Jell-O Shot — Learn How to Make the Fun Party Shot

Jello shot recipe in several different flavors
The Spruce
  • Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
34 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 34
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 11mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 5g
Calcium 5mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Jell-O Shots are so easy that anyone can learn how to make them. They're delicious and sure to be a big hit at any party. You really cannot go wrong with these boozy little treats.

Sometimes called "jelly" shots, these popular shooters can be made in any flavor you wish, and you can spike them with your favorite liquor. Vodka and rum are the most popular options, but just about anything is possible.

This recipe is for a single 3-ounce box of flavored gelatin, which is the most common size. It will make about 16 (1-ounce) shots, and you can multiply the recipe to make more or to fit bigger cups. It's very easy to scale this recipe up.

What if you want them stronger? Resist the urge to swap out a higher proof liquor such as Everclear. Your best bet is to add a little more 80-proof liquor and cut a bit of the water. You'll want to keep the liquor and the alcohol content in check, for a few reasons. A clear vodka tastes better than Everclear; you want these shots to taste good. Plus, often, people will have a few Jell-O Shots along with other alcohol, and using Everclear in the shots can easily send a person over the edge. And finally, if you use a higher-proof liquor, you may have some issues getting the shots to set up. Liquor has a different freezing point than water, so you need to maintain a balance among the alcohol and the other liquids.

If you want to experiment, you can transform almost any of your favorite cocktail recipes into a jelly shot. The key is to maintain the original cocktail's proportions while keeping the volume of chilled liquid at 1 cup (8 ounces). It can be a little tricky, but it's not impossible.

For example, in the whiskey sour Jell-O Shot, 1/4 cup water is mixed with 3 ounces of whiskey, 1 ounce of simple syrup, and 2 ounces lemon juice. The original whiskey sour's ingredients retain the ratio of the cocktail to keep the flavor authentic and add up to 6 ounces, which is why the cold water is cut to 1/4 cup (2 ounces).

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Watch Now: 5 Jello Shots from Basic to Amazing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vodka (or other liquor)
  • 1/2 cup water (cold)
  • 1 3-ounce package gelatin (any flavor)
  • 1 cup water (boiling)
  • Optional: food coloring

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Jell-O Shot ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the liquor and cold water and place this in the refrigerator to reach a consistent temperature. 

    Combine liquor and cold water in a bowl
    The Spruce 
  3. In a separate bowl, add the gelatin, then the boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

    Gelatin and boiling water in a measuring cup
    The Spruce 
  4. Stir in the chilled liquor and cold water mix. Add food coloring if you want to enhance or change the color.

    Stirred gelatin and water mixture in a glass bowl
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  5. Pour into shot glasses, molds, or a baking pan. 

    Jell-O mixture poured into shot glasses or molds
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  6. Refrigerate until the liquid sets. It will take at least 2 hours but overnight is recommended. Serve cold and enjoy.

    Finished chilled Jell-O Shots
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Tips

  • Small, plastic shot cups are perfect for serving because the drinker can just squeeze the shot into their mouth.
  • If you're making these a couple days ahead of time and/or taking these to a party, buy shot cups with lids to protect your creations and store in the fridge until serving.
  • If you serve the shots in glass, it's best to provide miniature spoons so guests can dig out the gelatin.
  • Using a sheet of gelatin is the easiest option and produces the least amount of waste. Any baking pan with sides will do, even a glass pie dish. Cut the set gelatin into portions and either lay them out on a serving tray or leave them in the dish for guests to grab as they wish. Set out small plates and napkins so things don't get too messy.
  • If you want to remove the gelatin from a mold for serving, you might need to reduce the liquid volume slightly to get it firmer. For instance, these fun Jell-O Easter eggs needed just 1/2 cup of total liquid for a 3-ounce package of gelatin, but it's a very distinct shape that needs to hold up on its own. If you're going for something similar, try a test batch with all the liquids cut in half or double up on the gelatin.

Recipe Variations

There are many things you can do to customize your Jell-O Shots. Experiment with any of these ideas and be sure to start out with a test batch before increasing the recipe, so you know if it will work out.

  • Flavored gelatin: Flavored gelatin is your best option, and there are many to choose from. You can also use it to replace or enhance a certain flavor. In the Margarita Jell-O Shot, for example, the lime-flavored gelatin gives a nice boost to the lime juice and switching to strawberry gelatin creates an imitation of the Strawberry Margarita.
  • Unflavored gelatin: Use unflavored gelatin when you want the other flavors to shine. Plain gelatin usually comes in 1/4-ounce envelopes with 2 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin, which should gel the two cups of liquid used in this recipe.
  • Flavored booze: Use flavored vodkas, rums, and tequilas to add to the flavor of your Jell-O Shots.
  • Sweeten it up: If your shot is too tart, add a little sweetness. Simple syrup works best and can take the place of a portion of the water; 1 ounce or less should do.
  • Add food coloring: Some of the shots that use unflavored gelatin can look dull and boring. While the mix is still a liquid, you can change or enhance the color by adding small amounts of food coloring until you get the desired color.
  • Colorful shots: Distinguish flavored shots by their color. For example, use yellow for a banana daiquiri, red for a planter's punch, and blue for a blue Hawaiian.
  • Layer your gelatin: To make layers, begin by making one flavor of gelatin and fill cups 1/2 or 1/3 of the way full. Chill these until it's almost set (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours) before adding the next flavor. Repeat until you have completed your layers.
  • Use fruit molds: The rinds of citrus fruits are fun molds for your shots. Cut lemons, limes, or oranges in half and remove all of the fruit, leaving the peel intact. Fill this "bowl" with gelatin and allow it to set, then cut it into thirds or quarters for single-serve pieces. The candy corn oranges recipe offers great inspiration for this technique.
  • Fruity bits: Give your guests a fun surprise by adding small fruit to the gelatin before it sets up. Berries and pitted cherries are perfect for this.

How Strong Is a Jell-O Shot?

If you make the basic Jell-O Shot with a single 80-proof liquor, the alcohol content comes out to be about 12 percent ABV (24 proof). That's equivalent to the average wine. While a couple of 1-ounce shots may not get you drunk, overindulging on these shots can happen more quickly than you might expect.