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Baking Soda Play Dough


Baking soda play dough is an allergy-friendly alternative to traditional recipes.

Homemade Baking Soda play dough

No childhood is complete without play dough. I mean really, can you imagine?

Over the last several months, Garrett’s imagination has really been budding, so I knew I had to find a good play dough recipe. He loves it! He insists on calling it cookie dough however (LOL), and despite all the Play Doh toys we have, and how I show him to build things with it, he only has interest in one toy.

Yep, he likes to “squish it”.

Sadly for those of us with food allergy issues, homemade play dough often incorporates gluten and/or wheat. Yuck!

But that’s okay! It’s really easy – and a lot of fun – to make your own, gluten-free play dough. There are lots of fun variations you can use when you make it yourself, such as adding glitter for “sparkle dough”, or unsweetened Kool-Aid packets for the coloring and a nice fruity scent, or even scenting your play dough with essential oils – my own favorite, as it’s a great way to get your kids up close and personal with the medicinal properties essential oils have to offer.

This play dough recipe uses baking soda and cornstarch and is the best homemade playdough ever! In fact, I’d say it’s just as good as the store-bought stuff. Garrett and I sat at the table and rolled, squished, and re-rolled playdough without it sticking to our hands, which made me very happy. I was also quite impressed with how well it came out of some of some of the more detailed molds.

Gluten-Free Baking Soda Play Dough

*This recipe is an adaption of the Arm & Hammer Play Clay recipe

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Mix ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. If you have older kids, they may get a kick out of doing this because the baking soda makes it fizz for quite a while before it starts to thicken.

And when it starts to thicken, beware! It goes really fast.

Take it off the heat as soon as it’s thick enough to start wanting to stick together. Let cool, paritally covered until it can be handled.

Separate into balls and color. I used wilton icing gel colors left over from my cake decorating days and really loved the results.

An easy allergy-friendly baking soda playdoh recipe to make with your kids!

You can also use the liquid food coloring available in most grocery stores. It usually comes in a box of four colors – red, blue, green, and yellow . Just remember that red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors from which you can make any color you want.

Red and yellow for instance, make orange, and blue and red make purple. The green play dough pictured here, was made by mixing blue and yellow because I didn’t have green coloring.

Make this = your kids will love you. At least, that’s how it works for me!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

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  1. Thank you for this great, easy, and super affordable gf play dough! I made it today with my son and we both had so much fun. I also have the Wilton gel color and it came out so vibrant.

    I love how I didn’t have to use my pricey gf flour and instead very inexpensive baking soda. Thanks again!

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  3. How long about is it suppose to be on the stove for or any pics of what its suppose to look like when its ready to take off the stove? 🙁 … i just made this its cooling off now i hope i didnt leave it too long :/ 🙂

    1. No pics – sorry! Wish I had three hands sometimes LOL! But it should be really thick. I wouldn’t worry about it too much though, because when it starts to thicken, it gets really thick, really fast.

    2. I just made my 2nd batch right now and had the stove between 5 and 6 and about 13min it took me until it was ready to remove off the heat ☺ hope this helped ????

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  6. Thank you SO much! We aren’t sure if our daughter will be gluten intolerant like I am so she follows a gluten free diet until we can try to introduce a few things here and there when she turns 2. This turned out AWESOME! It’s inexpensive, quick to make, and doesn’t stick to your hands. My 17-month old absolutely loves it.

    How long do you usually store yours? I know I can probably test it out but thought I would ask.

    1. We do exactly the same thing with out kids, and I hope it will help keep them from acquiring allergies as they get older. 🙂

      This play dough will store for several days at room temperature, and a few weeks in the refrigerator.

      1. I did this recipe last year (2015) around June
        And I’m getting ready to make a new batch tonight
        So mine lasted almost a year for my 2 and 3 years old ????☺
        I absolutely LOVE this recipe they played hours with it having it out and it was still in awesome shape… When it got a little harder a cpl months ago I’ve put it in a Ziploc bags with a cpl drops of water take air out of bag n mixed all around and left 24h and almost back like new
        They mixed all the colors now n throw ALOT in garbage from just sweeping it so time for fresh new one ????☺????☺????

    2. I wanted to mention, I have Celiac Disease and have had my kids all tested. You can test their DNA to see if they have the gene abnormality for it. After that you would know whether or not to watch for it. Either way though, the Celiac Center at the University of Chicago recommends introducing gluten in small quantities starting at 4 months old. Waiting makes it more likely to be a foreign substance for the body and is more likely to cause the onset of Celiac Disease. Moral of the story is, give your kids a strict diet break some times, and it may prevent problems later.
      Hope that helps!

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  8. Elise, this is such a great idea! I will be doing this soon. I am sure all of these items can be found at Dollar Tree, which I love! Thanks for the great post!

    1. I would say it depends on how old/mature your kids are. I definitely wouldn’t let my five year old make it, but my ten-year-old nephew… maybe.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. After 31/2 months of using regular play dough in our preschool classroom, I realized that it is not good for my hands. The wheat flour in it is causing a bad case of exzema. I am Celiac and appreciate this recipe and will use it for our classroom from now on!

    1. For a couple of weeks, however, it does collect quite a bit of condensation, so you’ll want to knead it a bit before when you get it out of the fridge. 🙂

  10. I just 26x the recipe for my child care center. I made lime green colored. I love this recipe!

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