Homemade Play Dough with Coconut Oil

by ilene on January 19, 2015 · 4 comments

in parenting, recipes, tutorial



I live in San Francisco where gluten is public enemy #1, the whole city is is seemingly vegetarian/vegan/nut-free/dairy-free, the non-conformists are considered the cool ones and coconut oil reigns as the cure-all for everything.  I had never heard of coconut oil until 2014 and its now become the new superfood, claiming to do everything from promoting weight loss to whitening teeth to strengthening the immune system.  See 101 uses of coconut oil here.  Seriously, is there anything coconut oil CAN’T do?!  I haven’t really jumped into this fad because I’m not a huge coconut person, but I did pick up a jar of coconut oil from Trader Joe’s to use as moisturizer.  Since I had a huge jar of it, I also used it to make Zoey homemade play dough!  I’ve made buckets and buckets of play dough with Zoey before with all sorts of oils, but coconut oil is definitely my favorite because it smells so good and has the added benefit of moisturizing our hands when we play with it.

Coconut oil is one of those weird oils that is solid at room temperature, looking a lot like lard, but liquifies when heated up:


Look at all the pretty colors you can make!


We go through play dough a lot in our household so making our own homemade version is actually really easy, fast and cheap.  It takes only about 3-5 minutes on the stovetop.  The only downside is that it uses A TON of salt in the recipe, we are constantly running out!  Once I make the dough though, if stored in a sealed container or ziploc bag, it lasts for a long time.  We are still playing with play dough that I made over half a year ago!

Here are the ingredients you need to make one large ball of dough, all things that you can find in your pantry:



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. cream of tarter
  • 1/3 cup salt (any kind)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. You can also use 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (pictured) or olive oil
  • food coloring. I use Wilton’s gel food coloring



In a saucepan combine flour, cream of tart and salt together:playdough6

Turn on your stove to medium heat,  add water and your choice of oil, and stir:


Add a couple drops of food coloring to the mix and keep stirring:


The mixture will be lumpy at first but will start congealing quickly, within a matter of minutes, so keep your eye on the stove and keep mixing:playdough9

It’ll thicken up fast and so you want to scrape  the drier dough off the bottom of the pan quickly and keep incorporating it into the wet dough until it starts to dry out like this:playdough10

Remove it from heat immediately when it all balls together and let cool for about half an hour on a piece of wax paper or silpat mat:playdough11

After the dough is cool enough to touch, knead gently with your hands until the dough is smooth:playdough12


Time to play!!! Zoey loves playing with all her play dough!!! We have all sorts of animal cookie cutters and these play dough tools. It’ll keep her occupied for awhile.  We have been potty training lately (Lord, help us all!) so play dough has been the perfect indoor activity for us!

Now go make lots of fun colors!


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1 Marlana January 19, 2015 at 6:34 pm

How old would you recommend using playdough? I have a two month old- I know silly questions!

2 ilene January 20, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I would wait until about 18 months, when they stop putting everything in their mouths and have the motor skills to play around with it!

3 Tracie May 1, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Ilene, this recipe was fantastic!! Easy to make, common ingredients, and really great for kids. I loved how pliable it was. We used it for a play date and I sent some home with my friend cuz she loved it. Thanks so much!

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