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Digging in dirt. A classic childhood right of passage. But with a dessert?
Although you might not be so sure, I don’t know any child that would turn away dirt pudding cups. It might be the creamy chocolate pudding layers. Or the crunchy Oreo cookie crumble. Maybe it’s even the squishy gummy worms trying to bury themselves back in the soil.
No matter the reason, these dirt pudding cups are a popular dessert at spring and summer celebrations. Serve at a backyard garden birthday, dessert after a summer barbeque or even a treat to serve at a spring play date. We’ve even had the kids put together their own at an end of school party.
The best part. They are really simple to make. You need just a couple of ingredients and a bit of time to assemble.
This dessert is definitely not new to the kid party treat menu. I’ve been eating dirt pudding cups since I was a kid.
But I was inspired to make a version of it after our worm saving missions. During recent springtime rain storms, we have been spending a lot of time tromping in puddles. The kids hate finding the worms stuck in the middle of the street. To save them, they grab twigs and return them to the moist soil. It’s actually pretty sweet.
Why not celebrate this act of kindness with dessert? So, we came home and created these dirt pudding cups. They were a delicious end to a beautiful rainy day.
The Secret Ingredient
As you know by now, I am always trying to take classic recipes and give them a twist. I actually made a version of these dirt pudding cups as push up pops many years ago. They were really fun to serve at our Earth Day celebration, but a lilttle difficult for the kids to eat.
So, it’s time for an update.
For this recipe, I wanted to make the dirt part more interesting. I started looking at other ingredients that I could add to give the cookie crumbs layer more texture. I considered chocolate covered raisins, colorful Nerds candies and even mini marshmallows for a squishy dirt feel. But nothing seemed quite right.
Until I remembered mini chocolate chips. These little morsels added the perfect layer and a bit of chocolatey crunch. After I added the cookie crumbs, I sprinkled some on top. I also added a few to the top of the final pudding layer. It made the dessert taste even more like dirt. But delicious dirt.
Should I Serve Them in Cups or Jars?
I love how individual desserts look in mason jars. The rustic appearance can make any party feel a bit more fancy.
The problem is that mason jars are made of glass. And kids drop things. So, the glass can break.
Nothing can stop a party more in it’s tracks than broken glass. I should know after a bottle of vintage wine smashed right next to my wedding gown. Miraculously, it didn’t splatter red wine all over my dress.
When considering a dessert’s serving vessel, think about your audience. If you are hosting an event for mostly adults and they will be enjoying the dessert, then use the mason jars. For this dessert, an 8 ounce mason jar (affiliate) works best.
But if there are a lot of kids around or your dessert is geared to the kid audience (like this one), then plastic is probably better.
I like using these 9 ounce clear plastic tumblers (affiliate). They are the perfect size for most party desserts and also make a fun snack cup.
If you only need a few cups, though, check out your local dollar store. You can save lots of money on party serving wear here. They even have fancier plastic cups, which might be a good compromise for this dessert.
You Will Need (makes 8 to 10 servings):
Clear Plastic Cups or Mason Jars (affiliate)
Frozen Whipped Topping (like Cool Whip) – thawed
Mini Chocolate Chips
Instant Chocolate Pudding
Chocolate Cream Filled Cookies such as Oreos – approximately 20 cookies
1. First, make the chocolate pudding. Chill the bowl in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes beforehand. Using a cold bowl helps keep the ingredients cold while mixing. And pudding ingredients like to be kept cold. After you have mixed the pudding, let it set.
2. Crush the Oreo cookies into crumbs. Although I have seen some recipes where they scrape the cream filling out of the center, this is an unnecessary. Leave the cream filling in. It helps the cookie crumbs adhere to each other and creates a better, tastier dirt layer.
Use a food processor (affiliate) to crush the cookies. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also crush the cookies in a plastic baggie using a rolling pin.
3. After the pudding has set, stir in the frozen whipped topping.
Then, mix in about half of the cookie crumbs. Stir well.
4. Time to layer the dirt pudding cups. Start with the cookie crumbles. Add a couple spoonfuls on the bottom of the cup. Then, sprinkle on some mini chocolate chips for crunch. This is not a necessary step, but I loved the chocolate flavor it added.
Next, add a chocolate pudding layer. Then, repeat – cookie crumbs, mini chocolate chips and pudding.
Finish off the top of the dirt pudding cups with cookie crumbs.
5. Once you have added your final layer to your dirt pudding cups, it’s time to decorate. Top with some gummy worms (affiliate), gummy butterflies (affiliate), colorful Nerds candy or other fun topper. And if your guests like sour candy, these neon sour gummy worms would add lots of colorful fun. (affiliate)
You can also “plant” these paper flower cupcake toppers for a realistic dirt look.
How to Set Up a Dirt Pudding Cups Bar
We love setting up dessert “bars” around here for parties. Kids (and adults) love to assemble their own treats. From ice cream bars to pancake bars, there are lots of ideas to create an interactive dessert experience.
Instead of pre-making your dirt pudding cups, you could create a bar for serving. Display the different ingredients for layering the dirt pudding cups. You can even create a menu board to show guests how the ingredients should be layered.
Then, add an assortment of toppings for guests to enjoy. Although dirt pudding cups are traditionally finished with gummy worms, guests can add lots of other fun things too. Try chocolate sprinkles, chocolate covered raisins (they look like rocks) or Nerds to add some colorful pebbles. You can also add some other gummy candies such as these gummy butterflies or neon sour gummy worms. (affiliates)
If you want to add a healthy element to your dirt pudding cups, slice up fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and bananas.
And don’t forget the topper. I made these paper flower cupcake toppers for guests to finish decorating their dirt pudding cups with. It really made the desserts feel like they were fresh from the garden.
Love these dirt pudding cups and save the recipe for later? Pin it below.
Planning a spring party? We love celebrating the arrival of spring. You can make a beautiful tea cup fairy garden. Or organize a treasure hunt for the kids to enjoy. You can even enjoy an afternoon of relay race fun. There are lots of amazing ways to enjoy this beautiful season.
And if you are looking for another dessert idea to use for a summer party, check out these Sweet and Salty Pudding Cups. You can almost smell the salty breeze as you eat them.