Creepy, easy, and fun, these dirt cupcakes are topped with rich chocolate cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with crumbled Oreos, and garnished with gummy worms.
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Table of Contents
- About Dirt Cupcakes
- What’s in dirt cupcakes?
- What other ingredients will you need?
- What type of chocolate should you use?
- Can you make these cupcakes in advance?
- How long are cupcakes good for?
- Can you freeze these cupcakes?
- Notes & tips for dirt cupcakes
- More creepy Halloween recipes
- Other delicious cupcakes to try
- How to make dirt cupcakes
- Recipe Details
About Dirt Cupcakes
Perfect as a creepy treat for Halloween or even as a fun dessert at a kid’s party, these dirt cupcakes are as easy to make as they are chocolatey and delicious.
What’s in dirt cupcakes?
To make two dozen of these creepy and crawly cupcakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Chocolate cupcakes – This recipe keeps things simple by using a fudge cake mix to make the cupcakes, but feel free to use your favorite recipe, store-bought cupcakes, or different flavors – just try to keep with a dark color or chocolate theme to easily give the cupcakes a “dirt” look.
- Milk chocolate chips and unsweetened cocoa powder – For flavoring the frosting and giving it a deep, dark hue.
- Salted butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla – Classic ingredients for homemade buttercream frosting.
- Oreos – These are crushed and used to coat the chocolate frosting, giving the cupcakes the look of being covered in dirt. Feel free to experiment with other flavors of Oreos, too, such as Mint, Peanut Butter, Java Chip, Toffee Crunch, Chocolate Hazelnut, or Mocha Caramel Latte.
- Gummy worms – Used for decorating the top of the cupcakes to really bring home the “just dug in the dirt” vibe. Feel free to use any type or type of gummy worms that you’d like, from sweet to sour.
What other ingredients will you need?
To make things easy, this recipe includes using a box of fudge cake mix (or whipping up your favorite homemade chocolate cake).
The cake will require additional ingredients to make, and because this can vary depending on the brand you buy or the recipe you use, any extras you may need are not included in the recipe below.
So before you begin making these cupakes, check the back of the box you buy to ensure you have the additional ingredients on hand. This will typically include baking staples such as:
- Water or milk (TIP: water can be substituted for milk or chocolate milk for more flavorful cupcakes.)
What type of chocolate should you use?
There are many different brands of chocolate chips – even some made by popular candy companies – but from my experience, the best chocolate for baking, fudges, or truffles is Ghirardelli. It consistently performs well while baking, has a great texture (never chalky), and has a delicious flavor. This brand is a little more expensive, but trust me, you’ll appreciate the flavor and consistency you’ll get from the premium quality.
Can you make these cupcakes in advance?
Certainly! For the best presentation, I recommend making these cupcakes no more than 24 hours in advance.
How long are cupcakes good for?
When stored in a sealed container on the counter, cupcakes will remain good for one or two days. If stored in the refrigerator, cupcakes can last anywhere from four to six days.
Can you freeze these cupcakes?
Yes, you totally can! However, it’s best to freeze these cupcakes before they have been decorated. If you’ve already decorated the cupcakes, I highly recommend enjoying them while they’re still freshly made.
To freeze these cupcakes:
- Bake cupcakes per recipe instructions, then allow to cool completely.
- Wrap cupcakes in plastic wrap. You can either wrap them individually or arrange the cupcakes in a group (single layer) and wrap them together. Note: If you have already decorated the cupcakes and really want to freeze them, chill the cupcakes in the refrigerator until the frosting feels solid to a gentle touch (doesn’t smear) and gently wrap the cupcakes in plastic.
- Place wrapped cupcakes in a freezer bag or a storage container with a sealable lid.
- Cupcakes can be frozen for up to three months.
Notes & tips for dirt cupcakes
- Make sure you have enough muffin tins to make 24 cupcakes (total yield of this recipe, unless serving size adjusted in the recipe card below).
- When frosting the cupcakes, you don’t need to use a pastry bag; the frosting can be spooned on and smoothed out into an even layer. The frosting will be covered in Oreo “dirt” and candy worms, anyway, so there’s no need to make it too pretty. In fact, frosting that’s a little hectic and crazy may even be better for these cupcakes!
- You can substitute the homemade frosting for store-bought frosting.
- If you can find them, you can also use unfrosted store-bought cupcakes as well.
- Give these cupcakes a graveyard vibe by swapping the gummy worms for candy bones.
- Feel free to experiment with other flavors of Oreos, such as Mint, Peanut Butter, Java Chip, Toffee Crunch, Chocolate Hazelnut, or Mocha Caramel Latte.
More creepy Halloween recipes
Other delicious cupcakes to try
How to make dirt cupcakes
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Kick things off by preparing your fudge cake (whether that be from a box mix or your favorite homemade recipe) and pour the batter into two muffin tins lined with cupcake liners. Once baked, let the cupcakes cool on a wire cooling rack.
Step 2 – Add the milk chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and heat until smooth. Set the bowl aside to cool slightly.
Step 3 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl) whip together the butter and cream cheese. Slowly blend in the melted chocolate, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla until smooth. Set the frosting aside for now.
Step 4 – In a food processor, toss in the Oreos and pulse until they’re nice and crumbly. Once done, set the Oreos aside.
Step 5 – Decorate the cupcakes by spooning on two or three tablespoons of frosting on top of each cupcake, spreading it out into an even layer. Dip the top of the cupcakes into the crumbled Oreos, completely coating the frosting in Oreo. Top it all off with a gummy worm in the frosting “dirt.”
Step 6 – Serve and enjoy!
- Prepare fudge cake mix per package instructions, then pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cavity 2/3 of the way full. Once baked, allow cupcakes to cook in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes.1 box fudge cake mix
- While cupcakes cool, prepare frosting. Add milk chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power, then stir. Continue to heat for 15-second intervals, mixing in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set bowl aside.1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whip butter and cream cheese on high speed until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.1/2 cup salted butter, 8 ounces cream cheese
- Drop mixer speed to low and pour in melted chocolate, mixing until incorporated.
- Keeping speed on low, slowly add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Set frosting aside.2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Using a food processor (or Ziploc bag + meat tenderizer), pulse or crush Oreos until cookies become a fine crumble.15 Oreos
- When ready to decorate, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of frosting onto a cupcake, smoothing it out into an even layer. Gently dip frosted top of cupcake into crumbled Oreos, coating the frosting. Finish by garnishing with 1-2 gummy worms. Repeat this step until all cupcakes are decorated.gummy worms
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.