Gingerbread Playdough Recipe

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This holiday season, use this easy homemade baked gingerbread playdough recipe to fill your home with an amazing gingerbread scent and in turn, give your kids the chance to make homemade gingerbread decorations.

Gingerbread Playdough Recipe

Grandmothers have a special kind of magic, don’t you think? They just seem to think of everything and it’s the little touches done out of love that mean the most and have the longest-lasting memories. I truly believe that making this homemade gingerbread playdough recipe will be one of those memories for you.

You see, most of the fun for kids in making cookies is rolling out the dough and cutting out the shapes using Christmas cookie cutters. This is where our gingerbread playdough comes in. Each kid can have their own cookie kit that they can make again and again.

This easy gingerbread playdough recipe also makes excellent gifts for kids, grandkids, and school friends. One recipe will make about two 8-ounce jars. I package it up in 8-ounce mason jars and tie a cookie cutter to it with a ribbon.

Of course, you can still make real gingerbread cookies with this particular gingerbread dough recipe, but the fun can also continue long after the cookies are baked and even when they go home. Fortunately, this inexpensive recipe takes just minutes to make. All you need to do is place the ingredients in a saucepot (oil, flour, cream of tartar, salt, and a few heavenly gingerbread spices). Then it’s all about being patient and stirring until a dough forms. Once it cools completely, it’s time to get kneading and start playing!

Don’t ya just love it when being the fun mother or grandmother who “thinks of everything” only takes a few minutes? Let’s make some festive Christmas playdough! 

Ingredients for gingerbread playdough recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cream of tartar
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
  • Allspice
  • Ground cinnamon

How to Make My Gingerbread Playdough Recipe

Place flour, salt, cream of tartar, and spices in a saucepot.

Mix ingredients together

Place flour, salt, cream of tartar, and spices in a saucepot.

Stir that up kindly good.

My Grandmama used to say “kindly” in place of “kinda”.

I can hear her voice in my head now saying, “Get it kindly mixed up real good.”

In these pictures you see me mixing this up in a mixing bowl. Y’all, that is stupid. I just dirtied up a bowl for no apparent reason. I am just so used to grabbing that bowl when I mix up things for photos that I did it out of habit. My instructions to you are to mix it up in the pot you are going to cook it in, otherwise, there will be thousands of needless dirty bowls around the world resulting from this post. Possibly millions. did you know that 300,000 people come to Southern Plate each day? I sure could dirty up a lot of kitchens if I’m not careful.

Add your water and oil and mix well.

Add your water and oil.

Stir it up as best you can.

Ingredients in saucepot.

Watch your dough form!

You’re going to think this is so watery that there isn’t any way it could ever turn into anything that wouldn’t slip right through your fingers.

But then you’re going to start stirring it over the heat…

Put this over medium heat and stir constantly as it begins to warm.

You’ll notice big old glops form and start to stick to your spoon. At this time, use a heavier hand and start scraping the bottom and sides as you stir until it all comes together in one big old ball.

Seriously, it will happen. I promise.

Mine comes together in a little over 5 minutes. Yours may take 10 or even 15 and that is alright. Time is relative to the amount of heat you are using, the thickness of your pot, etc.

You’re good so don’t be all “mine isn’t working out, I must have done something wrong.” You just gotta tell yourself, I got this.

Stir until it forms a dough.

Look at that big old glop! See? I told ya!

You really should have more faith in me!

Wrap gingerbread playdough in bowl and cool completely.

Cool before using

Put it in a bowl and let it cool for a few minutes before covering it up with plastic wrap and letting it cool completely.

After it’s cooled completely, I stick the gingerbread dough in a gallon-sized zipper seal bag and give it to Katy to knead. Otherwise, just plop it on some parchment paper or waxed paper.

It just needs a few minutes of kneading the very first time until it is all ready to go.

Store it in an airtight container such as a bag or mason jar to keep it fresh.

Gingerbread Playdough Recipe

Have fun!


