Fun patriotic jello shots are perfect for your next party. Serve these layered red, white, and blue jello shots for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, or Labor Day. But we love them so much we have been bringing them to every BBQ and pool party all summer long.
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Jello shots are a summer party favorite. I started making these a fun way to turn my favorite 4th of July cocktail (which doesn't travel well) into something I could take to parties and BBQs.
Every adult likes to feel like a kid again, so kick back and relax with these favorite party shots.
Why This Recipe Works
This recipe uses boxed jello for a quick and easy show-stopping patriotic treat. With just a few minutes of hands-on time, they are a cinch to make.
This recipe does require a proper waiting period between layers to ensure each color is perfectly defined.
Unlike other 4th of July jello shot recipes, our white jello layer does include alcohol. This means if you are short on time, you can make three different color shots (red, white & blue) and serve them on a tray together for a similar look.
You can serve these layer shots as is, or top them with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free, and a dairy-free variation is listed below.
Our jello shot recipe uses Jell-O brand flavors but you can use any blue and red gelatin dessert you like. Each layer uses one three-ounce box.
For the blue layer, the only Jell-O option is the berry blue and for the red, I chose to use strawberry because it has the truest red color. Plus, they taste great together.
Sadly, there is no clear or white flavored jello. In order to make the solid white jello layer, you will need to use 1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin and sweetened condensed milk. If you only have regular condensed milk you will need to add ⅓ cup of sugar.
What Flavor Vodka for 4th of July Jello Shots?
I prefer a berry-flavored vodka or unflavored vodka for my Fourth of July shots. This year I make them with Smirnoff blueberry vodka. But you can use any flavor you like. Vanilla, lemon, and whipped cream flavors would all be fun to try.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make Layered Jello Shots
Before making the jello get your cups set up on a baking sheet. I prefer to line the sheet with paper towels to prevent the cups from sliding around.
If your vodka isn't cold go ahead and pop it in the freezer now.
Step 1- Make the Blue Layer
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. You can do this on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add the blue jello mix to a glass measuring cup or a small pitcher. You could also use a bowl, but it is easier to pour out of a small pitcher.
Add the boiling water and stir until the jello dissolves. Then add 1 cup of COLD vodka and stir.
Wait 10 minutes for it to cool slightly and pour it into your cups. Place the tray into the fridge and chill for 2 hours.
Wash your pitcher or glass measuring cup and whisk, and set aside. You will use them for each layer.
Step 2- How to Make White Jello
To make white jello we need to color unflavored gelatin. Start by blooming your gelatin. To do this pour it into a small bowl and add ¼ cup of warm, not hot water. Mix well, it should turn into a thick goopy gel.
Like in the other layers we need 1 cup of total water. Add ¾ of a cup of boiling water to the condensed milk. Stir together and then add the bloomed gelatin.
Stir until the gelatin is dissolved, a small whisk is very helpful here. Add in your vanilla extract (optional, but yummy) and cold vodka.
Step 3- Make the Red Layer
Repeat step one (i.e. the blue layer) for the red layer. Because of the tapered shape of the cup, your red layer may look thinner. You can also double the recipe for this layer to make a thicker band.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Don't rush the setting process. I suggest 2 hours but 90 minutes seems to be the minimum for the jello layers and a tad longer for the milk layer.
💭 Dairy-Free Layered Jello Shots
Mix together 7 ounces (about half a can) of coconut milk and ⅓ cup of sugar. Replace the condensed milk with this dairy-free concoction. Work quickly as the coconut cream tends to separate.
While you can use glass shot glasses, they aren't particularly practical in this application. This recipe makes 24 shots!
🌡️Storage and Safety
Jello shots last in the refrigerator for up to a week but are best served in the first three to five days.
While you can serve non-alcoholic jello shots we suggest making another type of treat for your party (maybe these mango and chamoy popsicles). Jello shots can be easily confused with regular jello cups and you don't want any unsuspecting guests (or kids!) getting sick.
If you are concerned about the quantity of alcohol being served you can use smaller cups or replace a portion of the 3 cups of vodka with water. Each layer needs 2 cups of liquid. Feel free to adjust as needed.
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Jello is made from gelatin which contains animal parts, so it is not vegetarian or vegan. You could make these 4th of July jello shots using a vegan gelatin product and plant-based food coloring. However, we suggest trying our red, white, and blue cocktail instead.
Each layer requires 2 hours to set. If you are short on time you can make single-color jello shots and serve them together to get the same holiday look.
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Red, White, and Blue Jello Shots
- 1 package of berry blue jello 3 oz. box
- 1 package of strawberry jello 3 oz. box
- 3 cups berry flavored vodka divided
- .25 oz unflavored gelatin 1 packet
- 7 oz sweetened condensed milk about half a can
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups water divided
- Place 24 cups on a large baking sheet. I like to line the baking sheet with parchment paper or paper towels so the cups don't slide around.
- Boil 1 cup of the water and add to a small pitcher or bowl with the blue jello. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of vodka and stir.1 package of berry blue jello, 3 cups berry flavored vodka, 3 cups water
- Fill your shot containers ⅓ of the way full with the blue jello shot mixture. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the sheet pan to the refrigerator and allow the blue layer to set for at least 2 hours.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the unflavored gelatin in ¼ cup of warm water..25 oz unflavored gelatin, 3 cups water
- Bring ¾ cups of water to boil. Add the boiling water to the clear gelatin.3 cups water
- Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Add 1 cup of the vodka, stir.7 oz sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 cups berry flavored vodka
- Pour the cream mixture on top of the blue layer until the cups are about ⅔ of the way filled. Transfer the sheet pan to the refrigerator and allow the white layer to set for at least 2 hours.
- Boil 1 cup of the water and add to a small pitcher or bowl with the strawberry jello. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of vodka and stir.1 package of strawberry jello, 3 cups water, 3 cups berry flavored vodka
- Fill your shot containers ⅓ of the way full with the red jello shot mixture. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the sheet pan to the refrigerator and allow the final layer to set for at least 2 hours.
- Serve as is or decorate with whipped cream, sprinkles, and cherries.
- Freezing the vodka beforehand will ensure the alcohol doesn't evaporate when added to the hot water.
- Each layer must be fully set before mixing up and pouring on the next layer.