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5 Simple Homemade Play-Dough Recipes

5 foolproof recipes tested by expert play-dough scientists (kids)

Published on: April 20, 2020

5 Simple Homemade Play-Dough Recipes

kid playing with play-dough

Favorite play-dough recipes

Recipe 1: The classic

  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • food coloring

Mix the dry ingredients in a small pan (I've found that a non-stick skillet worked wonderfully), add the water and food coloring and stir over medium heat for a few minutes until the dough becomes a cohesive ball of firm dough. Then turn it out onto a plate and let it cool a bit before diving in. (This is the process for all the play-dough recipes.)

Optional additions

  • 3-ounce packet of Jell-O to the dry ingredients
  • Kool-Aid powder or liquid
  • essential oils or flavor extracts
  • chai tea instead of water
  • spices or citrus zest

Texture and bouquet: This is the classic moist, pliable play-dough. It’s a little dense, but rolls into a cohesive “snake” and holds its form when sculpted.

Testers' notes: Moms and kids both ranked this dough as their favorite. It was described as moist, pliable, springy and smooth but not gooey.

Recipe 2: Jell-O play-dough

2 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoon oil
A 3-ounce packet of Jell-O
Extra food coloring
½ cup flour kneaded in as dough cools

Texture and bouquet: This was a close runner up. This dough is soft, pliable and a little gooey without being sticky. It is very smooth, due to the lower salt and the addition of the Jell-O. Kneading the extra flour in as the dough cools is messy and a little fussy.

Tester's notes: This dough was described as plastic, elastic, a great soft texture, and a little bit smooshy. I made it using fruit punch Jell-O, so the smell was terrific as well.

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