Home » Activities » The BEST Playdough Recipe

The BEST Playdough Recipe

No need to ever 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. With just a few ingredients your kids will love playing with this playdough.

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.

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 22 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

Review icon

Share a Comment!

We LOVE hearing from you! Submit your question or comment here.

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

87 comments on “The BEST Playdough Recipe”

    1. I haven’t tried it – I think maybe the consistency of coconut oil might not work as well as a vegetable oil.

  1. I’m a new Grandma and my Granddaughter is 18 months. I have been looking for a recipe. Thank you so much, I have long ago forgotten the one I used when my daughters were little, but it did call for oil.

  2. Tatiana Icaza

    5 stars
    it worked amazing i dont know how you did it but my family couldnt tell the difference between this playdoh or the original. it may take alot of salt but it sure was worth it.

    1. If concentrated you only need a few drops, if using regular food coloring add a lot more until the water looks like it’s dark so it will mix in with the playdough well.

  3. 5 stars
    This is great we made very colour possible what saviour can’t stand buying those little plastic pots

  4. I just made this recipe not too long ago and now it’s moldy. I don’t understand how? 

    1. That can happen if it’s humid in the house. I would suggest storing in the fridge next time. It should be kept in a cool, dry place.

  5. Great recipe! I had no issues. Thx for sharing. Great for cold days. For Valentines Day Im going to try adding some strawberry flavoring so it smells good! Would adding a half cup of cocoa powder to the recipe , for chocolate scented, be ok or should I increase the water? 

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      I haven’t tested that but I would probably add a tad more water and oil to keep it moist otherwise it may turn out too dry.

  6. Hi we used your recipe bit the dough is sticky and comes off on our hands and the surface. Can u give us any tips?

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      It either needs to be kneading a bit longer or just cooked a little longer if it’s too sticky. You can also add a little more flour in too.

  7. What can I use to keep its color? My grandsons like to make things and keep adding on to them, however it dries white. Is there a hardener?

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Make sure you wrap tightly in saran so that air does not get exposed to it and dry it out. Also I like to use concentrated food coloring (links above) which are much more vibrant than regular food coloring.

  8. Melissa Mojica

    5 stars
    This play dough recipe is by far the best! I had a bunch of empty 2 oz play-doh containers (my 2 year old goes through play-doh like hot cakes!) and I halved the recipe so I could make multiple colors. I ended up making four half batches and was able to fill up 16 of the containers! I also mixed the salt in with the liquids before adding my powders and allowed the salt to dissolve first due to other commenters saying theirs was grainy and it wasn’t grainy at all! I made pink, purple, green and blue with gel food coloring and the colors are so vibrant and now I want to make her all the colors! Just perfect! Thanks so much for sharing! 

  9. Can you tell me the size that 1 batch makes? I need to make for 20 kids and they would need their own individual container. Would 1 batch = 1 individual portion approximately? Also, can the recipe be doubled?

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      1 batch makes a large portion so you could definitely split this into 2 or 3 for smaller portions. I haven’t doubled the recipe to make it but I don’t see why you couldn’t.

  10. Hi,
    My turned out very grainy, almost like the salt is coming off? Any recommendations on how to fix ? Thank you so much!

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Usually that happens if the salt doesn’t mix enough with the water. Make sure when you’re cooking that you mix thoroughly and allow the salt some time to mix well with the water before taking off to knead. Hope that helps!

  11. 5 stars
    I have tried many playdough recipes but by far this is the best. Super soft playdough not sticky or grainy.

    1. Ramona Rednic

      Hi. When it dries it seems that the salt comes up to the surface. Is there a way to stop it from doing that?

      1. The Best Ideas for Kids

        I think that can happen if the salt is not fully mixed in when cooking. When you cook make sure to mix it around when the water is still wet so that the salt can dissolve in the water.

  12. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Easy to make. Just wondering best way to store it? Can you leave out in air right container or ziploc bags or does it need refrigeration? I’ve seen others that say it only last 2-3 days

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Wrap in saran wrap and then place in a ziploc bag. When I do this it will last for months. The key is to keep it in a cool, dry place and not to have any air exposed to it. Some keep in the fridge but I personally have never tried that!

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      If it’s too sticky you need to cook a little longer and make sure you knead for at least 5 minutes. If it’s still sticky you can add a little more flour in.

  13. This is super soft and it doesn’t dry up easily! I left a lil price out for hours and it’s still as soft as it was first made. My 1.5year old hasn’t learn to love playing it yet but I myself love squeezing it like one of those stress balls!

  14. Looking forward to making this! I was wondering if the food coloring will stain clothes or skin. Thanks! 

    1. The Best Ideas for Kids

      Once it’s fully kneaded in we don’t have any issue with the coloring coming out of the dough. Hope that helps!

  15. What an awesome recipe.
    I’ve always hated making playdough as you get stained hands mixing in the colour and the salt texture makes it feel course and grainy.
    I’ve always just rather bought despite the fact that its crazy expensive and my 3 year old mixes the colours the same day i buy them.
    We’re currently in lockdown in South Africa so i was desperate and looked for recipes on pinterest and yours was the first one to pop up so i used it. And I’m so glad i did.
    It’s a nice soft, smooth texture and so quick and easy to make. Everything was in my kitchen unlike some recipes that require alum powder.
    I added a teaspoon of clear peppermint essence to it while cooking and it smells as good as it feels.

Scroll to Top