Fun and Easy Jell-O Shot

Line-up of Jell-O shots in green, yellow, purple, and red in small plastic cups

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Refrigerate : 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 16 shots
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
21 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 0mg 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 an easy and fun treat. Colorful and delicious, these boozy little treats are always a sure hit. Sometimes called "jelly" shots, these popular shooters can be made in any gelatin flavor and spiked with your favorite liquor. Vodka and rum are the most popular options, but just about anything is possible. This recipe doesn't require a fine vodka; a good-enough budget-friendly bottle will do, as the sweet flavor of the gelatin will balance out the vodka flavors.

Our recipe makes 16 1-ounce shots from a 3-ounce box of flavored gelatin—the most common commercially available size. Scale this recipe up to make more shots or to fit bigger cups. For easy pouring into the shots, use a turkey baster or a pitcher with a thin spout.

Although shots are easier, with very little cleanup, you can also make a tray of spiked gelatin. Any baking pan with sides will do, even a glass pie dish. Simply 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.


Watch Now: 5 Jello Shots from Basic to Amazing

"Some infamous party drinks don't live up to the hype, but I think the Jell-O shot does. Sure, it's a bit of a gimmick, but it's genuinely tasty and you do get a solid kick from the booze. Plus, it's an excuse to eat Jell-O!" —Tom Macy

Fun and Easy Jell-O Shot Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 1/2 cup vodka, or other liquor

  • 1 (3-ounce) package gelatin, any flavor

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • Food coloring, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Jell-O shots recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. In a small bowl, combine the cold water and liquor. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to reach a consistent temperature. 

    Liquor and water combined in a glass bowl

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  3. In a separate bowl, place the gelatin, and slowly add the boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

    Red gelatin fully dissolved in water in a glass measuring cup

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  4. Pour the gelatin mixture into the water and liquor mixture. Stir well. If using food coloring to change or enhance the color, add it now.

    Red gelatin added to liquor and and water mixture in glass bowl

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  5. Pour the mixture into shot glasses, molds, or a baking pan. 

    Red Jell-O shot mixture poured into small plastic cups

    The Spruce Eats

  6. Refrigerate until the liquid sets—at least 2 hours, but overnight is recommended. Serve cold and enjoy.

    Table filled with set red Jell-O shots in small plastic cups

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For Fun Shots

Here are a few expert tips on how to make the best Jell-O shots:

  • Small, plastic shot cups are perfect for serving because a good squeeze pops the shot into your mouth. To make this easier, you could spray some cooking oil into the cups, or rub them with a tiny drop of vegetable oil. This won't affect the taste.
  • If 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 small glasses, it's best to provide miniature spoons so guests can dig out the gelatin.
  • To make a bigger Jell-O creation and easily unmold it, reduce the liquid volume slightly. Try a test batch with all the liquids cut in half or double up on the gelatin.

Customize Your Shots

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 scaling up the recipe:

  • Mix and match flavored gelatin: Use it to replace or enhance a certain flavor. In the margarita Jell-O shot, the lime-flavored gelatin gives a nice boost to the lime juice, but switching to strawberry gelatin creates an imitation of the strawberry margarita.
  • Unflavored gelatin: Plain gelatin usually comes in 1/4-ounce envelopes with 2 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin, which should gel the 2 cups of liquid used in this recipe. Use unflavored gelatin when you want other flavors to shine. Some of the shots that use unflavored gelatin can look dull and boring. While the mix is still liquid, change or enhance the color by adding small amounts of food coloring until you get the desired hue.
  • Flavored booze: Use flavored vodka, rum, or tequila to add to the flavor of your Jell-O shots.
  • Color by flavor: Distinguish flavored shots by their color. Use yellow for a banana daiquiri, red for a planter's punch, and blue for a blue Hawaiian.
  • Rainbow shot: 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 the layers.
  • Fruit molds: The rinds of citrus fruits are fun molds for shots. Cut lemons, limes, or oranges in half and remove all of the fruit, leaving the peel intact. Fill this "bowl" with the gelatin mixture and allow it to set. Cut each rind into thirds or quarters for single-serve pieces.
  • Fruity bits: Add small fruit pieces to the gelatin before it sets up. Berries and pitted cherries are the perfect accessories.
  • Sweeten it up: If the shot is too tart, add simple syrup in lieu of a portion of the cold water—1 ounce or less of syrup should do.

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 cold liquid at 8 ounces.

Why Not Use a Higher-Proof Alcohol?

Even if you'd like boozier shots, resist the urge to use a higher-proof liquor such as Everclear. Your best bet is to add a little more of an 80-proof liquor and cut a bit of the cold water. You'll want to keep the alcohol content in check, for a few reasons:

  • A clear vodka tastes better than Everclear.
  • Often, people will have a few Jell-O shots along with other alcohol, so using Everclear in the shots can easily send a person over the edge.
  • If you use a higher-proof liquor, you may have some issues getting the shots to set up, as liquor has a different freezing point than water, so you need to maintain a balance between the alcohol and the other liquids.

How Strong Is a Jello 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.