This vodka Jello shots recipe uses boxed Jello, liquor, water and juice to make shooters that taste delicious. It’s a super easy recipe that can be made ahead of time and is perfect for serving to a crowd at a party.
Jello shots are one of my go-to party recipes.
And I’m talking about the simple ones made with a box of Jello and some alcohol (not the more complicated ones using unflavored gelatin).
They’re super easy to make, simple to serve for a crowd and can be made a day or two ahead of time.
The perfect party recipe if you ask me.
Plus, who doesn’t love Jello?
And when you use my easy flavor addition to make them taste even better, those Jello shots will fly off your serving tray.
This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission if you buy the products from these links (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But we only recommend products we would use ourselves. For more information, click here to see our disclosures
This recipe makes between 12 and 16 servings in a 2-ounce shot cup. The exact number will vary based on how big your Jello shot cups are, and how much you put in each one.
- Jello – Start by picking the color and flavor of Jello you want to use. One batch uses 1 small (3-oz) box. But if you’ll be serving for a crowd, you’ll want to double or triple the recipe (or make more than one flavor).
- Alcohol – You’ll need about ⅔ cup. The standard choice is vodka because it doesn’t have a strong flavor and mixes well with all of the Jello flavors. But you can use any type of alcohol you like. You are going to be mixing it with Jello so it doesn’t need to be a top shelf liquor. However, for the shots to actually taste good, you don’t want to use the cheapest one you can find either. Go for a good middle shelf brand such as Smirnoff for vodka, Bacardi for rum or Jose Cuervo for tequila.
- Juice – This is my secret ingredient for making Jello shots taste extra good. Replacing ⅓ cup of the water with juice adds more flavor and will take your shooters to the next level. Of course, you can just use water if you want to.
- Water – This is necessary for dissolving the gelatin.
Flavor combinations to try
If you’re not sure which alcohol or juice will taste good with your Jello, try one of these combinations:
- Lemon drop – Lemon Jello with vodka and lemon juice
- Margarita – Lime Jello with tequila and margarita mix
- Pina Colada – Island pineapple Jello with coconut rum and pineapple juice (or coconut milk)
- Strawberry Daiquiri – Strawberry Jello with rum and strawberry daiquiri mix (or strawberry margarita mix)
- Orange Creamsicle – Orange Jello with vanilla vodka (or whipped vodka) and orange juice
- Raspberry Lemonade – Raspberry Jello with vodka and lemonade
You can make your own flavor combinations by using one of these methods:
- Use a flavored vodka, liqueur and/or juice that is the same flavor as your Jello (such as citron vodka and lemon juice with lemon Jello). It always works!
- Look up a cocktail recipe with the same flavor as your Jello and see what alcohol and juice it uses.
How to make vodka jello shots
Set out about 16 shot cups on a baking sheet or tray. I find that 2-ounce cups are the best size for Jello shots.
You may not need all 16 of them, but it’s easier to put out too many than not enough.
I like to use these 2-ounce shot cups with lids*. You can stack them so they take up less space and you don’t have to worry about them spilling.
Putting them on a baking sheet catches any spills while you’re pouring and makes them easy to transport to the refrigerator.
Dissolve the Jello
Heat a kettle or pot of water on the stove over high heat.
Pour the Jello crystals into a bowl or a large measuring cup.
You’ll be putting in 2 cups of liquid so the bowl needs to hold at least 3 cups. For easy pouring, you’ll also want one with a spout.
When the water is boiling, pour 1 cup of it into the bowl.
Stir for a minute or two until all of the gelatin has dissolved.
Make sure that there are no crystals left in the water or the Jello may not set.
Mix in the liquor
Next we need to add the liquor and juice (or additional water).
To make sure none of the alcohol evaporates, some people don’t like to add the vodka until the Jello is completely cool.
I usually find that the gelatin mixture isn’t that hot after stirring so I don’t bother waiting. But you can let it sit for a few minutes before continuing if you’re concerned about that.
Using cold alcohol and juice will help the Jello to cool and set faster (but isn’t absolutely necessary).
Depending on how strong you like your Jello shots, the amounts of alcohol and juice can vary:
- I like to use ⅔ cup vodka (or other liquor) with ⅓ cup juice or water. That way they have a bit of a kick without being too strong.
- For strong Jello shots, use 1 cup alcohol without any juice or additional water.
- For weaker Jello shots, use ½ cup liquor and ½ cup juice or water.
Just make sure the total amount of cold liquid comes out to no more than 1 cup. Otherwise they may not set.
I like to put both the alcohol and juice into a measuring cup.
Then pour them both into the Jello mixture at the same time.
That way I know for sure that it doesn’t come out to more than a cup.
Pour the jello mixture into the shot cups so they are about ¾ full.
Not filling the shot cups all the way up makes it less likely they will spill when you put them in the refrigerator and leaves enough room to put the lid on without overflowing.
If the Jello mixture has not cooled completely, wait for a few minutes before putting the lids on the Jello shot cups.
