This Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Dirt Cake recipe is a Midwestern dessert favorite. Layers of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with a vanilla pudding layer for an easy gluten-free dessert. Add your favorite seasonal decorations!
Dirt cake has to be one of the most nostalgic desserts from my childhood. A Midwestern favorite, made in a casserole dish or served in flower pots, it’s hard to grow up here and not be aquainted with it.
Every time my grandparents would visit, I would get to choose the dessert my grandma was going to make that night.
She made the best pies. But I always opted for dirt cake.
And she sure knew how to fancy up dirt cake. We’d each have our own flower pot of cake complete with flowers and gummy worms.
You can understand why it beat out pie in my book.
My grandmother passed away a couple months ago and memories of her visits and the beloved dirt cake came back in full force.
With a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, the dirt cake recipe of childhood was no longer an option. A more allergy friendly version was due.
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Dirt Cake Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need:
- gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies
- dairy-free cream cheese
- powdered sugar
- coconut milk
- almond milk
- arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
- maple syrup
- gummy worms (optional)
The world of dairy-free cream cheese has certainly expanded of late.
There are almond based, coconut based, and tofu based cream cheeses on the market now, and any of them would work well in this recipe.
Coupled with your favorite gluten-free oreo cookie look-alike, you’re halfway to recreating dirt cake deliciousness.
How to Make Dirt Cake
The vessel you make your dirt cake in can be pretty versatile. You can layer the dirt cake in cups, flower pots, or baking dishes of comparable sizes to the one specified in the recipe.
Since this gluten-free dirt cake does not use an instant pudding, the pudding can be made the night beforehand. It will take 1 to 2 hours to set up, so plan accordingly.
When ready to assemble, factor in your chill time afterward. While it will be delicious before it chills, you’ll want it to set and thicken before serving.
Fancy Dirt Cake
Don’t forget to have fun with your toppings. Make it an Easter dirt cake with spring candy or a Halloween dirt cake with those ghosts and goblins.
Or go the traditional fancy dirt cake route and serve them in flower pots or pails with real or fake flowers.
More Pudding Recipes
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Dirt Cake
This Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Dirt Cake recipe is a Midwestern dessert favorite!! Layers of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with a vanilla pudding layer for an easy gluten-free dessert. Add your favorite seasonal decorations!
Plan ahead: The pudding needs to chill 1-2 hours, while the assembled dirt cake needs to chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- gluten-free dairy-free chocolate sandwich cookies like K-Toos or Glutinos
- 3/4 cup organic powdered sugar
- 8 ounces dairy-free cream cheese
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight or canned coconut cream
In a small or medium saucepan, add coconut milk and almond milk over medium heat. As the milk starts to warm, whisk in arrowroot starch until completely dissolved. Whisk in maple syrup and salt. Stir mixture frequently until it comes to a low boil. The mixture should start to thicken.
Once at a low boil, let it bubble and cook for about one minute more, while stirring, then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract. Transfer to a glass bowl and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding as you cover the bowl. Refrigerate until pudding has completely set (at least 1-2 hours).
Add chocolate sandwich cookies to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you have a crumb mixture. Set aside.
Once pudding has set, it is time to assemble dirt cake. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
In a medium bowl, place powdered sugar and cream cheese. Scoop out the hardened white coconut from the top of the coconut milk can (stop scooping when you hit liquid) and add to bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on low and increase to medium speed, until ingredients are smooth and evenly combined. Add chilled pudding and mix on low to combine.
Take about 3/4 cup of the cookie crumbs and spread them in the prepared baking dish. Spread the pudding mixture over crumbs in an even layer. Then spread remaining cookie crumbs over the pudding mixture. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Serve in bowls, cups, or flower pots. Top with gummy worms or other decorations as desired.