Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


A remake of the summer classic, this low carb dirt cake recipe will blow your mind! Crumbly chocolate cookie crust with layers of creamy peanut butter filling and chocolate pudding. Gluten-free and grain-free.

Low Carb Gluten-Free Dirt Cake Recipe

Dirt cake: not a very attractive name for a dessert, is it? Sounds like something you might have made in the sandbox in kindergarten, or something the school bully might make you eat on the playground after school. Thankfully, it is neither of those things but a delicious, creamy treat only made to look as if it contains dirt. Which surely appeals to the kid in all of us. I’d never actually heard of them until relatively recently, perhaps because of my “north of the border” upbringing. But I have to admit, they look ridiculously good. Who can argue with crushed chocolate cookies and pudding? Not me, that’s for certain.

A reader recently reached out over Facebook to request one because her mother always made them on her birthday. And she linked to a delightful one with a peanut butter layer too on The Cookin” Chicks. Wait, what? Chocolate cookies, peanut butter AND chocolate pudding? Well that just jumped to the head of the to-make list! Of course, I wasn’t about to make it with the Oreos or packaged pudding that conventional dirt cakes contain. But a quick look at the ingredients let me know it really wouldn’t be tough to de-carb, in the end. I just had to make all the layers from scratch. A bit more work, perhaps, but definitely worth it.

Sugar-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake


Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake

I tried to adhere to the spirit of the original as much as possible, including making it a no-bake treat. Summer is coming and we should all be able to enjoy some deliciousness without turning our kitchens into a furnace. So the crust requires no baking, just some firm pressing into the bottom of the pan, and it holds together beautifully. The only part of the cake that gets cooked here is the chocolate pudding, but that’s right on the stovetop and doesn’t take more than about 10 minutes. Then the whole thing gets popped in the fridge to set. I made mine in a springform pan because I figured being able to release the sides would allow for easier serving. But you could also make this in a square pan or even a trifle bowl, and serve in big scoopfuls. You could even do individual servings in little plastic flower pots for a fun kid-friendly dessert.

Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake

Yield: 16 servings

A remake of the summer classic, this low carb dirt cake recipe will blow your mind! Crumbly chocolate cookie crust with layers of creamy peanut butter filling and chocolate pudding. Gluten-free and grain-free.


  • 1 & 1/4 cup almond flour (Honeyville)
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp Swerve Sweetener
  • 3 & 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • Peanut Butter Layer:
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream, divided
  • 1/4 tsp liquid stevia extract
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • Chocolate Pudding Layer:
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter in 3 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, and sweetener. Add melted butter and stir until well combined.
  2. Remove about 1/4 cup of crust mixture and set aside.
  3. Press remaining crust firmly and evenly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  4. Peanut Butter Layer:
  5. In a large bowl, whip 1/2 cup of the whipping cream with the stevia extract until it holds stiff peaks.
  6. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with powdered sweetener until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and remaining whipping cream until well combined.
  7. Gently fold in whipped cream until combined.
  8. Spread peanut butter mixture carefully over crust. Refrigerate while preparing pudding layer.
  9. Chocolate Pudding Layer:
  10. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine almond milk, whipping cream and sweetener. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sweetener.
  11. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the yolks to temper. Then slowly whisk tempered yolks back into saucepan.
  12. Reduce heat to medium low and sprinkle surface with xanthan gum, whisking vigorously to combine. Whisk in cocoa powder and cook until thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat and stir in chopped chopped chocolate and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract.
  14. Let cool about 15 minutes and then spread evenly over peanut butter layer. Sprinkle with reserved crust ingredients.
  15. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. To serve, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan and remove sides. Run the knife under hot water to cut nice even slices.


Serves 16. Each serving has 8 g of carbs and 3 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 5 g.

335 Calories; 32g Fat (81.8% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 115mg Cholesterol; 162mg Sodium.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Christine says

    I am definitely making this for my son’s birthday which happens to be today. But, I am also thinking that I might double that pudding recipe and try making “pudding pops” for the freezer.

  2. Sarah G says

    The first time I saw a dirt cake was when my older cousin brought a big pot with artificial flowers in it to a party when I was very young. The “dirt” had gummi worms in it. Then at one point she started scooping out the dirt and eating it! I was so grossed out! LOL!

    I had some though and it was incredibly good! I can’t wait to make this, especially for my kids. It looks so amazing!

      • Rachel says

        My family has a tradition where they make the dirt cake and put it in flower pots. At Christmas or Thanksgiving, anyone who is new to the family, i.e. married someone in the family, has to “eat dirt.” It is completely ridiculous…but I do love dirt cake.

