Sex in a Pan

 Sex in a Pan – crazy name for a dessert, but it’s one of the best desserts you’ll ever have, it’s mostly a pudding dessert with a crunchy pecan bottom crust.

sex-in-a-pan-1-3

Don’t laugh at the name of this dessert! OK, you can laugh, it is funny. I have no idea why it’s called sex in a pan, maybe because it’s so good. I remember a long time ago, before I was married, and used to live on my own, one weekend my friend came over and she introduced me to this dessert. I had no idea what it was, but she promised me I was going to love it so we made it. We did not come up with the name, that is the name that it was known to her and her mom had been making it for her for as long as she could remember. I know a lot of readers have commented on the name of this dessert, so I know it goes under many different names, apparently it just depends where you’re from.

Oh my God, it was unbelievable.

I was in love, I had never had anything like it before. Now I don’t know how popular this dessert is, or if it’s a dessert for children or what, because I don’t really care. I’m an adult and I like it. The bottom layer is the crust made with pecans and flour and butter, the next layer is a layer of cream cheese sweetened with powdered sugar and made fluffier with whipping cream. Then you have a layer of chocolate pudding, then another layer of vanilla pudding and top it off with whipping cream and sprinkled with chocolate. Does that not sound good?

Here’s what the layers look like in the pan.

sex-in-a-pan-1

I just had to share this wonderful dessert with you. Have you guys had this before? Isn’t it to die for?

Update: Since I originally wrote this post, I’ve made sex in a pan numerous time since it’s a favorite at my house. In the original picture you can’t really see the vanilla pudding layer, so here’s an updated picture of it and you can see the layers more defined. 

sex-in-a-pan-1

4.8 from 5 reviews
Sex in a Pan
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
Cream cheese layer
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (use ½ cup for less sweetness)
  • 1 cup whipped cream or cool whip
Vanilla pudding
  • 1 package of instant vanilla pudding (5.1 oz or 144 g)
  • 3 cups milk (use 2 cups if you want a firmer pudding)
Chocolate Pudding
  • 1 package of instant chocolate pudding (5.1 oz or 144 g)
  • 3 cups milk (use 2 cups if you want a firmer pudding)
Last layer
  • 2 cups whipped cream or cool whip
  • shaved chocolate
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a mixer mix all the crust ingredients together and press the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake it for about 20 minutes.
  5. Prepare the vanilla pudding as per the instructions on the package.
  6. Prepare the chocolate pudding as per the instructions on the package.
  7. In a mixer add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and the cup of whipped cream. Mix until light and fluffy.
  8. Let the crust cool. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust evenly. Spread the chocolate pudding over the cream cheese, then the vanilla pudding. Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with the chocolate.
  9. Refrigerate for a couple hours so that it sets.

Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. says

    Yum. This is a family favorite. My grandmother and great grandmother made this for as long as anyone can remember. We always had it at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. They called it simply “chocolate dessert” or “layered dessert”. They also always used crushed heath bar on the top instead of plain chocolate!

  2. Petrah says

    This looks so delicious! It reminds me a lot of the dish called “Better Than Robert Redford”, which is simply scrumptious.

  3. Shelly says

    Hi – Love all the ideas for variations!! Our family version was/is Grandma’s Butterscotch Dessert. Grandma used butterscotch pudding instead of chocolate and added a bit of coconut to the crust. She also toasted coconut and sprinkled it on top! When she passed, we were all confused because we didn’t know who was going to make and bring this to family gatherings!! Anyway, I have never seen Grandma’s version at any event!! I’m going to try some of the variations at potlucks and book club!

    Thanks!

  4. Susan says

    It was first called Six in a Pan – the original recipes only had 6 ingredients. I don’t care how you make it, can’t go wrong with pudding and cream cheese! Yum!

  5. Archie1954 says

    We call it Preacher’s Pie! I wonder if that is an attempt to counter the other popular name.

  6. says

    We make the same dish here every Thanksgiving. But we call it a Girdle Buster:) and through the years we have substituted the vanilla and chocolate pudding for butterscotch pudding. Soooo good.

  7. Eldonna says

    This is just as good using anyone of several pudding flavors! I use pistachio in March, it is green so it is good for St.Pstrick’s Dsy. Our son likes chocolate pudding, I like lemon pudding or lemon pie filling. The very best flavor though is homemade butterscotch filling. This is an awesome recipe! I am glad you posted it.

  8. Jayne says

    Made this and it was excellent. Only changes were salted butter and walnuts since those were all I had, but otherwise made as listed. Whole family loved it, will definitely be making again. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Barb says

    I was told it used to be called six in a pan because it had six layers, (the recipe I have has six layers) but because of a typo in a reprint of the dessert it became known as sex in a pan! Either way it is delicious!

  10. Lavonda Declippel says

    I have made this dessert for years. You don’t have to put nuts in the crust. It turns out just fine without. I make it many different ways: Lemon instant pudding, chocolate w/wo the vanilla using a lg box of ether and 3 cups of milk, blueberry pie filling instead of pudding, my son’s favorite, or cherry pie filling. It is such a versatile dessert and is known by so many different names. My favorite name is: Chocolate, or whatever, Lush.

  11. Shannon Bowen says

    So funny – my Grandmother made this all the time and called it “Chocolate Elegante” (you must say it with flair!) and people begged for the recipe. It was/is sooo good, and sooo easy!

  12. Stan says

    Hi Jo, could you give me an idea what you mean by Vanilla pudding & Chocolate pudding, we probably have an equivalent here in the UK. but it will no doubt go under a different name.
    Love some of the recipes on this site, keep up the good work.
    Stan

    • says

      Hi Stan,
      Um…can’t say I ever had this question before, it comes in little boxes, and it’s instant pudding which comes in many flavors. I’m attaching a link here so you can see what I mean.

  13. Donna White says

    I make a version of that which we have always called Ribbon Dessert. It is my son’s favorite dessert.
    The first 2 layers are the same. We put a layer of French Vanilla Pudding as the 3rd layer. Cool whip tops that and we top it with sliced maraschino cherries, coconut and chopped pecans.

