Play dough has to be one of the best inventions for children! We use the easiest no cook play dough recipe you’re likely to find on the internet. Our recipe has just 5 ingredients, that you’ll have sitting handy in the pantry already. It may not be the most robust, or the longest lasting of some recipes you can find. But it certainly is the quickest and the simplest. You’ll find this dough is lovely and soft, very pliable when warm, and should last for 3 months or longer if stored well.

Play dough really has been a life-saver in our household. It’s become our go-to thing to do when the kids are getting bored, or the weather makes outside play impossible. We’ve got a whole storage basket full of playdough bits and bobs. Some of it is store bought sets, but lots of it is made of cookie cutters, different stamps, kid’s kitchen utensils, etc.

Whenever the kids want to play, we pull out the whole box, pop it up on the table, and let them go crazy. We play all sorts of weird imagination games. Imaginary scenes where play dough Olaf’s and other Frozen characters bake dough fruit pies, and hold great balls for play dough kings and queens, while doing dentistry! A-ha, you get the idea, we let the kids guide the play, and whatever the come up with, we just go with it.

We also take play dough with us wherever we go, especially on road trips. If we’re visiting friends and family, and we know we’ll be a while catching up, a single pot of playdough and 1 or 2 cookie cutters can keep them entertained for 30 minutes or more. On road trips we often just take the whole storage basket with us, and unload it wherever we’re staying. We also find when friends come over with their own kids, the play dough will get pulled out and keep the kids happy while the parents prattle away over cups of tea.

Possibly the best thing about play dough is we know that while the kid’s are playing, they’re minds are growing. Creative play is one of the key developmental building blocks, and play dough is perfect for creative play.

You should check out our video first to see just how easy this easiest recipe is to make.

Easiest no cook play dough recipe

Easiest no cook play dough recipe – using just 5 ingredients

You will need

¼ cup Salt

3 tablespoons oil

1 cup boiling water

3 cups flour

Food colouring


1. Mix the salt and oil together. You will find that the salt soaks up most of the oil and becomes quite dry.

2. Pour in the boiling water and stir until the salt is dissolved.

3. Add a few drops of food colouring.

4. Slowly add the flour, stirring as you go. Keep adding flour until a soft dough forms, then tip the dough onto a bench, and knead it well before use.

That’s it, you’re all done!

You can make up a couple more batches in different colours if you like. For something special you can add glitter, food essence or essential oil to the water as well as food colouring.

The dough should last at least 3 months if stored well. To store you should try to wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and then store in a sealed container.

If you find your play dough becomes moist the next day just add a little more flour and it will be as good as new.

Bonus recipe: Baked play dough

If you want your child’s creations to last a bit longer, you can bake your play dough. It’s still soft and easy to mould, just like traditional dough, but you can cook the models in the oven to set them hard.

The projects don’t last forever of course, as eventually the dough becomes soft and mouldy, but it’s a great dough to use for things like Christmas decorations or festive centrepieces. Either make different coloured batches as you would with traditional dough, or let your child paint their models once they’re cooked. Either way it’s important to finish the model with a coat of water-based polyurethane, to help seal out the moisture.

To make a cookable dough, simply mix together 4 cups of flour, ½ cup of salt and 1 – 1½ cups of hot water. Once the project is made, bake the creation at 150*C until it’s hard, this takes up to an hour.

For more great ideas check out our article Craft activities using play dough.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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