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Three Different Ways to Make Homemade Playdough for Kids

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Here are our go-to recipes anytime we need a new batch of homemade playdough.

Homemade playdough is better than store bought for so many reasons! It’s easy to make, cheap, and you can make a big batch which really allows kids to use it more expressively and naturally. Plus the homemade stuff is soft and smells good. And when you make your own, you can add your own personal touch with color, essential oils, and glitter (great for pairing your playdough play with seasons, holidays, party themes, and mood!).

Here are our three favorite playdough recipes: a quick no-cook recipe, a wonderful cooked playdough, and an edible playdough. Plus we include a link to a gluten-free playdough recipe at the bottom of the post.

3 Awesome Homemade Playdough Recipes

No Cook Playdough Recipe
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No-Cook Playdough Recipe

Here’s the the no cook playdough recipe we like the very best, which uses the hot water method. We find that we typically make no-cook playdough more often because it’s quicker, easier, and the kids can get involved.

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No Cook Playdough Recipe

No-Cook Playdough

  • Author: The Artful Parent
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Playdough

Description

The easiest and quickest homemade playdough recipe out there! Plus it doesn’t involve a stove-top, so kids can help make it.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Glitter and/or essential oils (optional)

Instructions

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. If you want to add glitter or essential oils, do so now and knead them in.


purple playdough with poke ins

The Best Cooked Playdough Recipe

We really love cooked playdough the best; the texture is smooth and playdough rubbery and the batch makes a generous amount to play with. It also lasts just about forever.

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The Best Cooked Playdough

  • Author: The Artful Parent
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Playdough

Description

The best of the best, but a bit more work.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 8 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • 5 cups flour
  • Glitter and/or essential oils (optional)

Instructions

1. Mix the water, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a large pot.

2. Cook the mixture on medium-low heat, stirring regularly until it is hot.

3. Add the oil and mix.

4. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing between each addition with a wooden or other strong spoon.

5. Continue to mix until the playdough pulls away from the pan and is no longer sticky. Pinch it between your fingers to test it (but be careful because it’s hot!).

6. Place the dough on the counter, let it cool a bit, and then knead.

Note :: This is the time to add glitter or essential oils, if desired. Simply place the additions in a well in the center of the playdough, then knead the dough thoroughly to mix.

7. Store the dough in an airtight bag or other container at room temperature. It will keep for months.


Peanut Butter Play dough for Kids

Edible Peanut Butter Playdough

This peanut butter playdough is perfect for kids of all ages, but is especially great for younger children who still like to ‘taste test’ while using playdough!

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Edible Peanut Butter Playdough

  • Author: The Artful Parent
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Playdough

Description

Our favorite edible playdough for when you want to combine snacking with playdough modeling.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/41/2 cup honey (just enough to make it stick together)

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. It’s as easy as that!

 


Notes

Note: We’ve tried a number of variations on the peanut butter playdough, sometimes including a cup of powdered milk in place of a cup of the powdered sugar, sometimes adding cocoa powder for a more chocolate-y experience, etc, but we usually come back to this basic recipe.

Which batch of homemade playdough do you think you’ll try? And want some fun ideas for your new playdough? Here is our ultimate list of ways to play and learn with playdough!

using stamps on playdough

More Homemade Playdough Recipes

Baking-with-playdough-and-pokeins_Rachel Withers

More Ideas for Playdough Play

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Three Different Ways to Make Homemade Playdough for Kids
  • jeanne
    November 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    hi! I just made some playdough using spices for scent…and paints for color. the nutmeg and paint smells didn’t work well. So, 2 questions-do you get a rich color with liquid watercolors? and are essential oils irritating to sensitive skin? thanks ps I love your site, and have been following you several years now.It is the best1 jeanne

    • Jean Van't Hul
      November 13, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Jeanne! Yes, both the liquid watercolors and the food coloring can provide rich color if you use a generous amount and a lighter color with a small amount. I never notice any scent with the liquid watercolors. We’ve used spices (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, etc) in the past with yummy-smelling results. What kinds of paints did you use?

      We haven’t had any issues with the essential oils we’ve used (peppermint, citrus, lavender, etc) but we don’t have especially sensitive skin in our family. We use essential oils directly on our skin and in our bath sometimes. But if you have sensitive skin then maybe test a small spot or google essential oils for sensitive skin or something.

      Good luck!

      • jeanne
        November 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm

        I used a tempera, at someone’s suggestion, but it didn’t blend well with the nutmeg scent. I will try the food color next time, and it will probably be fine. thanks so much…jeanne

        • Jean Van't Hul
          November 14, 2015 at 6:11 am

          You’re welcome, Jeanne! And good luck. I think the food coloring will work a lot better than tempera paint for your playdough.

  • Elizabeth
    February 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    You have a wonderful site!

    I’m hoping you might be able to help me. I made the above cooked play dough recipe, and it’s very sticky. It has a firmish, play dough like feel on the outside, but when I pull it apart, it’s a sticky mess! I’ve tried adding flour to firm it up. Any other ideas?

    • Jean Van't Hul
      February 23, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Hmm… I’m thinking it wasn’t cooked enough, Elizabeth. It has to cook until you can pinch off a piece and it’s not sticky in your hands.

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