Easy Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding Dirt Cake Recipe Especially With Grandchildren Who Love to Play in the Dirt

Our youngest grandchild has the largest sandbox at home created by his handy father. Nevertheless, he took his wagon, favorite excavator (he has many as he loves this construction vehicle), shovel, and went right for the dirt where his father was planting. He is always more interested in playing in the dirt. It does not matter where he is playing, he ends up in the dirt. With this fixation on dirt, and, of course getting his hands dirty, I was so excited to come across this easy vanilla or chocolate pudding dirt cake recipe.

Rule number one for this Grandma whose skill is making reservations: the recipe must be easy.

Rule number two: a young grandchild must be able to participate and help make it.

Rule number three: it must be delicious, or at least delicious to a grandchild.

Rule number four: this recipe calls for vanilla or chocolate instant pudding mix. In our family, with a choice between vanilla and chocolate, we always choose chocolate. Vary based on your family’s preference, or just because.

This vanilla or chocolate pudding dirt cake requires no baking. It allows the grandchildren to get dirty!

As with all cooking and baking with grandchildren, I have a large trash bag full of old towels which I use to cover the kitchen island counter and the kitchen floor. It is so much easier to gather up towels and throw them into the washing machine than clean the kitchen.

Use older grandchildren for the difficult stuff and the younger for the easy stuff. With this recipe so easy, the older grandchildren can play video games while you make it with the younger grandchildren or just let the older grandchildren make it on their own for dessert.

Use a different measuring cup and different measuring spoons for each of the ingredients so the grandchildren can learn to measure easily. I have many different size plastic measuring cups and several sets of measuring spoons.

This recipe requires no baking but it does require some delayed gratification. For little grandchildren, or in the case of our family where no grandchildren like delayed gratification, a day ahead, pre-make a second batch of the dirt cake in advance and hide it in the back of the refrigerator covered with aluminum foil. Let the grandchildren make the dirt cake (second batch) and put in the refrigerator. Then, like they do on TV, open the refrigerator after fifteen minutes and take out the pre-made batch, and say ready to eat! They will be happy to have more the second day.


1 bag Oreos with creme filling, crushed

8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese softened

½ stick butter softened

2 3.5 ounce packages INSTANT vanilla or chocolate pudding mix

3 to 3 1/2 cups milk

1 cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 16 ounce container Cool Whip thawed

Gummy Worms (buy extra or you won’t have any left to put into the layers as the grandchildren will eat them while “baking”

9×13 dish or glass bowl


1. Put the Oreo into a jumbo two gallon freezer plastic bag and let the dirt loving grandchildren crush away without mess. If you have a seafood mallet, all the better. A child plastic hammer works too.

2. Mix the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar in a very large mixing bowl.

3. Add the pudding and mix. Add the milk (slowly, in one cup size measuring cups easier for grandchildren to handle, to determine if you want 3 cups or 3 ½ cups) and mix thoroughly.

4. Add whipped topping and fold gently.

5. Layer in a 9×13 dish or glass bowl, alternating vanilla or chocolate pudding filling and crushed Oreo layers.

6. Add gummy worms to the layers for a “real” dirt cake and color.

7. Finish with cookies on top.

8. Chill until ready to serve (24 hours if possible). Again, make one yourself in advance, set a timer for 15 minutes (enough delayed gratification) and pull it out of the refrigerator for an immediate surprise.

Enjoy the layering and the eating! If your young grandchildren are like my youngest grandson, expect they will eat it with their fingers. . . and get dirty, of course.




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