Celebrate sensory play with a recipe for Easy Homemade Playdough that requires just a few simple ingredients and no cooking.

A top-down view of a rainbow of homemade playdough colors with toys

I’m not sure who enjoys making playdough more, me or my boys, and I can’t think of a better activity for little ones of all ages that incorporates math, motor skills and sensory play all in one!

A glass bowl containing flour and salt with oil being streamed in

Easy Homemade Playdough is the rainy day (or any day!) activity all parents need. It’s made with a few simple ingredients, but the real trick to extra-smooth playdough that lasts for up to 3 months (if you don’t have three boys and a lot of carpet!) comes down to technique. Read on for how to play with dough like a pro!

How to Make Homemade Playdough (No Cook)

That’s right! No cooking is needed to make silky-smooth playdough. My #1 tip for ensuring your no-cook playdough is soft, pliable and doesn’t crumble (even after weeks of use) comes down to the temperature of the water you use to mix the playdough. It must be boiling. I repeat: boiling!

A glass bowl with playdough and a teal spatula

The heat helps dissolve the salt and cream of tartar (more on this below!). The result is a very smooth texture that mimics the real-deal Play-Doh.

A ball of playdough divided into six wedges

Aside from being a fun after-school or rainy day activity, the real beauty of homemade playdough is that it can be customized to be any color imaginable. I am a big fan of gel-based food coloring, rather than water-based, as you’ll get a much more vibrant color.

Food coloring being squeezed into a glass bowl with playdough

What Does Cream of Tartar Do In Homemade Playdough?

The cream of tartar makes the playdough incredibly soft and slightly elastic. It’s not essential to use it in this recipe, however it will impact the overall texture and consistency.

In addition to the salt, the cream of tartar also helps preserve the playdough and will lengthen how long it’ll remain pliable.

What To Do If Your Homemade Playdough Is Too Sticky

Making playdough is very similar to making Homemade Tortillas. The consistency of the dough can be impacted by your environment, particularly humidity.

If your playdough is too sticky during the mixing process, simply add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until it becomes less sticky. It’s important to note that as the playdough sits and cools after mixing, it’ll absorb any remaining water, so when in doubt, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before adding more flour.

Six glass bowls containing rainbow colors of playdough

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Easy Homemade Playdough (No Cook)

Celebrate sensory play with a recipe for Easy Homemade Playdough that requires just a few simple ingredients and no cooking.
5 from 1 vote
A top-down view of a rainbow of homemade playdough colors with toys
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cream of tartar.
  • Add the vegetable oil and boiling water, and using a spatula, mix until combined. Once it’s cool enough to handle, use your hands to knead the playdough in the bowl until it becomes smooth, about 2 minutes. (It may appear wet at first but will dry as you knead and the water gets fully absorbed.)
  • Turn the playdough onto your work surface and knead it until it is smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Use the homemade playdough as is, or if desired, color with food coloring of your choice. (If using food coloring, it’s best to mix the playdough in a bowl while wearing disposable gloves to avoid coloring your hands.)

Kelly's Note:

  • Homemade playdough will last for up to 2 months if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Nutrition

Calories: 561kcal, Carbohydrates: 86g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 28301mg, Potassium: 1744mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 5mg

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