Our Pina Colada Jello Shots Recipe will transport you to a tropical beach with every bite!
These fun jello shots will be the life of your next party, bringing together the pineapple and coconut flavors of the classic cocktail in edible form!
Your party guests will certainly start singing the Pina Colada song and having a good time with these fun summer treats!
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While you may prefer to skip to the recipe card, we suggest reading the entire blog post to avoid missing valuable tips and substitution suggestions and to ensure you have the necessary ingredients, equipment, and understanding of the steps and timings.
Pina Colada Jello Shots Recipe
The Piña Colada is a popular cocktail with vibrant pineapple flavors mingled with cream of coconut and rum, and we are big fans of it on The Purple Pumpkin Blog!*
It’s easy to make delicious pina colada jello shots by combining pineapple jello and white rum and pouring the gelatin mixture into plastic shot cups.
But don’t stop there! To make these a unique jello shot, they are topped with shredded coconut and a maraschino cherry resembling mini Pina Coladas.
No matter the flavor, jello shots are a great way to kickstart your next summer party or tropical-themed event!
Make sure you check out our FAQ section, where we have some more easy jello shots to experiment with.
*You probably love the flavor as much as us, so try our other piña colada-flavored treats like Mini Piña Colada Cheesecakes with rum and sweet pineapple topping, Piña Colada Cupcakes, or a Pina Colada Layer Cake that is perfect for a Tropical Luau Party!
What Can I Serve With Pina Colada Jell-O Shots?
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers: The seafood complements the tropical flavors of the shots.
- Fresh & Fruity Rice Salad: A tropical-themed rice dish that pairs well.
- Mango Salsa with Tortilla Chips: A light, fruity appetizer to start the party.
- Sweet & Spicy Hawaiian Chicken: Pair your shots with this sweet and savory dish to keep the theme going.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
Ingredients Needed For Pina Colada Jello Shots
- Pineapple Jell-O/Jelly
- Coconut Rum – Such as Malibu Coconut Rum. For a more pineapple flavor, use Pineapple Rum instead.
- Shredded Coconut
- Maraschino Cherries
The complete list of ingredients with measurements is on the recipe card at the end of this post.
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Equipment Needed For This Recipe
- The spout of a Glass Measuring Cup/Jug makes pouring the jello into jello shot cups easier. But use a medium mixing bowl if you prefer.
- Use a Whisk to mix the jello and hot water together. A spatula or wooden spoon works, too.
- Jello Shot Cups (2 oz) – This recipe makes 24 (1-oz) shots or 12 (2-oz) shots.
- A Baking Sheet/Cookie Sheet or a tray to place the jello shot cups on for easy transport to and from the fridge.
The Purple Pumpkin Blog uses both cups and weighted measurements in its recipes, making American cups and kitchen food scales valuable tools for trying all the recipes. We provide US customary, imperial, and metric measurements. Still, it’s important to note that while you can combine cup measurements with weighted measures, never mix US customary/imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.) with metric (kilograms, grams, liters, etc.).
Reasons You’ll Love Piña Colada Jello Shots
- They’re a fun, edible version of the popular cocktail, perfect for parties.
- The tropical pineapple and coconut flavors make for a refreshing summer treat.
- They’re easy and quick to prepare, making them a great way to surprise your guests.
Dinner Party Menu Suggestions
Want a dinner party menu that compliments these jello shots?
Here are recipes to create a menu for a dinner party or special meal:
How Do I Make Pina Colada Jello Shots?
The printable recipe card with the ingredients list and instructions can be found at the end of this post.
This recipe makes about 24 (1-oz) shots or 12 (2-oz) shots.
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Additional Time: 4 hours | Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Step 1 – Make Jello: Place the hot boiled water into a large measuring cup/jug and add the jello. Whisk well to dissolve.
Add the cold water and rum and whisk well to combine.
Note: To make without alcohol, replace the half-cup of coconut rum with cold water.
Step 2 – Chill Jello: Place 12 (2-oz) jello shot cups onto a tray and pour the jello into each cup.
Place the tray of jello cups into the refrigerator to set for at least four hours or overnight.
Step 3 – Garnish & Serve: Add shredded coconut and a maraschino cherry to each jello cup when ready to serve.
More Recipes Using Jello
One of the hero ingredients in this recipe is jello, so here are some more using the same:
- To make it a mocktail jello shot, replace the rum with either water or coconut water.
Large Batch Instructions
- To make a larger batch, simply double, triple, or multiply the simple ingredients as required. This recipe makes approximately 24 (1-oz) shots or 12 (2-oz) shots.
Storing Leftovers & Freezing
- Storing Leftovers:
- Store leftover jello shots, covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
- Freezing Instructions:
- Do not freeze jello shots, as freezing will affect the texture.
- With all leftovers, ensure the food looks and smells okay before consuming.
- You can always consult the Food Standards Agency in your country for the most up-to-date advice on storing and freezing foods: Food Standards Agency (UK) | Food Safety (USA).
Printable Pina Colada Jello Shots Recipe Card
The printable recipe card is below. Any demonstration photos on the recipe card are not printed out to save ink.
