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The BEST Cooked Recipe for Playdough

by Andrea Martelle
June 8, 2023
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This recipe for playdough is guaranteed to make a huge batch of homemade playdough perfect for hours of imaginative play!

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Updated July 2023

We LOVE homemade playdough! And did you know, it is SO easy to make? It’s cheap and kids enjoy playing with it in so many ways making it the perfect open-ended creative play material.

Whip up a batch and watch as your kids use it to make play food for a restaurant, create tiny worlds for their play dinosaurs, and stick in all kinds of poke-ins to make a monster – all in one sitting!

Over the years, our team has made A LOT of homemade playdough. And we think that the play clay recipe from MaryAnn Kohl’s First Art is the very best. It has the perfect playdough texture, the batch makes a large amount so there’s plenty for everyone to play with, and it lasts just about forever. What more could you want?!

playdough recipe
Photo by Andrea Martelle

We also love this no cook playdough recipe using boiling water. And for fun playdough ideas for kids, be sure to check out this epic list!

Recipe for Playdough

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cooked playdough recipe

Recipe for Playdough (Cooked)

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  • Author: The Artful Parent
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes


The best of the best, but a bit more work.


  • 5 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 8 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • 5 cups flour
  • Glitter and/or essential oils (optional)


1. Mix the water, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a large pot.

2. Cook the mixture on medium-low heat, stirring regularly until it is hot.

3. Add the oil and mix.

4. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing between each addition with a wooden or other strong spoon.

5. Continue to mix until the playdough pulls away from the pan and is no longer sticky. Pinch it between your fingers to test it (but be careful because it’s hot!).

6. Place the dough on the counter, let it cool a bit, and then knead.

Note :: This is the time to add glitter or essential oils, if desired. Simply place the additions in a well in the center of the playdough, then knead the dough thoroughly to mix.

7. Store the dough in an airtight bag or other container at room temperature. It will keep for months.

Kids can participate in making the dough and watching it come together in the pot. And once it has cooled, invite them to knead in glitter, essential oils and food coloring.

kneading the playdough
Photo by Andrea Martelle

That’s all there is to it!

Store playdough in an airtight container when kids finish playing with it. We keep ours near our collection of tiny animals, dinosaurs, buttons, googly eyes, and other poke-ins the kids have collected.

mixing glitter into playdough
Photo by Andrea Martelle

Need a Smaller Batch?

If you want to make a smaller batch of playdough to play with, try this adjustment:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • Food coloring, glitter, essential oils (optional)

Cook it over medium heat until the dough comes together.

If you try this recipe, or any of our homemade playdough recipes, be sure to tag us on Instagram @artfulparent!

playing with toys in playdough
Photo by Andrea Martelle

More Playdough Recipes & Ideas for Kids

Want even more Sensory Exploration fun?

Check out our Sensory Creativity Pack!

This 30-page printable eBook is stuffed full of sensory play fun! An ultimate guide to sensory play, complete with our favorite recipes and tips for success!

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The BEST Cooked Recipe for Playdough

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