Play Dough Recipe

I haven't purchased play dough for my classroom in years. To be honest, my recipe is better. It's smoother, silkier, and much cheaper! Plus, my own son is a notorious play-dough-licker, so I like to know that he isn't doing himself any harm when he's hiding under the table, sneaking tastes of the salty stuff.

But the best part? You don't have to cook it! It takes me less than 10 minutes to whip up a batch and it lasts forever!


We use play dough in class every single day. The kids roll it, cut it, shape it, and pretend with it.  Their hands get stronger while they knead. They build social skills while play make believe and share tools.  We use play dough to cement popsicle stick towers, create dinosaur fossils, and spell our names. This week we experimented with play dough color mixing. The possibilities are endless!



Notes: This recipe is designed for classroom play. Generally 4 or 5 of my students can play dough at a time and they will all have plenty to work with. If you are making dough for 1 or 2 kids, you can probably halve the recipe.

This recipe is very, very simple! I highly recommend dressing it up with whatever you have on hand! We use food coloring, essential oils, spices, and food extracts to add extra "umph" to our dough. Gel food coloring really kicks the color up a notch!

You'll need:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup cream of tartar (I pick mine up at the dollar tree!)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I've used avocado oil and olive oil in a pinch with no noticeable differences)
  • 4 cups white flour
  • Boiling water
  • Electric mixer with dough hook    OR    Bowl, Wooden Spoon & Muscles/Eager helpers
  • Vegetable glycerin (Found on Amazon and in beauty supply stores)



  1. Boil at least 3 cups of water.
  2. Add the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil to the electric mixer.
  3. As you mix the ingredients, begin to pour in the boiling water.
  4. Add boiling water in small increments until the dough is slightly sticky and all the dry ingredients are mixed in well.
  5. Add a few drops of vegetable glycerin.
  6. Knead the dough on high speed in an electric mixer, or knead dough thoroughly by hand.
  7. After the dough has cooled, add food coloring, essential oils, or extracts to create a sensory experience!
  8. When finished, store the dough in an airtight container. Once batch will last for weeks.

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