We’ve all come across a jello shot at some point in our lives (see: college), those wiggly party treats made with the cheapest liquor you can find. But jello shots—or jello jigglers if you prefer—have come a long way. We promise, they are more than a cheap party shooter. They can actually be fancy and sophisticated. It’s simply a matter of making the most out of your ingredients.
Never had jello shots? They’re exactly what they sound like: an individually portioned size bite of jello, traditionally consumed as a shot. And they’re great with or without booze. Use water or juice if you’re making booze-free, or replace the liquid with alcohol if you want an adults-only version.
Vegetarians and vegans, don’t worry, there’s a jello shot option for you too. Regular gelatin is traditionally made with collagen, but substitutions can be made with agar agar (cooked and pressed algae, used in a lot of Asian cooking) or carrageenan (dried seaweed). Because these differ, both in texture and how they are prepared, you may have to do a little testing until you reach the right consistency.
And that’s the beauty of jello shots; they’re incredibly easy to customize and there’s no wrong way to make them! Flavors, colors, shapes, whatever you can imagine, you can make. Feeling the fall vibes? Make pumpkin-flavored jello jigglers. Or get into the Christmas spirit with red and green jello shots. There’s literally nothing you can’t do and there’s never a wrong time to make jello shots. Birthday? Definitely. Halloween? Of course. Bachelorette? Hard yes.
For the most basic, easiest, and fastest shots, we’ll walk you through how to make jello shots and what you’ll need to make ‘em great! Note: this recipe will yield about a dozen shots depending on how full you fill your cups.
What You Need:
- 1-quart measuring cup with spout, or pitcher
- Mini plastic cups
- 1 box of premade flavored gelatin powder (jello)
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 1 cup of cold alcohol
Step 1: Pour the jello powder in the liquid measuring cup. Add 1 cup of boiling water and stir until all of the powder has completely dissolved.
How to Make Jello Shots with Vodka
Although jello shots can be made with any type of alcohol, vodka is the most common. You can use any brand or flavor that you’d like. To make a basic jello shot with vodka, just follow the how-to above and use vodka for the cup of chilled alcohol. If you want to take things up a notch, try our recipe for Rainbow Jello Shots using vodka and all kinds of jello flavors!
How to Make Jello Shots with Rum
If you’re not a fan of vodka, you can also learn how to make jello shots with rum. Again, you can follow our basic recipe above and use chilled rum for the cold alcohol. We recommend using clear rum like we did with our Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shot recipe.
How to Make Jello Shots with Tequila
Love margaritas? Can’t imagine a party without tequila shots? Good news! You can learn how to make jello shots with tequila, too! Again, following the basic recipe that calls for a cup of cold alcohol, simply use clear-colored tequila. We probably don’t have to tell you that cheap tequila isn’t the best choice to use for jello shots. If you’re a tequila fan, you likely have a tequila preference, but we recommend Jose Cuervo or Patron for the party.
Use tequila in our five-star Margarita Jello Shots recipe. How to Make Layered Jello Shots
Want that layered look? The secret is time and patience. Each layer will need enough time to set in order to get those clean lines. It’s a good idea to make layered jello shots the day before the party, so each layer has enough time to set. You’ll also want to choose a different color of jello for each layer, obviously.
To make the layers, you’ll use the same amounts of liquid and jello powder for each layer. After you’ve poured a layer, you’ll need to put it in the fridge until the jello layer has set. We recommend at least 30 minutes between layers. Then you’ll pour the next layer and repeat the process. When all of the layers have been added, you’ll want to let the entire dish set in the fridge for at least two hours.
Try to make layered jello shots with our festive recipe for Holly Jolly Jello Shots. Watch the video and see how easy it is!