Guide to Jello Shots: Recipes, Ideas & Tips

Jello Shot Recipes

Jello shots (or jelly shots) were once the stuff of cheap booze and tawdry frat parties. But in recent years, their reputation has taken a turn for the better, Now, they are being embraced by adults with actual tastebuds who serve them not simply as a means to get drunk but as a fun and novel way to enjoy cocktails in edible form.

Sure, you can still follow the basic flavored gelatin + vodka in a dixie cup formula, but today’s jello shots go way beyond that in terms of taste and presentation. This guide provides you with some general tips, ideas, and recipes to embrace the evolution of jello shots for your next party.


How to Make Jello Shots


Regardless of whether you use flavored gelatin mixes or unflavored gelatin powders, the general process of making jello shots is the same: dissolve gelatin in a hot liquid (generally juice or water, but tea and coffee are other options), stir in cold liquor, and chill to set. The variance comes in the type of hot liquid used, your liquor choice, the ratio of liquor(s) to other liquids, and the type of vessel your use to chill your jello.

For most jello shot recipes, you don’t need more than a stove, a saucepan, shot cups or a baking pan, and a refrigerator.


Different Ways to Serve Jello Shots


Say goodbye to dixie cups. Half the fun of jello shots is the presentation, and you have many options to choose from.

glass jello shot cups

Glass Jello Shot Cups

Using traditional shot glasses (made of actual glass) to serve your jello shots has the advantage of looking particularly classy. Plus, you can see through them clearly, which is a bonus if you are doing any layering, gradients, or other special jello shot effects.

Their downside? You will need a small spoon to actually consume the shots. And you will have extra dishes to do at the end of the party. They are particularly good for more special or formal jello shot occasions.

plastic jello shot cups

Plastic Jello Shot Cups

Plastic jello shot cups are also clear, but they give off a more casual vibe than their glass counterparts. Many types come with lids for easier transport, and some plastic cups are soft enough to allow users to squeeze the jello right from them, eliminating the need for a spoon. Con: plastic cups create a lot of waste.

Paper Jello Shot Cups

The advantages and disadvantages of paper and plastic cups are pretty similar. The difference is, paper cups aren’t clear, making them more appropriate for plain jello shots without a lot of visual interest. But they are also significantly cheaper. If you are making hundreds of jello shots, that might be important to you.

orange jello shot cup

Edible Jello Shot Cups

Waste is a non-issue when your jello shot cups are edible. Cordial cups in dark, white, or tuxedo chocolate are perfect for formal, dessert-style shots. You can also use hollowed-out fruits like strawberries, citrus, and even watermelons for phenomenal jello shot presentation.

cookie cutter jello shots

Cookie Cutter Jello Shots

If you let your jello shots set in a baking pan, you can cut out special shapes using cookie cutters, just as you would with cookie dough.

molded jello shots

Molded Jello Shots

Silicone candy and ice cube molds are also perfect for jello shots, and they generally permit a more detailed shape than cookie cutters allow. You’ll want to coat the inside of the molds with vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for easier removal. Wipe away any excess with a paper towel before filling, and place the molds on a baking sheet so you can transfer them to the refrigerator without spilling. Typically, you’ll also want to add additional unflavored gelatin to your recipe to make the final product firmer. Try adding ½ packet to your normal recipe to start.

hand cut jello shots

Hand-Cut Jello Shot Cubes

With a sharp, non-serrated knife, you can cut beautiful, minimalist jello shot cubes by hand. Just let the jello set in a cake or loaf pan and cut them as you would brownies or cookie bars (making sure to keep them under 1 ½ square inches so they can be consumed in one or two bites.

Jello Shot Injectors

For a novelty jello shooting experience, look no further than a jello shot injector. It looks like a syringe, and it’s reusable and easy to clean. Just fill your syringes will your jello mixture while it’s still liquid, and then place them in the fridge to set. When you’re ready, use the plunger to dispense the jello into your mouth.


Jello Shot Recipes by Type


– Vodka Jello Shots –

Traditional Jello Shot

Traditional Jello Shots

  • 10 ounces vodka
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages flavored gelatin (your choice of flavor)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Dissolve the packages of gelatin in 2 cups boiling water, stirring for at least 2 minutes, until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in ice-cold water and vodka. Pour mixture into shot glasses or paper cups. Let shots set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.


birthday cake jello shot

Birthday Cake Jello Shots

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add jello shot mix. Stir to dissolve fully. Add vodka and stir to combine. Pour in shot cups and refrigerate until firm. Makes 30-35 shots.


White Russian Jello Shots in Tuxedo Cups

White Russian Jello Shots

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ¾ ounce unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup Kahlua
  • 1 cup vodka

Pour evaporated milk in a saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak for a minute, then heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved. This should take a couple of minutes. Do not boil. Once dissolved, removed from heat and stir in Kahlua and vodka. Pour into desired shot glasses or baking pan and refrigerate until firm. If using dark chocolate, white chocolate, or tuxedo cordial cups, let the mixture cool to room temperature or just above so as not to melt the chocolate. Garnish with a chocolate covered espresso bean, chocolate sprinkles, or a dusting of espresso powder or cocoa.


