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Practically Zero Calorie Triple Chocolate Butterfinger Trifle

Is this Butterfinger Trifle a dessert? Technically, yes. Is it made of the decadent combination of brownies, pudding, cool whip and Butterfinger bars? Sure.

But if you eat it correctly, you’ll find that this rich, decadent crowd-pleaser is practically a health food.*

*I am not a nutritionist, but I am a self-proclaimed master at food justification.

Here’s how it works. For your main meal, you eat something angelically healthy. Maybe an organic salad. Then you come in for dessert with your creamy Butterfinger trifle, and the healthiness of dinner cancels out the delicious dessert, and it shall be as if you’ve eaten nothing at all! It’s food magic!
Feeling skeptical? It’s okay. I have other options. Simply eat this trifle standing up. We all know calories don’t count when you’re standing. For extra points, make a plate for someone else, then sample their plate. It’s not as if you’ve eaten a serving, at that point. You were just tasting someone else’s. Calories don’t count if they’re not eaten from your own plate.

See? Master food justifier.

If you invite me to a potluck, I’m probably bringing this trifle, by the way. Because it looks really, really pretty, like you tried hard, even though it’s easy. And people dig it. It’s best served cold, so it’s perfect for summer cookouts!


  • Box of any brownie mix, 13×9 pan size
  • Oil and eggs or whatever else that box of brownie mix calls for
  • 2 boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix, plus however much milk you need to make the pudding. (See your pudding box for directions. Usually 2 cups of milk per box.)
  • 2 tubs of cool whip, or one big tub.
  • 3 Butterfinger bars. One is for you, as a prize for making this dish.

Ingredients to make a butterfinger trifle

Step One: prepare the ingredients

Thaw the cool whip in the fridge or on the counter.

Follow the instructions to make the brownies. Whether or not you choose to follow THESE directions is up to you:
Do not eat raw brownie batter
I’m just sayin’: I won’t tell on you if you sneak a taste. Life is too short. #LivingOnTheEdge

Follow the instructions to make both boxes of pudding mix.
Brownies and chocolate pudding to make butterfinger trifle
Crunch up your butterfinger bars into tiny, tasty morsels of deliciousness. I like to use the flat end of the meat tenderizer while the butterfinger is still in the package. This will be an excellent opportunity to release any pent-up aggression you might have, especially if you opted not to eat the raw brownie batter.
Crushing Butterfinger crumbs

Step 2: Layer the ingredients.

I use a trifle dish I got at walmart for about $7 a while back. Other bloggers might tell you that it doesn’t matter what dish you use to make this, that you can just use whatever you have on hand. But I love you too much to lie to you. Listen, friend: it tastes better if you can see the layers. I didn’t invent the rules.

Split your brownie pan into thirds, and use one third to layer around the bottom of your trifle dish. It looks prettier if you press it into the sides first…
Layering brownies into a trifle dish
…then fill in the center of the layer.
Filling in the brownie layer
Then use 1/3 of your chocolate pudding and layer it on top of the brownies, making sure you fill in the outside of the dish for maximum fanciness.
Brownie and pudding layers to make a butterfinger dessert
Repeat with 1/3 of the cool whip.
Layering cool whip/whipped topping on butterfinger dessert
And 1/3 of the Butterfinger crumbs.
Butterfinger crumbs on trifle

Something is happening here that you’ll not soon regret.

Now repeat two more times: brownies, pudding, cool whip, butterfinger. Until you get this craziness:
Trifle Layers
It’s best if you make it at least a few hours in advance and refrigerate it so the flavors can all mush together and the magic can happen. And I don’t use the word “magic” lightly.
Bowl of trifle dessert

Well, often I do. But not this time.

Of course the only downside to a dessert like this is that you can’t sneak a taste or everyone will know. So if you want to hold back a little bit from each layer and make your own personal trifle for sampling purposes?
Easy, crowd-pleasing Butterfinger trifle! Perfect for summer pot-lucks!

Well, then I applaud you. For making the sacrifices necessary to ensure your desserts are of the highest quality before serving them to others. You’re a good friend.

If we ever go to a potluck or cookout together, pretend you don’t know how easy this is, because it’s probably what I’m bringing, and it’s better if you think it was complicated and I slaved for hours. You guys: this junk is RIDICULOUS. Mushy, creamy, but with little crunches of Butterfinger. You need some. The end.

What’s your go-to potluck dish? Any other good tips to reduce calories when eating dessert?

P.S.: Don’t forget to check out my grandmother’s chocolate pie recipe and these healthier (for real) pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

Let's connect


  1. I knew as soon as I saw the title you would find a way for me to eat this guilt free to go with the zero calories. What a friend you are.

  2. Julia @cuckoo4design says:

    LOL, I always make a plate for someone else (mostly my husband) and then try it from that plate. It drives him nuts!!!! I always hear “why don’t you make your own plate/drink?” (it also works great with his beer)
    For me it’s a wonderful solution! 😉
    This looks so delicious!

