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Sunday, July 18, 2021

36 Homemade Playdough Recipes - No Cook, Scented, Flavoured & Specialty Play Dough

I have a confession to make, for years I never made home made playdough because it just seemed like too much effort. I put it in the too hard basket and spent hundreds of dollars on Playdoh and other fancy store bought dough. Little did I know it's actually super easy to make homemade dough, and given how much my youngest loves it {and loves colour mixing it, ugh} it's way more cost effective to make it at home.

If you want to make your own playdough too, you've come to the right place because I've put together a mega list of homemade playdough recipes for you to try! Including cooked and no cook recipes, scented, flavoured and themed specialty recipes and best of all most of them only have 2-3 ingredients and take a few minutes to make!

child playing with playdough
Image by elkimmelito from Pixabay

Before you attempt to make playdough there's a few basics you'll need to have on hand in the pantry. For most recipes you'll need flour, oil, water, salt, food colouring and cream of tartar.  

Tip: to keep your flour fresh, freeze it for a day or 2 when you first buy it, then store it in the fridge - this will kill any weevil eggs that may be laying dormant.


The most basic homemade playdough recipe is:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Food colouring {as needed}

To make playdough, first mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine the water, food colouring and oil {if making cooked playdough you will do this in a saucepan on the stovetop, if you want to make no cook playdough use boiling water in a bowl}. Finally mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until it creates a dough consistency. 

*If you're making multiple colours of playdough don't add the food colouring until last, instead split the finished dough into smaller batches and knead the drops of food colouring into the dough.


The traditional way to make homemade playdough is on the stove top which helps to cook and combine the ingredients into a dough. Cooked playdough also generally lasts longer and will hold it's shape better when moulded.

cooked playdough recipe

This cooked playdough recipe from The Simple Everyday Mom can last for 3-6 months when stored correctly in an airtight container. It does not need to be stored in the fridge to remain fresh, however you can refrigerate if you want to.

the best ideas for kids cooked playdough recipe

This cooked playdough recipe from The Best Ideas for Kids is very similar, however has differing amounts of cream of tartar. They recommend wrapping the playdough in saran wrap {glad wrap} and then storing in an airtight container.

microwave playdough recipe

For an alternative to stove top cooking, try this microwave playdough recipe from The Soccer Mom Blog. This dough can be made in a few minutes, just remember to use a microwave safe bowl.


If you're time poor, or don't want the kids around a hot stove while cooking, then these no cook playdough recipes will be your best friend. If you make sure to only play with clean hands and store the playdough in an air tight container in the refrigerator when not in use, it should last a few weeks.


If you want something even easier then no cook playdough, try these 2 ingredient playdough recipes. Yes these recipes all need just 2 main ingredients {you can also add food colouring if you want}. There's also a few more 2 ingredient playdough recipes further on in the post.

2 ingredient playdough

This 2 ingredient playdough recipe from Artsy Fartsy Mama is made using baby lotion and cornstarch. You can also add a few drops of food colouring. This recipe will last for a few days stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag.

two ingredient playdough with conditioner

This 2 ingredient playdough recipe from Meraki Mother uses hair conditioner and cornstarch. This recipe will last about a week if stored in an airtight container.

2 ingredient shaving cream playdough

Finally this 2 ingredient playdough from Meraki Mother uses cornstarch and shaving cream. This recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 


Playdough is great as a calm down activity in itself, however it can have even more calming benefits if you add a scent to the dough for some added sensory input. Scents can help to release tension and quiet the mind, helping children to regulate their emotions, relax and in some case even promote sleep. Certain scents can also evoke cherished memories of special events.

Lavender Playdough

lavender scented playdough

This simple no cook lavender playdough recipe combines both lavender essential oil and dried lavender to create the ultimate calming scented playdough. Follow the recipe at Meraki Mother to make your own.

