halloween candy to vary the theme based on the holiday.

This dessert is also beautiful served in a trifle dish or large glass bowl where multiple layers are visible from the side.

Plate of Oreo dirt cake next to 9 x 13 pan of pudding dessert

You are only limited by your imagination when thinking of fun ways to display and serve this no bake dessert dirt cake.

Variations of Dirt Cake Ingredients

As a chocolate lover the first version I tried as an adult uses chocolate pudding instead of instant vanilla pudding mix. Chocolate pudding and Oreos taste fine. Future trials confirmed the contrast between the vanilla pudding and chocolate Oreos tastes AMAZING!

I wondered if the powdered sugar and butter were necessary in an already sweet dessert, so I also tested variations of dirt cake ingredients. The butter gives more depth of flavor and the powdered sugar brings a sweet balance to the entire creamy mixture.

The filling in our Banana Pudding is very similar except for substituting a can of sweetened condensed milk for the confectioners sugar and butter. This option is a little sweeter than our dirt dessert recipe.

Spoon full of dirt dessert above a 9 x 13 dish filled with the creamy pudding mixture and topped with a generous amount of crushed Oreos.

Since Cool Whip comes in regular 8 ounces and large 16 ounce tubs I wondered why not pick an existing container size? Cool Whip makes the dessert more light and airy and decreases the sweetness factor. So using only a small tub results in a slightly heavier pudding mixture and using a large tub makes the dessert lighter. This adjustment is the most minor flavor change that we tested.

Using whipped cream is a possibility too, but it takes a lot more effort to prepare that whipped topping. We like easy, so Cool Whip is the winner for us.

Dirt Cups

In this day and age where buffet lines at a potluck or sharing serving utensils raise more concerns, this layer dessert can easily be served in individual cups of any size.  Clear cups are best to use because you can see the layers and we eat with our eyes!  

When making dirt pudding cups I like to have an extra pack of Oreos handy so that I don’t have to worry about measuring exact proportions.  If there’s extra cream left just crush some more Oreos to make a few more cups.  

Silver serving spoon full of Oreo dirt dessert in a glass 9 x 13 cake pan on a white napkin with red lines.

Tips For Making Dirt Cake

  • Oreo cookies can be crushed with a rolling pin or food processor. We find the machine makes the most consistent crushed cookie product.
  • Start with softened cream cheese and butter or pudding mixture will likely be lumpy.
  • Tastes best when chilled. Mixture will be cool after an hour in the refrigerator, but 4 hours of refrigeration is optimum.
  • Flavors meld together and taste great the first 2 days, but the Oreos begin to get soggy. Dirt cake lasts for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Always store in the refrigerator. Recipe does not freeze well.
  • Be sure to use instant pudding because the cook and serve pudding does NOT work at all in this recipe.
  • Our family didn’t notice a flavor difference between vanilla and French vanilla pudding. We noticed that the regular vanilla is more cream-colored where the French vanilla is more yellowish. Both are enjoyable in this dish!

Step By Step Instructions

Finely crush Oreos.  Using a food processor is the easiest way to make the “dirt” uniform.

Partially crushed Oreos in a mini food processor

Pour about half of the crushed cookies into a 9 x 13 dish. There is no need to grease the dish.

Use clean fingers to spread out and press down a bit. This will help prevent the layer from moving as the cream layer is poured on top.

Ensure layer of Oreos is level and visible all the way around the edge so you can see the layers.

Crushed Oreos pressed into the bottom of a glass 9 x 13" dish to make a dirt dessert recipe

Add softened cream cheese and butter to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth. 

Then stir in powdered sugar and mix well. 

Butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar beaten together in a silver mixing bowl.

In a separate large mixing bowl whisk together instant pudding and milk.

Vanilla instant pudding mix poured on top of milk in a silver mixing bowl.

Fold the whipped topping or Cool Whip into the pudding mixture.

Keep stirring until the color is consistent and there are no variations.

French vanilla pudding being stirred into Cool Whip in a silver mixing bowl.

Add spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture. Continue to stir gently and mix well.

Silicone spatula stirring spoonfuls of a thick cream cheese mixture into a lighter vanilla pudding and whipped topping mixture.

Using a large spoon gently place spoonfuls of the creamy mixture across the bottom layer of Oreos. Take care to spread the mixture out evenly without disturbing too many Oreos on the bottom.

Creamy layer of cream cheese, pudding and Cool Whip beginning to spread out over top of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies to make a dirt cake recipe with Oreos.

Sprinkle remaining Oreo crumbs on top. Cover dish and refrigerated until chilled, about 4 hours.

