Things have been a bit quiet around here on the blog, but now that our second book (The Curious Kid's Science Book) is off at the printer, I'm hoping to get back to posting more regularly. I'm excited to kick it off with a new and easiest ever method for making your own playdough! We love making our own homemade playdough, but it usually takes a fair bit of time and creates at least a handful of dishes. I was wondering if I could create a one-dish microwaveable playdough recipe that only took a few minutes. Because easy is always better! And fast is awesome. This playdough is great - same texture that you love, plus from start to finish it only takes 5 minutes. It will keep for 4-6 months on average if you store it in an airtight container.
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First, you want to start by adding 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and some food coloring or liquid watercolors to a large microwave safe bowl or container. (Here we've used green liquid watercolors and a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup).
Next, add 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, 1/3 cup of salt, and 1 cup of flour. Whisk it VERY well. If there are any lumps, you'll get lumpy playdough (which is still fun to play with - just warning you).
Next, cover the dish with a paper towel and microwave it for 30 seconds.
Remove it and carefully scrape along the top edges and the bottom of your dish to mix in all the just-beginning-to-form playdough. You can see some of it on the rubber spatula below. Make sure you get all of that mixed back into the remaining liquid, re-cover the dish with the paper towel and return it for another 30 seconds (bringing the total time you've microwaved up to 1 minute)
After another 30 seconds, your playdough mix will start looking like this. A little more playdough, a little less liquid. Stir and scrape really well and return it for another 30 seconds (bringing the total time in the microwave up to 1 minute and 30 seconds). Repeat the process a 3rd time (scrape, re-cover, and microwave for an additional 30 seconds - bringing the total time in the microwave up to 2 minutes).
At this point, if you've got a 1500 kW microwave, you'll have a nice solid looking top to your playdough mix when you pull it out. If you mix it up, it should look like this below. If you have a 1200 kW microwave, you'll need to microwave for an additional 30 seconds to get here (bringing the total cook time up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds). If you have a 1000 kW or weaker microwave - I didn't have a chance to test, but I suspect you'll need an additional two sets of 30 seconds bringing the total cook time up to 3 mins.
Once you have that nice firm top to your playdough and it looks like this when you stir it, stir well and let it set for 3 minutes. At that point it should finish cooking and be cool to the touch. Start kneading it by hand to combine it and you should have smooth (not sticky) playdough. If for some reason it's still sticky or mushy, return it to the microwave for an additional 10 seconds at a time, testing for doneness in between. You'll know it's done when the playdough no longer sticks to your hands while kneading it. To get a better idea of the texture, check out the video at the end of the post.
And voila! Great playdough! Play with it as much as you'd like and once you're done, be sure to store it in an airtight container. It should last between 4-6 months, depending on the humidity where you live and other factors (like how often you use it).
And there you have it -- super easy, one bowl microwave homemade playdough!
