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How to Make Perfect Red White and Blue Jello Shots

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Planning a get-together and need a festive treat to wow your guests? Red White and Blue Jello shots are just the thing! These pretty gelatin shooters combine bright flavors like berry blue and cherry with a hint of coconut in the creamy white layer. 

And these festive Jello shots aren’t just eye candy – they taste amazing too! Whether it’s the Fourth of July or a themed party, jelly shots add a fun and tasty twist to your party menu.

The mix of sweetened condensed milk and vodka gives them a rich, smooth finish that’s hard to resist. Make a batch for your next party and watch them disappear!

Closeup view of Red white and blue jello shot garnished with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry.

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Jell-o shots started as a boozy treat at college parties and have become a staple at backyard parties and picnics. And it’s no surprise, because the vibrant colors and sweet tastes make them a fun addition to any celebration.

Another reason we love them is because there are so many tasty ways to make jelly shooters. We’ve made Pina Colada and Tequila Sunrise versions, so of course I had to create a fun layered version for the patriotic celebrations like July 4th and Memorial Day.

Ingredients to make patriotic jell-o shots with labels.

Red White and Blue Jello Shots Ingredients Needed

  • Blue Jello: Choose flavors like berry blue or Starburst blue raspberry for a vibrant blue color.
  • Red Jello: Go for flavors such as strawberry, cherry, or even original Skittles for a striking red layer.
  • Unflavored gelatin packet: This is key for stabilizing the white layer without adding flavor to the mixture.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: Adds a creamy texture and sweet flavor to the white layer.
  • Coconut extract: You can substitute this with other flavored extracts to add a unique twist.
  • Vodka: Plain or flavored vodka works well. If you want to get creative, use a different flavor for each layer.
  • Hot water: T0 dissolve the gelatins. 

Optional Topping Ideas

  • Whipped cream: Add homemade or whipped topping just before serving.
  • Maraschino cherries: Perfect for a pop of color and a sweet finish.
  • Sprinkles: Fun and festive, these little additions will make your shots stand out.

Tools and Supplies

  • Shot glasses: I like to use 2-ounce cups with lids but you can use glass if preferred.
  • Injector: this tool is optional but it makes filling the cups a little easier and less messy.
  • Baking sheet: make sure it’s rimmed to more easily transport the shots to the refrigerator.
  • Basic equipment: saucepan to boil water, bowls, measuring cups, whisk and spoons.

How to Make Patriotic Jello Shots

Two photo collage of adding water to the blue jello and the dissolved jello in a clear bowl.
Two photo collage of adding vodka to the blue gelatin and a tray of filled cups.

Prepare the blue jello layer: Dissolve the blue gelatin in boiling water, then stir in the vodka. Pour the mixture into your jello shot cups, filling each about a third of the way.

Place the shot glasses on a rimmed cookie sheet or tray and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours, until the mixture is firm.

Two photo collage of adding the water and vodka to the white layer.
Two photo collage adding the sweetened condensed milk to the gelatin and the stirred mixture.

Add the white jello layer: Dissolve the clear gelatin in boiling water. Add the sweetened condensed milk to the gelatin mixture. Next stir in the vodka and coconut extract.

Carefully pour the white mixture over the top of the blue layer, filling each shot glass another third of the way. Refrigerate again for 1-2 hours, until the second layer is firm.

Two photo collage of cups filled with white layer and adding water to the red gelatin.
Two photo collage of adding vodka and the combined mixture.

Finish with the red layer: Add the red Jello packet to boiling water and stir until the powder dissolves. Next, add cold vodka and stir the mixture thoroughly.

Carefully pour the red mixture over the set white layer, filling the shot glasses to the top. Refrigerate for another 1-2 hours, until the top layer is firm.

Two photo collage of a tray of red jello cups and a layered shot with whipped cream, sprinkles and cherry garnish.

Tips for Layering 4th of July Jello Shots

Creating the perfect Red, White, and Blue Jello shots is more than just mixing Jell-O and alcohol. I’ve got a few tips and tricks to ensure that your shots are layered beautifully, set perfectly, and taste amazing.

  • Patience is key: Ensure the bottom layer is completely set before adding the next one. This prevents the colors from mixing.
  • Spoon technique: Gently pour the next layer over the back of a spoon. This will help to distribute the liquid more evenly and reduces the impact, preventing the layers from combining.
  • Temperature matters: Let the Jello mixture cool slightly before pouring it over a set layer. If it’s too hot, it can melt the layer underneath, causing the colors to blend.
  • Avoid disturbance: Keep the shots in a stable place in the refrigerator to avoid disturbing the layers.

Jello Shot Substitutions and Variations 

More flavor variation ideas: Experiment with extracts by adding different flavors to your base recipe for unique twists. Using vanilla, lemon, or even almond extract can bring a new dimension of flavor.

