This homemade playdough is wonderful because it isn’t as sticky and residual as other homemade recipes, which makes the clean-up even easier!

With four boys, ages six and under, I consider myself expert in a few (just a few) things. Like, the art of making bathrooms smell unboyish (sorry to have to bring that subject up here, in such polite company), making four PB&J sandwiches in 30 seconds flat, breaking up impromptu wrestling matches, and making playdough.

Pink and green playdough on wooden counter.

We play with a lot of playdough around these parts, and although I initially questioned the appropriateness of posting this non-food recipe here on this food blog, I figured I couldn’t keep my secret for sanity hidden any longer.

Playdough keeps my kids happy and busy on many occasions while I fix dinner. And that fact alone makes me heart playdough in a big way.

This playdough recipe, made for the last 20 years by my Aunt Marilyn and the last six years by me, is wonderful in the fact that it isn’t as sticky and residual as other homemade playdough recipes I’ve made, which makes the clean-up even easier.

And do we even need to talk about how homemade playdough is seriously pennies cheaper than store-bought? Suffice it to say, not only will making this playdough save you money, but it just might win you mother-father -friend-sister-brother-aunt-uncle-babysitter-of-the-year-award.


Homemade Playdough

4.83 stars (17 ratings)


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, like canola or vegetable
  • 4-6 drops food coloring


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the dry ingredients. In a 2-cup or larger liquid measuring cup, combine the water, oil, and food coloring. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball (it will be shaggy and messy looking). This should only take a few minutes.
  • On a lightly greased countertop, turn out the playdough and knead until smooth. Store the playdough in a tightly covered container or ziploc bag. Tightly covered, the playdough will keep for several months.

Recipe Source: from Aunt Marilyn

step-by-step photos of making homemade playdough