This homemade playdough is soft, squishy, and SO FUN to play with! Best of all, it’s super easy and inexpensive to make. Spoiler alert – you make this recipe in the microwave!
The EASIEST Playdough Recipe
I love this homemade playdough recipe because you can make it in the microwave instead of on the stove top. Not only does it cool off faster, but it’s also easier to make lots of colours. And it’s just as good or even better than the traditional stovetop recipes!
This recipe makes a little more than 1 cup of playdough per batch. And you can mix the colour BEFORE cooking it. If you want more colours, just pop another batch in the microwave. In about 10 minutes you can make 4 different colours with zero kneading.
Any time we make a large batch of homemade playdough and try to colour it afterwards, it’s So. Much. Kneading. And the dye gets all over our hands and the counter. It’s a mess. This recipe is so much easier!
Check out our Homemade Playdough video tutorial:
*Note: Scroll down for the step-by-step photo tutorial.
Looking for more playdough recipes? Here’s some of our favourites:
Here’s what you’ll need:
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The full printable instructions are at the end of this post, but here’s a list of products on Amazon that are similar to the supplies we used:
Why do you need cream of tartar in homemade playdough?
Cream of tartar helps stabilize homemade playdough, making it last longer. It also gives the dough a nice, soft texture. Without cream of tartar your playdough will be a little bit more dry and crumbly.
What if I don’t have cream of tartar?
You can make playdough without cream of tartar, but it won’t be as soft. It’s definitely worth a trip to the store to buy some if you want to make homemade playdough.
If you really need to substitute, you can try replacing cream of tartar with baking powder or lemon juice at a 1 to 1 ratio. If you use lemon juice, be sure to reduce the water by that same amount, or add a bit of extra flour to make up for the extra liquid.
We’ve never tried these substitutions, so you might have to play around a bit with the quantities to get the results you want.
How long will homemade playdough last?
This playdough keeps a really good texture for about a week if you store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
To make the playdough last even longer, wrap it in plastic wrap first and then place it in a Ziploc bag or container. The less air around it, the longer it will stay soft.
How can I make playdough soft again?
If your playdough has dried out a bit you can make it soft again by adding in a few drops of cooking oil and kneading the dough. Another option is to wrap the dough in a damp paper towel and place it in a baggie until it softens.
Can you make playdough without cooking it?
Most playdough recipes require cooking, but we’ve tried some great non-traditional recipes that don’t need to be cooked. Be sure to check out Frosting Play Dough, Edible Chocolate Play Dough, Shaving Cream Play Dough, and Marshmallow Play Dough.
How do I get playdough with vibrant colours?
We used regular liquid food colouring from the grocery store (red, blue and yellow from the regular food colouring box, and green and purple from the neon food colouring box).
We used 15 drops for most of the playdough colours you see in the photos. For purple we only used 10 drops, and for orange we used 15 drops of yellow and 2 drops of red.
The more food colouring you use, the brighter your colours will be.
How to Make Playdough
- microwave safe bowl
- glass measuring cup (1 cup)
Step 1: Combine water and salt
- Add hot water (as hot as your tap will go, but not boiling) to a measuring cup. Pour the salt into the water.
- Add about 15 drops of food colouring to the hot water and salt mixture.
- Stir this mixture well, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the salt has partially dissolved.
Step 2: Combine wet and dry ingredients
- In a separate microwave safe bowl, add the cream of tartar to the flour and mix well.
- Add the water and salt mixture to the flour mixture and stir, making sure to scrape out any undissolved salt from the measuring cup.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cooking oil.
- Stir well until the mixture is completely combined.
Step 3: Microwave and stir
- Place bowl in the microwave and cook on high power for 60 seconds.
- Remove from the microwave and stir. There will be some light areas with raw dough. Stir for at least 1 minute, working everything together. If you still see raw, light coloured dough after stirring for a minute, return it to the microwave 20 seconds at a time until it's cooked through. Do not overcook it or the dough will be harder.
- Remove your playdough from the bowl and flatten it out on the counter to help it cool more quickly.
Step 4: Enjoy and play!
- Your playdough is complete!
Making homemade playdough is such a fun activity, but it’s also a smart money decision. It’s so much cheaper to make playdough at home than it is to buy the little containers at the store!
I also love that homemade playdough gives you control over the ingredients. With this recipe you know exactly what goes into the dough, and you can be assured that it is taste safe in small quantities.
Here’s even more playdough recipe ideas:
Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!