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The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe

The BEST Homemade Playdough - I have tried every recipe and this is by far the best! Lasts 3+ months, coloring does NOT stain hands, and it's super easy!

Over the years I have tried at least 10 homemade playdough recipes, and some have been big hits, and some have been big misses.  I feel like I have finally figured out the best recipe, and I am going to share it with you today.

It is pretty easy, and involves ingredients that you likely have at home all the time (except maybe you don’t have cream of tartar…maybe…).  This recipe is quick, yields a lot of playdough, and the playdough actually stays good for a long time.  This would work great as a class activity for kids, or as a home activity for kids.  It really is a great indoor activity!

What you need (see bottom of post for printable recipe):

      • 1 cup flour
      • 1 cup water
      • 2 tsp. cream of tarter
      • 1/3 cup salt
      • 1 TBS vegetable oil (people have commented using coconut oil with success as well)
      • Food Coloring – I highly recommend this coloring, you only need 1-2 drops and the colors are so vibrant

The above will make you a large ball of playdough.  I usually make it repeatedly for however many colors I want (so if you want 6 big balls, know that you will need 6 times the ingredients listed above, but you need to make them separately).

What to do:

In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of cream of tarter, and 1/3 cup of salt (the salt keeps it from sticking and also helps preserve it). 

Homemade Playdough

Next, add 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Homemade Playdough

Turn your burner on medium/low and stir. It will be a little lumpy and that’s fine

Homemade Playdough

Before it starts getting thick (this is going to happen fast, so be ready) you want to add whatever color food coloring you want. If it gets to thick before you add it, it’s hard to get an even color. Add the color and stir!

Homemade Playdough

Keep stirring, it is going to start thickening up.  This could take anywhere from 30 seconds-2 minutes depending on how hot your pan/stove is.

homemade playdough

Here is the right after adding the color, it is still thin

Now you can see it’s getting thicker, keep stirring, and keep scraping the bottom of the pot.

Now the clumps are coming in! Getting thicker...

Now the clumps are coming in! Getting thicker…

Keep stirring and scrapping the bottom

Homemade PlaydoughOnce you notice the dough isn’t wet anymore, take it out of the pot.

Homemade Playdough

Like I said, the whole process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. it goes really fast, and even faster when you make additional batches because the pot/stove is already warm.  

Put the dough on some wax paper and allow to cool (30 minutes or so).  Then take the ball in your hands and knead for a few seconds (like 30 seconds).  Store in a zip-lock bag or airtight container.  It shouldn’t dry out, but if you notice it getting a bit dry you can add a few drops of water and knead that into the dough.

The BEST Homemade Playdough - I have tried every recipe and this is by far the best! Lasts 3+ months, coloring does NOT stain hands, and it's super easy!

I just love all the colors! 

The BEST Homemade Playdough - I have tried every recipe and this is by far the best! Lasts 3+ months, coloring does NOT stain hands, and it's super easy!

The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe
  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2 tsp. cream of tarter
  4. 1/3 cup salt
  5. 1 TBS vegetable oil
  6. food coloring
  7. **The above will make you a large ball of playdough. I usually make it repeatedly for however many colors I want (so if you want 6 big balls, know that you will need 6 times the ingredients listed above, but you need to make them separately).
  1. 1. Mix together all the ingredients, except the food coloring, in a medium saucepan.
  2. 2. Cook over low/medium heat, stirring. Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring.
  3. 3. Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon.
  4. 4. Once the dough is not wet, remove and put onto wax paper or a plate to cool.
  5. 5. After cooling (30 minutes) knead playdough for a few seconds.
  6. PLAY!
Domestic Superhero http://domesticsuperhero.com/
Don’t forget to order some sweet playdough cutting toys to go along with your new playdough! I love this Alphabet Dough Cutter Kit

Things you might need for this recipe – Click to shop below:


Alphabet Dough Cutter Kit

Food Coloring

Wooden Spoon

Nonstick Pot

Cream of Tartar 

Wax paper

Zip Lock Storage Bags

You can also connect with me here:

Thanks for visiting!

– Allyson


  1. Love it Allyson! & great idea; adding the food coloring while still mixing the flour on the stove! I will give this one a try too!

  2. Brilliant! I’m passing this on to my Children for them to make for my Grandchildren xx

  3. Looks good! I will share it with my sister

  4. I loved play-doh when I was growing up! Your homemade version looks like the real thing! I shared it on my FB page today. Thanks for sharing it at the Rock N Share! Blessings, D

  5. stopped by from pin me- Pinned!!!

  6. Thank you for the tip what to do when it becomes too dry, I used to think it’s gone, but I’ll definitely try to add some water next time it gets dry!

    Found you via Diana Rambles Pinme party.

  7. Hi! Followed you over from My Turn (for us) blog hop. Can’t wait to try this. Pinned it and am now following you on FB.

