Get nostalgic with this easy gluten-free dirt pudding recipe! Don’t miss all the fun ways to decorate it below.
Tell me you ate these at least once growing up!?
My kids and I were talking about childhood treats right around the time I was testing our Gluten-Free Chocolate Pudding recipe, and I had a flashback to all the times I ate dirt pudding at birthday parties and Halloween parties in the 90s. These dirt pudding cups were so fun, I knew I had to make a gluten-free version!
If you never at them growing up, you might be thinking “ummm… what is dirt pudding made of?”
Don’t be scared! The “dirt” in this recipe is chocolate sandwich cookies (like gluten-free Oreos), so these “dirt cups” or “dirt pudding cups” taste delicious! They make a really fun baking project with kids, or a fun addition to Halloween celebrations and kids parties all year long.
Here’s what you need for our gluten-free dirt pudding recipe…
Simple Ingredients For Dirt Pudding:
A lot of Oreo dirt pudding recipes use a package of chocolate instant pudding mix and a cream cheese mixture made from cool whip and cream cheese. You can absolutely go that route, but we’re making our gluten-free dirt pudding recipe from scratch without a pudding mix today, using our gluten-free chocolate pudding recipe instead. You’ll need:
- Gluten-Free Oreos or another brand of gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies. We’ve got 8 brands to choose from in this post if you need help! Remember that original Oreos are NOT gluten-free, so you must buy gluten-free Oreo cookies (white package) or another gluten-free brand for this to be safe.
- Heavy Cream. A little whipped cream adds lightness and makes these so fun! We’ll sweeten it a bit with a tiny bit of sugar and some vanilla.
- Gluten-Free Gummy Worms. Not all brands are gluten-free, but we really like the Albanese gummy worms, which are gluten-free and allergen free.
- Our Homemade Chocolate Pudding. It’s made from pantry ingredients and tastes incredible! You’ll need sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, whole milk (not low-fat!), some chocolate, a little butter, and some vanilla.
Don’t be nervous about making your own pudding! It’s truly as simple as whisking!
How To Make Gluten-Free Dirt Pudding, Step By Step
First Make The Pudding
- Whisk Dry Ingredients. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to combine well.
- Pour In Milk. Add the milk to the cocoa mixture and whisk to combine. It will take a second to combine, and it will look pretty foamy at first.
- Cook To Thicken. Whisk the milk mixture over medium heat until the pudding begins to thicken. You want to stir pretty constantly, so the pudding doesn’t form lumps. You’ll know it’s thickened when any foamy bubbles go away, and you can see the path of the whisk in the pudding as you stir. Remove from the heat.
- Finish. Immediately add chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine until the chocolate is melted. If desired, you can strain the pudding through a fine mesh sieve to remove any small lumps, but I don’t usually.
- Cover & Chill. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl, airtight container, or individual serving cups. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or food wrap so the pudding doesn’t develop a “skin” (a layer of thickened pudding on top). Chill in the refrigerator 2-3 hours or until completely cool. Leftover chocolate pudding will keep covered in the fridge 3-4 days, so you can mix it up in advance, if needed. (You may need to stir it a bit to loosen it up for scooping)
While The Pudding Cools, Make Your Cookie Crumb “Dirt”
- Crush. Add gluten-free Oreo cookies to a food processor and pulse to break the cookies up into coarse crumbs. It’s ok if there are a few larger crumbles, but you want it to look like dirt or soil. (If you don’t have a food processor, add the cookies to a large ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin or the back of a sturdy measuring cup.)
Assemble The Dirt Pudding Cups
You’ll be working with just about 4 cups of chocolate pudding here, so you can choose to make individual portions or one large pudding. Keep in mind you’ll alternate cookie crumbs and chocolate pudding, with a total of 3 cookie layers and 2 pudding layers.
- For A Layered Look. To each individual cup, add 1-2 Tablespoons of the cookie crumb mixture. Add 1/4 cup pudding, then top with 1-2 Tablespoons of cookie crumbs. Add another 1/4 cup pudding and finish with 1-2 Tablespoons of cookie crumbs. Place 2-3 gummy worms into the top layer of cookie crumbs.