  14. Veronica says

    I have a question about the butter in the crust, is it salted or unsalted butter and should it be softened or straight out of the refrigerator? Want to make this today for Super Bowl.

  15. Kim Felton says

    I made this a lot as a teenager (1970’s). use Cool Whip, not whipping cream. I have made many substitutions to this recipe including using walnuts or peanuts in the crust, doubled the chocolate pudding layer and added chocolate chips, or making one layer chocolate and one layer coconut. I have also added peanut butter to the cream cheese layer..which is my favorite version.

  16. says

    OMG, this looks soooo good! I need to try it. Hopefully I can figure out how to sub the dairy ingredients for non-dairy as I don’t eat dairy. Do you have any sub ideas? Thanks so much. Great blog too, by the way! :)

    ~Stephanie @sostephaniesays.com

    • says

      Hi Stephanie,
      Not really sure, lots of milk required for the puddings, and cool whip, not really sure how you’d make this work to be a non dairy dessert.

    • Melissa says

      For a non-dairy version you could sub these things. (I have not yet done this, but see no reason why it wouldn’t work):
      * Butter: Earth Balance marg
      * Cream Cheese: Vegan cream cheese
      * Whipped Cream: chill a can of coconut milk, then scoop off the solid layer on top, add powdered sugar.
      * Puddings – there are many vegan recipes for dairy-free pudding. Google search or check vegweb.com. Most use either cornstarch and soymilk or silken (not regular!) tofu. Have only made with tofu, and it’s surprisingly good.
      * Milk: take your pick, there’s soy, almond, rice, flax, coconut. I prefer coconut or flax, but that’s a personal thing.

  17. Judy says

    I made it I made it. Goodness gracious what a performance. You all must be super duper in the kitchen. It took me ages besides remembering where I set things down. My mixer wouldn’t mix the crust properly so I did it by hand besides having to Google everything for weights in grams. Would you believe I bought whole pecans in the end. Stupid stupid stupid. My vanilla pud is disgusting. Nothing to do with the cake. It’s to do with this bloody country. I didn’t buy enough cream and I didn’t put sugar in it. One reason is I forgot and the other because it’s sweet enough. I’m dreading what’s it going to taste like because of the pud.

  18. Jane says

    We have always called it “Husband ‘s Delight”.
    We combine the puddings before mixing the pudding.
    I personally like the pecans but have some family
    That prefer it without . The chocolate shavings
    are a must for this family.
    It is a must make at the holidays for our family … Truly
    a sweet tradition!

    • Denistrader says

      Hi Jane,

      We have a nut allergy in this family. Have you made it without the nuts in the crust and if so what are you substituting it with?

      Thanks,
      Denielle

  19. Judy says

    What I really wanted to ask you is: should I put
    The vanilla into the fridge before I put the chocolate one on. Which one do you recommend 2 cups or 3 cups of milk. Is it not too sweet with less milk and finally I don’t have the sugar I should use – surprise. Can I grind ordinary sugar?

    • says

      I would recommend 2 cups of milk just so that the pudding is not as liquidy, and yeah you could put it in the fridge for a bit, but not really needed. I’m not really sure about grinding ordinary sugar, can’t say I’ve ever done it before. Though I think it could work, the only difference is you mind feel the sugar in the whip cream.

  20. Judy says

    Ok. Lazybones moved herself and went to the supermarket. There I bought a packet of ready crushed pecans which cost the equivalent of $7.- in my country. I should go back to England. ;-)
    Jo. Do you have the recipe for mayonnaise baked chicken?

  21. MaryLou says

    Scrolled through the comments and didn’t see this one. Just to clarify for me, the pudding, is it 2 small boxes, serving size for 4 each? I just grabbed what was in the pantry and they are 1.5 oz boxes. Is it a typo or do I need more pudding?

  22. Judy says

    I don’t use spray oils and we even have Pam. I prefer shmearing with butter. When the family come we’re 10 – for a few months more. Would
    it stretch to that?

  23. Christina says

    In Texas they call it Texas Torte or I have heard it called simply a pudding dessert. I made this with slivered pieces of dark chocolate and pecans as the topping. I absolutely love love love this dessert. One time I made one for my father’s birthday and ate it before I got it to him. I made him another and it was all fine, but I felt kind of bad looking at that empty pan after I had devoured it. ; )

  24. Dale says

    I tried this recipe & my chocolate & vanilla pudding was a little soft where it ran together. It wasn’t as firm as I wanted it to be. I used 2 cups of milk for each. Instead of using milk, can I use 1 – 8 oz tub of cool whip each. Also, after spreading the chocolate pudding over the crust, should it be put in the refrigerator for a little while before spreading the vanilla pudding? Thanks.

    • says

      You should follow the pudding instructions for making it, so it’s best to read the box and see what it says and if you want it firmer, but out a bit of the milk. Never tried using cool whip instead of the milk, not sure how that would turn out. Yes you can refrigerate it for a few minutes in between layering the puddings, but not necessary if the pudding is already firm. :)

  25. Mary says

    Ha! Just saw this on Pinterest with such a fantastic, mouth-watering photo- I had to have the recipe! Sure enough, it’s the same desert my mom has made for years. Truly a favorite. She got the recipe probably 25-30 yrs ago from her aunt, who simply labeled it “Lemon Pudding Desert,” though I’ve only had it with chocolate. We both got a kick out of the “new” name, but like I told her, Im not sure it does it justice! Haha.

  26. Jess says

    Wow! Very nice dessert! I made it for a big crowd so doubled the recipe for a much bigger pan and went to the trouble to make the pudding homemade and it was a revelation. The crust is super crispy and the pecans made it extra special. next time I may triple the crust for my double recipe. And there will be a next time. I’ll also let it set for a lot longer and maybe even in the freezer a few hours before cutting. Though the taste was amazing, it didn’t hold its shape as much as a bit more setting would have helped. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it’s a keeper.

