How to Make Jello Shots

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Jello shots are the cocktail’s fun, energetic cousin. They’re like your usual shots, but made with jello, so you can eat them with a spoon or pop them directly into your mouth!

Since they’re made with everyone’s favorite gelatin, they also open up a new avenue of flavors, tastes, and textures that you can use to spice up any party. Not only are they guaranteed to be loads of fun, but jello shots are also incredibly easy to make.

how do you make jello shots

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All you need are a few basic ingredients that any party host already has lying around. Then you just mix it up, leave it alone for a few hours to set, and you’ll have the perfect snack (with a kick) ready to go.

With so many things that you need to organize in a party, jello shots are a great way to ensure that you have a snack that you can’t go wrong with.

How to Make Jello Shots

So how do you make jello shots? If you’re not the best at the kitchen, then this is the ideal party favor.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a basic recipe that you can tweak to your heart’s content.

There are also a number of ways to get creative with jello shots – so we’ll also be discussing ways to add flair to this simple recipe.

Basic Recipe

The basic recipe for jello shots calls for just three ingredients: water, gelatin, and alcohol.

For assembly, we have the following:

  1. Mix a half cup of alcohol and a half cup of cold water. Let this mixture chill in the freezer.
  2. While chilling your alcohol, prepare the gelatin. All you need to do is bring a half cup of water to a boil, add the gelatin packet (any brand will do), and stir. You can buy pre-colored or clear jello, and with the latter option, some food dye will spice up the look.
  3. Pour this mixture into any container. Regular shot glasses, as well as shallow plastic cups, work great for jello recipes. Then, let this mixture set for a few hours in the refrigerator (at least two hours is best to ensure it sets properly). Make sure to serve chilled!

Jello Shot Recipe Variations

Because jello shot recipes are so simplistic, there are a great many ways to spice things up. In nearly any part of this recipe, you can swap ingredients to match the theme of your party.

how to make jello shots with vodka

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Of course, the most important part of a jello shot is the alcohol. You can use pretty much any type of alcohol, but let’s look at some of the different flavors you can try.

How to Make Jello Shots with Vodka

The most common type of alcohol used in jello shots is vodka. Its taste is rather neutral and can be easily overshadowed by the flavor of jello, making it a calm option that lets you enjoy the sweetness of the gelatin, while also keeping it from being too sweet.

If you’re wondering how to make jello shots with vodka, you only need a half cup! Then continue with the recipe listed above.


A good alternative to vodka is rum. There are many flavored rums you can experiment with, or you can choose between spiced and white rum. The former will have more zest, while the latter will be smoother.

When using rum for a jello shot, it’s important to note that it’s more difficult to use than vodka, unless you use white rum.

White rum will stay neutral, like vodka, but spiced rum is distinctly colored. As such, it may give your otherwise flamboyantly pink shot a dirty brown shade. It’ll taste great, but it’s not as aesthetically pleasing, so be prepared to make sacrifices in this case.


Tequila has that unparalleled taste that gives punch to any margarita – and pairs exceptionally well with jello.

You can find tequilas in yellows or whites, depending on the brand and flavoring, so you’ll encounter a similar issue as with the rum. However, yellow does blend better than brown!

When you pair yellow tequila with yellow jello, it creates a distinct margarita theme. If you’re wondering how to make a jello shot with tequila, it’s all about chilling it.

The tequila will settle in the jello far more evenly once it’s cold.

how to make strong jello shots

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If your party is a celebration, whether for a promotion or a birthday, champagne is your friend. After all, what’s a celebration without a good dose of bubbly?

As a bonus, with jello shots, you don’t even need to use a fancy, expensive bottle of champagne. That cheap bottle you’ve been meaning to get to is a great candidate.

The same measurements apply to champagne jello shots, though the bubbly nature allows you to get more creative.

Give your shots a sparkly texture by adding superfine sugar, sprinkles, or even pop rocks to the recipe – though be sure they’re distributed lightly, so you get the effect without too much crunch.

They’ll taste sweet, look wonderfully shiny, and give that fun-loving edge to your party!

Vegan Options

If you want vegan options for jello shots, don’t worry! You can cater to everyone, even the vegans in your group. After all, what’s a party if everyone isn’t having fun?

Gelatin is made with collagen, which isn’t a vegan-friendly ingredient.  In order to create a more wholesome jello shot, just substitute the gelatin with agar-agar.

Agar-agar is made from red algae, which means that it isn’t sourced from animals. It is also found in a lot of Asian desserts because it sets very much in the same way as gelatin.

When substituting, however, be mindful of the fact that, while agar-agar will set the same way as gelatin, you will have to tweak your recipe.

A good rule of thumb is to use one tablespoon of agar or one teaspoon of agar powder for every cup of liquid. Also note that, unlike gelatin, you will need to boil agar-agar, otherwise it will not set. Let it boil for about five minutes.

