Two single-serving dirt cakes on a tray with additional dirt crumbs and gummy worms around.

If you’re looking for a whimsical, nostalgia-inducing treat that’s sure to bring smiles to faces of all ages, look no further than dirt pudding! This delightful dessert, also known as “worms and dirt,” is a playful concoction that combines creamy chocolate pudding, crumbled cookies, and gummy worms to create an edible garden that’s as fun to make as it is to eat. Let’s get started!

A hand reaches for a dirt pudding cup on a serving tray.

Where did dirt pudding come from?

While the origins of dirt pudding are a little hazy, it seems like it became popular in the United States in the 1980s. People love its playful presentation and delicious taste, and over the years, it has made its way into countless households, school parties, and potlucks. 

What do I need to make worms and dirt?

We like to make our chocolate pudding from scratch, so you’ll need:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Whole milk
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Oreo cookies or Oreo cookie crumbs
  • Gummy worms

Protip: Make it for Halloween!

Want to make this dirt pudding suitable for Halloween? Add some candy pumpkins on top when you add the gummy worms!

How do I make the chocolate pudding?

Homemade pudding is easier to make than you might think!

Collage of five simple steps to make homemade chocolate pudding. A text overlay reads, "How to Make Chocolate Pudding."
  1. Whisk the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt into the milk in a saucepan.
  2. Warm the pudding mixture over medium heat, whisking from time to time. 
  3. When the pudding comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. 
  5. Cool on the countertop for 15 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours so that the pudding can thicken.

Protip: Take a shortcut!

Short on time? Instant chocolate pudding will work just as well!

How do I assemble dirt pudding cups?

This is a great time to get the kids involved! Once you have cooled homemade pudding or store-bought pudding ready to go, this becomes a no-bake dessert, and there really isn’t a wrong way to do it! There are plenty of ways you can layer and arrange this dirt pudding recipe, but here is our favorite:

Collage of four simple steps to assemble dirt pudding cups. A text overlay reads, "How to Assemble Dirt Pudding Cups."
  1. Put 1/2 cup pudding in a cup or bowl.
  2. Add 1″ of Oreo crumbs. Top with another 1/2 cup pudding.
  3. Add a final 1″ layer of cookie crumbs.
  4. Top with gummy worms.

Protip: Make it beachy!

For a beachy twist, swap the chocolate for vanilla pudding (homemade or instant vanilla pudding mix will do), and use golden Oreos for “sand.”

Does pudding thicken when cooling?

Yes, pudding does thicken when it cools. As your chocolate pudding sits in the fridge, it will firm up and reach the desired consistency. This is why it’s essential to give it some time to chill before using it in your dirt pudding cups.

Close view of a chocolate pudding cup layered with chocolate cookie crumbs and topped with gummy worms.

Can you make this dirt pudding recipe ahead of time?

You can definitely make the pudding ahead of time! Make the pudding up to two days in advance. When the pudding has cooled, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding so that a skin doesn’t form. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the dirt pudding cups.

You can also layer the cookie crumbs and pudding together a day in advance and cover and chill them until ready to serve. Just know that the cookies will soften up a bit as they sit in the pudding, so if you want super crunchy “dirt,” you’ll want to assemble the cups closer to serving time. 

How long is dirt pudding good for in the fridge?

Dirt pudding can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed into its surface to maintain its freshness.

Want more easy dessert recipes like this one?

Two single-serving dirt cakes on a tray with additional dirt crumbs and gummy worms around.

Worms and Dirt Pudding Recipe

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Try this fun dirt pudding recipe with layers of chocolate pudding, cookie crumbs, and gummy worms for a delightful dessert experience!


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 24 Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 12 gummy worms


  1. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt to a saucepan and stir. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you pour it in.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes, whisking continuously until thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is melted and incorporated.
  4. Allow the pudding to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Pour into a heat-proof container. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours.
  5. After the chill time, assemble the pudding cups. Start by adding 1/2 cup chocolate pudding to a glass or cup. Top with a 1-inch layer of crushed Oreos, followed by another 1/2 cup chocolate pudding. Place a final 1-inch layer of crushed Oreos on top of the pudding, then 3 gummy worms on the top of each cup.
  6. Serve or chill until ready to serve!


  • We used 11-ounce glasses for these. You could also use 10 or 12 ounce glasses.
  • This recipe makes 4 cups of pudding and can easily be doubled to make more dirt and worm cups!
  • You can totally add more gummy worms per cup if you want to.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 900Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 529mgCarbohydrates: 151gFiber: 4gSugar: 105gProtein: 14g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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