a couple years ago when i was living in toronto with no car and nobody around that i knew, my darling sister-in-law would make the 1 hour drive to our place so our boys could play together. at one of these play dates she suggested we try making no-cook playdough. up until that point i never knew there was such a thing as “no-cook” playdough! my boys and i have made playdough many times since then and have tweaked it to where we have something that we love to play with and we personally think is the BEST playdough recipe ever!
i grew up playing with the cooked version of playdough and it is wonderful and has its own benefits, but let me tell you why we think our no-cook version is the best:
1. you don’t need to dirty any pots or pans – the only pan you use is for water and food coloring…when you’re ready to start your next batch, just rinse it out!
2. it only takes a couple minutes to make.
3. it is so super soft! it is mold-able, flexible, squishable…you’ll love the texture you get with this recipe.
4. is uses only a few really simple ingredients from your pantry. you might already have all that you need to make this playdough right now.
5. this recipe makes a small-ish batch so you can make as many or as few batches/colors as you like without making a ridiculous amount of dough.
6. we spend hours playing with this stuff. we make snakes, build buildings, cut out shapes with cookie cutters, spell letters, etc. we sure love it at our house!
to make this super easy playdough recipe, all you need to do is combine the flour, cream of tartar (look in the spices section at your grocery store…i’ve always used the cheaper store brand, and it’s worked out great for me), vegetable oil, and salt into a bowl. set aside. on the stove top or in your microwave, boil the water. once it’s boiling, take it off the heat and add food coloring. stir it into the hot water until it’s all dissolved. add the water to your flour mixture and stir until everything is well incorporated. it will look pretty moist, but do not fear. set it aside and let it cool off for a minute or so (but don’t let it cool off completely). in the meantime, sprinkle 1/4-1/2 cup flour on a clean counter top. scrape out the dough and knead it on the floured surface, mixing in enough of the flour on your counter top to get a smooth dough. if needed, add more flour until you get the consistency you like. let it cool off the rest of the way, and you’re ready to play! when not using, store in a ziplock bag or other airtight container.
here are the amounts you’ll need:
1 cup all-purpose flour, + more for kneading
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
food coloring – liquid or concentrated gel
i like to use concentrated gel for getting really fabulous colors in our playdough. if you decide to use it instead of the usual liquid food coloring, remember that you don’t need to use a huge amount of it, and also remember to stir it into the hot water to help it dissolve before adding it into the rest of the ingredients.
we hope you love playing with this homemade playdough as much as we do!
please note that our playdough usually lasts us several weeks until we need to throw it away – sooner, though, if the weather is hot & a little bit humid (but it does last a little bit longer in the cold winter months!) – because it’s in an airtight container (to keep it from drying out). it’s such a soft dough, and it will eventually start to get a little yucky if it’s kept in an environment where the moisture is allowed to sit for too long. though, we have discovered that if you pull it out and play with it every couple of days it’ll last longer because it gets the chance to be out of its container and “air out.” also, if you notice that it starts to get a little too soft and/or sticky when you pull it out to play, feel free to add a bit more flour to get just the right consistency. have fun playing!