Classic Jello Shots

5 from 42 votes

Whip up a batch of Jello shots for parties (for the 21+, of course!). These fun and colorful treats are a surefire way to get the party started. Please enjoy responsibly!

rainbow colored jello shots on a marble counter

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Brightly colored jello shots are the picture of college parties, but they can live on after graduation! Whether it’s a tailgate or a holiday party, these colorful gelatin treats can definitely help get the party going.

If you’ve never made them before, you’d be surprised how easy they are to make! Try this fun and classic party cocktail for your next party.

Jello shots recipe

Also known as jelly shots, basic jello shots are easy to make with store-bought, flavored gelatin, water and some kind of alcohol.

Instead of a box mix, you can also use plain, unflavored gelatin, but that is a recipe for another day! (However, if you’re at all intrigued, check out these champagne jello shots which follow that method.) The easiest way to make them is with flavored gelatin mix.

I made this rainbow batch from 8 flavors of Jell-O brand gelatin, and I even did a little color mixing (by combining the yellow and green to get a lighter share of lime green).

As far as alcohol, I typically use vodka, but you have options! (More on this below.)

stacks of jello shots with lids


You only need three ingredients for these easy jello shots. Here’s what to grab at the store:

Boxed gelatin dessert mix

The first ingredient you’ll need is a box of gelatin dessert mix.

JELL-O is probably the most well-known brand of flavored gelatin desserts and it comes in tons of fruity flavors. Jel is another brand out there. Also, your grocery stores may carry a store-brand version.

Jolly Rancher and Starburst (like the candy) also make gelatin mixes that purportedly taste like their candy namesakes.

Any of these should work fine. I used 8 regular gelatin flavors to make the rainbow selection presented here. (I also combined yellow and green to make a light green.)

You will need the 3-ounce box. If you use the 6-ounce box, you’ll need to double the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.

P.S. Don’t get the instant pudding mix! (But if you do, you can make pudding shots.)

a stack of rainbow jello shots with lids

Best alcohol for jello shots

Vodka is the most popular choice. However, it doesn’t stop at vodka jello shots. You can use a different alcohol like rum, tequila, bourbon and gin can all be used to make these fun gelatin treats.

You can also have fun with different flavors of spirits, like marshmallow vodka, spiced rum, peach schnapps, cinnamon whiskey, or pineapple rum.

The alcohol you use for Jell-O shots can be as potent as you like. I typically use 80-proof vodka for mine.

While it is tempting to use higher-proof alcohol for your jelly shots, they won’t get you drunk. They are a lot less boozy than a standard cocktail.

However, if you’d like a boozier shot, your best bet is to add more of the 80-proof liquor and reduce the amount of cold water you use.


The third ingredient you need is water! It needs to be warm to melt into the gelatin, so use a kettle, a saucepan or the microwave to heat it up.

jello shots strewn about on a marble counter

Best cups for jello shots

Jello shots are most often served in little cups for individual enjoyment. Here are some of the best jello shot cups out there:

Jello shot cups with lids are great for storing a lot in the fridge (they stack!) and for transporting (their smooth tops are protected!)

These plastic shot glasses, which I use in these paloma jello shots, are great for shots that look like mini cocktails.

You can even make them jigglers style (remember those?) by pouring the mixture into a lightly-greased baking dish, then cutting them into squares.

At Halloween, these plastic syringes make for a super creepy presentation! (Especially if you pair them with vodka gummy worms.)

If you don’t have enough of the small shot glasses, you can use ice cube trays or even a muffin tin.

How to make jello shots

With only three ingredients, jello shots are a simple recipe that you will master in no time.

Since we are adding booze, make sure you follow these instructions instead of the box.

orange gelatin dessert mix is poured into a mixing bowl with a spout

Add your jello mix to a mixing bowl.

boiling water pouring into jello

Top with boiling water.

a spoon stirring jello

Stir until the mix has completely dissolved and you can’t see any granules of the mix in the liquid. (Some may stick to the bowl, which is fine.)

vodka pouring into orange jello

Stir in your alcohol of choice (typically 1 cup vodka).