  8. Cheryk Witkop says:

    Awesome going to make this for my grandkids……

  9. Domenica Juarez says:


  10. so can’t wait to try it for my grandson.

  11. Oh I LOVE it!!
    Never made playdough but I’m definitely going to try
    I think (no, I’m sure) my nephews and nieces would be thrilled

  12. I can’t wait to try this! I’ve never made playdough before, but this looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing (esp in time for my son’s spring break this week! This will be a life saver!)

    • I know! Spring break is so long if you have nothing to do! This is a great time passer…both making it, and playing with it!

  13. This is awesome! I have a bunch of nephews that would totally love this! Thanks for the idea and the recipe. I’m a new follower :)

  14. That looks so fun!

  15. Your play dough looks awesome. I feel like whenever I make some, it’s an epic fail! I need to try yours….if it worked for you, maybe it’ll work for me ! THanks for sharing at Pinworthy Projects.

  16. Diana Rambles says:

    So colorful! Thanks for sharing this at my Pin Me Linky Party. I hope you come visit & link again.

  17. Your playdough does look better than many I’ve seen. Please consider sharing it on Look What We Did, a month long link up hosted by HammockTracks. As a matter a fact, I think you have many posts that would link up well there.

    • Thanks for the sweet comment and stopping by! I checked out your site, but I didn’t see the link up…can you post the link? Thanks!

  18. I have not made play dough with my girls in a LONG time. I so need to do it again! Thanks for sharing on We Made That!

  19. Hi Lovely, I am your newest follower from Blog Hop. Love your Awesome blog! Followed you via Twitter & FB.
    Feel free to visit, follow and leave me comments @ http://www.revampspunkyrena.com


  20. the last homemade playdough recipe I tried was a flop! Can’t wait to try yours :)

  21. This play dough looks awesome! I need to make some for my daughter because she goes through it really fast and this will be tons cheaper. I’m pinning this!

  22. myturnforus says:

    Thanks for sharing at Freedom Fridays! I just shared this on Facebook, Google+ and pinned it as one of the awesome features of Freedom Fridays:)))


  23. Thank you so much for posting this and with the pictures. My son was just informed he has celiac and cannot play with regular play dough. I just took out the flour and put in a Gluten Free Flour as the rest of the ingredients are ok. His daycare has play dough all over so I am now preparing to make new stuff for the daycare. Wish me well!!

  24. I’m hosting a baby shower in a fortnight, and I need a LOT of playdough, does this recipe keep well? It looks amazing!

    • Allyson says:

      YES! What you need to do is put each ball into a zip lock bag, and keep it in the fridge. I still have the playdough I made from this very post nearly 3 months ago in the fridge, and it’s the same as it was the day I made it!

  25. Can you use coconut oil rather then cooking oil?

    • Allyson says:

      Hmm, I am not sure, but I would imagine it would probably work. Why the aversion to cooking oil for this? It’s way cheaper!

  26. What an awesome recipe! In case you didn’t see it earlier, I featured this on my blog today! I’m stopping by to pin it, and to let you know you can grab a Featured button if you don’t already have one! http://practicallyfunctional.net/2013/06/11-creative-ideas/

  27. Makaylaa says:

    I mixed the food coloring with the liquids in a bowl and it came out good it was easier for me that way.

  28. Will storing it in plastic containers be ok? Want to make & give as a gift but want it to look a lil more presentable rather then zip lock bag lol

    • Allyson says:

      I am not sure because I haven’t done that. I would give it a try, and maybe include on a tag that it should be refrigerated in the containers. Good luck!

    • Monica, we make something very very similar to the recipe and give it away in plastic containers all the time! It keeps just fine. Ours keeps for many months in plastic bags and not refrigerated. Some have even lasted over a year!

  29. I just did this with my kids today and they are complaining of the smell. :-( Is there anything that you would suggest that I could add to it to make it smell a little better? I tried a few drop of lemon juice, but they said it only helped for a minute or two. :-(

    • Allyson says:

      That’s a bummer! I have never had or heard of an issue with the smell. Have you let it cool and refrigerated it? That might take some of the smell out. Otherwise I would just try adding a drop or 2 of scented essential oil (like lavender, lemon, peppermint etc) to each ball. That might help!

      • Shelley says:

        I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. It gave the dough a great coconutty smell and it seems to be holding up just as well as my batch of dough that i made using the vegetable oil.

        • Thanks for letting us know, Shelley! I am going to make a note of this in the recipe! Thanks for coming by!

  30. Sandi Silk says:

    I just made this and it seems great so far – putting the food coloring in while cooking made my colors come out great! Last time I made play dough from scratch (different recipe), it got all funky and kind of oily/wet after a while – any issues with this dough becoming ‘wet’ over time and any way to correct it and ‘bring it back’?

