Salt dough is a fabulous, quick, and easy clay-type material to make at home or in the classroom on a rainy day with kids. But one of the big drawbacks is the time that it takes to dry especially if you dry in the oven or air dry it. So this microwave salt dough recipe cuts the drying time down to just 3 minutes and is ideal to use to create your Christmas ornaments.

quick and easy microwave salt dough recipe ideal for kids crafts
Rolling out homemade salt dough to create salt dough ornaments and decorations with kids

Why You Should Make Salt Dough With Your Kids

  • It’s not always easy to plan to craft to get in some air-drying clay to create a sculpture or ornament but using just the 2 kitchen ingredients and water you can create something straight away with kids.
  • It’s non-toxic and if you want you can add some food colouring to create a coloured dough to then use. Great if you want a less messy alternative than painting the dried product.
  • Salt dough as well as being a fantastic material for crafting with kids is also great for fine motor skills.
  • You can get the kids to measure out the ingredients adding in a little maths.

Salt Dough Recipe for the Microwave

With a slight adaption to the typical recipe for salt dough, you can dry it in the microwave which means instead of hours to create your Christmas Tree Decorations they can be done within a matter of minutes.

Follow these instructions carefully and in 3 – 4 minutes you will have a salt dough ornament ready to decorate with acrylic paints.

For decorations like salt dough handprint crafts, you can then seal using mod podge or a polyurethane spray that means that these keepsakes last.

Salt Dough Ingredients

There are only 3 ingredients to salt dough, flour and salt and then warm water added to create the dough.

We recommend Plain (All Purpose Flour) as if you use self-raising flour it does what it says and rises when it’s baking.

Salt used needs to be finely ground your table salt that you fill the salt shaker with really is the best.

Water – slightly warm to the hand water we have found works best for this recipe.

Tips on making Salt DOugh in the microwave

Once you have made the dough and cut out the shapes you want then you need to dry them so you can paint them.

Traditionally the salt dough recipe is for drying in the oven but it can take 3 hours to dry a small ornament for the tree. Air drying can take a day or more.

Check out our classic salt dough recipe for how to dry salt dough in the oven.

Which is why following the instructions below carefully you can cut the drying time down to minutes and create a salt dough decoration in an hour or less.

But, the instructions do need to be carefully followed. You can’t go and put it on full power for 3 minutes a lot will depend on the size and thickness of the dough how long it takes so watch out for that when you place it in the microwave.

Thinner decorations take a lot less time to dry.

How to Microwave Salt Dough

Microwave Salt Dough Recipe for creating Christmas Decorations and Tree Ornaments. Saves time and can take as little as 3 minutes.
Salt Dough Star created by a toddler using this quick and easy dough recipe for the microwave

With your shapes ready to dry (don’t forget to put a hole in if they are to be hung), place them on a piece of kitchen paper on top of a microwavable plate and into the microwave.

Then zap the salt dough in the microwave take it 10 seconds at a time.


Because each microwave is different and even your salt dough will be slightly different than mine.

  • Water softness, as well as the brands of salt and flour that we use, can make a difference.
  • The thickness of our ornaments will be different as well.

By microwaving for 10 seconds and checking means that you can avoid over-cooking and you will get smooth decorations like below ready to paint.

If, after 3 minutes, they are still a little wet then just put them back in for 10-second increments until they’re done.

Let them cool, and then paint.

quickest ever salt dough recipe
Salt Dough Decorations for kids to make with this quick and easy recipe

Check out our Salt Dough FAQ’s if you want to know how best to store and even how to make white salt dough with the kids!

quick and easy microwave salt dough recipe ideal for kids crafts

Microwave Salt Dough Recipe

Cerys Parker
The perfect salt dough recipe to use with kids. It takes just 3 minutes to dry and then your salt dough ornaments and decorations can be painted.
3.84 from 67 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Time to Microwave 3 mins
Total Time 8 mins


  • Bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • Cookie Cutters (for making Christmas Ornaments)
  • Microwavable flat plate
  • Microwave



  • In a bowl mix the 3 ingredients together.
  • Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
  • Roll out or form into the shapes you want.
  • On a piece of kitchen paper place in the microwave.
  • Microwave in 10 second bursts checking regularly. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO IT IN SHORT BURST OTHERWISE IT WILL BURN!!!
  • Once dry remove and allow to cool before painting.
Keyword Salt Dough
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Ornaments and Decorations to Make with Salt Dough

Salt dough star garland with gingerbread scent
Star Garland created with homemade clay scented with gingerbread spices.

pretty salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree with pink glitter on
Salt dough decorations dried in the microwave and glitter added to hang on the Christmas Tree
Microwave Salt Dough Recipe ideal for crafting with kids to create some simple ornaments and decorations.
Simple Salt Dough Recipe to Create Ornaments and Decorations with Kids

Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.


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