Dirt Cake is a great no bake dessert recipe to make for the Halloween season. It is perfect for Halloween parties at school or at home. Making this dirt cake recipe will make your little goblins so happy!
Have you ever made dirt cake? I love making it decorated as a graveyard for Halloween. It is so easy and fun to make!
If you have never made dirt cake, you might be wondering what I am talking about…
What is dirt cake?
It is a dessert using instant pudding mix and milk to make the base. Then you crush up chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreo cookies) and cover the pudding with the cookie crumbs. There you have the “dirt” for the dessert.
Next, you decorate it with the things you would like to see in the dirt. For the graveyard look, you can add in cookies as “tombstones”, candy pumpkins and skeletons to decorate the graveyard dirt cake.
Why this recipe works:
It is a no bake dessert.
It is kid friendly…they would love this for Halloween night or for a party.
You only need four ingredients to make the dirt cake (edible decorations are additional, depending on how many you want to add).
It is fun to make. Let your creative juices flow when decorating this dessert! Your kids can help decorate it which makes a fun family activity.
Grocery Shopping List:
- vanilla instant pudding
- Cool Whip
- chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreo’s or cookies similar to them)
- Decorations like candy pumpkins and cookies for tombstones
- White chocolate chips (if you are making a candy skeleton)
How to make Dirt Cake:
Whisk together the pudding mix and cold milk in a large bowl. Let that sit for five minutes for the pudding to set.
Then gently add in the thawed Cool Whip with a large spoon or spatula.
Scoop the pudding mixture into a 13 x 9 pan and spread it out evenly. (If you don’t have a 13 x 9 pan available, use a pan similar in size.
Next, crush up the cookies. To do this, I use my blender to make finely crushed cookie crumbs. I place all the cookies in the blender and pulse until I have fine crumbs that look like dirt. (This step can be done ahead of time or even as the pudding sets.)
Recipe Tip: Don’t have a blender? You can also place the cookies into a large sealed Ziploc bag and roll over the cookies with a rolling pin. Flip the bag over a few times to make sure you have crushed all of the cookies.
I prefer to use my blender to crush the cookies because it gets the job done quicker. Also, it is easy to get the cookie crumbs pretty small using the blender.
Then, using a spoon, evenly sprinkle the crushed cookies on top of the pudding mixture in the pan to make the “dirt”.
How to decorate the Dirt Cake:
Now for the fun part, decorate the “graveyard” with edible Halloween decorations. This is a fun part that kids can help out with.
You can decorate the cake right away and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it or decorate it later just before serving the dirt cake.
To make the skeleton:
I used a Halloween chocolate candy mold to make a skeleton to place on top. To make the skeleton, I use white chocolate chips.
How to melt the white chocolate chips:
Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave (I use about 1/3 cup of white chocolate chips when I use my candy mold.)
Place the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish. Heat them for 45 seconds and stir.
If they are not completely melted, do an additional 15 seconds until they are completely melted (stirring after each 15 seconds).
Then using a spoon, fill in each area of the mold with the melted white chocolate and place the mold in the refrigerator to set. Wipe off any excess white chocolate from the edges of the mold with a paper towel.
The candy is set in about an hour. Once the candy is set, it should easily pop out of the mold.
To get the candy out of the mold, flip it upside down while holding it over your kitchen counter or table. Hold it close to the surface so the candy pieces will land carefully onto the counter or table.
You may have to bend the mold slightly or tap it gently to remove the candy pieces. Either catch them as they fall out or let them land gently onto your counter or table so that they do not break.
Then gently place the skeleton pieces onto the cake. You can put them all together to make a full body skeleton or separate the skeleton “bones”. Have fun with it!
Decorating Tip: Want to give your dirt cake a scarier look? Have the skeleton pieces half in the dirt and half on top so it looks like it is coming out of the ground. You can also sprinkle a little bit of cookie crumbs over the skeleton to give it a scary Halloween feel.
To make the tombstones:
I use rectangular or square cookies or a cookie like Vienna Fingers, depending on which ones I can find at the store.