  27. anna says

    i really want to try this dessert but i dont like nuts and im a big fan of cake. can i use cake for the bottom layer? i could crush the cake then compress it in the bottom of the container

    • says

      You could crush oreo cookies for the bottom layer, not sure about cake, but I don’t see why not. Give it a try. :)

    • Renaissance Girl says

      I think Graham crackers would be better than crushed Oreo cookies, because Graham crackers would give a “nutty” taste without the nuts. Just don’t crush them too finely, leave some texture in them.

      • KAREN says

        I was gonna say graham crackers too, or vanilla wafers or if you don’t mind the nuts, maybe pecan sandies. oh by the way I make this with the chocolate pudding and butterscotch pudding then top with heath or skor bars (crushed) and for a “family friendly” name we called it “opossum pie” . no matter what you call it… it sooooo good!

      • Patty says

        I always make mine with graham cracker crust (with nuts) and drizzles of chocolate syrup amongst the layers and over the top. I also sprinkle finely chopped nuts over one of the middle layers. It’s now a tradition at the company holiday party… and there’s never any leftovers!

  28. Sherry says

    I will anxiously await a chance to make this, it way too much for two people, one of whom is watching her food intake. A lady I worked with years ago used to bring it to our office potluck lunches. She called it “Mountain Mama” but I never got the recipe from her.. Thanks for the recipe!!

  29. Jamie says

    Hi Jo I love this recipe and was wondering if it is possible to substitute the pecan crust with oreo cookies? If so how would I do it

    Thank you =)

  30. Melissa says

    Hi Jo

    I’d like to try this dessert it looks amazing… A few dumb questions before the day (just so I know what I’m doing).
    -is there a particular pan I need or will this dessert lift out as easily as anything else would or do I need one of those that detaches on the side?

  31. says

    I have tried this recipe before, and mine is called Chocolate Tart. I really don’t like to use the other title, especially around kids. I also had an issue with this recipe; when I was going to cut the dessert, the crust was very hard. So I figure next time I won’t press the pecan layer more than just lightly. I made the same mistake with an Oreo crust a different time. So from now on, LIGHTLY press it into the pan! :) Live and learn, I guess! :) Those pecan nuts in the crust does make it taste like a pecan Sandy cookie, yum!!

  32. Ivy says

    My mom started making this in the late 70’s but without the vanilla pudding layer. She didn’t know what to call it so she just named it “Refrigerator Dessert.” She was really surprised years later when she was told it was called “Sex in a Pan!”

  33. Beverly says

    I’ve been making this for years and it’s always a hit! When you make the crust, it’s easier to leave out the pecans until you get the other mixture patted in the pan. Then sprinkle on the pecans and mash them into the crust. This is also fabulous in the summer to omit the chocolate pudding and spread on a layer of drained crushed pineapple. Then the cool whip on top.

  34. Gina says

    There’s a very similar recipe that I have.. It’s been in our family forEVER! We call it Mississippi Mud Pie though. Very Delish :)

  35. Rebecca says

    I love this recipe. My mother would just use whole graham crackers for the crust. Couldn’t be easier!

  36. Kristin says

    Oh my gosh! I’ve been looking for this recipe for YEARS! A woman at church when I was small always brought this to potlucks and it was my absolute favorite. She called it “Mississippi Mud”, but googling Mississippi Mud never brought up this recipe. This is awesome and I’m going to make it this weekend! You just made my night! :D

  37. Lori says

    This has been named so many different things…better than sex…cool whip delight and the names posted on this link. One of my favorite things about this dessert is that I can change the type of nuts in the crust based on preference or on allergies. I also change the flavor of jello pudding based on the season, the mood or the preference of whom I am making this for. My Mom’s favorite is lemon and I love using pistachio!! Chocolate was always my favorite but using other flavors makes it so much lighter!

  38. Quinn says

    Well….to add to a few other names, way back around 1985 a sandwich shop in the Hill Country started making this, but they called it, “Better Than Sex Cake/Pie.” It is SO GOOD, no matter what it is called!!!
    At the sandwich shop, you could get a homemade bread sammie either a half or a whole, but on days they had this dessert, we always got half a sammie so we’d be able to eat a whole piece of the dessert!!!

  39. Julle says

    We’ve always called this chocolate delight, but it is delicios. Also, people asking if they can substitute things..when you cook you are supposed to put what you like.

  40. Yvette says

    This is exactly like my moms fruit cheesecake recipe except you are using pudding instead of fruit. So I know how amazing that recipe is, I can only imagine this one!!! I have to try it!!! :)

  41. Kate says

    Just tried a “dirty” version (using Caramilk liqueur in the puddings) that uses crushed Oreos as a crust. Holy crap is it good! Thinking of calling it “Oral Sex (in a Pan)”.

  42. Sheri says

    I make this too with a basic graham cracker crust…no nuts. And I mix the chocolate and vanilla pudding together and use it as one layer. Never any left when I take it anywhere. We just call it chocolate layered dessert! Very yummy!

  43. Diane says

    My mom made this every time company came. She called it a Lush…I lost my mom when I was 18, I’m now 40….this brings back sooooo many wonderful memories. Thank you so much…. now I can share it with my children.

    • says

      Hi Diane,
      This is what’s so wonderful about this dessert, it’s an old dessert that brings back many great memories for people. I love to hear these stories. :)

  44. Karin says

    I make it several times a year, but I use butterscotch pudding instead of the vanilla and chocolate. We have always called it Something Else Dessert. I guess it’s a hit everywhere. It’s really good with the butterscotch, but I’ll have to try it with the chocolate and vanilla.

  45. Jody says

    Thank you so much for sharing this – I have very fond memories of my mom’s version of Sex in a Pan for all of those 1980s family get togethers! This turned out great for me except I would definitely use only the 2 cups of milk for the puddings next time. I used 3 cups and the pudding layers weren’t quite firm enough, so it kind of smooshed together when I served it. But it was a huge hit and I have passed on your recipe to a few friends!.
    (ps) the crust is really tasty as a base for lemon meringue squares!!

