Our Favourite No-cook Play Dough Recipe

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!

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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

no-cook play dough in jars

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.

Liquid food colouring is fine to colour play dough but gel food colouring gives you more vibrant results when only using small amounts.

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 carousel for link). 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.

Shop for Play dough essentials on Amazon

Wilton White Icing Pure Food Colourant
Coconut Oil
Cream of Tartar
Food Colouring
Play dough storage containers
Wilton White Icing Pure Food Colourant
Coconut Oil
Cream of Tartar
Food Colouring
Play dough storage containers
Wilton White Icing Pure Food Colourant
Coconut Oil
Cream of Tartar
Food Colouring
Play dough storage containers


  1. Combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar and coconut oil in a bowl.
No cook play dough-Combine all of the dry ingredients

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.

Stir the ingredients together

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.

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!



  1. Tsofi
    April 26, 2019 / 11:02 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this! It looks amazing. How long does it last?

    • Laura
      April 27, 2019 / 8:34 pm

      Hello! Mine keeps for a least a couple of months, usually much longer. I find storing it in screw-top jars does really help compared to a larger container or wrapped in cling-film. I don’t know the science behind it but it may be because there’s less air trapped in the jar with the play dough?

  2. Tracey Taylor
    January 28, 2021 / 4:43 am

    The salt is the keeping agent. It helps preserve it that’s why it lasts so long. I keep mine in zip lock bags or freezer bags in an old ice cream container. It lasts for months this way. And if kids eat it no drama tastes awful but non toxic lol

    • Anna
      January 25, 2022 / 10:50 pm

      Hello! Should it be stored in a fridge? Or home temperature is fine?

      • Laura
        January 26, 2022 / 10:04 am

        Home temperature should be fine as long as you are not in really humid conditions and then the fridge might be best.

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