Best homemade playdough recipe


The BEST homemade playdough recipe – make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

One of my kids favorite activities is playing with play dough. It is the perfect indoor activity for when it’s raining, too cold or too hot. When the weather’s nice we’ll even take it outside on the porch. My kids (age 8, 6 and 2) ALL love playing with play dough. My son pretends like he’s outgrowing it, but whenever my girls start playing with it, he always ends up joining in on the fun. I usually give them a few different colors, a mini rolling pin, some cookie cutters and let them go to town. I love seeing their imagination work.

The BEST homemade play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.


Why is this the best homemade playdough recipe?

  • It is SUPER soft and squishy, but doesn’t stick
  • The play dough lasts for months in a zip top bag
  • It is inexpensive to make
  • It makes enough for 4-6 kids
  • You can add different colors and even scents to customize your dough

The BEST homemade playdough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

We love making our own play dough, because it is so much softer (and cheaper) than the store bought stuff. I find it also lasts longer as well. Over the years I’ve tried dozens of recipes and this one here is the best playdough recipe out there! I got it several years ago from my son’s preschool teacher and figured I better post it to my blog so I don’t have to keep searching for it. At their preschool, the parents take turns making the play dough a different color each month and once I used this recipe, I haven’t looked back. I have slightly adapted the original recipe over the years. The main thing that I have done is cut down on the salt, as I found it keeps the dough extra soft for months!

Homemade playdough recipe ingredients

How to make playdough

Playdough ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tarter
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Quart sized bags

Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tarter in a large pot. Next add the water and oil. If you’re only making one color, add in the the color now as well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball. Remove from heat and then place inside a gallon sized bag or onto wax paper. Allow to cool slightly and then knead until smooth. If you’re adding colors after, divide the dough into balls (for how many colors you want) and then add the dough into the quart sized bags. Start with about 5 drops of color and add more to brighten it. Knead the dough, while inside the bag so it doesn’t stain your hands. Once it’s all mixed together you’re ready to PLAY.

Store the play dough inside the bags once done to keep soft. Keeps for up to 3 months.

How to make playdough

Once the dough is finished, I like to put each dough ball into it’s own quart sized zip top bag. Then I let my kids squish the colors together. It gives the kids something to do, makes it so your hands aren’t stained and then gives the dough a home after. We use the same bag to store the dough when the kids are done playing with it. If you only plan on making ONE color, just add the food coloring into the pan when you add the water (makes it easier to mix it in). My kids can never decide on just one color, so we usually need to divide it out.

How to make playdough

Another fun addition to the play dough is to add glitter. We added about 1/4 cup to the bag and kneaded it in with blue and yellow.

My almost 2 year old loves squishing the dough. I love watching those chubby little fingers go to work.

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

My 6 year old daughter loves pulling out the cookie cutters and making all kinds of designs! She is quite the girly girl. ;)

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

Make a batch for your kids once school is out for a summer to remember!

This post is brought to you by Kroger. Check out their website for more DIY and recipe inspiration.

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.
more by Jamielyn »

Jamielyn Nye

of I Heart Naptime

Creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. Jamielyn aspires to reach women, get their creative juices flowing, and to genuinely inspire. When she’s not creating, Jamielyn loves to chase her three little monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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63 comments on “Best homemade playdough recipe”

  1. Just made a batch with my little boy. You are right. This is the best play dough! So soft. Hoping it lasts all summer.

  2. I will be making this ! Would be pretty with the glitter in it, but I’ll be leaving that out in case my Littles decide to taste it! 😊

  3. School is out next week, so this is perfect timing, and I know my younger ones will love making this!

  4. So fun! I just made a ton of homemade slime with my kids – this one’s next!

  5. This looks like so much fun! My kids are going to love playing with this play dough!

  6. Cara Mengobati Penyakit Keloid Reply

    thank you for sharing

  7. This is SO fun! I can’t wait to make it with my kids, they will have a blast!! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Even though my boys are a bit older now, I’ll bet they would still love playing with this!

  9. This is such an awesome idea! I have kids and I apreciate it! They can play for hours with some dough. :)

  10. This is so cool! Definitely going to try it out this summer!

  11. Thanks for sharing!! I’m a kindergarten teacher and love trying new recipes.  Do you store the play dough in the refrigerator? Or at room temperature?

  12. What are your thoughts on adding in pumpkin pie spice? I teach kindergarten and wouldn’t mind a bit of this delightful aroma!

  13. Is there a substitute for the cream of tartar?

  14. We made ours orange with pumpkin pie spice for a fun fall scent!

  15. Last minute idea before Sunday school…so fast! I used a non-stick pan and silicone spatula and dumped the hot play dough onto a silicone baking sheet to cool for a few minutes while I finished getting ready for church. It was so easy to fold it into the sheet, knead it a little and put it right into a gallon bag…ready, set, go! Everyone loved it!

