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Homemade Playdough Without Cream of Tartar: 6 No Cook Recipes

Looking to whip up a quick batch of playdough for your kiddos without cream of tartar or any other fancy ingredients?

These 6 recipes are all variations of easy, no-cook playdough. It doesn’t get any simpler than this!

Most of these recipes only use 3 or 4 main ingredients – some variation of flour, water, vegetable oil and salt- with the option to add food colouring or powdered tempera paint for colour.

There is even a toddler and baby-safe oat recipe, as well as one for edible peanut butter playdough at the end.

There are so many benefits of playdough – such as building fine motor skills – that it’s a must-have in your house and classroom.

Don’t forget to involve kids in following the recipes as this is a great opportunity to work on following directions and discovering science concepts.

You’ll also be teaching maths as you learn about measuring ingredients.

There are many ways to make playdough. Each will have a different texture and feel, and some last longer than others. 

Try these out…

Basic Homemade Playdough Without Cream of Tartar

This recipe from the book “Toddler Sense” is a malleable, no-bake salt playdough that is quick and easy to make.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ to 1 cup water
  • Food colouring


  • Mix the flour, vegetable oil and salt together in a bowl.
  • Add a drop or two of food colouring to the water (watch how it mixes with the water).
  • Add water slowly as you mix the dough to the desired consistency (Only use what you need).
  • It is easy to add too much water as the mixture seems too dry until you mix it thoroughly. If you do add too much, simply add more flour to get the right consistency.
  • Store: in a sealed container.
Little girl playing with blue playdough

Basic No Cook Playdough

This soft playdough recipe from the book “Total Learning: Developmental Curriculum for the Young Child”, is another variation of a basic, no-cook playdough. This makes a good, reusable, all-purpose dough.


  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼  cup salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • dry tempera or food colouring
  • 1 cup water


  • Mix the salt, flour and dry tempera.
  • If using tempera, add it to the dry ingredients first; if using food colouring, add it to the water.
  • Mix oil and ¾ cup water and add to the dry ingredients. 
  • Mix and add more water if necessary, taking care not to let the mixture get sticky. 
  • Store: in the refrigerator in a sealed container. 

Using oil makes this dough softer and more pliable. It also protects the hands from the drying effects of salt.

Cornstarch Playdough

This recipe from “The Toddler’s Busy Book” uses cornstarch to make the playdough extra soft.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Tempera powder or food colouring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  • Mix the water, salt, oil and tempera paint or food colouring (enough to make it bright).
  • Gradually add flour and cornstarch until the mixture forms the consistency of bread dough.
  • Store: covered.
Balls of colourful playdough

Baked Salt Dough for Art

This is the best playdough recipe to turn into an art project later. It is taken from the book “Learning Through Play: A parent’s guide to the first five years”.

Painting a house made out of playdough

This dough can be moulded into shapes (by hand or with cookie cutters) and baked in the oven, to be painted and decorated later. 


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup salt


  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add water gradually.
  • Mix together and knead until the mixture becomes pliable.
  • Mould into shapes or use cookie cutters.
  • Bake in an oven on low heat for up to an hour.
  • Paint and decorate the shapes.
  • Optional: seal with clear varnish to make it last much longer.
Little toddler playing with playdough

Oatmeal Playdough

This toddler and baby-safe playdough from “The Toddler’s Busy Book” is not intended to be eaten but is safe for those inevitable bites your little one will take out of it.

It is not as long lasting as the cooked version but is so quick and easy to make.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups oatmeal


  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix well and knead until smooth. 
  • Store: in the refrigerator in a sealed container. 
Three balls of playdough on table and child seated at table, playing.

Edible Peanut Butter Playdough

This edible playdough from “The Toddler’s Busy Book” is delicious and easy to make.


  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • Milk flour/ dry milk
  • Cocoa or carob (optional)
  • Edible treats for decoration


  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add enough dry milk to reach the consistency of bread dough.
  • Add cocoa or carob for a chocolate taste if desired. 
  • Shape the dough and decorate it with treats to eat!

I hope you like these no-cook, easy playdough recipes without cream of tartar. 

Searching for more recipes to make with your littlies? Try these cooking activities.

How to make homemade playdough without cream of tartar.

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Tuesday 6th of June 2023

We followed the basic playdough instruction and it turned out so well my daughter and her friend enjoyed cutting the playdough into different shapes. Thanks Tanja

Tanja Mcilroy

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

That's wonderful! Thanks for sharing.


Tuesday 1st of March 2022

We did the basic no cook play dough today and it turned out well! We quartered the dough and then added the coloring to each bowl. Good times!


Wednesday 20th of April 2022

@Melanie, we did too and it came out well. I liked the fact it was made cold so that we could adjust the water amount and see the effects immediately. We had problems with ones that required boiling turning out too sticky after they cooled down.

Tanja Mcilroy

Wednesday 2nd of March 2022


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