Halloween Dirt Cupcakes

12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Halloween Dirt Cupcakes are rich chocolate cupcakes topped with Oreo crumbs and gummy worms to look like dirt. A fun and easy October treat!

This easy Dessert Recipe is perfect for your next Halloween party. The Chocolate Cake Base is topped off with delicious Chocolate Icing and then cookie crumbs, and gummy candies make a festive topping that kids are sure to love!

About our Halloween Dirt Cupcakes Recipe

These Dirt Cupcakes get their name from the cute cookie crumb topping. Oreo crumbs are sprinkled over the top to look like dark soil, and there are gummy worms on top. The fun, spooky toppings make these cupcakes the perfect adorable and festive treat for Halloween parties. They don’t just look cute though, they have the most delicious chocolate cupcake base and homemade chocolate frosting too!

Halloween Dirt Cupcakes Ingredients

  • Cupcake Batter: These delicious chocolate cupcakes are made completely from scratch without any instant chocolate pudding or boxed cake mix. They start with a basic chocolate cupcake recipe of flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, egg, and vanilla. They get a couple switch ups and one secret ingredient to make them incredibly tender and moist with intense chocolate flavor!
  • Butter and Oil: This recipe uses a combination of butter and oil for better flavor and texture. Using canola or vegetable oil makes the cupcakes fudgy and keeps them moist at room temperature longer. The melted butter gives them a richer flavor and makes them softer.
  • Milk and Water: The blend of water and milk also makes a big difference versus using one or the other. The milk adds a little extra richness and softness, similar to the butter but the water lightens it up a bit for fluffy cupcakes that aren’t dense.
  • Espresso: Instant espresso powder is the secret ingredient you should be adding to all your favorite chocolate cake mix recipes! It brings out the natural cocoa flavors for an intense dark chocolate flavor and it also makes your cake come out darker in color which is perfect for this spooky treat!
  • Frosting: Sure you could use store-bought frosting, but our homemade frosting is super easy and just tastes so much better than anything in a jar! It’s light and fluffy with lots of sweet, delicious chocolate flavor. For a black frosting, use black cocoa powder and add some black food coloring.
  • Decorations: These wouldn’t be Halloween cupcakes without some spooky decorations! Crushed up chocolate sandwich cookies make the cupcakes look like they are covered in dirt. Some colorful gummy worms stand out against the frosting for an easy, fun edible decoration.
Halloween Dirt Cupcakes ingredients laid out in prep bowls
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Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Muffin Tin: A regular muffin tin, lined with festive paper liners, is perfect for turning your favorite cake recipe into fun holiday cupcakes! You don’t need to spray it as long as you have cupcake liners. 
  • Piping Bag: A large piping bag makes frosting your cupcakes easier and much neater. Use a 1 inch star tip, or other tip of your choice. You could also fill a large plastic storage bag with the frosting and snip off a corner as a homemade piping bag.
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How to Make Halloween Dirt Cupcakes

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Prep Work

    Start by preheating your oven and lining a 12-cup muffin tray with cupcake liners. Put the butter in a microwave-safe bowl to melt it.

  2. Make the Cupcake Batter

    Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, melted butter, canola oil, and water to your stand mixer. Beat the ingredients together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix at this point. Then add in the eggs and mix again. Next mix in the vanilla and milk. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.Halloween Dirt Cupcakes batter in mixing bowl

  3. Bake the Cupcakes

    Use an ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter before baking for 20-22 minutes. To test if the cupcakes are done, stick a toothpick in the center of one. If the toothpick comes out clean, then take the cupcakes out of the oven.Halloween Dirt Cupcakes baked in muffin pan

  4. Frost the Cupcakes

    While the cupcakes are baking make the chocolate frosting. Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Add the chocolate to your stand mixer and whip it on medium speed while slowly adding the powdered sugar and the milk. Once the milk and sugar have been added mix in the vanilla. If the frosting seems too thick, just whisk in a little milk.Halloween Dirt Cupcakes frosting in mixing bowl with bowl of gummies and baked cupcakes surrounding the bowl.

  5. Decorate the Cupcakes

    Add the frosting to the piping bag and pipe it over completely cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle the crushed Oreos over each cupcake and then add gummy worms.Halloween Dirt Cupcakes three decorated cupcakes on plate and one cupcake in background.

