Growing up, there were always recipes my mom made for us that were favorites. They weren’t necessarily complicated or the most intense culinary creations, but we loved them anyway!
One of these recipes was dirt cake. I’m sure most people have heard of it, but for those that haven’t, no, it’s not actual dirt!
This delicious combination of the wonderful Oreo cookie and Jell-O pudding (among other things) was an often requested dessert for birthdays and holidays, and my mom was always willing to make one.
This version, the Sand Cake, is made with vanilla pudding and Golden Oreos. Though two of my three kids are fans of pretty much any Oreo, I have one that has become anti-chocolate on basically everything.
Lucky for him, Oreos come in all kinds of flavors these days, including vanilla! Pudding too!
Also lucky for my kids, there are lots of dairy substitutes too! We avoid dairy for the most part due to sensitivities and lactose intolerance with all five of us in some way or another. It’s not life or death, but we all feel much better when we don’t eat a lot of it.
So not only did I want to shoot for a vanilla dirt cake this time, I also wanted to throw those dairy subs in there to try to make everyone happy.
This recipe from Mama Cheaps was just what I was looking for, with a few tweaks of course.
For this recipe, I used Golden Oreos, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, non-dairy cream cheese, plant butter, Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding, oat milk, and non-dairy whipped topping.
To be honest, I don’t know how you could put together those ingredients and not get something delicious, am I right??
To start off, I took the Golden Oreos and put them in the food processor. I bought the family size package, which is too much for the recipe (though my family never has a problem fixing that error!), and I used about 35 cookies.
After about 30 seconds or so in the food processor, the cookies were the consistency of – I’m sure you’ll never guess – sand! Nice and gritty and WAY more delicious.
Next is the cream cheese mixture. This mix used the plant butter, non-dairy cream cheese, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. I threw it all into one of my mixing bowls and used a large spoon to combine the ingredients together.
Feel free to use a hand mixer for this! I chose not to use one, but my hand definitely could have used the help!
Now on to the pudding! Because I used non-dairy milk, I took a peek at the Jell-O website to see if I had to make the pudding any differently. It told me to use less milk than I had used in the past when I had made it with cow’s milk.
But of course, I ignored the Jell-O website. My kids tend to like less thick pudding, so it definitely worked in my favor. It did end up thickening in the refrigerator after the fact though! If you’d like thicker pudding right off the bat, I’d reduce the amount of non-dairy milk by about a half cup or so.
Now, I know if you’ve made Jell-O instant pudding before, you know it’s simple. Throw the mix into the bowl and put the milk in, then stir it up! Easy-peasy.
Same for this recipe. Once I added the two boxes of mix and the three cups of milk (2 1/2 cups if you would like to follow the dairy free instructions on the website), I stirred it until the mix was all dissolved.
The only ingredient I had not used at this point is the coco whip. If you’ve never tried this stuff, let me tell you – it is DELICIOUS. Like, I am not a huge fan of coconut, but my goodness. I don’t know if I should be spreading the addiction!
I left the coco whip out a tad too long (in my opinion at least), and it was pretty liquid-y. It still mixed pretty well for me, and you’ll want to stir it up really well after you add the whole thing to the bowl of pudding mix. It’s a little tough to stir at first, but it’ll be smooth in no time.
Then I mixed everything together! Yet another easy step. I scraped that delicious-looking cream cheese mix into the pudding and whip mix, and then I mixed it all together using a whisk (again, you could use a hand blender!).
At this point, I needed to figure out what to put it in. I’ve used buckets (clean, of course) in the past and also just plain bowls. This time I chose to get a little creative.
Enter small mason jars. Ta-da! So fancy.
Individual servings? Perfect.
I had put the pudding in the refrigerator for a bit while I figured out what to use. Once I pulled it out of the refrigerator, I filled the mason jars, alternating layers of crushed cookies and (now slightly thicker) pudding/cream cheese mix. I sprinkled a little bit of the cookies on the top as well, again – fancy.
The recipe made much more than the three mason jars full! And the kids (and my husband) loved it.
It was gone suuuper quick! Quickly made and eaten!
I’d definitely say that it was a success!
An easy dairy free summer recipe that will help you beat the heat without the use of an oven, all in adorable, little mason jars!
- 1 regular size package Golden Oreos (30-35 cookies)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz non-dairy cream cheese
- 1 stick plant butter
- 3 cups oat milk
- 2 boxes (3.4 oz each) vanilla instant pudding
- 8 oz non-dairy whipped topping - Coco Whip
- Put Golden Oreos in a food processor and run until crushed cookies have a texture similar to sand.
- Combine powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cream cheese, and butter in bowl. Be sure to smooth out lumps as much as possible.
- In separate bowl, mix both pudding mixes and milk until the mix is dissolved.
- Add non-dairy whipped topping to pudding mix and stir until smooth.
- Scoop cream cheese mixture into pudding mixture and stir together.
- Alternate layers of pudding mixture and crushed cookies in mason jars, ending with crushed cookies on top.
If you'd like your pudding on the thicker side, reduce the amount of non dairy milk down to 2 1/2 cups.
You'll want to thaw the non-dairy whipped topping for a little bit, but it doesn't need to be liquid to mix.
Feel free to use a kid's sand bucket instead of the mason jars!
You should store the jars in the refrigerator - the pudding will thicken over time in the refrigerator as well.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.