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The BEST Playdough Recipe

No need to buy store-bought play doh after you try our homemade playdough recipe! This easy playdough recipe takes 5 minutes to prep and 5 minutes to make. And the playdough will last for months! It’s super soft, stretchy and non-toxic for kids.

RELATED: Kool-Aid Playdough

The BEST Playdough Recipe

We have tried a few recipes before that require you to mix the coloring in after the playdough is made. This was SO messy! We got food coloring all over our hands and surfaces doing it this way. You’ll love this method because there’s no need for bags to mix the coloring with and no mess too!

It’s easy to make a batch of all different colors for the kids to play with. Just store the finished playdough in an air-tight container. It will help to also wrap it in some saran wrap to keep the air from touching the playdough which can make it go hard.

How to Make Playdough

How to Make Playdough

There are many ways to make playdough – using a stove-top or using a kettle with boiling water. Personally, we prefer the stove-top method. We find it’s easier to mix the ingredients in the pot. There are also no-cook playdough options but we also prefer this cooked playdough recipe. We find this recipe to last the longest and be the softest. This recipe only takes a few minutes to make and it will last for months!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Food Coloring
  • Salt

Skip down to the recipe card below to see the full recipe instructions and video.

Do you need cream of tartar? 

Yes, if you want a soft playdough and want it to last longer, you need to add a little bit of cream of tartar. We tested different amounts and found 2 teaspoons to be the perfect amount to make the playdough super soft. If you skip the cream of tartar your dough may turn out a bit more dry and crumbly. It also helps your playdough last longer. If you want a dough recipe without cream of tartar, see our cloud dough recipe.

How do you get vibrant playdough colors?

We like to use this liquid food coloring. It makes the playdough much more vibrant than regular food coloring. If you’re using regular food coloring, you’ll need to add in a lot of drops. And don’t mix after you make the playdough – add it into the water instead which is so much easier and less messy!

Best Playdough Recipe

How to Keep Playdough Soft

First wrap your playdough in saran wrap then store in an air-tight container. You’ll notice that playdough will go hard if left out – so the less air that can get to the playdough when storing, the longer it will last!

How Do I Make Playdough Soft Again?

If your playdough dries out and turns out to be a little dry after making it, try adding in a little more oil first. You can knead the oil in with your hands. You can also knead in a little bit of water.

When you’re done making your playdough, get out some cookie cutters and have fun making shapes! We also like using rolling pins and stamps to play with our playdough.

Easy Playdough Recipe

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Playdough Recipe Image
5 from 31 votes

Playdough Recipe

The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes



  • In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar) and mix well.
    Dry Ingredients Playdough
  • Mix food coloring with your water first. Then add the vegetable oil and water with food coloring to a large pot. Mix together.
  • Add the dry ingredients to your pot and mix well.
    Mix Dry Ingredients with Wet for Playdough
  • Cook over low to medium heat until the dough starts to form and becomes dry.
  • Once it starts to form a ball together and looks fully cooked, take off the heat. Let the dough cool first before touching.
  • Once cool, knead the dough for 5 minutes to make the dough soft.



If your dough is not soft, continue kneading for another 5 minutes. If you find it is still too dry add a little bit more oil and knead in. 

More Playdough Recipes

Kool-Aid Playdough

Kool-Aid Playdough Recipe

Cloud Dough

Cloud Dough

Sand Playdough

Sand Playdough

Lemon Playdough

Lemon Playdough

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Recipe Rating

93 comments on “The BEST Playdough Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    Hi, thanks for sharing. Did this with my 3yo girl. She enjoyed so much making the play dough and it turns outs soooo nice. She played with her baby sis 1yo. Both had fun time playing. N it’s super easy n fast to make. Never thought would be this easy. Thanks alot!!

  2. I find when I make the play doh with salt after playing for a while hands are filled with salt? Is there something I am doing wrong? 

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Sounds like it maybe needed to be either cooked a little longer or kneaded a bit more. Salt shouldn’t come off on the hands. Hope that helps!

  3. Can you define “looks fully cooked”? I have no idea what that means since I haven’t made this before.  
    It’s formed into a ball, but still seems very soft.

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Soft is okay but if it’s still sticky then it probably needs to be cooked just a little longer. Hope that helps!

  4. 5 stars
    So nice and soft! The kids are so happy to have made this on a chilly day inside. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Yes the recipe is just for one color so you need to repeat it to make different colors.

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      No sorry, baking powder is not recommended. You can try skipping the cream of tartar but it may not be as soft or last as long.

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Make sure to keep cooking until it looks like it’s forming a nice ball, if you under cook it will be a little sticky. You can also add a little more flour to it.

  5. Sierra Peters

    5 stars
    This recipe is awesome!
    I just tried it for the first time ever as a babysitting activity. It was so much fun, and really easy to make. Thanks so much!

  6. 5 stars
    Best playdough recipe EVER! It’s so soft and fluffy, doesn’t leave oily residue every where or fall into tiny little pieces that end up all over the place. Love love love! Added a few drops of lavender essential oil too, smells divine! 

  7. Brittany M Young

    I really enjoyed this it was fast and easy to make and my daughter thought it was pretty cool. I’m always looking for new things to do with her so this was an awesome surprise for her. Thank you

  8. 5 stars
    we have cabin fever so just made this we had to grind the salt so the final product was a little chunky. we also substituted baking soda and vinegar for cream of tartar – which was fun because those two ingredients fizzled. thanks for the recipe. your site is super fun!

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Yes to make pure white you can get white liquid food coloring to add to it.

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      You can leave it out – it may not last as long or be as smooth but you can make it without.

  9. 5 stars
    This is an awesome recipe! My mom is allergic to the scent of regular Playdo so this alternative is much better and just ad good as the store bought stuff. My nephew loved measuring and mixing and kneading. A great hour we spent preparing and playing!

  10. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe for years in my Daycare, now making it for a preschool class I work in, I keep each color in a zip lock and keep it all in a sealed  container in fridge. It last forever

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Yes keep stirring until it forms a ball and looks like it is fully cooked.

  11. 5 stars
    I started using this recipe almost 25 years ago. It is absolutely the best! And it does last for months and months.

    1. Do you know what will happen if I use self raising flour? Plain is hard to come by at the moment 🙁

      1. The Best Ideas for Kids

        We haven’t tried that but you can certainly try and see how it turns out!

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Hi Donna – store your playdough in an air tight container. We like to wrap in saran wrap then place in a container. It should last at least a month if not longer! 🙂

  12. I followed the steps listed but when my child  played with it, it got really sticky , why? Stuck to their hands.  What did I do wrong?

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      It could be that you needed a little more flour. If it’s too sticky you can add a little more flour to the mixture. Otherwise you do need to knead it for quite some time before playing with it. Kneading it will help mix everything together and make it not sticky.

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      That should be fine – it may be a little more of a gritty texture since whole wheat flour has more texture to it.

  13. I don’t usually use food coloring in my dough, but adding the color to the water instead of trying to mix it in later is genius! I also like to add a few drops of high quality essential oil during the kneading process to create sensory dough. Lavender once kept a class of 4 year olds calm during the day!

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