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Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Halloween Dirt Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 513 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 57mg19%
Sodium 183mg8%
Potassium 163mg5%
Carbohydrates 75g25%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 56g62%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 513IU10%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Halloween Dirt Cupcakes Tips & Tricks

  • Cool your Cupcakes Completely
    • One of the most common mistakes people make with cupcake and cake recipes is not letting their cakes cool completely before frosting! You’ll be surprised how much heat gets trapped in these little mini cakes, so pop them in the freezer or fridge for at least 30 minutes to make sure they are cooled down enough.
  • Use Black Cocoa Powder
    • Black cocoa powder will make your chocolate baked goods come out almost black in color. It’s a bit more expensive than regular cocoa powder but it’s perfect when you want desserts for a special occasion like Halloween.
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What to Pair With Halloween Dirt Cupcakes

Drinks: Rich chocolate treats and milk are a match made in dessert heaven. Serve your cupcakes with a big glass of cold milk or go extra chocolatey with Chocolate Milk. If your Halloween party is somewhere cold, have some mugs of Hot Cocoa to drink with these delicious cupcakes.

Pudding: These cupcakes are a twist on a popular dirt and worms pudding dessert, so of course they would taste amazing with Chocolate Pudding! You can use homemade pudding or a box of instant pudding. Either fill the center of the cupcakes or pipe some frosting around the edge of the cupcake and fill with pudding then pipe more frosting on top to conceal the sweet suprise!

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How to Store Halloween Dirt Cupcakes

Store: You can keep these Dirt Cupcakes at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for about 4-5 days. They are better at room temperature though, so leave them out for 20 minutes before serving leftovers kept in the fridge.

Freeze: These delicious chocolate cupcakes can be frozen for up to 4 months without the frosting! Simply bake them, let them cool completely then store in an airtight plastic storage bag. Let them thaw on the counter then frost and serve as usual!

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Ideas to Serve Halloween Dirt Cupcakes

Halloween Treat Table: If you’re hosting a Halloween party, serve these cupcakes up with other cute holiday treats. Halloween Bark, Pretzel Hugs, and Caramel Apples make great party snacks for everyone to enjoy!

Build Your Own: To make a fun activity out of these cupcakes, you can have your kids or any guests assemble the dirt toppings themselves. Put out the frosted cupcakes with bowls of candy like sour and regular gummy worms. You could also put out other gummy candy options, M&Ms, sprinkles, and broken-up candy bars. Everyone can pick how much and what candies they want on top and enjoy their personalized cupcakes.

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FAQ for Halloween Dirt Cupcakes

What are good decorations for Halloween Cupcakes?

Besides the gummy worms, you could add festive sprinkles and special Halloween shaped candies to the top of these cupcakes. Instead the worms, you could make spider webs with melted marshmallows and add plastic spider rings!

Can I make these cupcakes with boxed cake mix? 

While the recipe for the cupcake batter is super simple and delicious, you can always swap in your favorite boxed mix. Use our Cake Mix Hack to make it taste like homemade and add the instant espresso for that intense dark chocolate flavor!

Recipe Card

Halloween Dirt Cupcakes

Halloween Dirt Cupcakes are rich chocolate cupcakes topped with Oreo crumbs and gummy worms to look like dirt. A fun and easy October treat!
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 12 Oreos , crushed into crumbs
  • 12 gummy worms


Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tray with liner cups.
  • To a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, melted butter, canola oil, and water and turn on the beater until just combined.
  • Add in the eggs until just combined, then add in the milk and vanilla, beating until smooth.
  • Using an ice cream scoop fill the cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the cocoa powder, then remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Add the cooled chocolate mixture to your stand mixer and whip on medium speed, adding the powdered sugar and milk, alternating them ⅓ at a time. Finally, add the vanilla last.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more milk.
  • Add frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.


  • Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and top with a gummy worm.


Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 163mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 513IU | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 3mg

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Halloween Dirt Cupcakes Variations

Chocolate Cake Mix: To make the chocolate cupcakes more easily, you can use a chocolate cake mix batter instead of making them from scratch. Then just top the chocolate cupcakes off with the same dirt decorations.

Pumpkin Spice Dirt Cupcakes: For extra festive Halloween Cupcakes you can add some pumpkin spice to the mixture. To make Pumpkin Spice Dirt Cupcakes mix 3 teaspoons of pumpkin spice into the batter. Pumpkin Spice Dirt Cupcakes would also taste great with cream cheese frosting.

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More Rich Chocolate Cake Recipes

Halloween Dirt Cupcakes collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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