  46. Traci Gagliardi says

    I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest. It’s funny after scrolling through the comments how many different names there are for it! In my family we called it Pucki Nucki or Nukumpucki. (I think Pucki Nucki came from me because I couldn’t say Nukumpucki when I was a child). I usually use chocolate pudding but my italian grandmother also made it with pistachio pudding and pistachios rather than pecans. It’s VERY good that way, too! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

    • says

      Hi Traci,
      Yeah, I’m loving hearing about all the names for this pudding, it’s like everyone had their childhood memories of it. It’s great. :)

      • says

        I have made What we called Delicious Dessert, with coco nut pudding and put coconut in the crust with the pecans. I always make it at Christmas. And easy dessert and usually at Christmas I use chocolate and Vanilla Pudding. Very good, so many different ways. I have made this for at least 45 years.

  47. Alexandria Nichole says

    We make this every holiday! We call it Fat Man’s Pie
    Crust: Butter, flour, and pecanse
    1st layer: cream cheese, conf.suagr, and cool whipe
    2nd: chocolate pudding
    3rd: Cool Whip and conf.sugar
    We also dust the top, looks pretty.
    SO YUMMY!

  48. Marla Petersen says

    We love this dessert but don’t make it often since it makes such a large quantity. Our name for it is HEAVEN’S DELIGHT!

  49. Kim says

    Is there anything I can sub for the chopped pecans? Im not a nut person but I really want to make this for my first Christmas with my husband’s family!! Gotta impress : )

    • says

      You could make the crust out of anything you want really, if you read some of the comments, some people have tried oreo cookies, I think even graham crackers would work for the crust. Just be creative and use your favorite ingredients. Have fun. :)

  50. Cynn says

    I’ve had a variation that including cherry pie filling. It’s heavenly. I wonder if my brother & SIL would mind if I made this one weekend? It has been years since I’ve had it.

  51. Georgie says

    I am familiar with “Better Than Sex Cake” and it is really nothing like this recipe. It’s more simple- german chocolate cake box (what I use, anyway), poke holes and pour sweetened condensed milk and caramel in, top with whipped topping and sprinkle with chopped heath bars or skor bars (my personal favorite) or toffee chips from the baking aisle. Then drizzle again with more caramel. It’s pretty good and there is the pumpkin variation, but I prefer the original recipe.

    • MM says

      can you use regular pudding instead?I am not too crazy about the instant sugar-free stuff?
      can you find instant pudding that is not sugar free?

      • Shirley B. Fraley says

        I have never liked the taste of instant pudding, either, but in this desert you do not notice the diff. n taste – it is delicious and much easier to make. However, in making banana pudding I always use the regular pudding mix, not the instant – do not like the taste, at all!

  52. Viktoriya says

    How far in advance can you make this cake? It’s Monday and I want to have it for thanksgiving, can I make it Tuesday? Or will it all be soggy and messed up?

    • says

      Hi there,
      You could absolutely make it a couple days in advance, and it will not get soggy. I even froze mine, though if it’s just a couple days before Thanksgiving you don’t have to freeze it. The trouble is can you resist until Thursday to eat it. :) Good luck with it. Remember is a kind of messy dessert so don’t worry about it being pretty.

  53. Tara says

    I loved reading all the different names for this dessert. When I have had this, it was called Piggy Pudding. I think I like Sex in the Pan better!

  54. gwen says

    I have made this dessert for over 30 years. My cousin used to bring it to every family reunion and I always told her to leave if for me when she died and she did!!
    I make it double the chocolate leave out vanilla and add cherries to the top. In my house we call it Mississippi Mud.
    Great recipe!!
    Gwen

  55. says

    My momma made this every single time she hosted Bunco and she always made two.
    I heart Sex in a P an. By the way she doubled the chocolate and omitted the vanilla pudding.

    Pam

  56. Cassie says

    I am so happy I ran across this recipe! My mom used to make it for me as a kid and I loved it! Now that I have kids, I was trying to remember recipes I had grown up with, My mom could not remember this one at all. I thought is was something she had made up, and I gave up trying to find it. Then I stumbled across it on Pinterest!! This totally made my day!! Thank you soo much!!

  57. debbie says

    My first copy of this recipe was called, “Doubt If There’s Anything Left” dessert. Wonderful dessert. Always a hit. I make the lemon version, even though I’m not a lemon fan, this is wonderful. I refer to the dessert as “Lemon Delight” now. Any flavor is great. It is always a request for our family reunion.

  58. Karen says

    My husband is from Mississippi and his family has made this dessert for several generations, and they called it Mountain Mama. But since it’s to die for, Sex in a pan fits it too!! lol

  59. Jolie says

    My family has had this recipe forever! It was my grandfather’s favorite – but ours was made with Butterscotch pudding (not the instant but the cooked kind – hard to find, now!) Makes a large pan so it’s great for potlucks – thanks for reminding me how yummy it was – I’ll have to make this next opportunity! (Our recipe also says it can be made with cherry or blueberry pie filling – but we’ve never even tried that version, we all like the Butterscotch version so much!)

  60. Isabella says

    Ha, ha. I’ve just read all the comments on this dessert. I was introduced to this dessert about 25 or 30 years ago as “Sex in a Pan” just as you have called it. A few years later the school I worked at was doing a fundraiser cookbook where the kids, parents, etc submitted recipes. One of the recipes was this very one but it had been renamed “Heavenly Dessert.” The lady who submitted the recipe was a pastor’s wife and had cleaned up the name. I have used butterscotch and chocolate puddings very happily in this recipe. I also put a layer of whipped cream between the puddings. This is an oft’ requested dessert at our house.

  61. Sami says

    How funny! My family has also been making this amazing dessert for years but here in Pennsylvania we call it jimmy carter cake?!?!
    We also make the crust with peanuts, and add peanut butter to the cream cheese…. Then sprinkle crushed peanuts on top!

  62. Maren says

    LOVE this dessert! We called it four layer dessert growing up as well– but for the crust we use wheat germ instead of nuts– TRY IT! You’ll never go back to grahams either. It’s a nice break from all the sweetness. Love the idea of banana or strawberry slices too! Thanks!