Rose Scented Playdough

rose scented playdough recipe
This rose scented playdough is another simple no cook recipe and uses rosewater flavouring essence {similar to this one}. It's perfect to use with heart shaped cookie cutters and loose parts. Follow the recipe at Danya Banya to make your own.

Chocolate Playdough

chocolate playdough recipe

This chocolate playdough is definitely on our list to make, how inviting does it look?! Use some cookie cutters or roll it into shapes and fill an empty chocolate tray to create some pretend play chocolate. Follow the recipe at The Craft at Home Family.

Candy Cane Playdough

candy cane playdough recipe

This candy cane playdough would be perfect for some Christmas sensory play. It's a really simple no cook playdough recipe and is scented with peppermint extract. Follow the recipe at Learn With Play at Home.

Gingerbread Playdough

gingerbread playdough recipe

I can almost smell this gingerbread playdough through my screen just by looking at it, yum! Add some loose parts and the kids will have loads of fun creating their own gingerbread men. Follow the recipe at The Imagination Tree.

Cookie Spiced Playdough

cookie spiced playdough recipe

This cookie spiced playdough smells amazing, it's neutral colour makes it great as a sensory base for beach small worlds, or use it with cookie cutters to make playdough cookies. Follow the recipe at Kidgredients to make your own batch.

Lemon Scented Playdough

lemon scented playdough recipe

This zesty lemon playdough is perfect for some summer sensory play. If you love lemonade or all things citrus then you'll love the smell of this playdough. Follow the recipe from Crafts On Sea to make your own.

Pumpkin Spiced Playdough

pumpkin spiced play dough recipe

This pumpkin playdough is so easy to make and smells amazing thanks to the pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin spiced playdough is perfect for fall or Halloween sensory play activities. Follow the instructions at Natural Beach Living to make your own batch.


Did you know you can use real food to flavour playdough? I don't recommend actually eating playdough, but some of these recipes may have the kids wanting to take a bite, or two. They're perfect for play kitchen, cafe and cake shop imaginary play.

Peeps Playdough

peeps marshmallow snowman playdough recipe

This peeps playdough recipe uses snowman peeps {usually available closer to Christmas}, however you can make peeps playdough with any of the peeps marshmallows. Follow the recipe at Little Bins for Little Hands to make your own. If you're in Australia, or another country where peeps aren't sold, try the marshmallow recipe further below.

Peanut Butter Playdough

peanut butter playdough recipe

This peanut butter playdough is so easy to make, you'll only need 2 ingredients! I'd recommend using only smooth versions of peanut butter as it'll make a better dough consistency. Follow the recipe at Team Cartwright to make your own. Obviously if there are any confirmed or suspected peanut allergies, do not use this recipe.

Marshmallow Playdough

marshmallow playdough recipe

This marshmallow playdough recipe is completely edible and without any salt it's quite sweet, so you may have to watch out for the kids taking a bite! The recipe is so simple you only need 3 pantry items to make it. Follow the recipe at Team Cartwright to make your own.

Honey Playdough

playdough made with honey

This honey playdough is the perfect sensory activity to celebrate Winnie the Pooh Day. Honey is obviously naturally sticky, however this honey playdough is still smooth and pliable like regular dough. Follow the instructions at Glue Sticks & Gumdrops to make your own.

Cake Mix Playdough

cake mix edible playdough recipe

This cake mix playdough is the best recipe to use to make playdough cupcakes. It's also completely edible because it's made from real cake mix, although I wouldn't recommend tasting too much because it's uncooked. Follow the recipe at Messy Little Monster to make your own.

Ice-Cream Playdough 

This ice-cream playdough recipe is completely edible and very sweet, making it the perfect dough for some ice-cream imaginary play. Follow the instructions at The Soccer Mum Blog to make your own.

Blueberry Playdough

blueberry flavoured playdough

If your kids love blueberries then they'll love this blueberry dough from The Craft Train. The recipe uses real blueberries and creates a lovely purple colour {add even more berries for a more vibrant colour}. The perfect playdough to make blueberry pies and other pretend play food.