Layers of crushed Oreos, vanilla pudding, cream cheese and cool whip

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Other Easy Desserts with Pudding

Printable Dirt Pudding Recipe

Plate of Oreo dirt pudding

Oreo Dirt Cake

Servings 20 people
Author: Jennifer
Oreo Dirt Cake is a super easy recipe that calls for layers of crushed Oreos to alternate with creamy pudding, cream cheese and Cool Whip layers.
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 14 ounces Oreos
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding 10.2 ounces total
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip 1 1/2 small containers

Instructions
 

  • Use a food processor to crush Oreos. Sprinkle half in the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan. Set remaining Oreos aside.
    14 ounces Oreos
  • Use electric mixer to cream butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar.
    4 tablespoons butter, 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • In a large seperate bowl whisk pudding and milk together.
    3 1/2 cups milk, 2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding
  • Fold in Cool Whip.
    12 ounces Cool Whip
  • Add spoonfuls of creamed mixture to pudding mixture and mix well. Pour on top of Oreos in 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • Sprinkle remaining crushed Oreos on top.

Notes

  • Start with softened cream cheese and butter or pudding mixture will likely be lumpy.
  • Tastes best when chilled. Mixture will be cool after an hour in the refrigerator, but 4 hours of refrigeration is optimum.
  • We have made this recipe using both 2 small boxes of instant pudding and 2 large boxes of instant pudding mix, we prefer using large boxes for maximum flavor.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 157mgPotassium: 108mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 321IUCalcium: 84mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

Originally published 7/17/20 and updated on 4/27/22 with pictures added on 5/31/23.

26 Comments

  1. Do you really need 10.2 oz of pudding?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! That’s the amount we use and we love the recipe! There’s several variations, so you may enjoy others more. Hope you find the best one for you and your crowd ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. The recipe states 2 small pkg. pudding, which is 6.8 oz. The recipe also says that it uses 10.2 oz. of pudding mix, which is equivalent to 2 large boxes. Which is the correct amount?
    Thanks!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Thanks so much for asking! We have used both small and large, but we prefer using 2 large boxes, so I clarified that in the recipe card. Thanks again for the note! Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Stephanie says:

    You said to use 2 small boxes of pudding mix, a total of 10.2oz. Well the small boxes are 3.4 and large boxes are 5.1oz. So Iโ€™m assuming you mean use the large boxes?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Thanks so much for asking! We have used both small and large, but we prefer using 2 large boxes, so I clarified that in the recipe card. Thanks again for the note! Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Joyce Branthoover says:

      5 stars
      Can this be frozen?

    3. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! I haven’t tested freezing the recipe, but I do think it could affect the quality of the pudding and potentially make the oreos a bit more soft.

  4. Robin Campbell says:

    Do I remove the creme from the oreos before I chop them?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey there – Great question! I like to crush the full Oreo with creme and all! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Made this today and it was just as good as the childhood dirt cake I remember! We also used the 2 big boxes and it was perfect!!!

  6. Is only 3 1/2 cups of milk total correct? Each 5.1 oz. instant pudding box calls for 3 cups of milk.

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! You are correct, just use 3 1/2 cups of milk. It helps make the filling so much more silky smooth and amazing. Hope you enjoy as much as we do ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Karissa Lynn says:

    Hi there do you make the pudding mix before adding it all together? Like make the pudding mix on stove top? And wait for it to set?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Great question – only purchase instant pudding and you just whisk it into the milk. The cook and serve pudding won’t work well in this recipe. I hope you enjoy!

  8. Caitlyn R Mayor says:

    So the butter doesn’t get mixed with the oreos? It’s mixed with the cream cheese?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Yes, you are correct. Hope you enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Jackie's daughter says:

      4 stars
      My family has made this for gatherings for over 40 years and yes, melted butter goes in the Oreos. Otherwise, the crust/topping is dry/ less pleasant (think cinnamon challenge). I’ve never seen anyone put the butter in the filling. We’ve always used banana cream pudding for the tang.

  9. How much should I adjust the milk/powdered sugar if using 2 regular boxes of pudding? Does it need to be exact or can I eyeball it for a certain consistency?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! If you can keep the ratio as similar as possible to the recipe I think it will still taste very good. I hope you enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 5 stars
    Very easy to follow recipe, I made this dirt cake for a get together and it was great!

  11. I use French vanilla pudding!

  12. 5 stars
    What an amazing resource for recipes! I’ll definitely be bookmarking your site for future culinary adventures. Much appreciated! Greetings from Germany!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Good question – you could serve the Cool Whip on the side or sample it without. I bet the filling is super rich and some might find that enjoyable.

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