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!
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.)
You only need three ingredients for these easy jello shots. Here’s what to grab at the store:
Boxed gelatin dessert mix
Jell-O is 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 namesakes.
Any of these should work fine. I used 7 regular Jell-o flavors and 1 flavor of the Starburst brand (the light pink) to make the rainbow selection presented here. (I also combined yellow and green to make 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.)
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.
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.
Best cups for jello shots
Jello shots are most often served in little cups for individual enjoyment.
Jello shot cups with lids are great for storing a lot in the fridge (they stack!) and for transporting (their smooth tops are protected!)
You can even make them jigglers style (remember those?) by pouring the mixture into a lightly-greased baking dish, then cutting them into squares.
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.
Add your jello mix to a mixing bowl.
Top with boiling water.
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.)
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.)
Pour the jello mixture into your jello shot cups. You can also use a turkey baster to transfer the mixture to the cups.
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 jello 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.
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 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.
- St. Patrick’s Day jello shots
- Mojito jello shots
- Gin & tonic jello shots (that glow in the dark!)
- Paloma jello shots
- Bourbon apple cider jello shots
- Mint julep jello shots
- 1 cup water
- 1 (3-ounce) package 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 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 22Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g