In kids & baby

Homemade Playdough

A toddler plays with homemade playdough while seated at a table.

One frigid day this winter, I was looking for yet another indoor activity to do with the kids. They love playing with playdough, so making homemade playdough seemed like fun. Heading straight to Pinterest, I searched for homemade playdough recipes. All the recipes I found had either too many steps or needed ingredients I didn’t have. After doing some research, I created my own recipe.

A toddler plays with homemade playdough while seated at a table.

This homemade playdough is the softest we’ve ever played with! It’s perfectly squishy and pliable, but not sticky. One batch made enough for 5 half cup portions of playdough, so we made ours in 5 different colors. My favorite part of making it was getting to customize it with our choice of colors. The colors came out so vivid and bright!  Speaking of customizing, you can also use essential oils to add scent to your dough! How fun would it be to have orange colored playdough that smells like oranges? Or purple dough that is lavender scented? So many options!

One thing that is different about this recipe from other playdough recipes I found is that it uses lemon juice rather than cream of tartar. I never have cream of tartar on hand unless I’m making my grandmother’s sugar cookie dough. I knew from making the sugar cookie dough that lemon juice can be substituted for cream of tartar so I decided to give it a try here, and it worked! All the other ingredients are typical pantry staples: flour, salt, oil. We always have food coloring around for making cakes or decorating cookies. The zip-top bags keep hands (and countertops) clean while the color gets mixed into the dough. And they’re perfect to store the playdough in after you’re done playing.

A toddler plays with homemade playdough while seated at a table.

Here’s what you’ll need:

The playdough will stay fresh for several months if kept in an airtight container.


A toddler plays with homemade playdough while seated at a table.

Homemade Playdough


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil coconut oil works fine, too!
  • food coloring
  • essential oils optional


  1. In a large pot, stir together the flour and salt.

  2. Add in water, lemon juice, and oil.

  3. Place the pot over medium heat and stir constantly, heating it until the dough begins to form a ball.

  4. Remove from heat and place dough onto wax paper to knead. Allow to cool slightly before kneading to prevent burns!

  5. Divide the dough evenly based on how many colors you want and place each ball in its own quart sized zip-top bag.

  6. Add a 4-5 drops of food coloring to each bag of dough. This is also the time to add a drop of essential oil to scent the playdough, if desired. Seal the bag and knead to mix coloring throughout the dough. Add more food coloring as needed to enhance the color.

  7. The dough is ready once the coloring is thoroughly mixed.

Recipe Notes

While this playdough is made from edible ingredients, it is not meant to be consumed.

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