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The Best No Cook Playdough Recipe

by Jean Van't Hul
March 8, 2021

Here’s the best no-cook playdough recipe. It’s so easy to make that kids can help (see the video tutorial)! Plus I’ll share how no cook playdough compares to cooked playdough recipes.

Playdough in cupcake liner with toothpicks

Updated March 2021

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 probably at least 20 other times.

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It’s awesome. The texture is smooth and playdough rubbery and the batch makes a generous amount to play with. It also lasts just about forever.

So, 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, which uses the hot water method. I’ll show you a video tutorial of how to make it, share a recipe, and then tell you how no cook playdough compares to cooked playdough recipes.

See? Wasn’t that easy? Now, here’s the recipe.

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The Best No Cook Playdough Recipe

  • Author: Jean Van’t Hul
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Art Recipe


This is great homemade playdough recipe to make with simple kitchen ingredients and the best part is that there is no stove-top cooking involved so the kids can help mix up their own batch! 


  • 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.
  6. Play!


This playdough will keep for a few months if stored in an airtight container or plastic bag in between use.

panda toys in purple playdough - Little Mainer Art Studio

How Does No Cook Playdough Compare to Cooked Homemade Playdough?

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. And we’ve actually been making the no-cook playdough more often because it’s quicker, easier, and the kids can get involved.

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 admit 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.

Expendable: If you plan to use it for a specific purpose, such as a baking soda volcano or a kitchen table forest, then by all means whip up a quick batch of no cook playdough.

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?

rainbow playdough and tools

More Playdough Ideas for Kids

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    One Response

    1. This is the best no cook playdough recipe I have used. I love how easy it is to make, and the kids love helping. The texture is great, and it is lasting a long time. Thank you for sharing!

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