The World’s Best Homemade Play-Doh

I’ve had this recipe for homemade play-doh in my arsenal since middle school home ec and it is LITERALLY the best homemade play-doh in all the land.

the world's best homemade play doh

Read more about it after the recipe!

the world's best homemade play-doh

The World's Best Homemade Play-Doh

5 from 4 votes
This is literally the world's BEST homemade play-doh! Soft and silky smooth, everyone will love playing with it!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons table salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cooking oil canola, coconut, etc.; start with 3 and if the dough is a little dry, slowly work in a little more.
  • 3 cups hot water
  • Optional: Food coloring

Instructions

  • Add the flour, cream of tartar, salt, and 3 tablespoons cooking oil to a large pot. Whisk together. Add water and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a soft ball. Be sure not to overcook--it will be too dry. Remove from heat and then scrape together the mixture into a ball. Place in a Ziploc bag or cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool slightly.
  • Divide into portions and use food coloring to color as desired (if you want to make it all the same color, add the food coloring with the water.) For very vibrant colors, use more than you think you'll need. When done playing with the dough, store in airtight containers or Ziploc bags.
Author: kate jones
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!

So last week, which feels like 50 million years ago, my second grader informed me on Sunday night that he needed to bring homemade salt dough to school the next day. If I were a good mom and checked his folder every night like I’m supposed to, I would have seen this note, but alas, I am not a folder-checking mom and I figure if it’s important enough, he’ll tell me or the teacher will text me, wondering if I’m going to send the field trip money.

She had attached a recipe, but you see, I consider myself something of a salt dough snob and I knew just by looking at it that it would not suffice. So I made him a batch of this play-doh (begrudgingly…because it was 8:00 on the Sunday night where we celebrated Daylight Savings and the next day was the beginning of teacher appreciation week, and, like an idiot, I had signed up to bring biscuits and gravy to 2 of my 3 kids’ schools on the worst Monday morning of the year.)

When he came home from school, I eagerly asked, “Did you have the best play doh in the class?!” And then I wondered when I became the kind of person that engages in play doh quality competitions that no one else knows they’re competing in.

So. I give to you all The World’s Best Homemade Play-Doh recipe. I guarantee, not even your saltier-than-salt-dough teenagers will be able to resist playing with this stuff.

how to make the world’s best homemade play-doh

You’ll need 3 cups of white all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of table salt, 3-4 tablespoons of any cooking oil (start with 3 and add more if necessary), 3 cups HOT water, and food coloring.

the world's best homemade play doh ingredients

Add the flour, cream of tartar,

adding cream of tartar to the world's best homemade playdoh

salt,

adding salt to the world's best homemade playdoh

and 3 tablespoons cooking oil to a large pot.adding coconut oil the world's best homemade playdoh

I’m using coconut oil because I love my kids more than you do and because the coconut oil seeps through their pores and kills germs circulating in their bloodstreams. Just kidding. None of that is true. I’m using it because I have a jar of it from when it was cool to use coconut oil for everything and I need to use it before it goes bad and if the world goes down in flames, I’m not frying my last fried chicken in coconut oil because I used the last of my peanut oil in homemade play doh.

Anyway.

ingredients for the best homemade play doh

Whisk together. Add water

and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a soft ball. Be sure not to overcook–it will be too dry. Remove from heat and then scrape together the mixture into a ball. Place in a Ziploc bag or cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool slightly.world's best homemade play doh

Divide into portions

portions of play doh

and use food coloring to color as desired

the world's best homemade play doh

(if you want to make it all the same color, add the food coloring with the water.) If you add the food coloring now, it might get on your hands. It’s okay, no one’s gonna see you anyway, but you can add a few drops of bleach to some hand soap and it will come right off.

world's best homemade play doh

For very vibrant colors, use more than you think you’ll need.

the world's best homemade play doh

When done playing with the dough, store in airtight containers or Ziploc bags.

the world's best homemade play doh

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woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This is a PERFECT recipe, comes out fantastic every time. Much better than store bought, every batch I make lasts over 6 months!! I make it more often though bc my daughter tends to mix the colors.

  2. You do have a delightful sense of humor – keep on writing. Thanks for what I hope is a definitive recipe for Play-doh. The ones I researched varied a lot, like one calling for twice as much salt as another.

  3. If stored properly, how long will it last? My 3 year old is making some to sell and I wanted to know in case someone asks.

  4. Thanks for sharing this recipe. You’re a good writer. I can tell you’re also a good mother. Thanks for the laugh as you expressed how life goes sometimes.

  5. 5 stars
    I ran out of play doh in my pre-k classroom and just made a batch of this. It came out awesome on the first try! I didn’t have cream of tartar so I used cornstarch and it seems like it worked great. Thank you!

  6. What food coloring brand do you use? I’m interested in how your Violet turned out so well!

    1. It’s just liquid food coloring! Standard grocery store brands now come in some fun colors 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Good to know that works too! I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

  8. Love the commentary on this and I too have made play doh way to late the day before it was due for a class project. Unfortunately I’m out of cream of tartar, used it to make a double batch of this two weeks ago for my preschool class. But I enjoyed playing with it while I had the chance. And not to worry, I too wait for any and all text reminders before I do half the things I’m supposed to!

  9. Cannot believe you would wait for the teacher to text you about field trip money. Teachers have enough on their plate as it is. It is a parent’s job to keep up with the information being sent home so find a system that works for your family. What if she or he had to text every family. And yes I am a teacher.

    1. I don’t actually wait for them to personally text me, but it usually takes a system-wide reminder for me to remember. And yes, I am a mother and a human and sometimes I forget things.

    2. Hey Deb, let’s spread joy and positive energy. Remember, we’re all in this together right now. Here’s to all of us making it through these next several weeks (especially teachers, who are scrambling to try and figure out how to change their lesson plans to an online curriculum). ????

    3. 5 stars
      @deb – your comment is, ummmmmm, interesting? I think maybe you misunderstood the tone of the original post. ????

  10. I have 3 boys ages 17, 15, and 13… and you know what? We’re making this tomorrow! Because we can!

    Btw… I read aloud your commentary to my family. Very funny stuff! ????????????