  63. Deborah says

    In the 70’s this recipie was called, “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford.” Interesting how the name has evolved with the generations.

    • Nancy says

      Yes! When I was growing up in the 70s we called this dessert “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford,” too! I think I will have to give it a try again.

    • Jerianne Bateman says

      that’s what we call it too. Robert Redford. I am the one that makes it. I made it for thanksgiving and I’m making it again at Christmas. I always get asked to make it.
      the crust I make with graham crackers only, with a Lil butter and sugar. I combine the vanilla and chocolate puddings. I think the rest is the same. it is delicious!!

    • Susan says

      I remember having this as a kid and it was always called The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford too. I think I will rename it TNBT to George Clooney!

    • jan helzer says

      I wondered as I scrolled through the comments if anyone else called it Better than Robert Redford cake!,

  64. says

    I recently had the lemon version of this and it was sooooo good!!! ( and I thought I hated pudding desserts!) The chocolate with the Oreo crust could be really awesome! Thank-you for the recipe: )

  65. Sarah says

    I’m not a pecan fan (I know, this fact makes my very southern Nana weep), so I made this with an Oreo crust instead. I also added mini chocolate chips into the whipped topping layer (think I like chocolate?).
    It was a huge hit! My brother (not a sweets fan) requested this as his birthday treat for the rest of his life.

    • says

      Lol, that’s quite a request. That’s what’s great about this dessert, you can make little changes to it, very versatile. But no matter what you do, it’s still going to be delicious. :)

    • Dan says

      I make this all the time. We call it slush and make the crust with walnuts and only use vanilla pudding. Everyone loves it and now i am going to have to try it with both types of pudding it sounds great, and i never thought of the chocolate shavings. It looks great cant wait to try this version thanks!

  66. J Hicks says

    I make this in four layers. First layer a crust of flour, butter and pecans. Second layer of cream cheese, powdered sugar and sour cream. Third layer of homemade chocolate pudding. Fourth layer of real whipped cream. Try it this way and you will be blown away!

  67. Valerie says

    My daughter can’t have nuts, if I made this with a graham cracker crumb crust would use the same amount as pecans and butter?

    • says

      Hi Valerie,
      I would think so, you just want enough to have a nice crunch to the dessert, otherwise it’s just pudding.:)

    • Sundee says

      My mother in law makes her crust without the nuts… Just uses flour and butter. It is like shortbread, and still very delicious. We mix the chocolate and vanilla puddings together (or lemon and vanilla) and we know this dessert as lemon lush, or chocolate lush. Big favorite at my house! I make it on thanksgiving. And we eat while watching planes trains and automobiles… Good times!

  68. shantel says

    my mom and granny called it a YUM YUM cake, soooo good!!!!!!!!!!! but they put a layer of sliced banana between pudding and whipped part, soooo good! the mississippi mud cake they made was sweeter and thicker and richer, wasnt the same flavor not sure but it was different,

  69. Jo Po says

    This is my all-time favorite dessert. It’s so nice and light that I can always manage to find room for a big plate of it–even after my family’s gigantic Southern Thanksgiving feast. My mother made it when I was a kid. She would always get the top layer of Cool Whip so smooth and then sprinkle on a fine mist of pecan dust. My brother and I named the dessert “On Frozen Pond” because we always imagined ice skating on top of that smooth white layer of Cool Whip.

  70. says

    This dessert is a life-time favorite of mine! If you make it with sugar-free pudding it’s very low carb!!!

    Growing up it was called 4-layer dessert, but in a school recipe book it’s called ‘Better than Robert Redford’

    My mom makes a dessert called ‘better than sex’ but it’s a chocolate cake with holes poked in and condensed milk as well as something else drizzled over the top!

  71. Elizabeth says

    My mother has made it with butterscotch pudding too. She always made with 1 flavor of Jello. We call it Chocolate Quad. It’s always been my favorite!

  72. jean says

    A layer of cherry pie filling has been part of this recipe for more than 25 years with my friends….very good!

  73. Samantha says

    My mom made the same as Deborah’s mom and we called it the Four Layer Dessert. She would replace the chocolate (with no vanilla) with pistachio pudding. OH my goodness! It is fantastic! Got to a point that to this day she has to make half and half in the same 10 x 13 pan. Thanks for the memories! Love the new name! A great way to remember it!

  74. IQ says

    LOL….this is Texas Icebox Pie. A total classic! Glad you gave it a jazzy name, because now that I live in the north people always ask….what’s an “icebox”. It’d just be much easier to use what you’ve named it.

  75. says

    Jo, look at the amount of comments this generated, who said that sex doesn’t sell? It looks sooo delish, I will make it next time I have company or else I will eat it all by myself. Sent you an email as well.
    Ciao.

  76. Jess says

    I’ve been making this recipe for years, and my family absolutely loves it. I’ve experimented with different pudding flavors, but my favorite is chocolate and pistachio, and I make my crust with almonds. It’s always been a hit, and I love people’s reaction to the name!!

  77. tammie says

    We make this all the time in Mississippi and we call it Husbands Delight…lol…love it and we change it up with different flavors of pudding. I also have a recipe for Better Than Sex cake that’s amazing, I need to send it to you, I promise you will like it….

    • Carla Jo Peterson says

      I would love to have the recipe also for the pudding cake you mentioned.
      You can send it to my e-mail address or if you have a website it is on I can go there.
      I thought one of the recipes was like a poke cake and you poured sweetened condensed milk in the holes and then poured a jar of caramel topping on that covered it with whipping cream and chipped Heath bars. Sound familiar?

  78. Sherri says

    Still are. Take a gander at “The Sting,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” for Redford at his boyishly-handsome best. Tom Selleck’s “Magnum, PI” was appealing to both men and women; guys wanted to be like him and women just wanted to watch him.

  79. Marissa says

    Ok, I am trying to make this. It says 1pkg vanilla pudding and 3cups milk. Then in the directions it says to follow pudding directions on package. My pudding is a runny mess. Help!