Kool-Aid Playdough

DIY Kool-Aid playdough recipe

If you want to make all the flavours of playdough, try making some homemade Kool-Aid playdough. The Kool-Aid sachets will colour, flavour and scent the playdough all in one go. Follow the recipe from The Best Ideas for Kids to make your own Kool-Aid playdough.

Jello Playdough

jello playdough recipe

Jell-O playdough is very similar to Kool-Aid playdough because the jell-o crystals will both colour, flavour and slightly scent the playdough in one go. Follow the recipe at ABCs of Literacy to make your own batch. If you're in Australia any jelly crystals will work the same.


These playdough recipes are the perfect sensory base for themed sensory bins and small world play. The magic playdough is also great for a magic show.

Sand Play Dough

Sand dough no cook recipe

Create some amazing sand dough with sand plus a few simple ingredients and Picklebums easy no cook recipe. Sand dough has the squishy feel of playdough plus the gritty texture of sand and makes the perfect sensory base for some fun beach themed play. It's also a fun DIY alternative to kinetic sand.

Magic Playdough

how to make magic playdough

My friend Casey from Little Lifelong Learners made magic playdough as gifts for her prep students on the first day of school. It's a great way to make the kids feel special {it would also make a good end of year gift} and the best part is it's made with a no cook playdough recipe! The playdough appears plain and as kids roll and squish it the magic colour will be revealed. Get the recipe and free printable magic play dough cards here.

Pirate Treasure Playdough

pirate treasure homemade playdough recipe

If the kids want to dig for some treasure then make a batch of this pirate treasure playdough. Add in some gold pirate coins and gems and even some fake gold nuggets then hide the playdough in a treasure chest.

Space Playdough

space homemade playdough

For some out of this world playdough fun, make this space themed playdough. Use the no cook space playdough recipe from Picklebums and decorate the dough with different glitter colours to create the perfect galaxy.

Dirt Playdough

dirt playdough made from coffee

If you're putting together some garden or construction themed sensory play then this dirt playdough would make the perfect sensory base. How does it look so much like real dirt? The secret is coffee grounds! Follow the instructions at Natural Beach Living to make your own.


What's specialty playdough, isn't all playdough basically the same? Nope. Did you know you can actually make playdough from things like crayons and foam?

Crayon Playdough

crayon playdough recipe

Yes you read that right, you can actually make playdough out of crayons! This recipe requires cooking as the crayons need to melt in order to incorporate into the dough mixture properly, however it's still really easy to make. Follow the instructions at abc's of Literacy to turn your crayons into vibrant playdough in just a few minutes.

Foam Dough

foam playdough recipe

Foam playdough is another super easy 2 ingredient playdough recipe, using shaving cream and cornstarch. Foam dough has a soft silky texture and is mouldable like regular playdough. Follow the instructions at Natural Beach Living to make your own.

Bouncing Playdough

bouncing playdough recipe - make playdough that actually bounces

Did you know you can make playdough that actually bounces like a bouncy ball? This bouncy playdough recipe is actually a science experiment in itself and is somewhat of an amalgamation of slime and playdough recipes, resulting in a bouncy dough. Follow the instructions at Darcy and Brian to make your own.

Cloud Dough

This cloud dough recipe combines cornstarch, hair conditioner and liquid watercolours to create a light, airy, soft dough. As you can see in the video, cloud dough is perfect for ice-cream pretend play due to it's light, fluffy texture. Follow the instructions at Active Littles to make your own.


Once you've made the perfect batch of homemade playdough, add some dough tools to make the playdough even more fun to play with. There's heaps of playdough tools available including cutters, patterned rolling pins, scissors, moulds and more. You can even make your own simple playdough stamps by following my DIY playdough stamp instructions there's also lots of handmade playdough stamps available on Etsy.

More than 30 different homemade playdough recipes.


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