Skip to Content

How to make homemade playdough without cream of tartar

Want to cook up some play dough with what you have on hand? Here’s homemade playdough without cream of tartar!

Making play dough is a really fun activity with toddlers or kids. It’s kind of an activity because your kids can enjoy making it AND playing with it.

This is a classic play dough recipe, and it feels very very close to the real thing – if not even softer and better to play with!

Many play dough recipes require cream of tarter. You can buy cream of tarter with the spices in the grocery store, but if you are out or don’t want to buy it just for this, try this recipe instead!

This recipe instead uses lemon juice to get that same effect.

I guess you could squeeze some lemons, but I use bottled lemon juice. I assume lime juice would work as well, though I haven’t tried it.

homemade playdough ball

How to make playdough without lemon juice OR cream of tarter

No lemon juice or cream of tarter? White vinegar can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in this recipe!

Don’t want to cook playdough? Check out this no-cook 2 ingredient play dough recipe!

What does cream of tartar do for playdough?

Cream of tarter makes play dough super soft without being sticky!

toddler helping to make play dough

Pros of homemade playdough without cream of tarter:

  • You don’t have to buy cream of tarter 🙂
  • Completely food safe – I tasted it and it’s salty and nasty but no non-edible ingredients
  • Extremely soft, moldable, plays well with all play dough toys
  • Does not leave residue on hands or table

Cons of homemade playdough without cream of tartar:

  • You have to cook it and use the stove which has to be very supervised with kids
  • Slightly complicated because it has a good number of ingredients
  • It’s hot off the stove which means you have to wait to play with it (just a few minutes)
  • Weird scent – this is why I suggest adding essential oils, the natural smell is not bad but I don’t like it
How to make homemade playdough without cream of tartar

How to make homemade playdough without cream of tartar

Ingredients needed to make the best homemade playdough without cream of tarter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • food coloring
  • essential oils
ingredients to make play dough without cream of tarter

Homemade playdough recipe without cream of tarter

STEP 1 – Mix wet ingredients

Add the water, oil, and lemon juice to a nonstick pot. Heat on medium heat until warm.

Add food coloring or essential oil to the mix once it is warm and combined.

STEP 2 – Mix dry ingredients

In a mixing bowl, mix flour and salt.

STEP 3 – Combine

Once the wet ingredients are hot but not boiling, add the dry ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.

I like to save the last 10 percent of the dry mixture. Mix everything well and see if it looks sticky. If it looks sticky or wet, add the last bit of flour mix. If it seems dry enough, keep it out.

Be careful if you add food coloring not to use a wooden spoon as it will be dyed!

STEP 4 – Stir

Keep stirring until it is well mixed and begins to form a ball.

STEP 5 – Let cool

Place on a silicone mat or cutting board to cool enough to be ready to play with! You can knead the dough further to help be sure it’s 100% mixed.

toddler playing with homemade play dough

How to store Homemade Playdough without Cream Of Tartar

Store your playdough in an airtight container. I like a ziplock bag, tupperware, or an old play dough container! It will keep for at least a month, until your kid leaves it out and it dries out 😀

How to make homemade playdough without cream of tartar

How to make playdough without cream of tarter

Yield: 1 batch of play dough
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Estimated Cost: $0-10

Here's how to make play dough without cream of tarter!

Materials

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • food coloring
  • essential oils

Tools

  • Pot
  • Stove
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon

Instructions

  1. Add water, oil, and lemon juice to a pot. Heat on the stove. ingredients to make play dough without cream of tarter
  2. Once hot, add food coloring or essential oils if using. Stir to combine. cooking play doing on the stove
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. dry ingredients to make play dough
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet in the pot, stirring as you go. Save the last 10% of the dry ingredients and see if the dough looks sticky (needs more dry) or good as is. It varies by batch! mixing play dough on the stove
  5. Stir until the dough forms a ball. play dough on a mat
  6. Place on a mat or plate to cool. Play and enjoy! homemade playdough ball

Any questions about how to make homemade playdough easy without cream of tartar??

Exclusive Content Celebrating With Kids

Thanks for reading!

celebrating with kids about us image

Sharing is caring!

Skip to Instructions