  3. Olivia Ericson says

    Looks Fantastic! I’ll be making this soon. You and IBIH are my favorite places to go for recipes! Thank you for all your hard work. Have you tried to make a lc gf angel food cake?

    • Carolyn says

      Melissa does make great recipes too! Love her. And no, have not yet tried angel food cake…might be good for the summer!

  4. Leslie says

    This looks fabulous! Just a couple questions…
    Do you prepare the pan first? Also, is there a brand of the liquid stevia that you like best?
    Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

    • crazywoman/Billie says

      I wondered about the liquid stevia too. Different brands/types have different sweetness equivalencies. So I’m as interested in knowing the equivalency as the brand.

  5. says

    I am SO making this! It looks fantastic! And I bet it could be easily turned into a mocha dirt cake for the choco-coffee-holics among us (my DH comes to mind). One of the many great things about your recipes is their flexibility!

  6. tee says

    I’d forgotten about this pie. It was a go-to when I was teaching at a girl’s school – the 9th graders had an all-class birthday party, and they were still young enough to think this – with the gummi worms – was AWESOMELY disgusting. Good times.

    To make this one truly no-bake, I might even try that “instant” chocolate pudding with chia, just grinding it finely in a coffee grinder so there’s no “crunch” in that layer of dirt…

  7. Monika says

    I just made this cake. It tastes divine. The proportions of the ingredients are right. I had to make a few adjustments, however, because I am allergic to peanuts. I used almond butter instead. This cake is really delicious and wonderful sugar-gree, gluten free alternative to those sinful frozen whipped pies made from hydrogenated oils you can buy at your local grocery store. It’s very satisfying too because it’s quite filling. I am saving this recipe! :-)

  8. says

    I cannot believe how incredible this looks – I’ll definitely be giving this a go! Thanks for bringing so many brilliant recipes to us! ♥

    • Carolyn says

      If I say “powdered”, I am referring to the confectioners. Otherwise, it’s just the regular granulated.

      • Annemarie says

        I am making this now and just wanted to mention, you say powedered Swerve in the instructions, but do not call it out in the Peanut Butter layer ingredients list. Not sure if you want to go back and correct that. 😀 Luckily I just found that they are selling it in Whole Foods so I just bought a bag of it instead of cheating and processing regular in a coffee grinder to make it finer LOL 😀

  9. Andy says

    This looks delightful and simple! One question: I don’t like peanut butter or peanut at all, so any suggestions on changing that middle layer? Is there a way to make it a white chocolate layer perhaps? I can’t think of anything else that might work.

    • Carolyn says

      How about almond butter or another nut butter? I haven’t tested anything with white chocolate so I can’t give advice there.

    • Melanie says

      One idea might be to either make a white layer by leaving out the peanut butter and by using vanilla extract (or maybe almond extract or maybe peppermint extract?). I’ve made a low-carb pie filling that is 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, whipped, plus 8 oz of cream cheese (softened). It probably wouldn’t be as stiff as this filling without the peanut butter, but it is possible to make a creamy mousse with cream cheese and heavy cream, plus the sweeteners. Like I said, you’d probably need about a cup of cream, and maybe you’d want to add more cream cheese to compensate for the lack of peanut butter?

  10. Lynn says

    I have a strong allergy to artificial sweeteners. Would the amount of sweetener be the same with sugar with this recipe?

  11. Glo says

    hands-down the yummiest low-carb dessert I’ve ever eaten! I’ve made it twice!

    The ingredients list shows “Swerve Sweetener” for the peanut butter layer but the instructions say “powdered sweetener”. I didn’t catch that bit the first time around and used standard granulated Swerve. Made the peanut butter layer kind of grainy. My mistake!

    Is it possible to freeze this successfully? I’m the only one in my house eating low carb and I hate to waste any of this delicious dessert but I don’t need to eat it all at once 😀

    Thanks for all your awesome recipes!

    • Carolyn says

      I am not sure it will freeze all that well, but it’s worth a try if you’re okay with the texture changing a bit when it thaws.

    • Kelly says

      Did you happen to freeze yours? How did it turn out. I just made this and want to freeze it, don’t won’t to eat it all at one time. Ha ha

    • Elizabeth O'Keefe says

      This freezes very well, just let it thaw for a good bit before eating it. Just as delicious as the day I made it!

  12. says

    This is one of my favorite of yours! So much goodness going on over here. :)

    I love how you take reader requests! I’ve asked for requests several times and nobody says a peep. Haha. I guess I need to try harder at the whole FB thing.

  13. Loretta says


    Help! Are you out there somewhere? I have guar gum. Getting all the ingredients together to make this for my birthday and only have guar gum not xantham gum. Is there a way to make this work??


    • Carolyn says

      I think it should work but you may need more of it in the pudding to help it set. I’d do 1.5 times the amount of xanthan.

