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The BEST Cooked Playdough Recipe for Kids

by Andrea Martelle
June 24, 2021

The BEST cooked playdough recipe for kids. Guaranteed to make a huge batch of playdough perfect for all kinds of imaginative play!

glittery playdough_andrea martelle
Photo by Andrea Martelle
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We LOVE homemade playdough! And did you know, it is SO easy to make? It’s cheap and kids enjoy playing with it in so many ways making it the perfect open-ended creative play material.

So whip up a batch and watch as your kids use it to make play food for a restaurant, create tiny worlds for their play dinosaurs, and stick in all kinds of poke-ins to make a monster – all in one sitting!

Over the years, we’ve tried many homemade playdough recipes. And we think that the play clay recipe from MaryAnn Kohl’s First Art is the very best. It has the perfect playdough texture, the batch makes a large amount so there’s plenty for everyone to play with, and it lasts just about forever. What more could you want?!

We also love this no cook playdough recipe using boiling water or try an edible peanut butter recipe. And for fun playdough activities for kids, be sure to check out this epic list!

homemade playdough pinterest

Cooked Playdough Recipe for Kids

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The Best Cooked Playdough

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


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


  • 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)


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.

Kids can participate in making the dough and watching it come together in the pot. And once it has cooled, invite them to knead in glitter, essential oils and food coloring.

stirring orange playdough on stove_andrea martelle
Photo by Andrea Martelle

That’s all there is to it!

Store playdough in an airtight container when kids finish playing with it. We keep ours near our collection of tiny animals, dinosaurs, buttons, googly eyes, and other poke-ins the kids have collected.

If you try this recipe, or any of our homemade playdough recipes, be sure to tag us on Instagram @artfulparent!

dinosaurs in playdough_andrea martelle
Photo by Andrea Martelle

More Playdough Recipes and Ideas for Kids

cooked playdough pinterest

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