Making homemade playdough; Courtesy of Family Vacation Critic
Little Kids: 3-6 • Big Kids: 7-9 • Tweens: 10-12

The Best Homemade Playdough Recipes

See recent posts by Courtney Elko

Why buy Play-Doh when you can easily make your own at home? Some playdough recipes are easier or faster to make than others, while other recipes take a bit longer, but leave you with a better finished product. We sifted through several homemade playdough recipes and tested them out in our own kitchens. These are the three playdough recipes we recommend most. 

Homemade playdough with flour; Courtesy of Family Vacation Critic

Easiest Homemade Playdough Recipe: Flour and Salt Playdough

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • ½ Cup Salt
  • ½ Cup Water
  • Optional – Food Coloring or 1 Package Kool-Aid (any flavor)

Instructions: Mix ingredients in a bowl. Once they turn to dough, color with a few droplets of food coloring or sprinkle in Kool-Aid powder for color.

Our Takeaway: This recipe is the easiest to make, especially because most of the ingredients are likely already in your cabinet. It requires no use of the stove, and is easy for toddler hands to mix in the ingredients. However, this finished product feels less like playdough and more like pizza dough. It’s still fun to play with, but is a bit stickier than Play-Doh.

Homemade playdough with cream of tartar; Courtesy of Family Vacation Critic

Best Overall Homemade Playdough Recipe: Cream of Tartar Playdough

Ingredients

Instructions: Stir together flour, salt, and cream of tartar. Then add water and oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until dough is thickened and begins to form into balls. Remove from heat and place inside plastic bag or on wax paper. Once cool, knead in food coloring or Kool-Aid powder if desired.

Our Takeaway: The cream of tartar definitely makes this one feel more like actual Play-Doh. The consistency is more rubber-like and less like pizza dough. Overall, this is our favorite homemade playdough recipe. It takes a little more effort to make it on the stovetop, but the finished product is the most like Play-Doh and easiest to play with, which is the end goal!

Homemade playdough with baking soda; Courtesy of Family Vacation Critic

Most Challenging Homemade Playdough Recipe: Baking Soda Playdough

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Baking Soda
  • 1 ½ Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Cornstarch
  • Optional – Food Coloring or 1 Package Kool-Aid (any flavor)

Instructions: Mix the ingredients. Then boil over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and place inside plastic bag or on wax paper. Once cool, knead in food coloring or Kool-Aid powder if desired.

Our Takeaway: This recipe is the most time-consuming to make. The dough needs to heat to a boil before it thickens up. The finished product is somewhat of a mix of the above two recipes. It’s more of a playdough consistency over a dough consistency, but it isn’t as rubbery and turns out more wet than the recipe that calls for cream of tartar. It also isn’t as smooth and is a bit lumpy.

Homemade Playdough Tips

Food coloring can stain your hands so place the dough in a sealable plastic bag in order to mix and knead in the coloring. However, sprinkling Kool-Aid powder into the dough instead of food coloring worked just as well to color the playdough.

Seal the playdough in a plastic bag to use again. None of the recipes have a longevity, but by sealing the dough, you may get another day or two out of the activity.

Remember to always be stirring the mixture when it’s on the stovetop to avoid burning it.

Make sure to grab some cookie cutters and rolling pins for added homemade playdough fun!

More At-Home Fun:

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