How To Make Playdough

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

One of my personal parenting goals is to have as much fun with my kids as I can before they grow up. Playdough is a staple of that goal, because we can make it at home together — customizing the colors and scents — and playing with it for hours on end.

We get the brand-name stuff as gifts a few times a year, but as with most craft supplies, it quickly dries up or gets smooshed into one blob of color that no one wants to play with. That’s why I think every parent should have this straightforward, easy playdough recipe — so you can have playdough anytime without going to the store.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Why You’re Reading About Playdough at Kitchn

Like our slime recipe, from time to time we like to include DIY crafts that happen in the kitchen. Playdough is cooked on a stovetop and uses pantry staples like flour and salt. Boom! Worthy of a Kitchn story.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Key Steps to Making Playdough at Home

  • Boil everything: You’ll start with just the water and oil, but you’ll also want to cook the flour to boiling to make it last longer.
  • Cool before coloring or kneading the dough: After cooking, move the dough to a baking sheet and let it cool for 30 minutes. Use a spatula to divvy the dough into four to six sections and it will cool even faster.
  • Color then knead the playdough: Once cooled, add a few drops of food coloring to each section, then knead the dough until smooth.

Storing Your Homemade Playdough

This recipe, which is easy to double, makes about two cups of play dough, which is perfect for one kiddo. Make sure that the playdough is cool before storing in an airtight container. It will last about a week at room temperature, or up to two weeks in the fridge.

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Heat the water and salt over medium high heat: In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over medium heat. (Image credit: Maria Siriano)

How To Make Easy Playdough at Home

Makes 2 cups

What You’ll Need


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Food coloring


  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon


  1. Heat the water and salt over medium high heat: In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Add the flour, cream of tartar, and vegetable oil: Whisk the flour and cream of tartar into the boiling water; the mixture will thicken quickly. Switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon and stir in the oil.
  3. Mix until lump-free and beginning to thicken: Continue mixing and cooking the dough over medium-high heat, until the dough smells toasty and is quite thick, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the pot and cool for 30 minutes: Remove the cooked dough from the pot to a baking sheet and use the wooden spoon to pat it into a thinner layer. Cool for at least 30 minutes or until you can safely handle the dough.
  5. Knead the dough until smooth: Knead the dough until smooth and cohesive. Divide the dough and add 1 or 2 drops of food coloring to each and knead to incorporate.
(Image credit: Maria Siriano)