How to make a quick no-cook playdough recipe

quick no-cook playdough recipe

Ready for a quick no-cook playdough recipe? You’ll be inspired by how easy this recipe is to make. It calls for just 4 ingredients (5, if you count water as an ingredient) and you do not have to cook it on the stove, just add hot water.

I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I see them mix the different colors of playdough together. I know, it’s silly, (let it go, Jaime) but I like a clean, pristine ball of dough. It gives me so much satisfaction. (I’m weird like that).

But when you have a quick no-cook playdough recipe, it gives me a silent comfort to know I can just toss the yucky stuff and make a fresh batch if the mood strikes.

Now that we have that out of the way, there are many benefits to playdough beyond the fun factor.

Grow their brains with playdough

I used to think that playing playdough was just for fun. It is so fun. My kids will ask for playdough and spend hours working with it. It is always a winner.

Did you also know that working dough and clay is academic work? It is. Playdough is a really great tool for growing brains.

Letter Learning Playdough Mats
Letter Learning Printable Playdough Mats for $10

How Playdough Can Make Kids Smart

I go into this more in-depth in the post 4 Simple Literacy Activities for Preschool Children, but I think this is important, so I will summarize it here, too!

Working playdough is a pre-writing exercise for little hands. Beyond the obvious fun, so much brain work is happening. Not only are they getting great sensory input, but they can also strengthen the muscles in their little developing hands, and also secure neuro connections between hand and eye. Amazing, right?

When kids have strong capable hands, it is a powerful foundation for loving to learn! I am super enthusiastic about this because if kids love to learn and feel a sense of accomplishment as they gain new skills, there is no limit to where their learning can go.

For more about learning and playdough and literacy activities with playdough, see this post.

learning with playdough

1) No Cooking

Because you are using boiling water, this dough is a little too hot to handle at first, so be careful. Even though this is a great recipe for kids, be sure that they are clear and/or you can block them from touching when the boiling water is present or right after you mix the dough with the water. After a few minutes, they will love to feel the warm mound of dough, but not right away.

ice cream in a bag recipe

2) No Cream of Tartar

Many playdough recipes call for cream of tartar. This quick no-cook playdough recipe omits cream of tartar because I’ve made it many times with and without and I really don’t think it is necessary.

Cream of tartar adds a barely noticeable amount texture to your dough and is an added preservative (it is an acid made from the process of making wine). There is so much salt in this recipe that there really is no need for a preservative beside that. You have the freedom to leave it out. Now, doesn’t that feel nice?

3) No special supplies

Supplies you will need:

Means to boil water
Large heat-resistant, stain-resistant bowl
Large glass measuring cup
Wooden spoon or rubber scraper for stirring
Measuring cup
Measuring spoon
Clean, flat surface for kneading dough
Air-tight container to store playdough

Shop for supplies:

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For those who want to level up their care for children:

Parent Powerful Kids by Saying THIS Instead of “Good Job

What if instead of behind our kids are ahead because of this?

Hot Tip:

Kids love to cut playdough up with scissors. Letting let cut playdough is a great way to help them practice their scissor skills in a fun and different way. Cutting Play Doh can be easier for some children than paper. This kit from Melissa and Doug is a delightful set to use for creativity with playdough.

Quick No-Cook Playdough Recipe

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Yields: One softball-size dough ball


1.5 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached or other kinds are good, too)
1/2 cup table salt
1 Tablespoon cooking oil (melted coconut oil works great, too)
1 cup boiling water
Food coloring
2 Tablespoons of cream of tartar (optional, but giving this so, you know how much if you want it.)

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt (and cream of tartar, if using) and stir to combine.

In a large glass measuring cup, add the oil and food coloring.

Boil the water and add one cup with the oil mixture. Stir until the food coloring is completely dissolved.
[Tip: for more vibrant colors, makes sure your water is darkly colored. Once you add the flour mixture, it lightens the dough quite a bit and tones down the color.]

Add the water mixture with the flour mixture and stir until well incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed.

Once all of the flour is incorporated and it has cooled enough to handle, dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until it is no longer sticky/sticks to your hands.

Store in an airtight container.

I hope this quick no-cook playdough recipe inspires you to whip up a batch and delight those Littles right away. Get those confident little hands working, right?

what do people do with old crayons

For more great and inspiring kids’ content, check out these posts!

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Jaime Ragsdale
Jaime Ragsdale, Founder of Altogether Mostly

About the author, Jaime

Here at Altogether Mostly, you will find grace, compassion, joy, and beauty. I use empathy and a little tough love to bring out the best in people. I live in the Midwest United States with my loving husband and awesome children. For more about me and Altogether Mostly, please visit my about page here.

playdough recipe no cook

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