Friday, June 24, 2016

My Favorite Homemade Playdough Recipe

Anyone else in the middle of a heat wave? The forecast shows ninety degree weather for the next ten days. That means no outside play for me past 10 a.m. unless it is swimming. Since SourPatch is an outdoor guy, summer is cramping his style just a bit (Bay Area weather! Oh how I miss thee...)

While confined to the air conditioning, we decided to make some homemade playdough yesterday. Usually, this is a pretty fast process; this recipe is pretty slick and quick. Yet after Patches helped me dump and stir all the ingredients, I realized I couldn't find my food coloring. I spent at least 15 minutes flying around the house, trying to figure out where in our move I might have stashed my cake decorating supplies.

This turned out to be fortuitous, as SourPatch was completely entranced by the flour concoction. He stirred, sifted, whisked, and scooped at it with joy. In hindsight, I probably should have let him keep on keeping on and seen how long that would have entertained him. No matter. The point is, we had a great time making and playing with it!

Adapted from The Imagination Tree


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1.5 cups boiling water (I like to boil 2 cups and then measure out the 1.5 in a glass measuring cup so I know exactly how much I'm adding. A lot of water can boil away while you're rummaging for food coloring, it turns out.)
  • Food coloring (add to taste? I use the Wilton Gels, so I can't tell you how many "drops" to add. If you look carefully at the pictures, you can see I decided I didn't add quite enough to the water, so I threw some more on the dough while stirring and kneading it.)
In a large mixing boil, whisk the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil until well combined. 

Add food coloring to boiling water, and pour 1.5 cups into the flour mixture. 

Use a large sturdy spoon to stir continually until it forms into a sticky ball. Allow the dough to cool until comfortable to touch. (Here, I often split the dough in two and add a few drops of food coloring to one of the balls of dough so I can have two colors, such as blue and green. Just a suggestion.) 

Once cool, knead the dough vigorously until all the stickiness is gone. For my last batch, this took about 3 minutes of kneading. You can add more flour at this point if the stickiness remains (I've never had this problem.)

Voila! Store it in an airtight container, and this playdough should last you 6 months! I'm pretty sure I historically keep mine even longer.