    • Mine did not ever get ‘wet’ afterwards. I would make sure you let it cool completely and then put it into the ziplock bags and store it in the fridge. I didn’t have any issues! I hope you don’t either. Like I said, I have tried tons of recipes and this has been by far the best one!

  31. Wow! Thank yo so much for posting this! This is waaay better than the playdough I remember my mom making when I was a kid. And it is fantastic! It feels just like the store stuff, and is absolutely fantastic! And SO easy! We didn’t actually let it sit, just kneaded it until it cooled down and it was great! How long does it keep. (I will reread…maybe you say that. Don’t remember

    • Allyson says:

      I am so happy you made it and loved it! mine kept very well over 3 months, and then it got a little iffy, and then I finally saw some mold on it (eek!). I have made it time and time again though, and like I said, it’s the best! Make sure you store it in the fridge! I’d love if you would share a picture of it/your kids playing with it on my facebook page!

  32. Can I use gluten free flour? Thanks for the post

    • I really have no idea, Ryann! You can give it a try and let me know…I have only tried it with regular. Thanks for coming by!

  33. I made this today and it was awesome!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! We will be using this for years to come!

  34. [email protected] says:

    It is the best recipe. I love it, thank you so much for sharing the recipe

  35. Love the color of the example playdough! It gives happy thoughts :-)

  36. Tam Ritter says:

    I love this! I made this for my son and he absolutely loved it. I found your step-by-step pictures and hints extremely helpful. Very easy to make, and I like the fact that I know exactly what went into the play dough. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • I am so happy to hear that it turned out well for you, Tam! It really is the best recipe that I’ve tried as well, which is why I had to share it with everyone!! Thanks for stopping by!

  37. have you used this and PURPOSELY dried out the shapes you made?? Does it crack?? I have made sooooo many “clay” recipes…but they “crack” when drying :( this looks great…wondering if it dries well????

    • Angie, I have no idea because I have never tried that! I wonder if it would? I would suggest just making 1 batch and trying it out. Let me know how it goes!

  38. This is the exact recipe my mom always used when we were kids except we added the color as we kneaded it to cool it down. That was always my favorite part. I forgot about all the times we made play dough together. I will have to make a batch up with my kiddos soon. Also, the best thing we found to store it in was the store-bought icing containers. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Coming from a preschool teacher, this is the best play dough recipe I’ve found! I made it using rice flour to some of my kids allergies, and it still came out perfect! Thank You! :)

    • That’s such a wonderful testament to how great this recipe is! I am so happy it works for you with the rice flour so that your students can enjoy it! Thanks for coming back to let us know!

  40. baby oil works well instead of oil and it smells good for a long time. veggie oil smells bad after a while

    • That’s interesting! I have never tried baby oil, but I have never had an issue with vegetable oil smelling bad. I have had it stay good for months in the fridge, no smells!

  41. I suggest putting your drops of food coloring in the water and mixing it before it goes into the pot with the rest of the ingredients, I’ve done this as a class experiment with my preschoolers and it helped me avoid the stress from mixing and trying to get an even color. It made things much more simple for me!

    • Great tip! For me it works just fine adding it when I usually do, but this would also be easy as well! Thanks for sharing!

      • I make it for our preschoolers and I use the microwave for 5 minutes stirring every minute and scraping sides, I add food coloring and stir right before I put it in the microwave. When it cools to the touch but still warm knead it several times to make sure color is mixed well.

  42. this works great!i didnt add cream of tartar because we didnt have any.my lil one loves her play dough. :)

  43. Kathy Laird says:

    How am I just finding this now? Oh well, good timing! My granddaughter just started playing with play doh! She’s 2 1/2 and will love playing with it at grandma’s house with neon colors!

  44. Is the cream of tartar necessary? I don’t have any.

    • Allyson says:

      I have never made it without the Cream of Tartar, so I can’t tell you that it will come out great without it. I know people can sub baking powder in it’s place in other recipes though, so maybe try that. If you want to hit up the grocery store you will find it in the spice aisle for only a couple bucks! A little goes a long way, too!

  45. Has anyone tried this recipe but adding essential oil for sent?

  46. Pinned! Looks like an excellent recommendation from Pig & Dac!

  47. How long does this last?

  48. Does the food coloring color your hands as you play with it?

  49. Chelsea roberts says:

    Love this. Play doh still in good shape after a month of daily use.

  50. This is an incredible recipe! Just made some for my nephew for Christmas. Holiday colors and scents -green spruce, red peppermint, white vanilla, and brown chocolate :)

    I cut the recipe in half though and it made me a ball about the size of a baseball. I add the essential oils and color when the mixture is pre-lump stage. Also did this with coconut oil and it turned out wonderfully.

    Invest in some essential oils (for everyone asking how to make it smell better) and it adds a great touch to your playdoh.

