6 Homemade Playdough Recipes

by: Trish Kuffner, author of The Toddler's Busy Book
Everyone seems to have a favorite playdough recipe, and many old favorites have been included here. Some require cooking and some don't; some are meant to be eaten and some are not. Choose the recipe that best suits your needs and the ingredients you have on hand. Store playdough in a covered container or Ziploc bag. If it sweats a little, just add more flour. For sensory variety, use playdough warm or cool as well as at room temperature.
Colored play dough on white background
Colored Playdough


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Saucepan
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour.
  3. Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.
  4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

Little hand playing with play dough
Kool-Aid Playdough

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Saucepan
  • Food coloring, tempera powder, or Kool-Aid powder for color
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tablespoons alum


  1. Combine salt and water in saucepan and boil until salt dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and tint with food coloring, tempera powder, or Kool-Aid.
  3. Add oil, flour, and alum.
  4. Knead until smooth.
  5. This dough will last 2 months or longer.

Spoonful of salt on white background
Salt Playdough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour plus additional flour
  • Saucepan


  1. Mix salt, water, and flour in saucepan and cook over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat when mixture is thick and rubbery.
  3. As the mixture cools, knead in enough flour to make the dough workable.

Three colorful balls on clay on white background
Basic Uncooked Playdough

  • Bowl
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Tempera paint or food coloring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. In bowl, mix water, salt, oil, and enough tempera paint or food coloring to make a bright color.
  2. Gradually add flour and cornstarch until the mixture reaches the consistency of bread dough.
  3. Store covered.

Spoonful of oats on white background
Oatmeal Playdough

  • 1 part flour
  • 1 part water
  • 2 parts oatmeal
  • Bowl


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well and knead until smooth.
  2. This playdough is not intended to be eaten, but it will not hurt a child who decides to taste it.
  3. Store covered in refrigerator.
  4. Your child can make this playdough without help; however, it doesn't last as long as cooked playdough.

Making heart cookies out of dough
Peanut Butter Playdough

  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • Nonfat dry milk or milk plus flour
  • Cocoa or carob for chocolate flavor (optional)
  • Edible treats for decoration


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix, adding enough dry milk or milk plus flour to reach the consistency of bread dough.
  2. Add cocoa or carob, if desired.
  3. Shape, decorate with edible treats, and eat!