Jell-O Shot Recipe: Learn How to Make the Fun Party Shot

The Spruce
  • 2 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs 20 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 16 1-ounce shots
Ratings (197)

Jell-O shots are fun for parties. They are both very easy to make and very popular, so you really cannot go wrong with these boozy little treats!

Jelly shots 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 anything is possible! The formula for this popular shooter recipe is very simple and it is just waiting for you to add a personal, creative touch.

How You Can Customize Your Jell-O Shots

There are many options when it comes to Jell-O shots. You can change the color by adjusting the amount of food coloring you use. Layering flavors and colors can produce imaginative, memorable servings. You also can cut out shapes with cookie cutters, use different sized cups or pour the unset mix into molds. And you can mix it up by replacing the vodka with tequila, rum, or any other libation.

The Basic Jell-O Shots Recipe

You really cannot go wrong with this recipe and your friends will love it. There are also more tips and recipes below that will get you started with new flavor ideas.

This recipe is for a single, 3-ounce box of 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.

What You'll Need

  • 3 ounces Jell-O or other gelatin (any flavor)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) vodka (or other distilled spirit)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Food coloring (optional)

How to Make It

  1. Combine the liquor and cold water and place this in the refrigerator so they are a consistent temperature. You should have 1 cup of cold liquid.
  2. Pour the gelatin into a bowl.
  3. Add boiling water, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  4. Stir in the chilled liquor and cold water mix. Add food coloring if you want to enhance or change the color.
  5. Pour into shot glasses, molds or a baking pan for a sheet of Jell-O to cut up once set. 
    • TipSmall, plastic shot cups are perfect because the drinker can just squeeze the shot out into their mouth. If you're taking these to a party, buy shot cups with lids so they don't spill.
  1. Refrigerate until the liquid sets. At least 2 hours, but overnight refrigeration is recommended.
  2. Serve cold.

Convert (Almost) Any Cocktail Into a Jelly Shot

You can make almost any of your favorite cocktail recipes into a jelly shot. It can be a little tricky, but with experimentation, you can get the mixture right. The key is to maintain the original cocktail's proportions while staying around 1 cup of total volume for the chilled liquid.

For example, in the Margarita Jelly Shot, 1/4 cup water is mixed with 3 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of triple sec and 2 ounces lime juice (the Margarita ingredients retain the ratio of the cocktail and equal 6 ounces, which is why the water is cut to 1/4 cup or 2 ounces).


Basic Tips for Making Jell-O Shots

  • Use unflavored gelatin when you want the other flavors to shine. Plain gelatin usually comes in 1/4 ounce packets and is perfect when you want the cocktail's ingredients to make up the shot's flavor.
  • Use flavored gelatin when replacing or enhancing a flavor of a drink's ingredient. For example, in the Margarita example above you can either let the lime juice stand alone, use lime-flavored gelatin to enhance the lime or a strawberry gelatin for an imitation of the Strawberry Margarita.
  • Use flavored vodkas, rums, and tequilas. This is a simple way to add or enhance flavors in Jell-O shots.
  • If your shot is too tart, counteract it by adding a little more sweetness. Simple syrup works best and if you use it, it can take the place of a portion of the water.
  • Add food coloring. Some of the shots that use unflavored gelatin can look dull and boring. If you have mixed all the ingredients together and find that you want to change or enhance the color, simply add small amounts of food coloring until you get the desired color.
  • Distinguish a variety shots by using different colors for each. For example, yellow for a Banana Daiquiri, red for a Planter's Punch, etc.
  • Have fun layering gelatin. To make layers, begin by making one flavor of jelly shot and fill cups 1/2 or 1/3 of the way full. Chill these until almost set (about 1-1 1/2 hours) then add the next flavor. Repeat until you have completed your layers.
  • Use citrus fruit rinds as molds for your shots. Cut 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. See the Candy Corn Oranges recipe for inspiration.
  • Add small fruit to the gelatin before it sets up. A fun addition is to place small fruits such as berries and cherries in the gelatin before it sets.

Is Everclear a Good Idea?

For the best Jell-O shots, keep the booze in check. Many people suggest using Everclear or another high-proof liquor in their Jell-O shots. There are three reasons why I recommend against this.

First of all, a clear vodka tastes better and these shots are supposed to taste good!

Second (and more often than not) people are going to have a number of Jell-O shots along with other alcoholic drinks.

Too many Jell-O shots made with Everclear can send a person over the edge. If you want a stronger shot, just add more 80 proof liquor and cut some of the water; it will be enough.

Finally, you need to find a balance between the alcohol content and the other liquids in order for your Jell-O shots to set up properly. Too much alcohol and your gelatin may be a sloppy mess.