Basic All-Purpose Salt Dough Recipe

If you have kids in the house, and you've heard "I'm bored" one too many times, it's time to make some salt dough. Not only is it easy to make, it has 2 functions. You can make a batch to play with as moldable clay, and create whatever your imagination can dream up. Plus, if you keep it in a zipper storage bag, it will stay soft and can be used again and again. 

Or, you can mindfully create ornaments, jewelry, and trinkets of all kinds by baking the dough, so it hardens and retains the shape forever. Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "Homemade salt dough is so much fun to make, and resembles play dough without the heavy scent. Since we are making this with food items, it is safe to eat if a young child happens to put some in their mouth." Keep reading to find out how to make this all-purpose salt dough recipe. 

Gather the ingredients for this all-purpose salt dough

To make this recipe, we only need a few ingredients: salt, hot water, food coloring, and all-purpose flour. "Since we are not going to eat this dough, I buy generic flour and salt because we don't need anything fancy to [make] this dough," Hahn shares. If you prefer not to use any color, you can leave out the food coloring, and add colored paint to the finished pieces at the end. Additionally, you can make several small batches of multiple colors, and combine them into one particular dough creation for a fun effect.

Combine the water, salt, and food coloring

Take out a large glass bowl, and pour in the salt. Then, heat up some water in a small glass measuring cup, and add the food coloring. Stir to combine it, then pour it into the bowl with the salt, and stir well. "I like to use glass bowls here because the food coloring can stain plastic," Hahn remarks. If you are not coloring your dough, just add the hot water to the salt.

Add the flour, and knead

Start by preheating the oven to 250 F, or skip this step if you will be using the dough as moldable clay. Add the flour to the salt mixture, stir with a wooden spoon, then remove it from the bowl, and knead the dough for a few minutes to fully combine the ingredients.

Shape and bake the salt dough

If you are cutting shapes out of the dough, roll it till it's about ⅛-inch thick. Take any type of cookie cutter, and cut out your desired shapes. If you want to hang the shapes as ornaments, create a hole, using a straw, at the top of each ornament. Place the ornaments on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. If you haven't added food coloring to your dough, and want to paint them, do so after baking. To make your items more durable and long-lasting, you can add a layer of Mod Podge after baking them, but before adding your hanging ribbon. 

Basic All-Purpose Salt Dough Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
Relive the nostalgia of homemade ornaments or molding clay with this basic, customizable salt dough recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
dough with cookie cutters
Total time: 50 minutes
  • 1 cup salt
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 10 drops food coloring
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Pour the salt into a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the hot water and the food coloring.
  2. Combine the water, food coloring, and salt, and stir.
  3. Add the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Then, remove it from the bowl, place it on a board, and knead for a few minutes until smooth.
  4. Use as molding clay as is, or if you are cutting it into shapes, preheat the oven to 250 F.
  5. Then, top with a sheet of parchment paper, and roll the dough out to till it's ⅛-inch thick. To make ornaments, cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and use a straw to create a hole at the top.
  6. Place the ornaments on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. If you want to paint them, do that once they are baked. After the paint dries, you can seal with Mod Podge to make them more long lasting. Tie twine, string, or ribbon through the hole for hanging.
Calories per Serving 46
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Total Sugars 0.0 g
Sodium 56.8 mg
Protein 1.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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