peppermint scented playdough recipe
Arts and handicrafts

Easy Candy Cane Playdough Recipe

Candy cane playdough is a simple and fun way to ring in the holiday season. Little ones benefit from the sensory play and kids of all ages can get creative with their playdough creations. Even better the crisp mint smell reminds me of sticky Christmas candy canes.

Christmas Playdough

My kids and I make a batch of playdough every so often. It’s a great way to practice measuring skills and fractions and the end result is a fun activity on the cheap. I wanted to do something a little special for the holidays though.

This candy cane scented playdough recipe smells so delicious and is a great way to get in the Christmas mood.

Why Scented Playdough?

I’ll admit I hadn’t realized scented playdough was even a thing until later in life. Not only does scented playdough smell good, but it can have a positive effect on the emotions. Scents like lavender are calming, while orange and lemon uplift the mood. Squishing and molding clay is stress relieving and smelling the essential oils just makes us all happy.

My oldest has issues focusing and we’ve found that keeping his hands busy during lessons really helps him pay attention. We’ve also molded play dough into different figures and objects to narrate a lesson. Acting the story out with playdough is a creative way to tell back what you’ve learned and helps mix things up.

Candy Cane Scented Playdough

This is a good activity to pull out in between lessons to boost mental awareness! Peppermint is cooling and supports a clear respiratory system. Mint is also known for its invigorating properties to help kids (and moms!) stay alert.

How Do you Make Candy Cane Playdough?

The candy cane playdough recipe is pretty simple actually. I added peppermint essential oil to our regular playdough recipe. To ensure the peppermint oil was evenly distributed, I combined it with the olive oil before adding it to the rest of the ingredients and cooking.

Make Peppermint Playdough

Some recipes add the essential oil after the playdough is already made, but this can pose some issues. Peppermint is a strong oil and I don’t want pockets of undiluted essential oil in the playdough. And although my kids help with candy cane playdough recipe, I add the peppermint myself. Accidentally getting peppermint in an eye is no fun!

Soft Playdough Recipe

Cream of tartar isn’t something I always keep on hand, but it’s worth having for playdough recipes. The cream of tartar is what makes the dough nice and soft. My first batch of scented playdough was perfect, but I ran out of cream of tartar on the second go round.

You may notice that the candy cane playdough in the pictures looks a little dry because I didn’t have enough cream of tartar for the second batch. This recipe though yields beautifully soft and squishy playdough!

Make Easy Peppermint Playdough

This candy cane playdough is pretty simple and takes less than 10 minutes total to make. Some recipes nix the cream of tartar, but the consistency just isn’t the same without it so I left it in. If you want a no cook version then use 1/2 cup boiling water and stir to combine. Add a little extra water at a time if needed.

Objects to Use with Playdough

Almost anything will work when it comes to playdough tools. You don’t need fancy playdough playsets though. Here are a few ideas that my kids love!

  • Miniature or regular size rolling pins
  • Stamps
  • Cookie cutters
  • Chopsticks
  • Nature items (pinecones, twigs, pretend berries, and flowers)

Candy Cane Playdough

A simple Christmas scented candy cane playdough recipe. Totally non-toxic and smells amazing!
Prep Time5 minutes
cook time4 minutes
Total Time9 minutes
Servings: 2 playdough balls
Author: Jamie


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil olive or coconut both work
  • 6-8 drops peppermint essential oil


  • Whisk together the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a pot.
  • Measure the oil into a measuring spoon and drip the essential oils in, stir gently to combine.
  • Add the oils and water to the pot and whisk until smooth.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes or until thickened and the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.
  • Remove from the pan and let the playdough cool in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
  • Divide the balls and have and use red food coloring on one half. You can use white food coloring on the other ball, or leave it a natural white.


For a candy cane playdough no cook version, use 1/2 cup boiling water and stir to combine. Add more water if needed a little at a time. 

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Mama to two littles. Former education major, private tutor, and nanny. Barefoot book addict.