The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe Ever

by | Apr 18, 2020

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There’s a lot of homemade playdough recipes out there and each one has its own benefits. Some are no cook which are great if you want to make something with little kids. But for those times where you want the BEST homemade playdough recipe, choose this one. I’ve been using it for years.

Honestly we go through playdough like crazy in our house. I find it doesn’t keep forever, especially when you have 5 kids sharing whatever you get. Plus they have a tendency to mix up the colours, lose little bits, or leave it out. Sigh.

Why This is The BEST Homemade Playdough Recipe

This homemade playdough comes out great. The secret is cooking it on the stove. It helps everything blend smoothly so you get a more ‘store bought’ texture. It’s also not super sticky and easy to work with, which is nice.

What I love about it is one batch gives me enough playdough to keep everyone happy!

Safe Ingredients

What I love about making homemade playdough is that you can control exactly what’s going into it. Because it’s cooked, it’s safe for kids to eat (even if it’s not very tasty.) Brand name Play-Doh is also safe, but you still can’t feel as confident about it as something you make in your own kitchen.

Easy to Make

My 10 year old did most of the work to make this homemade playdough recipe. Although little kids should stay clear of the stove, hot dough, and kneading in food colouring older kids can definitely help with this one. In fact, he had more fun helping making the playdough than actually playing with it!

Turn it Into a Gluten Free Homemade Playdough Recipe

One of the biggest things I hear from people who’s children have Celiac disease is that they can’t buy regular Play-Doh brand because it contains gluten. Gluten free store bought brands are tough to find. Good thing it’s easy to make your own homemade gluten free playdough!

Just use the same recipe below but substitute the flour with your favourite gluten free flour brand. It’s that easy!

Homemade Playdough Ingredients

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 of a cup of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Food colouring (optional)

How to Make the Best Homemade Playdough Ever!

Step 1 – Add the Dry Ingredients

The dry ingredients from this homemade playdough recipe inside a large pot

In a large pot mix together your dry ingredients (so the flour, salt, and cream of tartar.)

Step 2 – Mix in Water and Oil

Using a whisk to mix homemade playdough ingredients

Next, add in the water and oil. Then combine. I used a whisk at first (better for the dry ingredients) then switched to a silicone spatula to do the mixing with.

You can also add food colouring here if you’re only using one colour.

Step 3 – Cook on Medium Heat

Mixing the ingredients from this homemade playdough recipe on the stove inside a large pot

Place your pot on a burner set to medium heat. You’ll need to stir the mixture constantly throughout this so it doesn’t burn or stick to badly.

A silicone spatula that can scrape a little bit off the bottom works great. Keep cooking until the dough clumps into a ball and you can’t really stir it anymore.

Step 4 – Let it Cool, Then Knead

Hands wrapped around a ball of playdough that's being kneaded

Let it cool and place it on a floured board, a piece of parchment paper, or inside a large bag.

Knead the dough until it becomes less sticky and smoother. It should feel similar to store bought Play-Doh.

Step 5 (Optional) – Add Food Colouring

Balls of homemade playdough with food colouring inside

If you want to do multiple colours, this is where you’d do it. Divide the dough into 4 or 5 balls (we did 5). Then poke a hole in the center to drop the food colouring into. 5-10 drops should do the trick depending on the desired colour or size of the ball.

Personally, I find gel food colouring to give a better colour but we didn’t have any at home when we made our homemade playdough.

Step 6 (Optional) – Knead in the Food Colouring

Kid at the table helping to make playdough

Knead in the colours. This can be tricky. Some people like to put them into plastic bags and knead like that, but I find it too much of a hassle. Instead I laid out parchment paper and kneaded them on that so my table didn’t get food colouring.

It came off my hands pretty easily.

How to Store Homemade Playdough

You need to keep it in an airtight container or zip top bag or else it will dry out. Too high of humidity, though, can change the texture and even cause the playdough to mould up.

If you can’t keep it in a cool, dry place the fridge is a great storage solution for homemade playdough.

Girl plays with homemde playdough in the kitchen

Homemade Playdough Recipe

The BEST homemade playdough recipe ever
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes



  1. Add dry ingredients to a large pot and combine.
  2. Add water and oil to the pot and combine.
  3. If you're only doing one colour add food colouring here.
  4. Cook on medium heat while stirring constantly until a ball forms.
  5. Allow to cool and then knead until smooth.
  6. If you want multiple colours, separate until balls and add food colouring before kneading.

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Everett Franchuk

Everett Franchuk

Everett loves to plan parties and events, decorate, and make crafts/DIY projects. As a parent of 5 in his early 30s, he decided to start The Best Nest to offer practical tips and ideas.

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