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Celebrate spring with a classic childhood dessert! Today I’m sharing Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups, featuring my favorite easy homemade chocolate pudding recipe!
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Today’s recipe for Oreo Dirt Pudding Cups is such a classic childhood dessert! I remember making some variation of this as a kid, using store bought chocolate pudding mix (or sometimes ice cream) and frozen whipped topping.
And then when I used to teach and run summer camps for kids, we made dirt pudding cups (using store bought lunch box pudding cups) for various spring and summer curriculum; including teaching about farming, spring and summer gardening and composting.
But today’s recipe for Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups is my absolute favorite way to enjoy this fun treat! In fact, if I’m being honest, it is my absolute favorite way to enjoy chocolate pudding. Period.
You see, when you fold in homemade whipped cream into the homemade chocolate pudding, you get a velvety chocolate pudding, almost like chocolate mousse (but WAY easier and fail proof!!). Then add Oreo cookie crumbs for a nice little crunch and in my opinion, you have a delicious dessert that is perfect for both kids and adults!
And of course, gummy worms are completely optional, but even adults need a little silly fun every once and awhile! 😉
Helpful Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups Cooking Tips and Information:
Can you make dirt cups with premade pudding?
Of course, you can make dirt cups with premade pudding! And if that’s all you have the time and energy to do, do it!! As I mentioned above, throughout my life I’ve made dirt cups with premade pudding cups and chocolate pudding mix.
And even though I sometimes have boxes of pudding mix in my pantry because it is the secret ingredient to some of my favorite recipes like the Best M&M’s Cookies, Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and my Cappuccino Pie, I don’t always have boxes of pudding mix just lying around.
That’s why I love this homemade chocolate pudding recipe! It has been my go-to chocolate pudding recipe for years and years! In fact, I first raved about in when I shared my Graveyard Pudding Pie for Halloween in the very early years of blogging.
This chocolate pudding recipe uses common pantry ingredients, like cocoa powder, milk and brown sugar, and can seriously be whipped up in 15 minutes or less. Plus, the taste and texture of this homemade chocolate pudding is the best I’ve ever had!
Can you make dirt cups without Cool Whip?
My Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups recipe does not use Cool Whip. Instead, I make my own homemade whipped cream, which is not only super easy to make, I personally prefer the taste and texture of homemade whipped cream.
With that said, when I have made Oreo Dirt Cups in the past, I haven’t always added Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream, and just made the dirt cups with chocolate pudding and crushed Oreos.
Oreo Dirt Pudding recipe without cream cheese?
Until fairly recently, I had never heard of making Oreo Dirt Pudding with cream cheese. But I have seen a few recipes that mix cream cheese with the Cool Whip and then create layers of the chocolate pudding and cream cheese mixture in the cup or serving dish.
This is not how I grew up eating dirt pudding cups, and personally I prefer the light airy texture the homemade whipped cream gives the chocolate pudding (adding cream cheese would make it denser).
So, if you are looking for an Oreo Dirt Pudding recipe without cream cheese then you have to make my Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups!
Dirt dessert for a crowd:
This Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups recipe will make 4-6 individual pudding cups depending on what size cups you use. If I am making these with young kids, then I like using clear plastic cocktail cups (since, you know, kids and glass cups usually don’t go well together). However, for older kids or adults, you could use small Mason jars or small drinking glasses to serve this dessert in.
To make this dirt dessert for a crowd, I would double the recipe as written below and serve it in a trifle dish or for more fun, a clean and never been used sand bucket or planter container!
Tips for cooking with kids:
This is such a fun and easy recipe to make with kids of all ages. Cooking tasks that children can do are measure ingredients, pour ingredients into a pot/bowl, stir, whisk, hold an electric mixer, fold the whipped cream into the pudding, crush the Oreos and assemble the pudding cups.
If you have several kids making this together, have a whipped cream challenge to see who can whip the cream the fastest. To do this, divide the kids into teams and divide the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla equally into two separate bowls. Have the kids take turns whipping/whisking the cream by hand to see who can turn the cream into whipped cream the fastest.
While they whip, you can talk about the cream being transformed from a liquid into a solid because they are whipping in air.
Another tip is when making these Oreo Dirt Pudding Cups with kids, I’ve found that placing the Oreo cookies in sandwich size or snack size zip top baggies and letting the kids hit the cookies with a wooden spoon, it is not only a fun, but effective way to “crush/crumble” the cookies!
And, if you want to make this into an entire day of fun and learning (this is such a fun spring and/or Earth Day activity), you could make these Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups and then read Diary of a Worm, Compost Stew or We are the Gardeners and/or plant your own vegetable or herb garden.
By the way, I’ll be sharing a few more posts with kid friendly Earth Day activities soon, but in the meantime, check out my super popular post about our favorite children’s books about food or our kids in the kitchen section!
If you like this Homemade Dirt Pudding Cups recipe, then you will love these other pudding recipes:
- Easy Chocolate Pudding:
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate baking squares (4 ounces)*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For Assembly:
- 20-25 Oreo cookies, crushed
- Gummy worms
- Small clear cups/glasses
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cocoa powder, cornstarch, brown sugar and salt, whisking slightly. Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, into the sugar mixture; whisking until it is smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in chopped chocolate and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture is at a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Take saucepan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding, to avoid pudding from forming a skin. Refrigerate the pudding until it is completely cool, for 2-4 hours. Store in an air tight container for up to 2-3 days.
- Meanwhile make homemade whipped cream by combining the heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Using a large hand-held whisk or an electric mixer, whip cream until it begins to thicken. Continue to whip cream until soft peaks begin to form, using caution to not over mix.
- Fold the whipped cream mixture into the pudding mixture, being careful not to over mix. Spoon the pudding mixture into the cups, filling the cups almost to the top.
- Top pudding mixture with crushed cookies and gummy worms. Serve immediately or cover pudding cups with foil and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 5 days.)
*Semi-sweet chocolate chips can be substituted
Recipe inspired by a popular childhood treat and adapted from my Graveyard Pudding Pie
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