Here's a video showing the steps and texture of the playdough:
I can't wait to try this, we love play dough and have been looking for exactly this (and easy, fast, not as messy alternative) I follow your blog and have all your books! 😉 I've found and tried so many fun ideas with my 15m old and 3y old! Thanks again!Delete
YAY! Thank you so much and I hope you love the microwave playdough -- I don't make it any other way now!Delete
Amazing! Thank you!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Beatrice! :)Delete
Thanks for the great recipe. Although, it took my microwave only a minute and 10 seconds to do its magic! :-)ReplyDelete
That's awesome - super powered microwave!!! :)Delete
Could I add an essential oil to make it smell nice?? And could I use coconut oil instead of vegetable? thanksReplyDelete
Definitely on the essential oils...not sure about the coconut. I think it could work, but I don't know if it would make the playdough weirdly textured since I've never tried it.Delete
maravilhoso, vou fazer para meus alunos! ^_^ReplyDelete
Obrigado! Espero que você e seus alunos se divertir!Delete
Thank you so much! We will be making this today. :)ReplyDelete
Hi! I made this and it was absolutely perfect yesterday. However today when I got it out of the ziploc bag it was super sticky and I couldn't get it back to the appropriate texture. Any tips? I did NOT use Cream of Tartar but otherwise followed all of the instructions. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Hmmm, weird. The cream of tartar keeps it from crystallizing, but after a day I don't think you would notice (it's more like the cream of tartar would extend the life by a few months). I would try microwaving it for a bit longer, maybe? I'm very puzzled - so sorry!!!!Delete
Hi there! Same thing happend to me :( I did not have pure Cream of Tartar so I used a baking powder which contains only about 25 % so maybe it is really because of that. I´ll try to get the pure thing and we will see. Anyway the first day we made it we had a lot of fun with it :) Thanks for your great tips!Delete
Lushinka -- it's definitely the cream of tartar! Use 4 times as much if it's only 25% cream of tartar and that will fix it. :) Not enough cream of tartar will make any playdough sticky quickly.Delete
I've made this heaps for my class at school and have found that it always goes really sticky if you don't add cream of tartar. I also just mix it with boiling water, no need to microwave at all.ReplyDelete
That makes sense!Delete
Wow! I am so going to try this. I teacdh preschool and my kids love homemade playdough but it is a lot of work making enough for 11 kids. BTW...if you ever visit blog hops PLEASE come my and share this at my Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop on DUcks 'n a Row. My readers will LOVE it!b... SineaReplyDelete
Thank you!!! :)Delete
Thank you so easy to do was perfect for an after school activity. I hope you don't mind but I mentioned you in this blog post with a link back http://www.thisdayilove.co.uk/2015/09/after-school-sea-adventures.html Please let me know if any problems and will remove the linkReplyDelete
Awesome! Thank you so much for linking, Leyla! I pinned your post. :)Delete
Thta's amazing, I've just made one today with my kids and could I ask should I save it in the refregeator or just room temperature ?ReplyDelete
Thank you! Yes, room temperature is fine - just make sure it's sealed in something airtight so it doesn't dry out. :) :) :)Delete
I have used this recipe for many years and the more cream of tartar used the longer it keeps without going sticky. In fact I ended up throwing one batch out after 9 months on the grounds of health and safety not because there seemed anything wrong with it. I kept it in a plastic bag and never refrigerated it. I don't understand the science behind cream of tartar but it does seem to be the key to making playdough.ReplyDelete
Very interesting!!! Thank you for the tip!Delete
My Daughter's love this!
YAY! I'm so glad to hear it! :)Delete
Awesome recipe! Tried this tonight on a whim since it looked easy (I'm a horrible cook/crafter and need simplicity lol) and it turned out well! So quick and easy.ReplyDelete
Hooray! This is what I love to hear! :) :) :)Delete
Amazing.! Thank You. Except Mine Only Had To Cook For 1 Minute And 30 Seconds Rather Then The 2 Minutes.!ReplyDelete
Hi, I followed the recipe here exactly and made several different colors of play dough. I quickly find out that the dough leaves some residue on hands after playing. I tried adding more cream of tartar (4 teaspoons instead of 2), didn't work, still leave dough residue on my hands. Does anyone out there have a solution? The store bought playdoh doesn't have that problem, so there must be some way to fix it. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Huh -- you added 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar for every cup of flour before cooking? (Sadly it doesn't do the same job if you add it after cooking) I'm not sure what happened. You could try adding more flour but I'm not sure what's going on -- so sorry!Delete
Hi! Actually, adding more cream of tartar does fix the problem of dough residue staying on hands. When I first made the dough, it didn't seem to work. But two days later, my kids and I play with the dough again and only a tiny bit of it stuck to my hands after playing. So little that I'd say it's negligible!Delete
To answer your question, I didn't add more cream of tartar after cooking, I added before cooking. I made a new batch and in there, I put in 4 teaspoons instead of two (for every cup of flour).
Thank you for your response!