Fun and Easy Jell-O Shots

Jello Shots

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Refrigerate : 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 16 shots
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
22 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 22
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2mg 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.)

Colorful and delicious, boozy Jell-O shots are always a sure hit at any party. 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. Once you have this basic Jell-O shot recipe down you can dress up your shooters with different colors, flavors, and add-ins.

Choosing a Flavored Gelatin for Your Shots

The first order of business when making jelly shots is choosing a gelatin to use—Jell-O is simply one popular brand of sweetened, flavored gelatin but the name is often used for any flavored gelatin—just like "Band-Aid" has come to describe any sort of adhesive bandage.

Most jelly shots are made with flavored gelatin (strawberry, raspberry, or lemon are always good choices!), but you can also buy unflavored gelatin and add your own flavorings. Our recipe calls for a 3-ounce box of flavored gelatin—the most common size you'll find at the grocery store.

Gelatin is made from animal collagen, but you can find store-bought vegan alternatives to make jiggly treats too.

The Best Alcohol for Jell-O Shots

Because of its neutral taste, vodka is widely considered the best liquor for Jell-O shots. It's like a blank canvas for the other flavors. 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.

If you prefer a more flavor-forward shot, rum also works well. You can also use tequila, whiskey, brandy, or gin, or experiment with flavored liquors, such as lemon vodka.

For the best results, stick to a liquor that's about 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume). Even if you'd like boozier shots, resist the urge to use a higher-proof liquor such as Everclear.

There are a few reasons for this: First, 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. You need to maintain a balance between the alcohol and the other liquids or you might end up with a shot that's more soupy than jiggly. Second, high-proof alcohols tend not to taste as good as other liquors. And finally, packing a high-proof alcohol into a sweet little package makes it all too easy for people to overdo it.

How to Make Jell-O Shots in Cups, Shot Glasses, or a Pan

Once you've gathered your Jell-O and liquor of choice, the process of making Jell-O shots is simple: You simply combine the alcohol and cold water, dissolve the flavored gelatin in boiling water, mix the two liquids together, pour into a mold, and refrigerate until set.

Our recipe makes 16 1-ounce shots from a 3-ounce box of flavored gelatin. Scale this recipe up to make more shots or to fit bigger cups.

To mold the shots, you can use 1-ounce disposable plastic cups, shot glasses, or silicone molds in any shape. If using individual cups, place them on a sheet pan so it's easy to transfer them to to the fridge. For easy pouring into the shots, use a turkey baster or a pitcher with a thin spout.

Although individual shots are easier to serve and involve very little cleanup, you can also make a tray of spiked Jell-O and cut it into cubes to serve. Any baking pan with sides will do—even a glass pie dish. Once it's set, simply cut the 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.

Jell-O Shot Recipe Tips

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

  • For more vibrantly colored shots, you can add a few drops of food coloring to the mixture before pouring it into the mold.
  • Small plastic shot cups are perfect for serving because a good squeeze pops the shot into your mouth. To make this easier, spray some cooking oil into the cups before pouring the liquid in, or rub them with a tiny drop of vegetable oil. This won't affect the taste.
  • If making the shots a couple days ahead of time and/or taking them 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.

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 to make jello shots

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

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

    A bowl of water and vodka

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

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

    A glass measuring cup of gelatin and hot water

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  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.

    A bowl of green gelatin-vodka mixture and a bowl of yellow gelatin-vodka mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Pour the mixture into shot glasses, molds, or a baking pan. Refrigerate until the liquid sets—at least 2 hours, but overnight is recommended. Serve cold and enjoy.

    A sheet tray of jello shots in small plastic cups

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

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:  You can use flavored gelatins to replace or enhance certain flavors in your shots. For example, in this 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 shots that use unflavored gelatin can look dull and boring. While the mixture 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 alcohol, such as vodka, rum, or tequila to boost 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.

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.