Store the gingerbread play dough in an airtight container or mason jar at room temperature and it will last for at least 2 weeks. I also sometimes wrap it in plastic wrap before storing it in a container to ensure it stays nice and soft.

Recipe Notes

  • Now, if you don’t have the cream of tartar you’re gonna need to go buy that because it is pretty important in this recipe. If you’re anything like me, you have it but have to dust it off before using it.
  • If you don’t have all of the spices, though, you can just improvise. Add ground nutmeg in place of cinnamon, leave out the allspice and double the cinnamon, etc. Toss in a little pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice if you like. Just play around with it, as long as there are about 3 tablespoons in total. I’m giving you my exact measurements to make life easier for those of us who tend to kinda go by the book on things.
  • Playing with the playdough: I like to set up the playdough with gingerbread cookie cutters, a little rolling pin, and some googly eyes and buttons (or whatever little crafty bits and bobs I can get my hands on) so the kids can make their own gingerbread people.

Recipe FAQs

In this gingerbread playdough recipe, the cream of tartar and salt act as stabilizers and help preserve the playdough so it lasts longer. But they also give the playdough its soft texture, which is why it’s so important not to skip the cream of tartar, even if you really want to! Because cream of tartar = better playdough.

How do I make gingerbread playdough soft again?

If your playdough dries out, knead in a little oil or water with your hands to soften it.

These treats also make great holiday gifts:

Pecan Pie Muffin Mix

Candied Pecans Recipe

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Peanut Butter Candy

Recipe for Caramel Corn

Gingerbread Playdough

This easy baked gingerbread playdough recipe fills your home with an amazing gingerbread scent and in turn, gives your kids the chance to make homemade gingerbread decorations.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dough, gingerbread
Servings: 4
Calories: 356kcal


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


  • In a medium saucepot, combine all dry ingredients and stir to mix.
    1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Add water and oil. Stir well (it will be very watery).
    1 cup water, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Place the pot over medium heat and stir constantly with a sturdy spoon. After a few minutes, glops will begin to form. Keep stirring until the entire mixture comes together into a big ball (5 to 10 minutes).
  • Remove the dough from the pot and place it in a bowl. Allow to cool slightly and then cover and allow it to cool completely. Once completely cooled, knead until fully blended.
  • The playdough is now ready to be stored in an airtight container and played with.


Calories: 356kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

You don’t know what the day holds for you, none of us do. But go out there with an open mind and a heart for joy and you’d be amazed at the riches you’ll bring home. 

~ Me!

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  1. Christy, is it okay to use self-rising flour? I was wanting to make some for my grandkids to play with tomorrow and all I have is self-rising.

  2. Oh my!! Thank you Christy!! My grand kids will love this!! I know what we all will be doing this weekend here!! I love your recipes as well. We may try our hands at one of those as well. I am so glad I found you!! Thank you!!

  3. Good grief Christy! Is there anything you can’t do??? Could you run for president? We could use someone who can do anything and has good common sense ( and uses it ) running this country! Thanks for this recipe.

    Blessings on your Christmas,

  4. After rolling and cutting out the shapes does it dry hard so one may use them for ornaments to hang on the tree?

    1. I haven’t tried that but it is the exact same texture as play doh, which gets crumbly when dry. So I’d think this would be crumbly as well. For what you’re wanting, I believe I’d make a salt dough ornament and add the same spices, and then bake it.

      1. I made cinnamon ornaments with my students when I was teaching. They dry and hold up well, not crumbly at all.

        32 oz. jar applesauce
        16 oz. cinnamon
        4 oz. white glue
        Mix together to form a “dough”.
        Roll out and use cookie cutters to make ornaments (make a hole at the top for a string).
        Let dry (depending on the temperature and amount of humidity it might take longer than overnight).
        The dough smells wonderful (but inedible because of the glue LOL).

  5. This looks amazing! Definitely going to try to make a batch for the grandkids this weekend. And thank you for the side trip down the rabbit trail – wonderful words of advice!

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