    • says

      Hi Marissa,
      The pudding instructions should say to use 3 cups of milk, but it depends on which size of pudding you used. I used instant pudding, the large boxes, 5 oz boxes, if you’re using smaller boxes, just add as much milk as the instructions tell you.

  80. Nancy says

    You are correct, it is amazing but more than that, when you are thinking you want something, but you don’t know exactly what, this is what will always satisfy that craving!! We call it Delta Pudding-go figure, but whatever it is called – it is wonderful!!

  81. Joy says

    I made it with a graham cracker crust and sprinkled it with chopped up Heath bars. Yummy! My kiddos loved it too!

  82. robin says

    This recipe is actually a old recipe called Robert Redford. It is one of the first desserts I learned to make in culinary school because it is so easy to make.

  83. Diana says

    This dessert is also known as a “Robert Redford” The difference is it’s made with hazelnuts.

  84. Brandy says

    Quick question – the “1 cup of whipping cream or cool whip” and “2 cups of whipping cream or cool whip” – do you actually mean a measured cup(s) of the ingredient or 8 oz. and 16 oz.? The measured cup of cool whip is significantly less than 8 oz. I’m preparing the cream cheese layer and it’s not very fluffy (I used a measured cup of cool whip.) This makes me think maybe you mean literally 8 oz. Thank you for your time and attention to my inquiry!

    • says

      You need 1 cup of cool whip… or 1 cup of whipped cream, whipping cream after you whipped it, which ever you use you only need 1 cup. I used cool whip, so I just measured 1 cup of it. However this dessert is not an exact science, so if you want your cream cheese layer fluffier, then by all means use a little more cool whip. :)

  85. says

    My grandma called it Chocolate Good Junk and it was my absolute favorite dessert she made. After she passed away, the recipe was lost and I haven’t had this in twenty years. God I love the internet! Thank you so much for sharing!

  86. Kat says

    My grandmother made this as long as I can remember. She called it Yummy Yummy Cake (cake? i guess it makes as much sense as Tom Selleck or Robert Redford). Like one person noted, our recipe called for the chocolate and vanilla puddings (both instant) to be mixed together. Through the years we’ve made it with pecan crusts, walnut crusts and graham cracker crusts. No matter how it’s made, it’s gone in a heartbeat. Years ago a lady I knew brought it to a potluck; hers was called Chocolate Dream Pie and was from an old Jello promotional cookbook. Supposedly Jello made up the recipe to get people to buy their puddings. I’ve enjoyed reading all the other comments on here… I never realized so many people knew about and loved this pie. Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • says

      Hi Kat,
      You’re absolutely right. That’s what I’ve enjoyed the most too. I had no idea this dessert had so many names. Whatever you want to call it, I think it’s a great dessert for kids, though I like it myself as well. :)

  87. Stephanie says

    Does the whipped cream have to be whipped first or do you put it in liquid form for the cream cheese layer? Thanks

  88. Kari says

    My mom used to make this for outings when I was a child over 30 years ago. She called it “Amish Dessert”. We are from Ohio and I am assuming the name came from the black clothes the Amish wear along with their white bonnets. Recently I remembered the dessert and got her recipe, but changed it to be coconut and lemon pudding instead of the chocolate and vanilla! It was YUMMY and it now that is my favorite flavor.

    • says

      Great story Kari, and I bet coconut and lemon pudding instead of chocolate and vanilla would be a great combination. I would definitely have to try that.
      Thanks.

  89. tracey says

    I bet it would taste good with the chocolate graham cracker crust. Or even oreo cookie crust. Yummy!

  90. cindy says

    when we make this awesome dessert instead of using pecans and flour for the crust we use graham crackers like you would for a cheesecake – saves on the grocery bill and it tastes just as good – also we crumbled up a crispy crunch chocolate bar (or 3) and sprinkled that on top instead of just chocolate shavings – try it – it is sooooo good!!!

  91. Rebecca says

    We called it “Holy smoke” growing up and ate it at every major function. It’s a great southern concoction, found at every church social, barbeque etc. Always GONE!!!

  92. April says

    Here’s a great twist you wont regret trying! Replace the crust with a tube of chocolate chip cookie dough….press it into the bottom of the pan, then bake for about 15 minutes or until done…let cool, then continue with the rest of your original recipe. YummO! Love your site JO!

  93. jenner says

    Been having s similar dessert for ages; we call it “Luscious” and doesn’t have the vanilla pudding layer. A great hot-weather treat! =)

  94. says

    I have made this recipe for years also, and it was called” Better than Sex Cake”. Whatever the name of this dessert, it is sooo good. I have used various favors of pudding..

  95. Lacey says

    I’m from Oklahoma and we call it “Mississippi Mud” as well. It’s a great dessert regardless of the name.

  96. Cassandra says

    I’ve got another name for you…Tom Selleck! Not sure why it’s called that, but I’m guessing it’s the same reason some call it “better than Robert Redford”. I have heard of it as Mississippi Mud Pie, and Lush before also.

    • says

      Ok you got me, I have to admit, I’ve never heard it called Tom Selleck! Tom Selleck and Robert Redford must have been hot men back in the day. :)

      • Jackie says

        My sister has made this for my mama’s birthday, she called it Mississippi Mud Pie. Very good where ever the name originally came from. I’ve never made one myself, i might give it a try one day soon. I’m glad i saw the recipe here today. Thank you for sharing…

  97. Gina says

    My Grandma cleaned up the name for us kids and just called it “Chocolate Yummy.” Better than explaining to an 8-year old about food & sex & why??! =)

  98. Ann says

    I was given this recipe several years ago with the name of Black Forest. The puddings are mixed tother and pecans on top rather than chocolate. It is our family’s favorite dessert.

  99. Michele says

    My aunt has made this for 40+ years…she makes it the same way as your recipe, only she uses butterscotch pudding and then puts chopped pecans on top. YUM!

