Skip to content

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.

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.

Favorite Kids Activity

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.

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 all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
  • Food coloring, optional (I like Wilton gel food coloring or AmeriColor gel)
  • Quart sized bags

Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tartar 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 (my favorite brands are listed above) 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
rainbow colored play dough stacked on top of each other

How to Make Homemade Playdough

4.94 from 180 votes
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.
Prep Time: 5 mins
5 mins
Servings: 1 batch

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Spoon for stirring
  • Gallon size bag or wax paper for cooling

Ingredients 

Optional: food coloring (I use Wilton for brighter colors)

    Instructions

    • Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large pot. Next add the water and oil. If you’re only making one color, stir in the the color now.
      mixing wet play dough in pan
    • 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 bowl, gallon sized bag or onto wax paper.
      mixing together play dough in pan
    • 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.
      adding color to play dough
    • Once it’s all mixed together, you’re ready to PLAY. Store the play dough inside the bags to keep soft. If stored properly it will keep soft for up to 3 months.
      play dough balls on counter

    Video


    Notes

    For a fun addition, add about 1/4 cup glitter to the bag and knead it in. 
    My kids love to use cookie cutters to make all kinds of fun designs with the play dough. 
    *Disclaimer: This dough should not be consumed by children or pets. 
    Author: Jamielyn Nye

    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.

    teal glittery play dough ball in kid\'s hand

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

    a kid\'s hands pressing down on a green piece of play dough

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

    cutting out play dough with cookie cutters

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

    Let’s connect

    Join our community of over 5 million!

    Featured on

    • Taste of Home
    • Martha Stewart
    • Country Living
    • BuzzFeed
    • Yahoo
    • Food Network
    • Today