- For Simple Individual Portions. If you prefer, you can also skip making multiple layers. Add about 1/2 cup of pudding to each cup and top with 2 Tablespoons of Oreo “dirt” (You’ll only need about 1/2 a package of cookies if you do this)
- For One Large Pudding. Start with 1/3 of the cookie crumbs. Add 2 cups chocolate pudding, 1/3 of the cookie crumbs, the second 2 cups of pudding, and finish with the final 1/3 of the cookie crumbs. Tuck gummy worms into the top layer of cookie crumbs.
- Chill. Next, chill the pudding uncovered for 2-3 hours to set up more firmly. (These pudding cups can be chilled for up to 2 days in advance).
- Serve. Enjoy after chilling and store leftover pudding for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Cute Decorations For Halloween Dirt Pudding
Halloween is the perfect time to play up anything spooky, so if you’re making Halloween dirt pudding, here are a few fun ways to decorate:
- Ghosts In The Graveyard. Pipe whipped cream ghosts or tuck banana halves into the pudding. Add mini chocolate chips for eyes! You can also use white chocolate melts to make ghost shapes, then pipe on black eyes with chocolate or black icing.
- Pumpkin Patch. Instead of gummy worms, you can turn these cups into pumpkin patches with Brach’s pumpkin Mellocreme candies or pumpkin-shaped marshmallows. (Check out this list of gluten-free candy to check your brands!) You can even go the extra mile and pipe green frosting to make pumpkin vines!
- Frankenstein. Pick up a package of Gluten-Free Mint Oreos (with green frosting). Twist the Oreos open and add eye sprinkles to the green frosting side. (A little frosting can help them stick!)
- Oreo Ghosts. Or, use the same twist open technique with leftover gluten-free Oreos adding eyeballs to the white frosting for ghosts.
- Reese’s Bats. Twist open Oreo cookies and use the non-frosting side. Break or cut the non-frosting side in half to make wings. Place them close together in a V-shape, then put a dot of frosting or melted chocolate at the bottom of the V shape. Place a Reese’s peanut butter cup on top for the body, then add eye sprinkles with frosting to help them stick.
- Halloween Peeps. Or, pick up a package of Halloween Peeps marshmallows and use them to decorate. They come in cute seasonal shapes like Frankenstein, Ghosts, and Pumpkins! (Most are gluten-free, but double-check your package to be sure!)
More Fun Variations To Try:
- Flower Pot. I ate these at a birthday party once in the 90s–ha! Use clean mini terra cotta pots and tuck in a flower lollipop or flower sprinkles.
- Chocolate & Vanilla. You can mix and match chocolate and vanilla here by using either vanilla pudding with chocolate cookies or chocolate pudding with vanilla cookies!
- Beach. Give your Oreo dirt pudding a beach treatment by swapping the chocolate pudding and chocolate Oreos out for gluten-free white sandwich cookies & vanilla pudding (or banana pudding or even butterscotch pudding). Then, tuck in a paper drink umbrella and add a few Swedish fish!
- Mint. When they’re available, you can use gluten-free Mint Oreos or gluten-free peppermint Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s for a yummy subtle mint twist.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Gluten-Free Dirt Pudding
Can I Use Instant Pudding Mix Instead? Yes! You’ll need the equivalent of 2 (3.4 oz.) packages of Instant Chocolate Pudding. (Jello brand chocolate pudding is gluten-free.) Follow the instructions on your package to make the pudding.
Do You Need To Take The Frosting Off The Oreos For Dirt Pudding? Nope! It’ll actually help here, since the frosting will help the crumbs form little clusters.
Cool The Pudding Completely First! For best results, make sure the pudding has cooled completely before you start building your Oreo dirt pudding. Hot pudding or warm pudding can soften the cookies too much & melt candy or decorations.
Want To Make One Big Dessert Instead? No problem! You’ll need a bigger serving bowl. Layer 1/3 of the cookie crumbs. Add 2 cups chocolate pudding, 1/3 of the cookie crumbs, the second 2 cups of pudding, and finish with the final 1/3 of the cookie crumbs. Tuck gummy worms into the top layer of cookie crumbs.
🌟 Leave a star review below when you try our Gluten-Free Dirt Pudding recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!Print