Dirt and Worms is a fun family-friendly dessert that is easy to make and decadent to eat! You may know this as Kansas Dirt Cake or Dirt Pudding, but my kids think calling it Dirt and Worms is way more fun!
Crushed Oreos, cream cheese, white chocolate pudding, and whipped cream make up this creamy dessert. It’s kind of like a no-bake cheesecake, but a lot more fun! We did ours in individual portions, but if you assemble this in a 9×13 pan it will feed a crowd!
Making Dirt and Worms
There are a few variations of dirt and worms out there. Pretty much all of them call for Oreos to be crushed and layered on both the top and bottom of the pan. Our recipe follows the basic ingredients of Kansas Dirt Cake, which is a filling that combines cream cheese frosting with white chocolate pudding and Cool Whip.
You can crush your Oreos with a food processor, or put them in a plastic bag and pound them. I like to do this part by hand because it is one less dish to wash! For the filling, do go ahead and pull out your hand mixer. The cream cheese gets a lot fluffier this way than if you mix it by hand.
Getting Kids Involved
There is no baking involved in making Dirt and Worms, and there are no knives, so it is the perfect recipe to get kids in the kitchen! Not to mention, they are a lot more excited to help when there is a fun name like Dirt and Worms! If I call my kids in to help make pudding cake it is hit or miss the reaction I will get. But “come make dirt and worms” gets them running excitedly into the kitchen!
Cora and Levi love pounding the Oreos to crush them. We split them into two bags so that they each have their own bag to crush. This also helps me to divide the top and bottom crusts evenly, though this exactness really isn’t necessary for the recipe.
For our individual dirt and worms cups they completely assembled them from start to finish! Sure, it was a little messy. But they felt like amazing chefs.
Dirt and Worms Variations
This recipe is a great foundation that can be customized to so many different desserts! Here are just a few suggestions:
- Chocolate Cream: Some recipes call for regular chocolate instead of white chocolate. White chocolate is more traditional for Kansas Dirt Cake, but regular dirt and worms often has chocolate pudding. It’s a straight sub – just switch out the pudding flavor!
- Mint Chocolate: Perfect for the holidays, replace the regular Oreos with mint. Then crush peppermints and sprinkle over the top.
- Strawberry Cheesecake: For an elegant dessert, use cheesecake flavored pudding. Spread half of the pudding/cream cheese mixture, then add a layer of strawberries, following by the remaining pudding. Mix it up even more by using graham cracker crumbs instead of Oreos.
- Banana Pudding: Swap out the Oreos for vanilla wafers and layer the bananas like the directions for the strawberries above.
- Butterscotch: A great fall flavor, use butterscotch pudding and sprinkle toffee over the top.
- Halloween: Use vanilla wafers to create gravestones and make ghosts out of marshmallows.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe needs to be made at least 3 hours in advance, but can even be made a day ahead. The pudding mixture is good for up to a week in the refrigerator, but the Oreos will start to get soggy. It is best enjoyed within 3 days.
Because this recipe already has all of the processed ingredients from the Oreos and pudding I decided to stick with using Cool Whip for simplicity’s sake. But stabilized whipped cream can be used instead!
It is important to use stabilized whipped cream instead of regular whipped cream. Whipped cream separates as it sits, which will result in a soggy crust. Fortunately, making stabilized whipped cream is pretty easy. Just follow the steps that I share in the Strawberry Pretzel Salad post.
Dirt and Worms
- 16 oz Oreos
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 boxes (3.4 oz each)instant white chocolate pudding
- 3 cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 8 oz whipped topping, thawed
- Gummy worms
- Crush Oreos. You can do this in a food processor, or place in a zip-top bag. If using a bag, press excess air out and seal completely before pounding.
- Spread half of the Oreo crumbs in the bottom of a 9×13 dish. If making individual portions place 2 tablespoons of crumbs in each cup.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add cream cheese and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, beat together pudding, milk, and vanilla for 2 minutes.
- Add pudding mixture to cream cheese mixture and beat well.
- Gently fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture until well combined.
- Spread cream mixture over crumbs. Top with remaining Oreo crumbs and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until set.
- Decorate with gummy worms.