Alcohol variations

For the best tasting shots, be sure to use a good quality alcohol. This is not the time to go for bottom shelf booze.

  • Rum: Light rum can add a tropical twist. Swap it for an equal amount.
  • Tequila: Perfect for a spirited party. Again, replace vodka with tequila in the same quantity.

Tips for adjusting the recipe: If using a stronger alcohol, you might want to increase the water ratio a bit to tone down the potency. For flavored vodkas, consider matching flavors to each layer for a cohesive taste. Always taste-test your mixture before setting to ensure it’s to your liking. Too strong? Add a splash of water.

Layering different colors: Try layering unexpected color combinations for other occasions and holidays, like green and gold for St. Patrick’s Day, purple and orange for Halloween or pink and white for Valentine’s Day.

Make it kid friendly: You can make this alcohol-free for the younger crowd and non-drinkers by replacing the vodka with an equal amount of cold water or juice.

Layered patriotic jello shots with whipped cream and sprinkles on a red tray.

What to Serve with 4th of July Jello Shots

Gelatin shooters are perfect for parties. Complete your Fourth of July party tablescape with a 4th Of July Snack Board and bowl of Fiesta Salad or Country Style Potato Salad. And since every picnic is better with dessert, be sure to include a Dessert Board or Cheesecake Salad.

Can I make this Jell-o shot recipe ahead of time?

You’ll want to make the red, white, and blue Jello shots early enough to make sure each layer sets before adding the next layer. This takes about 5 hours from start to finish. You can make the patriotic Jello shots a few days before you need them, since they will last for up to 5 days.

How to Store Jello Shots

Place the Jello shots in the refrigerator. Make sure they are covered to prevent them from absorbing any odors from other foods. I like to use cups with lids but you can wrap them in plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container if preferred.

Jello shots will remain fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Always keep them chilled until you’re ready to serve to maintain their firmness and flavor.

It’s best to store the shots without garnishes. Adding toppings like whipped cream, cherries, or sprinkles when you are ready to serve will keep the toppings fresh and ensures they don’t melt into the Jello.

Can I freeze jello shots?

Yes and no, but it’s not quite that simple. Be sure to check out “Can you freeze jello shots?” for more information.

More easy Jello shot recipes…

A layered patriotic jello shot garnished with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry with text overlay.

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Patriotic Jello Shots

Impress your guests with these festive Jell-o shots. Easy to make and perfect for the 4th of July celebrations, they add a patriotic splash to any party.
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Course: Drinks, Holiday Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Set Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Servings: 30
Calories: 97kcal
Author: Lori



  • 3.4 ounces blue Jell-o, like berry blue or Starburst blue raspberry Starburst
  • 3.4 ounces red Jell-o, like strawberry, cherry, or Skittles flavors
  • 0.25 ounce unflavored gelatin, (1 packet)
  • 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons coconut extract , or other flavored extract
  • 2.5 cups vodka, use a good quality brand like Absolut, divided use
  • 2.5 cups hot water, divided use

Optional garnish ideas:


  • Place the 2-ounce cups on a baking tray and set aside.
  • Heat 1 cup of water, just until boiling.
  • Combine the blue jello powder and hot water in a medium bowl and whisk together until the powder dissolves. Add 1 cup of vodka, stirring to incorporate.
  • Fill each of the cups about 1/3 of the way full with the blue mixture. Place the tray of jello cups into the refrigerator and chill until set (about 1 ½ hours).
  • Once the blue layer is set, prepare the white layer by heating ½ cup water just until boiling. In a medium bowl, combine the unflavored gelatin powder with the hot water, whisking together until the powder dissolves.
  • Add ½ cup vodka, 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut extract to the gelatin mixture. Stir well to combine.
  • Carefully add the white gelatin to each of the cups, filling the cups about 2/3 way full. Place the tray of cups back into the refrigerator to chill until set.
  • Once the white layer has set, prepare the red layer by heating 1 cup of water just until boiling. Combine the red jello powder and hot water in a medium bowl and stir until the powder dissolves. Add the remaining cup of vodka, stirring to combine.
  • Fill each of the cups with the red jello mixture. Make sure to leave a little room at the top if you plan to seal with the lids. Return the tray of shots to the refrigerator to chill until fully set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, you can garnish with whipped cream, maraschino cherries and sprinkles if preferred.


  • Can swap out flavored vodka for the plain, or try a different flavor for each layer.
  • Make sure to allow time for each layer to set up completely before adding the next layer. Additionally, allow the liquid to cool slightly before topping the previous layer.
  • Make a non-alcoholic version by swapping the vodka for an equal amount of water or juice.
  • Wait to add the garnishes until right before serving.
  • Store jell-o shots in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.
  • Optional garnishes are not included in the Nutritional information.
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Nutritional Estimate

Serving: 1shot | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.03mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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