(If you’re making them non-alcoholic, use a cup of water — cold — to the gelatin mixture.)

a measuring cup pouring jello into cups

Pour the jello mixture into your jello shot cups. You can also use a turkey baster to transfer the mixture to the cups.

a tray with jello shots

Store them in the fridge to set. I recommend placing them on a baking sheet or tray. You can also store them in plastic containers.

Repeat with all the gelatin packets you plan to make!

Jello shot flavors

You can get crazy with these fun flavor combinations for your jello shooters:

  • Cherry Coke shots — switch the water for cola when making black cherry gelatin, then top with a cocktail cherry
  • Margarita jello shots — use lime gelatin with tequila (add some extra lime juice if you wish)
  • Strawberry daiquiri shots — mix strawberry jello with rum
  • Piña colada shots — prepare pineapple gelatin with coconut rum
  • Grape ape shots — use grape jello and grape schnapps
  • Lemon daiquiri shots — use lemon gelatin with white rum
  • Peach cobbler shots — peach gelatin with peach schnapps, topped with whipped cream

You can dream up your own recipes, too! Let me know what you come up with.

colorful jello shots on marble

How to eat jello shots

The perfect way to eat jello shots is to rub your finger around the inside edge of the container to loosen the gelatin. (If you grease the cups lightly beforehand, this will be easier.) Then toss the shot back and suck it out. It’s not glamorous!

You can also use a butter knife instead or use a spoon to scoop out the jello if you prefer. There are no rules!

These plastic jello shot cups have an “easy squeeze” design to make them easy to get out.

Can you freeze jello shots?

No, jello shots do not freeze well. You can make them a couple of days ahead of your event, however.

Can you get drunk from jello shots?

Technically, yes, but it might take a while. There’s not that much alcohol per shot (roughly 4 jello shots would equal 1 ounce of booze) so you’d need to enjoy a lot of them.

More jello shot questions? Head to Jello Shots 101.

jello shots with lids

More jello shot recipes

I have a number of choices for you if you’re ready to choose your next jello shot recipe! These ones use unflavored gelatin, which makes them more grown-up than the jello shots of your college days.

colorful jello shots on marble

Jello Shots

Yield: 24 jello shots
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Learn how to make perfect jello shots and you will be the hit of any party!
5 from 42 votes
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  • 1 cup water
  • 3 ounces flavored gelatin dessert mix any flavor
  • 1 cup vodka or other spirit


  • Bring water to a boil on the stove, in a kettle or in the microwave.
  • Pour gelatin mix into a mixing bowl or large measuring cup. Top with boiling water. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Let cool slightly, 5 minutes.
  • Stir in vodka.
  • Pour mixture into jello shot cups. Chill in the fridge for 4 hours.


Lightly grease cups before adding gelatin to help them unstick easier.
Use any flavor of gelatin you desire to make fun flavor combinations with the booze.
Use cups with lids on them if you plan to transport them.

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nutrition information

Yield: 24 jello shots

amount per serving:

Serving: 1jello shot Calories: 37kcal Carbohydrates: 3g Protein: 0.3g Sodium: 17mg Potassium: 0.3mg Sugar: 3g Calcium: 0.4mg Iron: 0.01mg
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5 from 42 votes (41 ratings without comment)

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  1. Mandy Applegate says

    Made these for a party last night, my only regret is that I didn’t make double – they were SO good!

  2. Sherry says

    My nephew just got married and he requested that I make jello shots for the dollar dance at his wedding. After making your awesome jello shots recipe, it was a really big hit.

  3. Patrice says

    I love jello shots. Thank you for sharing the different variations. That Strawberry daiquri was everything. I’m making more this weekend.

  4. Claire says

    These were so much fun!! I only did two flavors as it was for a bachelorette party so we wanted just pink and purple one.
    Went with vodka this time. But I am loving the idea of cherry coke and pina colada jelly shots!
    Thanks for such in-depth instructions, they came out perfectly!

  5. Michaela Kenkel says

    The photography in this Jell-O shot post is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!! Thank you so much for including some of our favorite Jell-O shot recipes!

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