    In regards to it drying out, I wonder if adding a few drops of water and a tiny bit more coconut oil to it….microwaving all of them for about 10 seconds and then kneading it would help? Not sure but I will have to suggest it to my sister!

    Thanks again for this incredible recipe! :)

  51. This is the same recipe my mother passed on to me, and I have found that it is best not to add any heat until all the ingredients are mixed together, and adding essential oils is a fabulous way to bring in another sensory play.

  52. I make this for my girls. I added vanilla extract. It gives it a great scent.

  53. Anyone know how to not get the white residue while playing with the playdoh? This recipe leaves more white residue than typical playdoh.


    • I am not sure what you mean, White residue? I haven’t experienced that with this or any playdough.

      • When you play with the playdoh, it leaves like tiny little crumb-like residue. Maybe I should add a couple drops of oil?

  54. This is very similar to the one we love. But I love to add the food coloring while I knead it. That way we usually get 2 colours per recipe. We also add essential oils and it smells wonderful!! And keeps forever.

  55. Thanks for the recipe. This is the first time I tried out something so fast and it turned out just amazing. my kid is thrilled. the finish is so smooth and the color amazing.

  56. I have been using this recipe for the majority of my life and as a child care provider have made it countless times. It is the best! Here are some ideas: Add a packet of Kool-Aid to both color and scent it. Glitter is a fun add-in also. In the fall, we add cinnamon, cloves, or all-spice to color and scent it. Adding a couple drops of glycerin will add some shine ands help to moisturize dry hands. We give as gifts and it always puts a smile on a little one’s face. It is perfect for Valentine’s in a classroom. In my experience, each batch makes enough for 4 kids to have a moderate amount, slightly less than a can of Play-do. Coconut oil works well in place of the vegetable oil an adds a nice scent but it leaves the playdough a little drier than adding vegetable oil.

  57. Snowy day here. Just made this for my 2 & 4 year old boys. AWESOME! I used the coconut oil & also added about a teaspoon of rose water. The smell is incredible & my hands are so soft after kneading it. Also love that I don’t have to freak out when my 2 year old eats a bit of it…

  58. Thanks for this great recipe! I can’t believe how easy it was to make, and how much cheaper it is than the real stuff. My little guy loves it I made 6 colours, but he is slowly mixing them all together :)
    I wanted to avoid mixing the ingredients together 6 times, and cooking/washing the pot 6 times for the different colours, so I made a double batch and added the colour once it had cooled enough for me to touch it. I just divided the big ball into 6, then added a few drops of food colouring to each ball and kneaded it in. You just have to be careful not to get the colour all over your hands, but it was super quick to make the colours.
    PS you have great colours! I have to look into buying that food colouring!

    • I did the exact same thing tonight (doubling the batch, dividing, and kneading in colors) and it turned out wonderfully! The texture is perfect. We had a nice time after dinner making play-dough creations as a family. :-)

  59. This looks so fun! I love homemade play dough’s; they are so fun to make with my son. =)

  60. Barbara Wilson says:

    When I think I’m printing a recipe for playdough I really don’t want 22 pages of peoples comments in addition to the recipe….what a waste of paper.

    • Oh no! If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, where the actual recipe is, there is a button on the top right of the rectangle that says ‘save recipe or PRINT’, when you click print, you will only print the recipe and not everything else on the page. Alternatively, if you select print from your browser, you could set it to print only the page the recipe is on. Usually there is a print preview and it will show how many pages you are printing. Hopefully that helps next time!

  61. Thanks for the recipe! I tweaked it to make a pumpkin spice playdough. Do you mind if I cite you on my blog?

  62. Thank you for this recipe. It is AWESOME. Love the texture and how easy it is to make. This is really the best play dough that I’ve made. A keeper for sure. :)

  63. Jennifer Klinkel says:

    Can you bake this and paint it with acrylic, then varnish it? It seems with the oil maybe it wouldn’t work for ornaments you want to varnish. ???

  64. Allyson says:

    Happy the recipe worked out for you!

  65. crystal says:

    I want to make this for my daughters birthday party. I plan on making smaller diff color balls and putting them in baby food jars ( decorate it as if it was gumballs inside) do they have to be fridged or will the glass jars keep it fresh and useable?

  66. Allyson says:

    Great idea for the birthday party! I am not sure about the glass jars, since I haven’t tried that, but I would give it a try. Can you put them in the jars, and then in the fridge until the party?

  67. Dylan's Mom says:

    Did it end up lasting long in glass jars? I am doing the same thing for the party favors. Im thinking of using glycerin drops instead of oil also.

  68. I haven’t tried it in glass jars, but I would say whatever you do, make sure you store it in the fridge. I don’t see why it wouldn’t last in the glass jars as long as they are sealed.


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