    • says

      Hi Michele,
      A couple other people mentioned butterscotch pudding, and I think it sounds great, will have to try it next time.
      Thanks.

  100. Susan says

    I have always made this 2 sided….half I use chocolate pudding and the other half pistachio……. Been making it for going on 30 years…..

  101. Sharon says

    Just adding my two cents’ worth. This is my family’s favorite dessert. My personal preference is to make it with chocolate pudding, but I prefer chocolate over most anything. The rest of the gang loves it with pistachio pudding, because that’s the way the recipe was given to me almost 20 years ago. The friend who gave me the recipe called it “I’ll Make it and You’ll Come Runnin’, and we still call it that.

    Someone mentioned using butter pecan pudding. Yummm!! That’s next!!

    • says

      I think that’s the beauty of this dessert, you can pretty much use whatever pudding you like, I’ve heard people add crumbled up twix in between the layers, or your favorite chocolate bar. It’s whatever you want it to be. :)

  102. Shaye says

    This is a family favorite for over 20 years! We’ve always known it by its Better than Robert Redford name and have since shortened it and just refer to it as a Robert Redford :) Only difference in ours is that we add a layer strawberries on top of the vanilla pudding before the last cool whip/cream cheese layer! It is AMAZING. I have this dessert every year for my birthday, my mom even taught my husband how to make it :) Glad it’s still going around, by any name :)

  103. Lacey says

    I am from South Louisiana and we always called it ” Mississippi Mud Pie” . In face,its even sold in some restaurants around here.

    • Lisa says

      Yes, I just had it a week ago at The Mariner’s Restaurant in Natchitoches, LA. Wish I lived there! There is just two of us so have to look for a reason to make it.

  104. says

    Thank you thank you thank you for pinning this! I had lost my recipe for this. LOV ELOVE LOVE IT!!! I think when I made it we put the pudding layers together. Think I’ll try it this way. Thanks again. Sooooo looking forward to making this, just gotta go get some cool whip.

  105. Teresa says

    Hi Diane. Where do you get Butter Pecan Pudding? I live in Alabama and we could find it in the 80’s and 90’s but not anymore. I used to make this dessert a lot and Butter Pecan was my favorite!!!

  106. Vanessa says

    I’ve made pretty much this recipe for years and I originally got my recipe from a Company’s Coming Desserts cookbook. It’s called 6 Layer Dessert and and although the ingredients are the same some quantities are different and it sets up really nice and the layers show well once cut. For those of you having problems with it setting, use a 4 serving size pudding package and only use 1.5 cups milk for each pudding!

  107. Amy says

    Instead of pudding could you use a pie filling? At my family reunion, there is a cake similar to this but it has blueberry pie filling in the middle.

    • says

      Hi Amy,
      I’ve never tried it with pie filling, so I’m not sure how it would turn out, though blueberry pie filling sounds great.

  108. Rebekah says

    My family (all from GA) makes this, and we call it “Chocolate Sundae Pie”– and we put marachino cherries on top :) SOOOOOOOOOOOOO yummy.. My mom doubles this recipe when my brothers and I are all home together, because there is NO holding back.

  109. Lady Old Soul says

    My grandmother makes this for all special occasions, but she calls it the Five Layer Dessert. :) It’s a hit and a half anywhere I take it!!!

  110. Nikki says

    My family has been making this for years as well. Sometimes with Chocolate and sometimes swapping the chocolate for lemon. It is definitely a family favourite. I have an explanation of how it got it’s name! I have been told that it was first called Six In A Pan because it (originally) has six layers. The Sex In A Pan came from that as a fun play on words!

  111. Michelle says

    This has been my favorite desert since I was a small child. My Grandma made it for us. She called it “Chocolate Yummy”
    I made for the first time in years this summer for my mom and my husband could not figure out why it was called “Chocolate Yummy” because it didnt have that much chocolate.
    I dont care what you call it, just as long as I get to eat some.

  112. Kim says

    Been looking for this recipe for 20 years. I had it only once and it was amazing. LOL. The lady who made it also called it “Sex in a Pan”. MMMMMM .

  113. Shannonbannon says

    Thanks a bunch for the recipe Jo!
    Can’t wait to make it for my hubby and of course me!
    Luv the posts!

  114. Christy says

    I have made this for years and we also make a coconut version! Vanilla pudding with coconut folded inside and toasted coconut on top. So delicious but I’m a sucker for anything coconut. I use the big box of pudding but use 2 1/2 cups of milk instead of the 3 that it calls for. Much firmer consistency! :)

  115. says

    Jo,

    Was the friend who introduced this to you from southern California?? I lived there as a young boy in the early to mid-80s and my parents took this dessert to a party one time and someone asked my mom what the name of it was and she told them (I think she called it Guadalupe River Dessert) when one of the husbands said “well it tastes like sex in a pan to me”. We’ve called it “sex in a pan” ever since!! Granted it’s an amazing dessert but it’s a little coincidental to find someone else on the internet who calls the same dessert by the same name. In fact, I only found this because someone I’m friends with pinned it to Pinterest which then pushed to Facebook.

    Anyway, I’d love to hear more about how your friend came to call this dessert by this name!! :-D

    • says

      Hi Mike,
      That’s too funny, but no, my friend is from southern Ontario, and I had never heard of this dessert until then. It would be nice to know the real origin of this. :)

  116. Elizabeth says

    Another alternate name, reporting in! My mom has been making this for years, but it has always been called Texas Yum Yum…or “Texas” for short. (And we are from California!)

  117. Kim says

    I made this for my brother’s birthday this weekend. It was really easy to make, but when I served the dessert it was all falling a part. So I don’t know where I went wrong because I made it the night before and it had enough time to settle. I would love to make it again because everyone surely enjoyed it. Any tips that would help me out for next time I make it?????

    • says

      Hi Kim
      I’m glad you liked it. You could try and use cool whip instead of whipping cream. You could even try freezing it for half hour or so if you want it to look pretty, but remember this isn’t a dessert that’s supposed to be pretty, it is called sex in a pan after all. :)

  118. Chris says

    Why did mine turn out like mush? Tasted great but no shape. Went over the directions again and followed all to the letter. Any ideas?

