This Halloween graveyard dirt cake recipe is a spooky twist on the classic dirt cake.
Layers of crushed Oreos with an instant chocolate pudding and cream cheese mix make up this deliciously creamy pudding, no cool whip needed.
The best thing is that you can decorate your Halloween dirt cake however you want! I like to make it with Oreo gravestones and white chocolate bones, topping it with candy eyes and gummy worms too. Get your favorite Halloween candy and go wild!
✏️ Recipe creation
A dirt cake is a classic easy no-bake dessert, and this Halloween twist makes it perfect for the spooky season! Especially for a Halloween party.
I love it because it’s full of Oreos, super simple and it’s one that kids love to help with. Your little ones can get involved with all of the fun decorations especially. It’s so much fun to make!
As cool whip isn’t available in a lot of countries, I wanted to create a Halloween dirt dessert without cool whip. It uses freshly whipped cream instead, making it extra creamy and delicious.
This recipe makes a small-medium sized pudding perfect for a family dessert. Double it for a bigger crowd and use a bigger dish or individual cups for the extras.
This pudding recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- Unsalted butter
- Chocolate instant pudding mix (e.g. angel delight)
- Cream cheese
- Icing sugar (powdered confectioners sugar)
- Heavy cream (e.g. double or whipping)
- White chocolate
- Gummy worms
- Halloween candy (e.g. candy eyes, bones and/or pumpkins)
See the recipe card for quantities.
I love using real Oreos for this recipe, but you can substitute them for any chocolate sandwich cookies of your choice. Oreos also has different flavors that you can try instead.
I’m a big fan of using chocolate flavored instant pudding mix for this recipe, but you can instead choose another pudding flavor. For example, why not try French vanilla pudding or butterscotch angel delight instead.
Instead of using white chocolate to write on your gravestones, you can use a water icing (a.k.a glace icing). Stir a small amount of warm water to a few tablespoons of icing sugar until you get a thick paste. Pipe this onto your cookie tombstones and let it set.
- To measure your ingredients, it’s best to use weights rather than cups for better accuracy.
- It’s easier to whip your cream from cold, so only take it from the fridge right before your intend to whip it.
- This recipe calls for instant pudding mix, which is the kind where you just add milk and let this set.
- Different brands make different amounts of instant pudding per packet. One packet of Angel Delight is usually 56g / 2oz of powder. The Jell-O or Royal brands (and many other US brands) usually make double this so use half a packet of these brands for this recipe.
- For a smoother pudding mixture, slowly add the cold milk to the pudding mix, stirring continuously until smooth.
- Its best to use good quality full fat cream cheese, such as Philadelphia, as some brands have quite a bit of water added.
I use the following equipment for this recipe:
- Glass dish (e.g. casserole or trifle dish)
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer (or whisk / fork)
- Large mixing bowl
- Medium mixing bowl
- Heatproof bowl
- Blender / food processor (or plastic freezer bag and rolling pin)
- Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
- Weighing scales
- Measuring spoons
- Sharp knife
- Piping bag with small round nozzle tip (or plastic freezer bag)
I usually make this dirt cake in a rectangular glass dish 6inch x 8inch size (roughly 3-cup), but any small-medium sized dish will work, such as a casserole or trifle dish. For a larger dish such as 9 x 13inch, try doubling the recipe.
You can also instead make Halloween dirt pudding cups by layering your dessert into individual clear plastic cups. This is also a great way to use up any leftover mix if your dish is a bit smaller.
To decorate your cookie gravestones, you can use a piping bag with a small round nozzle (e.g. Wilton #3 piping tip) to write with melted white chocolate. Alternatively, you can use a plastic freezer bag (i.e. a Ziploc bag) and cut the corner off, once filled with melted white chocolate, making a small hole.
It’s easiest to use a food processor to crush your Oreos to fine crumbs, but you can instead put your cookies in a plastic freezer bag and whack them with a rolling pin against a hard surface. Be careful, but also use it to de-stress a little!
- I like using digital scales for weighing my ingredients as it's easy and accurate. I quite like KitchenAid or Salter scales.
- It’s best to use actual measuring spoons. Cutlery teaspoons and tablespoons aren’t actually the correct volume - I never knew it before! I’d also recommend levelling off any heaped scoops for accuracy.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the sides off of your Oreos to make them gravestone-shaped. Don’t worry if they crack a little, it just adds to the creep factor!
Crush the Oreos to fine crumbs using a food processor. Set aside ½ cup / 75g for later in an airtight container and pour the rest into a medium mixing bowl. In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter (in the microwave for 30secs) and stir into the crushed Oreos.
Press half of the Oreo butter mixture into the base of your dish. Refrigerate this and leave the other half on the side at room temperature.
In a medium bowl, stir together the milk and pudding mix until smooth, then refrigerate.
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until fully combined. In a separate bowl, whip the cream using a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture then gently stir in the instant pudding until smooth.
Pour half of the cream mixture into your dish, smoothing gently, then evenly layer on the other half of the Oreo-butter mixture.
Smooth the remaining cream mixture on top and refrigerate for at least 3hrs or overnight before sprinkling over the ½ cup / 75g crushed Oreos and decorating.
If using, cut two sides off of 6 or more Oreos to make gravestones. Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave (20 secs at a time).
Add this to a piping bag with a small round tip (or plastic bag with the corner cut off) and write “RIP” on the Oreos. Allow this to set for 5mins then push these into the top of your dirt cake.
Use any leftover white chocolate to draw small bones onto a piece of greaseproof paper, then peel them off once they've set (roughly 5mins) and add them to your dirt cake.
You can also decorate your dirt cake with gummy worms and other Halloween candy, then enjoy!