Break off a little of the corners of each cookie and scrape the edges with a spoon a little to give them an old tombstone look. This is a good job to give your kids to help out.
Finally, add some candy pumpkins or other edible decorations to make it look festive for Halloween. This part is also great for kids to help out with.
Can I make this ahead of time? Yes, this dessert can be made ahead of time. Just make sure to keep it in your refrigerator.
When should I decorate the cake? You can decorate the dirt cake right along with making the cake and keep it in your refrigerator. You could also decorate it just before serving it.
How do I store the dirt cake? Keep the dessert in your refrigerator before and after serving it.
Can I make this dessert into individual servings? Yes, another fun idea with this dessert is to make them in cups. You could use a fun set of cups that you have or disposable cups. Just add a little of each ingredient to each cup and decorate!
Can I use different flavored pudding? Of course! Use what you prefer. If you love chocolate, use chocolate. We like the mix of vanilla pudding with the oreos so we make it that way.
It helps to get the decorations ready ahead of time. If you are making the skeleton, you should do that ahead of time since it takes about an hour to set.
When making the candy skeleton, put a small amount of the melted white chocolate chips on your spoon for the smaller sections. This helps to get the melted white chocolate into the small areas on the candy mold.
Use a blender to crush up the cookies into crumbs for best results. If you don’t have a blender, then place the cookies into a large sealed bag and roll over the cookies with a rolling pin.
Make sure to place any leftovers in the refrigerator.
This dirt cake recipe is a great Halloween night treat for your little goblins. Both kids and adults will love this dessert! It makes for a great dessert for parties.
More Halloween recipes for you:
If you make this recipe, I would love to hear from you. I would greatly appreciate it if you would comment and rate it below in the comment section. Thank you!
Dirt Cake is a fun dessert to serve up on Halloween for kids and adults. It is a quick and easy no bake recipe that is sure to please.
- 2 packages vanilla instant pudding (3.4 ounce boxes)
- 4 cups cold milk
- 2 cups thawed Cool Whip (8 ounce container)
- 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies like Oreo's, crushed (15 ounce package)
Decoration suggestions for Graveyard
- candy pumpkins
- square or rectangular cookies for tombstones
To make candy skeleton
- white chocolate chips
In a large bowl, combine the vanilla instant pudding and cold milk. Whisk for two minutes. Let it sit for five minutes.
While pudding sets, crush up the cookies in a blender until they are very fine crumbs.
Add the thawed Cool Whip to the pudding and gently combine ingredients.
Scoop the pudding mixture into a 13×9 pan (or similar size pan) and spread out evenly.
Sprinkle the crushed cookies over the pudding.
Decorate with cookies as tombstones, candy pumpkins, skeletons or edible decorations of your choice. Just place them gently on top of the dirt cake.
Keep chilled in the refrigerator until you will be serving it.
To make candy sketeton
Place white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Place them in the microwave and heat them on high for 45 seconds. Stir and if needed heat for additional 15 second increments, stirring after each one until the white chocolate is melted and creamy.
Using a spoon, carefully drizzle the melted white chocolate into a skeleton candy mold. ( I have a link to the one I used in my written post above.)
Once you have all the sections of the candy mold filled, place it in your refrigerator to set, about an hour. When it is fully set, the candy will pop out easily.
Place the skeleton pieces gently on the dirt cake by laying them down on top of the cake or having them stick out of the "dirt".
It helps to get the decorations ready ahead of time. If you are making the skeleton, you might want to do that ahead of time since it takes about an hour to set.
When making the candy skeleton, just put a small amount of the melted white chocolate chips on your spoon. This helps keep the melted white chocolate get into the small areas on the candy mold easier.
Use a blender or food processor to crush up the cookies into crumbs for best results. If you don’t have a blender, then place the cookies into a large sealed bag and roll over the cookies with a rolling pin.
Make sure to place any leftovers in the refrigerator.
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Update Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2018, but was published again in 2020 to include updated step by step directions and new photos.