      • Loretta says

        Thank you that’s what I did. It worked out perfectly. So far so good. I’m waiting for the pudding to cool a bit so I can pour on the cake and then sprinkle with the topping and then set up in the frig. It looks so good!

          • Loretta says


            I loved it. Worked out perfectly. It was delicious, creamy. Very rich. Also, had never used a spring form pan before. Thanks for these great recipes. :-)
            Happy Birthday to me! Loretta

  14. Amy says

    Do you think I can use glucomannann instead of a Xantham? I know it is often used to make puddings. Also, if I don’t have chocolate can I use extra coco powder? I have almost everything needed and would like to try it. Thanks in advance!

    • Carolyn says

      I have never used glucomannann but heard good things about it. It’s worth a try, I just don’t know the amounts.

  15. Helene says

    Loved, loved this cake. I used Truvia as sweetener. I didn’t care for the base, it was quite crumbly. I am going to use the base from your brownie cheesecake recipe with this topping. It should be amazing!

  16. Kathleen says

    I made this and it was delicious! I made it in an 8″ square dish and glad I did because the chocolate layer didn’t thicken up enough (I used a little less cream because I ran out and a little more almond milk). Anyway, it still tasted wonderful and I’ll make it again.

  17. Erin says

    I just made this today. I used THM Sweetblend and Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips, because that is what I had. I put a bit less sweetener in (because THM Sweetblend is a bit sweeter than straight Swerve, and hello, already sweet chocolate chips), and just tasted as I went. I am super excited to eat this in a few hours.

  18. Angela says

    Ok Carolyn, I have been lurking for awhile now. (Since I found your peanut butter/ice cream sandwich recipe… YUM!) I have to comment on this one because you have gotten me in SO much trouble… This is incredibly addicting!!!
    I have always loved the Jell-O brand boxed mousse pies. Even as a child, when we got to choose a birthday cake, it was always these cold pies instead of cake. To me, this is almost identical, but BETTER, than the chocolate/peanut butter version of those Jell-O pies.
    I used half the Swerve in every layer. For some reason, I am uber-sensitive to it and if I use full amounts, it’s overpowering sweet. I threw everything together on the 3rd, and had every intention of letting it sit overnight and taking it to our 4th of July picnic the next evening… It didn’t make it that far. My husband and I downed half of it after lunch. 😛 haha
    The next time, I would love to make it in little individual serving tupperwares or something and freeze so I can grab one and take to work with me in my lunch. :)
    Also, for anyone wondering, the longer it sits, the more it resembles cheesecake. :) We finished it up last night, and it had sat a little uncovered in the fridge as well, but it had that firmer “cheesecake” feel and we absolutely loved it!
    Thank you so much for all your hard work and your awesome treats.

  19. Barb says

    Hi Carolyn,

    This sounds delicious!! I’m wondering if the almond flour can be subbed out for cashew flour? I bought a bag of cashew flour at TJ’s a bit ago, and have no idea what to do with it–any ideas of dessert recipes that can take that substitution? LOVE your blog!

  20. yehudit says

    Is swerve good for diabetics?
    If no – what else can I use to sweeten the cake?
    I didn’t received answer for this question.

    • Melanie E. says

      She answered that it’s good for her as a pre-diabetic, and I agree. As a type 1 diabetic, my blood sugars aren’t negatively affected by using Swerve as a sweetener. I don’t think you need to search for a different sweetener.

  21. yehudit says

    ecxuse me but I have another question-what is xanthan gum?
    Does it has another name?
    Can I make the cake without it?

    • Carolyn says

      It’s a powder that thickens things without adding carbs. I don’t believe it has another name and in this case, you need something to help thicken. You could try a little gelatin.

  22. Shannon says

    My chocolate pudding never set! When I took off the outside of my springform pan, the pudding just oozed all over. Tasted fantastic, though! Can you think of what might have gone wrong? I followed the recipe exactly. :(

    • Carolyn says

      I really don’t know, if you followed everything as is. I suspect it didn’t cook quite long enough to get the egg yolks to thicken. That’s all I can think.

  23. Blaire says


    This looks great. I did notice that swerve has a tendency to re-crystalize after baking, making a crunchy like product. Does this happen with the chocolate pudding in this recipe? The low carb products are very expensive and I hate when the food does not turn out correctly. Thanks so much!

  24. Blaire says

    I was wondering if the swerve in the chocolate pudding is going to re-crystalize? That seems to happen with my recipes when I use swerve.

