Gingerbread Playdough

Looking for a rainy day project, or a way to bake with the kids minus a blazing hot oven?  If you answered yes, then I think you’ll love my latest project.

For the past week, this house has been play-dough central.  But, we’re not making just ANY old play-dough.  We’re making GINGERBREAD PLAY-DOUGH!

I’ve had homemade play-dough on my to-do list for a very long time, but I was thinking more along the lines of a fruity scent.  Then one day, while exploring Pinterest I ran across Pumpkin Spice Playdough.

That’s what inspired me to make a Christmas version.

After a bit of research, I realized play-dough maing isn’t really an exact science, so  I used up my favorite play-dough recipe and doctored it up a bit.

The kids and I have been making it all week.   Since we enjoyed it so much, we thought it would make a perfect gift for their little friends also.

If you’re curious about gingerbread play-dough, it is just like any other version.  The only difference is it’s a beautiful brown color and has a rich enticing aroma, just like real gingerbread.

It looks almost like the real thing, minus one thing…taste.  You won’t have to worry about your kids eating this dough.  Although it smells good, it tastes every bit as yucky as every day play-dough.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s easy and inexpensive to make.  You can even use last year’s spices.  You know, the ones you should be throwing out and replacing with fresh ones by now…

If you don’t have the exact ratios I used, don’t worry, just use about two tablespoons of spice and it will smell great.  Allspice and pumpkin pie spice are fine also, or even just cinnamon if that is all you have.

Gingerbread Playdough

Gingerbread Playdough


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp orange extract {optional}


  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together dry ingredients. Next mix in the water, oil, and orange extract and stir until a thick batter is formed. Cook the mixture over low/medium heat until a thick dough forms. Turn out onto parchment paper and knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough.


 It helps to pre-assemble your ingredients because the cooking process goes very quickly.

Begin by whisking together the dry ingredients {my kids love to help with this}, then add the oil, water, and extract.  You can leave out the orange, but I like it in my real gingerbread recipe, so for the sake of aroma, I add a splash to the play-dough.

As the mixture cooks, it will slowly thicken.  It may seem like it’s clumping, but don’t panic.  This is completely normal.  Just keep on stirrin’…

When it has reached the consistency of play-dough, take it out of the pan, drop onto parchment paper and knead  until smooth.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.  As long as it’s kept covered, it should last for quite a while.

My kids have spent many hours this week playing “Cookie Shop”.  For some reason they make a lot of pies, but I let it slide.

It makes me so proud to see them do what I do every day.  I guess they pay more attention than I think they do!

With luck, by the time they are teenagers, I’ll have a work crew!

See? I told you I had a pie guy!  He’s even doing lattice tops!

And my Bellle-Belle knows how to turn on the ELBOW GREASE.  Literally!

For another gift idea, you could also mix up just the dry ingredients with instructions to add the wet ingredients and cooking.  I wrote them on the underside of the label.

I love it the thought that another family will share the fun we did while making our play-dough.

To keep the packaging inexpensive I recycled  glass jars I’ve saved throughout the year.  I decoupaged the lids and added pretty paper, ribbon, and colorful baker’s twine,  available at The Twinery.

Kids can also help decorate jars.  Have them glue on scraps of ribbon, paper, and  buttons.  You can even tie on repeat or inexpensive mini-cutters for a quick cute accent.

I hope you’ll make this with your kids and share it with others.  Gingerbread play-dough is the perfect way to keep the kids entertained over the holiday season.

If you’re in the mood for REAL gingerbread, you can find my favorite recipe HERE.

I’m linking up with Thirty Handmade Days and Tidy Mom this week, and you should too!

I hope everyone has time for a bit of baking this weekend!

Join The Discussion



  1. 131
    Naomi says:

    Is it a general rule that I can always use less cream of tartar, if I use more oil and more salt?
    I just made my first batch of homemade play dough, and it isn’t nearly enough for the advent gifts we are making. I used a peppermint play dough recipe that calls for the same measurements of flour and water as your gingerbread recipe, but with less salt and oil, and more cream of tartar. I’m about to go back to the store to purchase more cream of tartar (a double batch used the entire small container I bought for this project). I just want to be sure that my reasoning is correct. If I duplicate your recipe with only 2tsp of cream of tartar, rather than 2 tbsp per batch, I won’t have to buy so much of that single, more expensive, ingredient. Thank you for all the help!

    • 131.1
      Heather Meaney says:

      Hi Naomi. You can buy Cream of Tartar in bulk for a lot less, than the little containers in the grocery spice aisle. If you have time, you can order from Amazon. I think I got a pound for about $14-16. You can also try at a local craft store like Michaels, or even a grocery store that has a big bulk section (I’m in northern CA and I think that Knob Hill Groceries carries it, but I don’t know their pricing.) Good luck!

      The recipe looks great! I’m making a double batch right now to send in to my kids’ schools.

  2. 132
    gabriola dweller says:

    I worked in daycare for years and have two not so small now boys of my own and this is the best playdough recipe ever. I recognized it when I saw it and had to put a plug in for it. It is so wonderful to knead when warm too! No need to have extra flour for gooey play dough around with this one. Good pressie idea too.

  3. 133
    drshen says:

    this is really awesome. I’ve been looking for some nice activities for out center (preperation for first grade)
    This is looking really fun for kids and doesn’t take much.

  4. 134
    Erin says:

    I made this over a month ago, and it is just as soft, pliable, and wonderful smelling as it was on the first day! I have made many different playdough recipes through the years, and this is BY FAR the best!! Thank you!!!

  5. 135
    Antoinette says:

    My son got this as a gift last Christmas, and he loved it. I was wondering if you have a base recipe for the playdough because I would like to try making it into other scented/color versions, like a yellow lemon or red strawberry. However, I’m definitely making this version soon (even though it’s the middle of May). Thank you in advance!

  6. 136
    Kerry says:

    This is a favorite for us! We gave this as gifts to his classmates last Christmas. We also just made some more today. Thank you for sharing it!

  7. 137
    Felicity says:

    Thanks for this – made it last Christmas and my nephews loved it!

  8. 138
    Patsy says:

    I absolutely love your site! And I made this ‘play-doh’ with my 4 year old granddaughter, and she had a great time. Turned out perfect. Better than the commercially-made stuff. We are going to try it with lavender oil instead of the spices next time. Thanks for the post!

  9. 139
    Holly says:

    This is the cutest idea I’ve ever seen! Thanks for sharing! Ü


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