Lemon Drop Jello shot

Lemon Drop Jello Shots

  • 2 (3 ounce) packages lemon flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup chilled lemon vodka

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat.  Dissolve the packages of gelatin in 2 cups boiling water, stirring for at least 2 minutes until gelatin is dissolved.  Add vodka.  Pour the mixture into shot glasses or paper cups.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

– Tequila Jello Shots –

margarita jello shot

Margarita Jello Shots

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add jello shot mix. Stir to dissolve fully. Add tequila and stir to combine. Pour in shot cups and refrigerate until firm. Makes 30-35 shots.


tequila sunrise jello shots

Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots

  • 1 ½ cups orange juice
  • 1 ½ cups tequila
  • ¾ ounce unflavored gelatin (like Knox)
  • ¾ cup grenadine

Pour orange juice in a saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak for a minute, then heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved. This should take a couple of minutes. Do not boil. Once dissolved, removed from heat and stir in tequila. Pour into desired shot glasses. Add a barspoon of grenadine to each shot glass. It should sink to the bottom to create a gradient effect. Refrigerate until firm.

– Rum Jello Shots –

pina colada jello shot

Pina Colada Jello Shots

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add jello shot mix. Stir to dissolve fully. Add rum and stir to combine. Pour in shot cups and refrigerate until firm. Makes 30-35 shots.


Rum & Coke Jello Shot

Rum and Coke Jello Shots

  • 2 (3 ounce) packages cherry flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling cola
  • 1 cup cold cola
  • 1 cup white rum

Dissolve the packages of Jello in boiling cola, stirring for at least 2 minutes until gelatin is dissolved. Add cold cola and white rum. Pour the mixture into shot glasses or paper cups. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.


daiquiri shot

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shots

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add jello shot mix. Stir to dissolve fully. Add rum and stir to combine. Pour in shot cups and refrigerate until firm. Makes 30-35 shots.

– Whiskey Jello Shots –

cinnamon jello shot

Hot Cinnamon Jello Shots

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add jello shot mix. Stir to dissolve fully. Add whiskey and stir to combine. Pour in shot cups and refrigerate until firm. Makes 30-35 shots.


Whiskey Sour Jello Shot

Whiskey Sour Jello Shots

  • ½ cup whiskey
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages of orange flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup cold water

Stir boiling water into gelatin until dissolved. Add cold water and whiskey. Pour mixture into shot glasses or paper cups. Let set in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.


Irish Coffee Jello Shots

Irish Coffee Jello Shots

Click here for the recipe


Frequently Asked Questions


How Many Jello Shots Does a Packet of Flavored Gelatin Make?

Flavored gelatin is typically sold in either a six-ounce box or a three-ounce box. A six-ounce box produces 16 to 20 two-ounce jello shots, while a three-ounce box produces 8 to 10 two-ounce Jello shots.


How Many Jello Shots Will I Need?

When throwing a party, it’s a good idea to make 2 to 4 jello shots for each guest.Of course, you make want to make more or less depending on how long the party lasts and how much your guests tend to drink.


How Long Does It Take to Make Jello Shots?

That depends on the recipe. But it’s fair to say most recipes don’t require more than about 15 to 20 minutes of active work. Most of the time is spent waiting for the shots to set in the refrigerator, which takes a few hours. Recipes that call for layering of jello flavors or other special effects may require more active time.


How Long Does It Take Jello Shots to Set?

Thin layers of gelatin might set in as little as an hour, but full-size shots and baking pans will take several hours.


How Long Do Jello Shots Last?

You can prepare jello shots a day ahead of time and store them covered in the refrigerator. If you are cutting the jello into shapes from a larger pan or applying any garnishes, it is best to wait until an hour or so before you plan on serving them.

12 Comments

  • Bill March 19, 2015 @ 12:41pm

    Bartender here. I ordered from Kraft jello molds full scale size of eggs.

    Happy Easter

  • karen May 17, 2015 @ 9:06pm

    Great recipes.

  • Dana June 21, 2015 @ 8:24am

    Making red, white and blue rum shooters in the shape of a flag on rectangle plate using cherry, blueberry and clear jello for 4th of July party.

    • Caleb Houseknecht June 22, 2015 @ 10:40am

      Hey there Dana,

      Sounds awesome! We’re about to do the same here at KegWorks for our Summer Cocktail Series. Keep your eye out for it later this week!

  • CHRIS February 24, 2016 @ 10:32am

    there all great.

  • Angela July 28, 2016 @ 8:40pm

    DIG THIS!

    • Caitlin Hartney August 2, 2016 @ 10:12am

      Awesome! Let us know how your shots turn out!

  • Roza Ricardo March 31, 2017 @ 6:18am

    I have also read an blog post for different types of jello shots, if any one need more information you can visit https://bestwaysto.net/different-types-of-jello-shots/ it helped me, so thought of sharing it

  • Judy April 15, 2017 @ 3:47pm

    I miss your old recipe page for Jell-O shots, it had more details and more variety, any chance you could send it out?

  • SANDIE K VEAZEY July 28, 2017 @ 9:28pm

    When using 80 proof absolute vodka do i use extra cold water and the same amount of hot water that is shown for traditional shots

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