  16. Hi I made it and it’s super sticky do i add dry flower to make it less sticky? Or did I go wrong somewhere ??

    • Hi Jennifer! I haven’t tried adding flour after the play dough is cooked so I’m not sure how it would work, but it is worth a try! Next time, add 1-3 tablespoons more flour.

  17. Thank you for sharing. I just made a batch for my 4 year old and it was so soft and nice to play with. How do you get your colors so bright? What brand/type food coloring did you use? Mine stayed pastel colored no matter how much more food color drops I added.

  18. We made this today with our 4 year old and 2 year old. Came out perfectly. They had so much fun mixing up all the colors. I am so bummed at not trying this earlier. Except for cream of tar tar all other ingredients are pantry staples. Thank you for the winning recipe. My 2 year old will always have play dough now. 

  19. I added the salt to the water separate and added at the end to break down the salt. It worked out great.

  20. Hello Jamielyn, I want to make this for my 3 1/2 year old Grandson. Just wanted to know if high altitude would effect this recipe in any way. Thank you.

    • Hi Debbie! I’m not too familiar with baking in high altitudes so I’m not sure. I have heard in baking recipes at 3,500 feet to add 1 more tablespoon per recipe. For each additional 1,500 feet, add one more tablespoon. I’m not sure if it works the same in play dough, but it’s worth a shot. :)

  21. I wonder if this can be made brown or tan somehow? I am thinking of making 6 different shades of skin playdough for my daughter to bring to school and share with her class so they can make little people! Maybe cocoa powder mixed in with the flour? I may need to experiment.

  22. I have  made numerous batches of playdoh over the years (I’m a preschool teacher and have 3 little ones), and this was by far the best recipe… was so fast!  I love how pliable it is for the kids, but not sticky. They’re thrilled! 

  23. Looks interesting… I will try this with my grandkids!

  24. I have a two year old who absolutely loved this play dough. but is it bad if your child accidentally puts it in their mouths but don’t swallow any of it? This is my first child so just curious.

  25. Hi! How many drops and which colors did it take to make that pretty color of purple?
    Great recipe, easy and fun to make with the kids.

  26. I made your recipe and I added fresh herbs to give it a natural scent without colour. It turned out awesome!!

  27. Just made this. Why do you think mine came out clumpy?

  28. AnnMarie Floro Reply

    This was super fun, easy, and QUICK!  Even with four little “helpers”!

  29. And I happen to have a bunch of  food coloring that I was just thinking about throwing out! So, making this looks super fun. We are constantly throwing out play dough because it is dry and hard or because our little one loves to play with it on the dog! Haha.

  30. I used this recipe years ago, and then lost it.  I’m so glad I found it on your blog via Google!  I make each batch one color, and I use  a small packet of kool aid for the coloring and it smells good too. :) 

  31. I use an uncooked recipe that has the same ingredients (except that each is double your recipe).  The recipe I use has boiling water instead of lukewarm water ….  I have made double batches of this recipe so that 4 different groups in the school have their own fresh play dough every week.  This past winter I saw a post about using baby oil instead of cooking oil — smells good and is quite silky to the touch.  I like the idea of using cornstarch instead of cream of tartar, c of t is quite expensive !  I don’t know (chemically) what the c of t does in the playdough but the week I didn’t have any, the playdough was very sticky.  I added almost 1 more cup of flour before it lost its stickiness!  I have only made pastel shades as the teacher said that adding enough food colour to make vibrant colours stained the children’s hands.  Has that been your experience?  I am going   To experiment with some of your ideas this summer so I can have it perfected in the fall 😀

    • I’ve heard good things about using baby oil in play dough, but I’ve never tried it! The food coloring usually doesn’t turn my kids hands colors if the play dough has cooled. You could also try gel food coloring! :)

  32. I’m making small clay flowers for my daughters wedding. She bought some silicone clay for me, but I’m finding it hard to work with. I’d like to try this to see if it works better. But can it be baked to harden it after a he flyers are made?

    • Hi Gail! I have not tried baking this dough before so I’m not sure. If you give it a try, definitely come back and let us know how it turns out! :)

  33. I tried it and it’s too fragile and cracked.

  34. Melanie Beasley Reply

    I needed a faux “bread dough” for a lesson at this year’s VBS, and this recipe was just the thing! Came together so easily, thank you!

  35. Made this several times now…it works great…it’s soft and it does not dry out quickly…which is an added bonus! I make it often because my kids play with it…alot! Thank u so much!! I will never buy playdough again!

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