How to Make Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

Who said you can’t play with your food when it means turning yummy smelling pumpkin pie spice into fun and festive Pumpkin Pie Play Dough.

With just all-purpose flour, salt and warm water, you can turn simple pantry ingredients into hours of fun. We’ve had a blast year after year in the fall coloring our play dough orange and adding pumpkin pie spice to give it a festive smell and feel.

How to Make Pumpkin Play Dough

The girls love helping me make this pumpkin pie play dough each fall. When they were little, I had to remind them quite often that it wasn’t food. But, I would be lying if I said that it does smell good enough to eat. However, one bite and you’ll quickly realize the smell and the taste (SALT!) don’t quite jive. 

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
Ingredients needed to make Pumpkin Pie Play Dough. You can use food coloring drop or natural food coloring powder.

Now, there are quite a few DIY play dough “recipes” on the web. Certainly, if you spend some time on Pinterest (here’s my Pinterest if you love that social platform!), you’ll find a ones with varying recipes and proportions. After quite a bit of trial and error, we found that this recipe yields the best finished product for us. 

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
Each girl makes her own batch of play dough.
Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
Start with flour

How to Add Color to Play Dough

After quite a few tries, we finally nailed the best way to add dye to the play dough to get the most uniform color. Instead of adding the dye to the flour or to the already mixed dough, I like to add the color to the water. To make orange play dough, I found it takes a bit more red food coloring than what the package might indicate. For each batch of pumpkin pie play dough, I used 15 drops of yellow food coloring and 8 drops of red per 1 cup of warm water to make a rich orange color. Be prepared for the color to change slightly or become dingier as you knead and add more flour. 

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

Children Love to Make Homemade Play Dough

As you can see in the picture of Frances, my biggest tip is to knead… and knead… and knead… the dough. Be prepared to add more salt and flour as necessary to keep the dough from feeling tacky or sticky. And, of course, you can through in a bit more pumpkin pie spice to boost the smell. (Love pumpkin pie spice, try my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl!) I usually add the proportions suggested in the recipe (below) but always keep another 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour and 2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup salt in a bowl nearby to add as needed. The combo of salt and flour helps to soak up the extra moisture and reduce stickiness.Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

Once the play dough is no longer tacky or sticky, the fun can begin! We like to pull out rolling pins, cookie cutters, safety scissors and more then to let the girls play.

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

When you’re finished playing, no need to throw away your dough. Just roll it into a ball, gently sprinkle it with a flour and salt mixture and store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

Do you have children or grandchildren at home that would love this idea? Let me know if you try it with them.

Once you have this recipe down, swap out the scent and color to suit any holiday or festivity. Try peppermint oil and/or ground cinnamon and red food dye to make Christmas play dough for the holidays. 


Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

  • Author: Holley Grainger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4


Who said you can’t play with your food when it means turning yummy smelling pumpkin pie spice into fun and festive Pumpkin Pie Play Dough. With just all-purpose flour, salt, and warm water, you can turn simple ingredients into hours of fun.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 12 drops yellow food coloring
  • 7 drops red food coloring
  • Additional flour and salt as needed


  1. Mix flour, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Stir until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine warm water and food coloring.
  3. Pour water mixture into flour and stir until combined and then need until flour is absorbed.
  4. If flour mixture is sticky, add additional flour and salt until it resembles a play dough consistency.
  5. Store in an airtight container

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Pumpkin Pie Play Dough from Holley Grainger

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