This prevents condensation from forming inside the containers. The condensation does not affect the shots at all (so don’t worry if you get some). But they do look better without it.
Then put the Jello shots in the refrigerator and chill until set, about 4 hours (or overnight).
With the lids on, you can stack Jello shot cups on top of each other while they’re chilling. Which is great if you don’t have a lot of fridge space. (Always an issue for me when I’m getting ready for a party).
I like to serve Jello shots with these mini tasting spoons*. They’re the perfect size and make the Jello really easy to eat.
Although some people like the no-utensils approach to downing them, a lot of my friends appreciate having a spoon. That way you don’t have to worry about the Jello not sliding out easily.
If you want to get fancy, you can add a garnish just before serving, such as whipped cream, sugar crystals or a small fruit (like half a strawberry or a raspberry).
I don’t usually bother with this since you have to take the lids off (which kind of defeats the purpose of having them).
And it adds to the last minute things you have to do at your party (which I find stressful).
Jello shots can be stored for about three days in the refrigerator before they start to lose their texture and taste. Although they will still be edible for up to a week, I wouldn’t serve them to guests at that point.
I do not recommend freezing them as the freezer temperature affects the texture of the gelatin.
How to make a big batch
For big batches, you can just multiply the ingredients:
- For 24 to 32 Jello shots (2x the original recipe), use a 1 large 6-ounce box (or 2 small 3-ounce boxes) of Jello, 2 cups boiling water, 1⅓ cups vodka (or other alcohol) and ⅔ cup juice (or water).
- For 36 to 48 Jello shots (3x the original recipe), use 3 small (3-ounce) boxes of Jello, 3 cups of hot water, 2 cups liquor and 1 cup juice (or water)
The only limiting factor is how much liquid you can fit in your bowl and still be able to pour without spilling it everywhere.
Having said that, I usually make each box of Jello separately since they don’t take long to put together and the mixing bowl gets pretty heavy.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take for Jello shots to set in the fridge?
It usually takes between 2 and 4 hours for the Jello shots to set.
So you can make them the day of your party if you have to.
However, I always try to make mine at least a day in advance (less last minute prep work!). They will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days with no problems.
How many Jello shots does a 3-ounce box make?
One 3-ounce box of Jello (which is the small package) makes 12 to 16 Jello shots in 2-ounce cups. The exact number depends on how much Jello you put in each shot cup.
How long do Jello shots last?
Jello shots can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. After that they start to lose their flavor and texture.
Having said that I don’t make them more than 1 or 2 days ahead of time so that they still taste fresh.
How much alcohol is in one Jello shot?
For my recipe that uses ⅔ cup liquor per 3-ounce box of Jello, each Jello shot has a little more than ⅓ ounce of alcohol.
However, this does depend on how you strong you mix them and how much Jello mixture you put in each cup.
It can vary between ¼ ounce (for a mixture with ½ cup alcohol poured into 16 shot glasses) and ⅔ ounces (for a mixture with 1 cup alcohol poured into 12 shot cups).
How many Jello shots for a party?
For a party, I usually make 3 to 4 Jello shots per person, assuming there will be other types of drinks available. This is equivalent to about one standard cocktail.
Of course, if Jello shots are the main attraction of your get-together, you’ll want to make more.
Other Jello shot recipes you might like
- Blue Hawaiian Jello shots
- Purple Hooter grape Jello shots
- White Pina Colada Jello shots
- Swedish fish Jello shots
- Cosmopolitan Jello shots
- Strawberry shortcake Jello shots
- Cherry fireball Jello shots
- Green apple cinnamon Jello shots
- Appletini Jello shots
- Watermelon Jello shots
- Chocolate peanut butter pudding shots
- Best Jello shots by color
Or browse all of our Jello shots recipes.
Vodka Jello Shots Recipe
- 1 kettle or pot for boiling the water
- 1 mixing bowl preferably with a spout to make pouring easier
- mixing spoon
- measuring cups
- 16 jello shot cups with lids
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 3-oz (small) package flavored jello
- ⅔ cup vodka, liqueur or other alcohol
- ⅓ cup juice or cold water
- Mix 1 cup of boiling water with a small 3-oz package of jello.
- Stir for 1 to 2 minutes until all of the crystals have dissolved.
- Mix in ⅔ cup vodka or other liquor and ⅓ cup juice or cold water.
- Fill about 15 plastic shot cups ¾ full with the Jello mixture.
- Put on the lids.
- Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours (or overnight)
- If you’re not sure what kind of alcohol or juice to use, look up a cocktail recipe with the same flavor as your jello and see what it uses.
- Depending on how strong you like your shots, the amounts of alcohol and juice can vary. Just make sure the total amount of cold liquid comes out to 1 cup. Otherwise they may not set.
- The exact number of jello shots you get will vary depending on the size of your shot cups, and how much you put in them.
Have comments or questions on our vodka Jello shots recipe? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on May 9, 2019 but was updated with new content on December 12, 2023.