You know how much we love the cooked homemade playdough recipe we’ve been making forever. It’s the play clay from MaryAnn Kohl’s First Art, and I’ve posted about it here and here as well as probably about 20 other times. It’s awesome. The texture is smooth and playdough rubbery, the batch makes a more than generous amount to play with, and it lasts just about forever.
How does a no cook playdough recipe compare?
We’ve made five different no cook playdough recipes so far. Some use cold water, some use boiling hot water. Most of the other ingredients are the same but vary slightly in amounts. The recipes with the cold water are grainier and a bit drier in general. Here’s the the no cook playdough recipe I like the very best, using the hot water method.
The Best No Cook Playdough Recipe
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
- 2 Tbsp oil
- Liquid Watercolors (or food coloring)
- 2 cups boiling water
1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make a well in the center and add oil and coloring.
3. Pour in boiling water and mix.
4. It will look like a goopy mess and you’re going to be sure that you’re going to have to add a lot of flour to make it work. Just let it sit for a few minutes. It will firm up and work perfectly.
5. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it a bit to form a ball.
P.S. Here’s the same version, on Sun Hats & Wellie Boots, using beets and blueberries to dye the dough naturally. I think I’ll try that next…
These photos actually show my second favorite no cook playdough recipe. Like the recipe above, it was soft and pliable, allowing Maia and Daphne to use it to make pretend food and other fun things. Here they are cooking crepes and eggs over their makeshift stove.
And Maia used the playdough to “write” us a sweet message.
After giving no cook playdough recipe several trial runs, I have come to the conclusion that cooked playdough is better, but that no cook playdough has it’s place, too.
Why is cooked playdough better?
Shelf life: The cooked playdough recipe we make lasts for months. The no cook playdough batches lasted a couple of weeks. By then they were a little too dried out and, in some cases, a little too smelly to keep using.
It’s forgiving: Cooked playdough can be left out, uncovered, for hours, with little or no lasting effect. No cook playdough starts getting a dry and crumbly coating if left out for any length of time.
Better texture: The cooked playdough has a lovely, rubbery, squishy playdough texture and it holds together better. Most of the no cook playdoughs are soft, but pull apart quickly and you end up with more crumbs and bits of playdough all over.
However, as much as I love cooked playdough, I grant that there are definitely times and reasons to consider making no cook playdough as well.
Why use a no cook playdough recipe?
More kid-friendly to make: If you want your kids (or students) to be more involved in all steps of making the playdough, then no cook is the way to go since there is no hot stove to deal with. If making the kind with boiling water, an adult can boil and pour the water, but children can help with the rest.
It’s quicker and easier: No cook playdough is a bit quicker and easier to make. Mostly just dump and mix.
Your turn to weigh in! What do you think about no cook versus cooked playdough? Do you have a preference? Or would you rather just buy yours ready made?