  3. You crack me up! I love it! Looks delish 🙂 xo Kristin

  4. Love this!! A friend and I would make up lots of different trifle ideas with different flavors of cake, pudding, and candy!! We never did use brownies though!

  5. You stinker! You are so funny, Brought a big smile to my face this morning! I started reading and couldn’t believe my good fortune to have found such a wonderful dessert with NO CALORIES! Too funny as I kept reading…. I can definitely eat it standing up though so all is well!

  6. This is perfect, because I was just looking for a practically zero calorie breakfast and there you go, posting the perfect breakfast food. Love it!

  7. I believe you could make this much more “healthful” by substituting whipped cream with a dusting of cocoa & XXX sugar for the whipped topping. 😉

  8. Easy things that look like you worked hard are my favorite! I have a friend who just bought a trifle dish at a garage sale the other day. The VERY easiest would be for HER to make this for me. But then I wouldn’t get to ignore the don’t eat the brownie batter instructions. Hmm…..

  9. Ummm, can I just say…. YUM?! I’m totally with you on the whole food justification thing – there are times when you just have to say “calories, you’re nobody to me today :-)”.

    My go-to food for potlucks is usually triple-threat chocolate chip cookies. I’ve had the recipe for ages and keep tweaking it to make it better and better. It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally achieved chocolate chip cookie nirvana!

  10. Well, as long as it won’t make me fat….

  11. Oh man this looks delicious! (And not too difficult which is good for me!) I am definitely going to have to try to make this sometime this summer!

  12. This looks so delicious! Bonus I wouldn’t have to share with Ramona since she’s allergic to peanut butter or Nick since he doesn’t eat carb. Ultimate win for me right here!

  13. It just so happens that I have a potluck to go to on Saturday! Hopefully my neighbors don’t read your blog so they think I spent all day making this 😉

  14. Oh my gosh! This looks absolutely fabulous! And I totally agree with your justifications, salad cancels out dessert! 😉

  15. You’re invited to a potluck! I’ll bring the calorie-cancelling organic salad. Shall we say tomorrow then?

  16. Oh girl, that looks so good! I bet if you drink a diet coke with it, it’s actually negative calories, like, we’d lose weight or something. Make me this! haha. xoxo, Sharon

  17. Kids and I laughed out loud when we got to the picture with the “personal trifle”. Couldn’t agree more.

  18. I think I just gained a pound reading this – my mouth is literally watering! Pinning and making ASAP!!!

  19. You are so funny. I’ve found that eating while running is always a sure-fire way to keep the pounds from piling on… And to get sick. 😉
    Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing! And, as always, the pics are just great. I’m going to need you to do a “how to photograph things” series. Thanks.

  20. That looks so yummy! I think I read that another way that the calories don’t count is when the food is served in a non-traditional container. So if I scarf down another helping in a flower pot or toothbrush holder, the calories wouldn’t be an issue. 🙂

    • Ohh! That makes sense! Like if you eat leftovers out of the fridge when it’s still in the tupperware – totally doesn’t count.

  21. Hahaha, you are so awesome, Kelly! You had me at “food justification.” This does look quite magical — and I don’t use the word “magic” lightly, either!

  22. You are just cute as pie!

  23. Food justification. I KNEW there was a name for it. 😉 This looks yummy! I love anything with brownies!

  24. What a DELICIOUS looking trifle!!!! Sounds absolutely amazing!

  25. Girl, I love the way you think! Never have I ever heard a better justification of calories in my life–you are the master! This looks so delicious and I love the simplicity factor. The “zero calorie” thing is just a bonus. 😉 Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Miss Kelly!

    ~Abby =)

  26. I just gained 4 pounds by reading this. Maybe I will work it off by going to Wal-mart for the ingredients tomorrow.

  27. You always need to sneak some batter!!! Yum! 🙂

  28. Oh my gosh looks SO good…potluck be darned, this puppy wouldn’t make it out my door… I would have to sneakily camouflage the dessert container so nobody else tries to eat it!!

  29. Wow what a decadent dessert 🙂 I love how it looks all layered in the glass bowl. Talk about awesome presentation! Pretty!!

  30. 🙂 you are too funny Kelly but I guess I will follow your tips: eating standing up & eating it from someone else’s plate right? ha!ha! It looks super delicious! 🙂

  31. Been practicing and practicing (read: eating) to achieve the perfect state of … no, the magic of — food justification. It really does seem to work. I feel so empty


  32. Looks amazingly delicious! Love, Love, Love Butterfingers. Love you reasoning to make it a healthy dessert. Thanks!
    Emily @

  33. This may be the best post on the internet! I am in love with your food math 🙂

    Looks beyond tasty, can you bring some to Haven haha!!!!

  34. Ha ha! You had this sweets-lover at “food magic”! I love it! And I’m all about desserts that look yummy, taste yummy, but don’t take a day and a half to make (like anything involving jell-O). Also, I’m salivating right now, so you know what that means: time to pin it! (And then race for the fridge for anything sweet that I can get my teeth on.)

  35. Oh this looks divine. Now I just need to stock up on Butterfingers 🙂


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