Your graveyard dirt cake should last up to 4 days stored in the fridge.
If you’ve made your dirt cake in a freezer-safe dish, you can freeze the un-decorated dirt pudding. Wrap your dish in cling film and freeze it for up to 3 months before defrosting and eating. Note that your crumbled cookies will be soft and not crunchy if doing this.
💭 Top tips
- If you want your crushed Oreo top layer to be crunchy, only add this and the decorations after your dirt cake has set, right before serving.
- You can enjoy your dirt cake after setting it in the fridge for 3hrs, but it’s best left overnight so it holds together easier for your to cut and serve.
- To write on your tombstone cookies, only cut a very small hole in your ziploc bag. Otherwise, it’s difficult to write small enough letters. You can also practise writing first on a piece of parchment (greaseproof paper) until you’re ready.
- Use your leftover melted white chocolate to draw bones onto greaseproof parchment paper. Draw bones by making four dots spaced at the corners of an imaginary rectangle, then drawing a single line between them to connect them.
Your chocolate dirt cake should last for up to 4 days stored in the fridge.
Yes! You can freeze your undecorated dirt cake in a freezer-safe dish and wrapped in a layer of cling film for up to 3 months.
Yes, you can make your dirt cake ahead of time and leave it undecorated (including the top layer of Oreo dirt) and freeze it. Defrost before you add your top soil layer and decorations, then enjoy.
Alternatively, you can make the undecorated dirt cake a few days in advance and store this in the fridge wrapped in cling film until you are ready to decorate it and serve. Note your dirt cake will only last roughly 4 days in total.
If you’ve got any specific questions on making your Halloween graveyard dirt cake, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help out!
I love making a chocolate dirt cake, but you can have a more vanilla flavor by swapping the chocolate pudding mix for an instant vanilla pudding mix. You can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cream cheese mix too for extra vanilla flavor!
You can also swap your chocolate Oreo cookies for another flavor of cookie, such as mint, peanut butter, red velvet or pistachio.
Add more chocolate goodness to your pudding layer by stirring in chocolate chips to the cream cheese pudding mixture.
You can also add a layer of chocolate ganache to the top of your pudding before the Oreo dirt layer.
Decorations and toppings
One of the best things about a Halloween dirt cake is the fun decorations! This graveyard cake has tombstones made from sandwich cookies, but you can use any shaped cookie or biscuit (such as Milano cookies) of your choice.
I’ve also used candy eyes, candy worms and little white chocolate bones to decorate my dirt cake. Instead, you can try a pumpkin dirt cake by adding candy pumpkins or these pumpkin cake pops (just remove the sticks!).
Go wild and add edible bats, ghosts, skulls or fake flowers too. Basically, throw on as many tasty creepy things as you can bury in the chocolate soil.
Drawing with white chocolate
You can draw little Halloween designs with melted white chocolate. For example, here I’ve drawn small bones out of white chocolate.
Simply melt your white chocolate (20secs at a time in the microwave) and add it to a plastic freezer bag (or piping bag with small round tip) and draw onto greaseproof paper (parchment).
Allow your chocolate to set (room temperature for 5-10mins or fridge if it’s hot where you live) and then carefully peel them off.
To make a gluten-free Halloween dirt cake, swap your Oreos for a gluten-free sandwich cookie of your choice.
Your other ingredients should be gluten-free, but always check the labels just in case!
🎃 Other goodies
Looking for some other spooky goodies to make for the Halloween season?
Or if you love a scarily good cake pop, check out this list of the best Halloween cake pops recipes.
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Halloween Graveyard Dirt Cake
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- Greaseproof paper (optional)
- 310 g (2 cups) Oreos 2 packets
- 50 g (3 ½ tablespoon) unsalted butter
- 1 packet (roughly 60 g / 2 oz) chocolate instant pudding mix e.g. 1 Angel Delight pack or ½ Jell-O pack
- 275 ml (1 cups) milk whole or semi-skimmed
- 250 g (1 cups) cream cheese full fat
- 70 g (½ cups) powdered icing sugar
- 125 ml (½ cups) heavy cream e.g. double or whipping
- Crush the Oreos to fine crumbs using a food processor. Set aside ½ cup / 75g for later in an airtight container and pour the rest into a medium mixing bowl.
- In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter (in the microwave for 30secs) and stir into the crushed Oreos.
- Press half of the Oreo butter mixture into the base of your glass dish. Refrigerate this and leave the other half on the side at room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the milk and pudding mix until smooth, then refrigerate.
- Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream using a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture then gently stir in the instant pudding until smooth.
- Pour half of the cream mix into your dish, smoothing gently, then evenly layer on the other half of the Oreo-butter mixture.
- Smooth the remaining cream mixture on top and refrigerate for at least 3hrs or overnight before sprinkling over the ½ cup / 75g crushed Oreos and decorating.
- If using, cut two sides off of 6 or so Oreos to make gravestones. Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave (20 secs at a time).
- Add this to a piping bag with a small round tip (or plastic bag with the corner cut off) and write “RIP” on the Oreos. Let this set for 5mins then push these into the top of your dirt cake.
- If using, draw small bones onto greaseproof paper with the remaining melted white chocolate. Let these set for 5mins then add to your dirt cake.
- You can also decorate your dirt cake with gummy worms and other Halloween candy, then enjoy!
- If you don't have a piping bag and a small round tip, you can fill a plastic freezer bag with your melted white chocolate and cut off a small piece from one corner instead to write with.
- If you don't have a food processor or blender, you can crush your sandwich cookies by placing them into a sturdy plastic freezer bag and whacking them with a rolling pin.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.
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