Four Layer Dessert Recipe

This easy Four Layer Dessert Recipe is to-die-for good. Layers of shortbread, creamy filling, and your favorite pudding flavor make the perfect combination.

This recipe has been a favorite in our house for many years. I first discovered it when we were in college, when a friend of mine brought it to a party. I immediately had to ask for the recipe, and it’s been a staple ever since.

Four Layer Dessert Recipe

Four Layer Dessert Recipe

I love that it’s so versatile, and I can use different flavor puddings. My absolute favorite is pistachio, and pretty much think it’s perfection. I especially love it during the spring and summer. Lemon is a very close second, maybe even tied for first. I can’t decide. Chocolate is also fabulous, and always a crowd pleaser. I tend to make chocolate more during the fall and winter months, but of course, every season is chocolate season! Butterscotch is another really yummy option.

Four Layer Dessert

And best of all, it’s easy to make, but looks fancy! There are layers, so it takes a little time to make all of them, but it’s not hard, and goes quickly. And it’s totally worth it! The shortbread crust is nutty, rich, and buttery, and when it’s paired with the delightful cream cheese and pudding layers, it’s pure heaven.  The whipped cream  is the perfect topping…it’s so, SO yummy!  I really could eat the whole pan.  

This recipe has been around for a long time, and the one I originally had called for Cool Whip to go on the top. I”m just not a huge fan of Cool Whip by itself—unless it’s being added to something as a filling. I like the real deal! So I started making my own whipped cream for the top, and it it makes such a difference.

I like to make this when I have guests, or when I need to take a dessert to a party or gathering. And of course, my family just can’t get enough. Neither can I.

Four Layer Dessert

Four Layer Dessert

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Kierste Wade | Old Salt Farm
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
This easy Four Layer Dessert Recipe is to-die-for good. Layers of shortbread, creamy filling, and your favorite pudding flavor make the perfect combination.



  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cup flour

Layer 2:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 large container Cool Whip

Layer 3:

  • 2- 3 oz. packages instant pudding
  • 3 cups cold milk

Layer 4:

  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a few extra nuts to sprinkle on top


  • Combine crust ingredients, and press into a buttered 9x13baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, then let cool.
  • Beat the cream cheese until smooth, and then add the powdered sugar. Fold in the Cool Whip until it’s completely incorporated, then spread the mixture on top of the cooled crust.
  • Mix pudding and milk until thick, and then spread on top of the cream cheese layer.
  • Beat the heavy cream until it reaches a soft peak stage, then add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread on top of the pudding layer. Sprinkle with nuts.
  • Refrigerate until time to serve.
Course :Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine :Dessert, Desserts
Keyword :chocolate dessert’, chocolate recipes, easter desserts, easy desserts, easy recipes, holiday baking, lemon dessert, lemon recipes,, pudding desserts, shortbread crust
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Originally posted March, 2012. Updated August, 2020.

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