  25. CJ says

    I made just the pudding today, no other layers. FINALLY, a pudding recipe without corn starch! It turned out very well. I do think, though, that if you don’t need the pudding to “stand up” as a layer you can ditch the xanthan gum. I find it often makes things slightly lumpy, no matter how wildly I whisk. If you reheat the egg/milk mixture to about 170 (I used a meat thermometer, worked fine) it sets up beautifully to a pudding consistency, and I don’t think the xanthan added anything to it. Next time I make this (just as pudding) I’ll sift the cocoa pwder, and probably also strain it before putting it in little cups, to get out the chalazae. This may make it smoother. It makes about 500 ml total, or 6 containers at 80 ml or 1/3 cup each.

  26. Vicky says

    wow wow wow! Made this yesterday and still enjoying it tonight. Really really good! Not a simple recipe but I enjoy cooking so that’s fine with me. Came out perfectly. The peanut butter layer is especially luscious. I halved the recipe (because I’m an oinker with no self control) and used Splenda (because I can’t take the Swerve “cooling effect”). I also reduced the xanax to a pinch because it gives me the heebie jeebies. It might not even be needed– lots of traditional custards get firm with egg yolk alone. This was A++++ ! Even the dubious hubbie liked it. I’m so impressed with all the work that must have gone into getting the right sweeteners and the right proportions of everything… Thanks!!

    • Carolyn says

      Your pudding layer could end up pretty thin and runny. Do you have any gelatin? If so, mix about 1 tsp (if it’s the grassfed gelatin in a can…if it’s Knox in envelopes, use only half a packet) with some water, then mix into the warm pudding. It might gel a little too much but at least you won’t have a runny layer of pudding that goes everywhere when you take the sides of the pan off.

  27. Mindy says

    My second time making this because I’m literally addicted!! The custard is so luscious and creamy not like anything I’ve had in a while. The peanut butter is a completely different texture, more solid (but light because of the whipped cream) so it pairs perfectly with the custard. Then the crust…the only thing that comes to mind it Oreo. Just awesome.

  28. Dee Gee says

    We loved the cake the first time. planning on making it again for Easter. Thanks so much for all your hard work.

  29. Joanna says

    Dirt Cake, in the words of my family, is the “Bomb Diggity”! However, THIS version with peanut butter? Holy Cow, I MUST try!! I wonder, though, how I would replace the stevia, sweetener and xanthan gum? Can you advise me?

  30. Amy says

    Hubby and I made this tonight. We made a couple of subs because we were missing some ingredients (gelatin instead of xantham gum, chocolate unsweetened almond milk instead of plain). SO delicious! I am going to make a pie for the 4th of July out of the crust and PB later with ganache drizzled over. Can’t wait! Thank you so much!

  31. Gina says

    I am a totally inexperienced with gluten-free/low-carb ingredients… I need to make a low-carb dessert & was wondering if it is possible to use gelatine instead of xanthan or guar gum to set the chocolate layer..? I don’t think I would be able to find either of those where I live but gelatine would be easy to get.

    • Carolyn says

      Yes, you can do that although it may have a slightly more jelly like consistency. Someone else said they did it.

  32. Patti says

    I love this pie and so did my husband and granddaughter. It really is wonderful as written. The recipe looks complicated but it really is very easy.

    I tried to calculate the carbs and fat to input in my fitness pal. I came up with a much higher carb count than you. I didn’t substitute anything but by my calculations the carbs are 8% not 8 which means there are 24 per slice minus the 3 grams of fiber. Did I miss calculate something? I had eaten this as an S on THM but it looks like it should be a crossover.

    • Carolyn says

      Nope, it’s that you are counting in the carbs from erythritol. They should be discounted, on THM. I don’t even bother adding them into my carb count because they have little to no effect on blood sugar.

      • Patti says

        Oh! Sorry I didn’t realize that they don’t count. Thank you! We really do love it. My husband just had his third piece today and said “I can’t believe that this is healthy!”

        • Carolyn says

          No worries! It’s a pretty common mistake and if not for my glucose meter, I would hardly believe it myself. But I test often and things with erythritol just don’t move the needle on my blood sugar.

  33. Sheri says

    Made this for a coworkers birthday the end of May and it was fantastic! Everyone loved it. The birthday girl took the remainder (we didn’t leave much) home to her little kiddies and they gobbled it up.
    I was surprised at how quickly it goes together and will be making this again, starting with this July 4th weekend. It should be a perfect ending to a day of grilling. Thank you for the recipe Carolyn!

  34. Kiki says

    Not sure if you are still responding to this post but I’ve seen many of your dessert recipes calling for liquid stevia extract. What exactly does this do for the recipe that it’s needed in addition to sugar/sweetener? And is it possible to just dissolve stevia in some water as a substitute?

    • Carolyn says

      I just use it because it’s easier. If you have the powdered kind, you can sub that but it’s typically stronger so you don’t want as much. Maybe half the amount of the liquid version.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *