Easy Homemade Play-dough (Gluten Free)

I have been feeling sympathetic toward Celiac kids (and allergy kids).  I have just been thinking of what a challenge it must be for parents trying to find gfree version of kid staples: the nugget, the cheese fish, and the classic play- dough. I can’t even imagine!

So I decided to work on some recipes for these and test them on actual kids! I am blessed to have Littles in my life on a regular basis. So I thought, it would be perfect to get the real dirt on these recipes. Because who is more honest or picky than a kid, (well, maybe my man)? 

This past week I tried play-dough and it was such a success. I found myself playing with it far longer than a grown up should. But of, course, I’m recipe testing here, so I HAD to, right? 

I will say that there are lots of recipes for gluten free play- dough on the interwebs. What I discovered is this: if it takes too long, I’m not gonna make it, start to finish you’re at about 13 minutes. Cooked versions really do result in a better product. While I want a non-toxic dough I don’t want kids thinking play-dough is a meal, so I opted out of cool-aid versions.

Other than that, this recipe is quick and simple, has the same texture of traditional dough. Its’s very versatile and takes color beautifully.

And the grade: A+. The kids loved it, said it was nice and soft and “fun”.

TO STORE: wrap tightly in plastic wrap then keep in a zip top bag or air tight containers. If you put it in cute containers it would make a great gift for a Celiac or gluten free kid. Enjoy!

gluten free play dough

gluten free play-dough

Yield: about 2 cups of play-dough.


1 cup white rice flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup fine grind salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

1-1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 cup hot water, not boiling

gel food coloring, of choice, optional


In a medium sized sauce pan set to medium-low heat, add vegetable oil and water until both are heating through. Add in all dry ingredients. Mix vigorously until all things are thoroughly incorporated (think of a choux dough). 

Reduce heat to low. Continue stirring dough for about three minutes. You can stir occasionally, but I prefer to stir it continually with a wooden spoon.

When the dough starts to pull away from the sides easily, turn out the dough onto parchment paper.

Let it cool briefly about 2-3 minutes until you can work it with your hands.

Knead food coloring into the dough until you get the color you desire. I find it easier to work the color in while dough is as warm as my hands can handle.

gluten free play-dough

gluten free play-dough

Don’t overcook the dough. It shouldn’t need more than five minutes.

To add food coloring: make a ball and with a finger create a little hole (like a nest) then place the color in the nest. Then, carefully begin kneading it until the color is evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Parchment paper isn’t necessary, because the dough shouldn’t be sticky. I am simply in the habit of using it and I feel it helps contain the mess. You could use wax paper to cut cost.

Here is a resource for Commercial Gluten free Play-dough, if you simply can’t fathom spending the 13 minutes to make this recipe. I have never used it so I can’t speak about it, but just thought I should throw it in for y’all, (no, I’m not southern).

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