Here’s a video showing an example of how to make jello shots.

Fun Jello Shot Recipes

Since jello shots are so easy to customize, you can come up with extremely fun looks.

To personalize your shots, try using different molds to create different shapes for your jello, such as stars, hearts, or even little wine glasses.

You could also add fun stuff to your recipe, such as edible glitter as a topping, so they sparkle!

Creative recipes don’t just stop at different shapes and toppings, though. How about a shot that has different layers in different colors? Or a shot that glows in the dark?

Here are some guides to set your creativity in motion.

Layered Jello Shots

We could do away with the boring single-color jello shots that every other party has.

Layered jello shots add an entirely new dimension to these fun party snacks, since you can add as many colors as you want!

When making layered jello shots, simply follow the same recipe as above, using clear jello.

If you want multiple colors in your jello shot, simply divide your mixture into the number of colors that you want and add the food dye separately. Then, add the mixture layer by layer, making sure that the previous has set well before adding the next.

Allowing each layer to set for at least one hour will ensure that your layers are sturdy enough to handle this structure and that one color won’t bleed into another. However, colors bleeding slightly could be an effect worth going for!

When making layered jello shots, you can add as many colors as you like. Why not go wild and make rainbow jello shots?

how to make jello shots

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Glow in the Dark Jello Shots

What if you’re not in the mood for something colorful? If the dark side is more to your taste, you can always go for glow in the dark jello shots.

These require a bit of tweaking in the recipe. You’re going to need tonic water (which can glow under UV light), the same amount that you would need for normal tap water. Then, flavor and color it as you usually would, and put it in the freezer to set.

These jello shots require a black-light to stay glowing, but for a club-themed party, that’s no problem!

Syringe Jello Shots

Also called jello shooters, syringe jello shots are another fun snack you can add to a party. Instead of boring cups, you could eat your jello using syringes!

The recipe deviates slightly from the one above. To make jello shooters, note the amount of water required in the pack and divide this in half. That will be the amount of water you need to boil. Dissolve your gelatin in this boiling water.

After the gelatin has dissolved, add in cold booze that equals the amount of water you added. Pour this mixture into syringes, freeze, and enjoy!

How to Make Jello Shots More Creative

Mix-matching the tweaks listed above can allow you to develop something entirely new – and awesome!

If you customize the shots to match your party’s theme, it’ll give extra flare to the entire event.

Here are a few recipes that can help you get your brain rolling for the perfect theme to suit your next party.

how do you make jello shots

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Beach Party

If your party takes place on a beach, creating a margarita flavored shot just isn’t enough. Why not create a shot that’s dyed bright blue, and then add sugar to represent sand on top?

You can also add in candies shaped like fish, starfish, or shells. Stick in a cocktail umbrella and – voila – you have the perfect jello drink for the beach.

Halloween Ideas

There are so many Halloween recipes worth trying on jello shots. The classic sap-green jello shot is a good addition to any spooky party, but why not step it up a notch?

A deep violet layer that seeps slightly into the top layer of green jello can be a great way to invoke that Halloween vibe. Then just add a few gummy worms that poke out of the jello and bring that vibe home!

Holiday Ideas

If you’re partying during the holiday season, be sure that your shots match the theme!

You can allow your layers to dry diagonally by letting your shots set tilted to one side. In this way, you can have layers that look like candy canes!

You can also put this shot in a syringe to reinforce that candy cane imagery.

Here’s another creative holiay jello shot recipe.

How Long Does It Take to Make Jello Shots?

The making of a jello shot doesn’t take too long; it’s the setting that requires time. The more layers there are in your shots, the longer it will take to set.

This is also why jello shots make great snacks for a party; while you’re waiting for your jello to set, you could busy yourself with other aspects of the party, such as the decorations and music.

As a rule of thumb, it will take an hour for each layer in a jello shot to set. The actual time spent making the recipe is about ten minutes.

How to Make Strong Jello Shots

Of course, sometimes you want your shots to have more kick. For those who need something stronger to feel the buzz, you can whip up a batch with far more alcohol.

Simply tweak the recipe to include 1/4 cup more alcohol, or scale it up as necessary until you feel the burn. Be sure to reduce the amount of water included in equal portions, so the jello sets properly.

For those in your party who would rather have less alcohol, you can always make weaker jello shots by using less alcohol and adding more water in equal portions.

Another good way to decrease or increase the amount of alcohol in your shots is by changing the alcohol that you’re using. Some brands and kinds will have different proof levels, which equates to more or less kick.

The Perfect Time for Jello Shots

Their versatility makes jello shots the perfect snack-drink hybrid for almost every party there is. So, go whip up some shots, get a little creative, and wow your guests!

What is your favourite jello shot recipe?


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