How to Make Quick Set Jello Shots Like a Pro


Jello shots are quite the party lifesaver—they are easy to make alcohol-spiked treats that people can enjoy at a party or themed event. 

When time is of the essence, you’ll want to make quick jello shots rather than traditional shots, which take longer to set. But how exactly do you make jello shots that set faster on short notice?

If you have excellent mixology or bartending skills, you’ll have an easier time whipping up several servings of quick-set jello shots within a short time, whether you want some for yourself or a last-minute gathering. 

But first things first.

What Are Quick Set Jello Shots?

Jello shots are easy-to-make alcohol-spiked treats made with jello, cold water, and the alcohol of your choice as the main or typical ingredients. They are more common among college students, but anyone can make and take them as long as you are the legal drinking age. 

Since it takes some time for traditional jello shots to set, you can improvise the process to make quick-set jello shots that take a shorter time to get ready for consumption. 

The quickened versions of Jell-O shots are the best bet if you want a quick treat for yourself or your guests.

A Look At The Ingredients For Jello Shots 

If you follow an easy recipe for making jello shots, you’ll need three main ingredients: water (some boiling, some cold), cold alcohol of your choice, and a box of jello. 

A quick-set jello shots recipe calls for the use of ice cubes to hasten the process. 

Some people prefer fresh fruit juice to cold water, while others choose to top their jello shots with whipped cream just prior to enjoying the treat. 


Red jello powder in cup with spoon beside cup of jello

Jello consists of water, gelatin, artificial or natural sweeteners, artificial food dyes or natural food colorings, and flavoring agents. The primary ingredient in jello is gelatin, a processed protein obtained from the connective tissues like ligaments, bones, tendons, and skin of animals such as cows and pigs. 

Because gelatin is the main ingredient in jello, you may come across jello shot recipes that use gelatin and jello interchangeably. The terms “jello with flavored gelatin” or “jello with unflavored gelatin” may also be common. 

The jello gelatin for making jello shots is colored and can be flavored or unflavored. Common gelatin flavors for jello shots include black cherry, grape, and berry blue. 

Flavor combinations are also possible for jello shots. You can try the following combos with various gelatin flavors:

  • Lime jello and tequila for margarita jello shots
  • Pineapple gelatin and coconut rum for pina colada jello shots
  • Peach gelatin and peach schnapps for peach cobbler jello shots (you can top these with whipped cream)
  • Peach gelatin and vanilla vodka
  • Lemon gelatin and whipped vodka
  • Strawberry gelatin and cake vodka
  • Cherry gelatin and lime vodka

Best Alcohol For Making Jello Shots

You can make delicious jello shots with just about any alcoholic beverage with a low-key odor or taste. Vodka, white rum, tequila, gin, and bourbon are all excellent alcoholic beverages for making jello shots. 

Most people prefer to use plain vodka to make jello shots since it is light, neutral in odor, and unflavored. Vodka is preferred because it is versatile grain alcohol and works well with any gelatin flavor. 

The vodka may also be flavored if you choose it that way, such as peach vodka, marshmallow vodka, or caramel vodka. 

Since there are many vodka brands on the higher-end, middle-range, and low-range pricing models, it may be a challenging needle to thread to decide on the best vodka for your jello shots. 

The trick here is to strike the middle ground in the pricing and quality of the vodka. 

You can always choose vodka or another alcoholic beverage with a proof above 80, but you won’t get any drunker because jello shots still come out much less alcoholic than standard cocktails. 

If you want a more potent jello shot, add more vodka to a lesser amount of cold water instead of a higher-proof vodka. 

You can choose low-end or cheap vodka brands, but these may leave a lingering taste in your jello shots. Don’t get us wrong: cheap doesn’t mean bad quality, but you can only be sure of something once you’ve tried it. 

A high-end or premium vodka brand will be great, but you can get the same results with a mid-range vodka. 

Some notable 80-proof vodka brands you could choose from for making jello shots include:

  • Smirnoff, Pinnacle, Svedka, and Seagrams in the lower price range
  • Three Olives, Prairie, Absolut, Stolichnaya, and Finlandia in the mid price range
  • Grey Goose, Crystal Head, Ciroc, Belvedere, and Reyka in the higher price range

Now that you know what jello shots are and the right ingredients for them, let’s get down to the different methods you can use to make them. 

How To Make Jello Shots With Flavored Gelatin Powder

Multi-colored jello shots stacked in plastic containers

The recipe below yields about 24 jello shots.


  • 1 cup of vodka
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 ounces of flavored gelatin 


  • Heat 1 cup of water to boiling in a saucepan
  • Pour the flavored jello powder into a large glass bowl 
  • Pour the boiling water into the jello powder and stir thoroughly until all the powder dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the vodka and stir thoroughly.
  • Pour the mixture into shot glasses or disposable plastic shot cups and keep refrigerated for 3-4 hours. 

How To Make Jello Shots With Unflavored Gelatin Powder

You can make jello shots with unflavored gelatin, which is a fun way to make them since you can mix the gelatin with just about any suitable liquid or juice you have on hand. 

Unflavored gelatin also offers you more flavor combinations than flavored gelatin. You also get more control over the amount of food color and sugar. 

Here’s an easy unflavored gelatin jello shots recipe to try.


  • 1 cup of non-alcoholic liquid, such as cranberry juice or cold water
  • 1 cup of alcohol
  • 5½ teaspoons of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup of sugar (optional)


  • Spray the molds or cups you are using lightly with cooking spray (this ensures the jello doesn’t stick to the sides of the container).
  • Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top of the non-alcoholic liquid in a small pan. Leave the combination for five minutes to allow the gelatin to soften.
  • Warm the gelatin-non-alcoholic liquid mixture for 2-3 minutes over medium heat while stirring to dissolve all the gelatin. Remove from heat before boiling. Add the sugar now (optional).
  • Add your alcoholic drink of choice and whisk thoroughly.
  • Pour the jello mixture into molds or cups evenly.
  • Keep in the fridge for 3-4 hours, then serve. 

How To Make Jello Shots With Gelatin Sheets

You can use gelatin sheets instead of the powdered version to make jello shots:

  • Mix 1 cup of fresh fruit juice, for example, lemon juice, with 1 cup of vodka.
  • Add two gelatin sheets and leave the setup to bloom for about 10 minutes.
  • Mix ⅔ cup of water and ⅔ cup of sugar in a small saucepan to make a simple syrup. Let the mixture boil, then remove from heat.
  • Combine the syrup into the gelatin-liquids mixture and whisk thoroughly.
  • Pour the mixture into shot glasses or plastic cups and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. (The set time may be longer if you use fresh fruit juice.)

How To Make Quick Set Jello Shots

Cooler full of colorful jello shots in plastic containers

We saved this part for last because it’s essential first to understand the process of making ordinary jello shots and then set it up by using tricks to make the jello shots sets faster. 

It usually takes three to four hours for jello shots to set in the fridge and much longer at room temperature. If you need the shots in layers, allow a set time of about two hours in the refrigerator before adding another layer. 

You can use smaller plastic cups or molds to shorten the set time for each jello shot. 

At the processing stage, the trick is to use very cold ingredients—cold non-alcoholic liquid, cold alcohol, and ice cubes. Then cover the plastic cups with lids or plastic wrap and refrigerate the jello immediately. Your shots will be ready to go in about half the time!

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