    • says

      It’s possible you didn’t leave it long enough in the fridge for the pudding to set. It also depends on the ingredients you used too, like if you used skim milk for the pudding, I find it’s harder to set. Also light whipping cream doesn’t hold its shape as well.

  119. Anne says

    Jo, when I saw the picture I knew what it was! This recipe came out in our paper by a very dear friend as “Yum Yum Pudding” in the late 70’s. Using the amount of milk listed for pie, though. The small box of vanilla pudding has whipped cream folded in, and the large chocolate pudding has a large block of cream cheese whipped in. Of course, topped off with more whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

    Strange that this is my second thought to make this wonderful dessert again, as my friend died a week ago. I better get the ingredients fast. Oh, you can use sugarfree pudding!!

    Very nice blog, too. I’ll be checking out more recipes.

    • says

      Thank you Anne. Sorry to hear about your friend. :( You can certainly use sugar free pudding, and you can use the light cool whip as well. Take care.

  120. says

    I have been making this dessert for years…. the only difference is I buy the tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough for the crust. Just bake and go. So good!!

    • says

      It does look like a tiramisu, what’s really great about this dessert is really the pecan crust which you don’t really have with a tiramisu. :)

  121. Kira says

    This is my husband’s requested birthday cake every year. We make the crust with walnuts and sprinkle walnuts on top. His mom gave me the recipe when we got married so I could continue making it for him, and we’ve always known it as Slush Cake.

  122. Jessica says

    My mom received this recipe sometime in the early ’80s. Her recipe was called “Better That Robert Redford”. ;)

  123. Val says

    I make the version with Walnuts in the crust instead of pecans and use either pistachio or lemon pudding. Sooooooo good. haven’t tried the chocolate yet but I think I’ll have to after reading all the reviews.

  124. Christine says

    My mom made this during the summer when I was little! At the time she called it “Paradise Pie”, but as I grew older we called it “Better than Sex Pie”. I’ve made it several times for pot lucks and everyone loves it! The only difference is I cream the vanilla pudding in with the cream cheese, then my chocolate layer, and then cool whip (or whipped cream). I also make it with a gram cracker crust because I am allergic to tree nuts. Either way it is made it is heavenly!!!

  125. Kate says

    In our neck of the woods it’s known as BETTER THAN SEX., in our Methodist cookbook it’s fantastic layered dessert. Changing flavors is a great options and it’s easy to change to a different kind of crust. My friend uses the cooked pudding variety, but I’m too lazy. My kids love this dessert, mostly for the name.

  126. Joan says

    In the 80’s my aunt always made this and it was called “Better Than Sex Dessert”. Really good stuff!

  127. Dayday says

    Do you think you could use a graham cracker crust my mom can’t have nuts and would like to make it for my family?
    Thanks

    • says

      Yeah, absolutely. In fact, that’s another variation of the crust, graham crackers and just add some sugar and butter, pulse it in a food processor, and press it down at the bottom of a pan, then bake it for a few minutes.This way you still have that crunch to the dessert. Good luck and let me know how it turns out. :)

  128. Diane says

    I am dying to try this with white chocolate and butter pecan pudding. I am going to try it this weekend and will let you know on Monday how it was. Can’t wait!

  129. says

    I’ve been making this dessert for years, with many variations. I’ve used different kinds of crust, from the crust you describe to graham cracker crust to pretzel crust. Topped by the cream cheese layer, topped usually with vanilla pudding layer (small size box with 1.5 cups milk mixed with cool whip), followed by chocolate pudding layer (small size box with 1.5 cups milk mixed with cool whip), topped off with more cool whip, then either chocolate shavings or curls or even drizzled chocolate.

    My MIL recently gave me a recipe for a Green Dessert, but it used pistachio pudding.

    I’ve also made it using banana pudding, sliced bananas, and chocolate pudding.

    So yeah, very popular dessert regardless of name or exact flavoring used.

    • says

      Hi Miss Tori,
      I agree with you, very versatile dessert, if you switch some flavors for the puddings and different crust you can end up with a different tasting dessert, but just as good.
      Jo

  130. Vicky says

    I have made a similar dessert but the puddings are mixed together as one layer and it doesn’t have chocolate shavings. I am altering my recipe to include the shavings and separate the pudding layers. Oh, and it has to have the new improved name. Has always been a winner and it just got better.

    • says

      Hi Lorrie,
      I used the 5.1 ounce (144 g) Jell-o instant pudding, so the larger size that requires 3 cups of milk.
      Jo

  131. says

    Oh my! My mother used to make something like this when I was little, and I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it while it sat in the fridge! It is indeed amazing! My mom’s might have had a peanut crust, and after the cream cheese layer was the chocolate pudding (no vanilla pudding) and topped off with Cool Whip instead of real whipping cream. It was indeed heavenly! Sex in a Pan is a really appropriate name for it!
    Deborah

    • says

      Hi Penny,
      I’m sure it has many different names, but this is how the dessert was introduced to me and I think I like it. :)

      • laura says

        I was introduced to this desset once in my life when i was 7. 25 years ago. As Sex in a pan. I will never ever forget, because i loved it so much but would never ask for it to be made again because i was to embarrassed to ask for it! So glad i stumbeled on it! Brought back a laugh about being a kid again!! Thanks!

        • says

          Hi Laura,
          You’re very welcome. That’s the great thing about this dessert, from what I gather, it’s a really old dessert, but it’s so good and it’s got a cool name to go with it too. :)
          Jo

          • Judy says

            I must be going senile -.not really joking. I couldn’t find the comment thing – where I am now. Laura you’re still a baby. Younger than my daughter. Jo she got the name during the Yom Kippur war. My f.in law suggested Joan after my m.in laws mum. Ha ha. This is the olden days before epidurals. I insisted on calling my son Mark aftet my grandfather. No complaints. When I had a girl and he was away and not knowing…..so for him I added the NA to make Joanna.

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