Our Favourite No-cook Play Dough Recipe

Our Favourite No-cook Play Dough Recipe

Laura @inspiremyplay

Founder of @inspiremyplay, Early Years teacher for 11 years and mummy to three gorgeous girls. I'm passionate about about the benefits of play in early childhood.

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How to make homemade play dough in a few simple steps! This no-cook recipe takes no more than 5 minutes to make but will last for months of play dough fun at home with the kids!

Play dough has never failed to entertain my children or the children I have worked with over the years. Kids love playing with play dough and there are so many opportunities for learning. Playing with play dough builds fine motor skills, creativity and imagination, whilst boasting many sensory and therapeutic benefits too. 

Traditionally play dough is cooked on a stove-top or hob but this no-cook version is quicker and easier to involve the kids in, yet still turns out smooth and squishy! No-cook play dough is now the only way I make play dough.

What you will need

1 1/2 cups of plain flour 

1/2 cup of salt 

2 tablespoons of cream of tartar 

2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or vegetable oil) 

1 cup of boiling water 

Food Colouring

A few buying tips

If you intend on making several batches of play dough I really recommend buying cream of tartar in bulk as the small packets in the supermarket do not stretch far and are comparatively expensive. 

We recommend using a concentrated food colouring to give you more vibrant results. I store my play dough in screw-top jars. Any air tight container or zip-lock bag will do but I find the play dough keeps even longer when stored in jars. The plastic ones I buy are also great if you are giving play dough as a gift (see buy buttons below). This recipe makes the perfect amount to fill one large jar (12oz).  

I choose to use coconut oil when making play dough as I find it less drying on my kids' sensitive skin (and my skin when making it!). It also makes the play dough smell great! If you don't have any coconut oil to hand though, vegetable oil or even baby oil can be a substitute.

All the supplies mentioned in this blog article can be found via the links below.


1. Combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar and coconut oil in a bowl.

2. Add the food colouring to the boiling water and then pour this into the bowl with the other ingredients. If you are making this with children take care at this point and keep them at a safe distance.

3. Mix all the ingredients together until is starts to come together as a dough.

4. When the dough has cooled slightly take it out of the bowl and kneed it really well. This is the most important part!

To make a rainbow spectrum of no-cook play dough you can follow these steps above and just change the food colouring each time. Alternatively, you could make a large batch of play dough without food colouring and then divide it up and colour each ball of dough separately.

There are so many other ways to customise play dough. We love to add scent to ours using essential oils. You can also add texture with things such as rose petals or lavender.

Did you know you can also add sand to play dough?! You can read our sand play dough recipe here.

To find out more about our award winning PlayTRAY (pictured in the activity above) visit our product page or click the links below.

Another favourite of ours is to make play dough coloured with cocoa powder. This is perfect for role playing several different scenarios such as a chocolate shop or to use as 'soil' to plant artificial flowers. To make 'chocolate' play dough simply use the recipe above but add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder too. You may want to add a little more boiling water if it the mixture feels too dry.

Do check out my instagram page for lots of ideas about how to use play dough creatively. You might also be interested in exploring my list of the best play dough tools and resources to make play dough even more fun to play with!