Easy Homemade Play Dough Recipe

Play dough… the squishy, colorful staple of every household with school-aged children. During the pandemic and lockdowns, we were in need of a new craft or activity for the kids. Thankfully, my mother-in-law passed along this seriously simple, long-lasting play dough recipe. This easy recipe makes for the best play dough (seriously, the BEST) and almost all the ingredients are found in your pantry. There’s also so much room for creativity and experimentation when making homemade play dough – you can personalize your batch with color, fragrance, and glitter. If you’re looking for an easy, low-waste and plastic-free craft for the family, this is it!


Large cooking pan and mixing spoon


Storage container (mason jar, glass container, Tupperware, etc)


2 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 cups water

2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

4 tsp cream of tartar

Optional Ingredients:

20 drops of essential oil

Food coloring or natural coloring (see “Tips” section)



1. Mix all ingredients in a large cooking pot over low heat

2. Stir frequently until dough forms and starts to pull away from the sides of the pot

3. Remove the dough from the pot and let cool

4. Enjoy!


Store in an airtight container, away from direct heat or light. I’ve found mason jars to be the best option for play dough storage (some batches have lasted up to six months!)


Use liquid or gel food coloring for a variety of play dough colors. If you’d like to be a little more creative, I highly recommend using natural coloring. Here are some of my favorite natural ingredients for beautiful, vibrant coloring:

     – Blue butterfly pea powder (royal blue)

     – Beet root powder (fuschia)

     – Pitaya (dragon fruit) powder (vibrant, bright pink)

     – Elderberry powder (deep purple)

For that smell-good batch of dough, add 20 drops of your favorite essential oils (lavender, orange and peppermint are some of our favorites!).

During the fall season, we love to add some pumpkin pie spice and orange food coloring to make pumpkin spice dough! Just add 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice to the recipe above and enjoy a fun and festive adaptation of the original recipe.

From my family to yours, we hope you enjoy this homemade, low-waste recipe!

1 Comment

  1. testuser says:

    Awesome, I love it.

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Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

Easy Homemade Play Dough Recipe​

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