Tag Archives: gluten free play dough recipe

Homemade Play Dough!

30 Jul

I am so excited about this! For years I have been a nanny while I got through school, and I’ve only had to worry about the horror of play dough (or gluten dough) in the last few years. I’ve managed to avoid it, but I can avoid it no longer! The little kiddies I care for now are ALL about the stuff. They have the tiny tubs and all the cool rollers, cutters, and squishers (yes, that is the technical term) you can imagine. When I saw the little tubs on the kitchen counter I initially thought nothing of it. However, it wasn’t too long before the little ones were asking to play with it and I had to figure out a way to tell them “no” in terms they understood. Luckily for me I had an opportunity to explain that I don’t eat crackers because they “hurt my tummy” and when they asked why I explained “they’re made of yummy gluten and gluten hurts my tummy” and that was that. “Play dough is made of gluten and it hurts my tummy if I play with it” sounds ridiculous, but luckily saved me from a horrifying bathroom camp out.

I was mortified to tell the parents I work for that I couldn’t play with the beloved dough with their little ones, but they understood completely. Getting the message across to the fullest extent is not as easy as it sounds, though. Knowing they had played with the play dough on the carpet we play on made me nervous. Seeing play dough bits under my nails after story time made me nervous. I am always cautious and make sure to wash my hands before I eat anything, and have gotten it under control so far, so hey. Not too bad.

After a few days of avoiding the play dough train, I began to spin my wheels about how to get on board. Wear gloves? Only play with it outside? Try to wash everyone’s hands within a millisecond of putting it away? No. Ridiculous. Make my own to bring and surprise the kids? Yes.

My mom made my sister and me play dough from scratch when we were little on more than one occasion and I can remember it being a magical process that transformed salty liquid that reminded me of glue into a smooth, pliable dough in a matter of minutes. I, too, have conquered the play dough process, and have managed to do so free of gluten. I can’t wait to share this with my kiddies!

GF Play Dough:

1/2 c each: white rice flour, cornstarch, salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 c water

1 tsp oil

Food coloring of your choice – I used McCormick’s Neon food coloring

In a saucepan combine all of the ingredients except the food coloring and stir to combine. Note: I used a wooden spoon throughout the process and it worked well for me.

The mixture will begin as a fluid glue-like substance. Don’t panic. I promise it firms up and becomes the elusive dough of glutenous childhood.


Stir every few seconds, and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. That is where it will begin to firm up first. Keep stirring, and scraping, and eventually the mixture will firm up into a dough-like substance, much like that of a glutenous choux pastry dough.

Once you have incorporated all of the mixture into the dough, turn out onto a smooth surface to knead. The kneading smooths it, thoroughly incorporates it, and gets it ready for coloring.

Once my dough was as smooth as I could get it, I divided it into four (4) parts so that I could use all four (4) of the food colors that came in the box. You could divide it into as many or as few pieces as you’d like. You can be as creative as you want from this point on!

To add color to the dough take a single piece, flatten it out, and add two (2) or three (3) drops of desired food color. Fold the dough on itself a few times and knead through. Eventually I just squished the dough between my hands and played with it until the color was even throughout. I did this for each piece of dough I had, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!