How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set?

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic Updated
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Need to know how long jello shots take to set? We’ve got the answer!

How long do jello shots take to set? Is it too late to start preparing them on the morning of the party? What if you only have the idea to make them a few hours before your guests start arriving?

In this guide we'll look at how to make them, when to get started - plus some fun ideas for making them extra special!

How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set Photo

A quick history of jello shots!

They’re refreshing, fun and always a hit at parties. No matter how sophisticated our taste buds may be, it’s hard to resist colorful, flavored bites of jello with a shot of alcohol mixed in.

But have you ever wondered who thought up the idea of making them?

Legend has it that they were invented by Tom Lehrer, an American singer-songwriter who was in the military in the 1950s. According to his own account, Tom put alcohol into jello in order to get around rules forbidding alcoholic 'beverages' (after all, jello isn't technically a 'beverage'!). 

Whilst Tom may have thought he'd invented the jello shot, he was actually late to the party. (See what we did there?).

In a book called 'How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant's Companion' by Jerry Thomas, there's actually a recipe for a punch jelly. The book was published in 1862!

Champagne Jello Shots Photo

How to Make Jello Shots

The great thing about jello shots is that EVERYONE loves them and they're always eagerly received by guests - yet they're ridiculously easy to make.

Here's how.  

  1. Boil a cup of water.
  2. Add a 3-ounce packet of jello to a heat-proof mixing bowl, ideally with a spout.
  3. Pour your boiling water over the gelatin and whisk for 2-3 minutes, until the jello is dissolved.
  4. Whisk in ½ cup of cold water, plus around ½ cup of alcohol, such as vodka or rum.
  5. Pour into shot glasses (glass or plastic).
  6. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until set 
Champagne Jello Shots Picture

How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set?

The good news is that jello shots will usually set to a firm texture within about 4 hours, meaning you can make them on the morning - or even the afternoon - of your party.

The only caveat is to be careful of how much alcohol you add - too much, and they may not set at all. The rule of thumb is not to use more than 2/3 cup of alcohol per cup of water.

We don’t recommend using your freezer, because household ones aren’t cold enough to freeze alcohol, and the gelatin’s texture and flavor would be ruined anyway.

How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set Image

You can store prepared jello shots in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set Picture

Jello Shot Ideas

  • Rainbow jello shots – Layer different colors/flavors of jello one at a time, letting each one set before adding the next.
  • Champagne Jello Shots – Make these for an extra-special, festive occasion. You can customize the colors and flavors to go with your party theme!
  • Fruit jello shots – Add a cherry, berry or fruit slice to each glass before chilling your shots.
  • Creamsicle jello shots – Use orange gelatin and vanilla vodka or whipped cream vodka.
How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set Pic

Looking for other types of party shots? You might like these Paloma Cheesecake Shots or these Mexican Hot Chocolate Shots!