Cups of Dirt or Sand (Oreo Pudding Parfaits)


The oreo pudding parfaits recipe and post was shared with us by Julie of the Parenting Children with Special Needs Blog.

Are you challenged by desserts because of your child’s special diet? Me, too. Last year I made a milkless, eggless cake. And while it was “ok” – it truly wasn’t that yummy and no one, except the birthday girl, was interested in eating it. So I decided to try something else. LuLu, my daughter, and I concocted [dairy-free] cups of dirt to share with her friends for her birthday. You may be familiar with this, but if not…it’s a good party idea.

Our version is casein-free, so the pudding was made with rice milk instead of cow’s milk. And the basic recipe calls for Cool Whip, and I could find no casein-free substitute within 25 miles of our house (I’m guessing the health food store would have had one.) What might have worked, if our grocery had not been out would have been vanilla-flavored soy yogurt. But we had no options, so we just made the pudding.

Note: be sure to check the ingredients of the cookies and pudding you use, to ensure that they meet your special diet needs / allergies.

Oreo Dirt Cups

Recipe credit: Kraft Foods / Oreo

Special Diet Notes: Cups of Dirt – Oreo Pudding Parfaits

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan, and optionally vegetarian.

For vegan / vegetarian: use Surf Sweets sour gummy worms!

For gluten-free: use gluten-free sandwich cookies such as Glutino or KinniToos

Cups of Dirt or Sand (Oreo Pudding Parfaits)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 3 cups lite coconut milk (not milk beverage)
  • 1 package Oreo cookies, crushed (reserve ⅓ of the crumbs for top of cups)
  • 1 large (5.9-ounce) package Jello instant pudding, chocolate
  • Gummy worms or other gummy critters
  1. Crush all the Oreos in a ziplock plastic bag (we did them in three batches to make sure they were crushed finely. We used both our hands and a rolling pin and released some major stress.)
  2. Make instant pudding according to directions on package, using rice milk instead of cow’s milk. Stir in oreo crumbs and spoon mixture in cups. Top with a layer of the crumbled cookies and garnish with a worm (or frog, or whatever critter you chose). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
One cute way we’ve done this before is placing the whole mixture in a flower pot (lined with foil) and placing a stemmed silk flower down into the mixture. Then serve the pudding with a brand new trowel.

But for these kids, having the worms visible will be an “oooouwwww” treat! Now for those who are avoiding all additives, food colorings, etc. (Such as those on the Feingold Diet), this wouldn’t work, because the gummy worms are loaded with colorings and artificial flavorings; and so is the chocolate pudding mix.

Cups of Sand Option: For a chocolate-free version, uses vanilla pudding and vanilla sandwhich cookies instead of the Oreos. Skip the gummy worms, and top with gummy fish instead! If desired, serve in a little beach pail with a shovel.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. April Peterson on

    I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Could almond milk be used for the pudding? I am planning on trying it with either coconut milk or goats milk, but we also have almond milk. My girls are sensitive to cow’s milk, but they can handle goats milk.

    • Hi April, it won’t set up with milk beverage (such as almond milk beverage, coconut milk beverage, etc). Lite coconut milk (in cans) is what I use for the best results. It’s should set up with goat’s milk, too, as I believe that would be similar in protein and fat content to cow’s milk. But I’ve never tried it myself!

  2. Sherri Allen on

    Followed the direction on the package of Jello instant pudding, substituting rice milk. Rice milk did not allow the jello to set! Was a watery waste of $. And. FYI… it says right on the package, WILL NOT SET IF SOY MILK IS USED.

    • Yikes, I’m so sorry Sherri. This isn’t my recipe, it was contributed a decade ago by a woman named Julie – before I had personally done a bunch of Jell-O pudding tests (and before they had started putting that on the package!) so I didn’t think of it at the time. But you are right! This won’t work. I’m going to redo this post for spring / summer and put up a proper recipe. If you do need to make the pudding, use light coconut milk – not coconut milk beverage, but the type of lite coconut milk in small packages/cans in the Asian section. It works for pudding.

      • Angelica Joslin on

        Thanks sooo much!! I’ll be making a Halloween version today for my nephews that are allergic to cows milk. They thank you too!! Lol. I’m glad i read the comments. 😁

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