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- 1 (6-oz/150g) box pineapple jello
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1½ cups cold water
- ½ cup Malibu rum (or coconut rum)
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 12-14 maraschino cherries
- Place the hot boiled water into a large measuring cup/jug and add the jello. Whisk well to dissolve. Add the cold water and rum and whisk well.
- Place 12 (2-oz) jello shot cups onto a tray and pour the jello into each cup. Place the tray of jello cups into the fridge to set for at least four hours or overnight.
- Add shredded coconut and a maraschino cherry to each jello cup when ready to serve.
To make it without alcohol, replace the half-cup Malibu rum with cold water.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 44mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
More Jello Shot Recipes
Are you looking for more jello shots to make? Try these ones below:
- Candy Corn Jello Cups
- Watermelon Shark Attack Jello Shots
- Cinco De Mayo Jello Shots with Jalapeno Pineapple Tequila
Or try some of these 100 Jello Shots Recipes
FAQs About Jello Shots
Here are some questions people often ask about making jello shots.
Click the question to read the answer. If you have one of your own, please comment on this post!
Jello shots are a fun and festive way to enjoy a cocktail. They’re easy to serve and eat, especially at parties—who wouldn’t love a little cup of boozy fun!
The amount of alcohol in a jello shot can vary widely depending on the recipe used.
A typical jello shot recipe that makes 12 (2-oz) cups uses about 4 ounces of alcohol, making it about ⅓ ounce per shot. This is less than a standard shot of 1½oz.
Please remember that even though they’re often served in fun settings, jello shots are still alcoholic beverages and should be consumed responsibly.
A typical ratio for jello shots is 1 cup of boiling water to ½ cup of cold water to ½ cup of alcohol (for a 3-oz box). If you want to use more alcohol, you can add up to ⅔ cup of alcohol. Adding more than that will cause the jello shots to not be set properly.
Both vodka and white rum are excellent choices but don’t rule out other spirits such as gin, whiskey, tequila, and brandy. While vodka’s neutral flavor profile allows the jello’s taste to take center stage, other spirits will impart their unique flavors to the final jello shot.
But really, the best alcohol for jello shots will depend on the flavor of the jello and the type of cocktail you’re trying to mimic. Here are some popular options:
Vodka: This is a classic choice for jello shots because of its neutral flavor. It can be paired with any flavor of jello.
Rum: Both white and dark rum work well with jello shots. White rum is especially good for tropical flavors like pineapple or coconut (like in our Pina Colada Jello Shots), while dark rum can give a nice depth to flavors like cherry or Coca-Cola.
Tequila: Pairs well with citrus or tropical-flavored jello, making it perfect for margarita or sunrise jello shots.
Whiskey or Bourbon: These liquors work well with richer flavors like apple or cherry.
Gin: Pair this fragrant spirit with citrus or berry-flavored jello for a refreshing jello shot.
Flavored Liquors: These can also be used for extra flavor. For example, Pimms or peach schnapps can add a fun twist to your jello shots.
Remember, the key is to ensure the alcohol complements the jello flavor. And, of course, always use good-quality alcohol for the best-tasting shots!
If you consume them in large quantities, they will eventually get you drunk.
Four typical jello shots roughly equal one regular liquor shot, so you can judge how many it would take to get you drunk.
Always enjoy alcohol responsibly, as jello shots can be an easy way to get drunk without realizing it.
Alcohol can slow down the setting process of the gelatin, but it won’t prevent it from setting—unless you add too much. To the typical jello shot ratio of 1:½:½, do not use more than ⅔ alcohol.
No, the alcohol doesn’t have to be cold. The important part is dissolving the gelatin in hot water first.
However, using ice-cold water and cold alcohol when making the jello will help set them up quickly.
Fresh pineapple, kiwi, papaya, mango, and guava can prevent jello from setting because they contain enzymes that break down the gelatin.
It’s all in the chemistry, but you can actually use canned pineapple and its juice when making jello. Alternatively, you can heat fresh, real pineapple juice to around 158°F (70°C) to use in jello.
To read more about the science stuff, check out this ThoughtCo article!
Regular jello shots are not vegan, but you can make vegan jello shots using agar-agar instead of gelatin.
You can make jello shots 1-2 days before and store them in the fridge. That said, jello shots are only at their best for 3 to 5 days after making them, so bear that in mind when planning ahead.
Assuming two jello shots per guest and there are 12 guests, you will need 24 shots. It doesn’t hurt to make extras, though!
For easy transportation, mini shot cups with individual lids are a good idea.
Most people swallow jello shots whole, but it’s a personal preference, so if you want to chew, chew!
Eating jello shots is a simple and fun process! Hold the jello shot firmly between your fingers, and loosen the edges of the jello from its container using your tongue, finger, or a small spoon.
If the shots are served in plastic cups, you can squeeze them to release the gelatin from the sides.
Lift the jello shot to your mouth, tilting your head slightly if needed. Take a small bite or swallow the entire jello shot in one go, depending on its size. Allow the jello shot to dissolve, and savor the flavors as they melt in your mouth!
Jello shots can last 3-5 days in the fridge, even up to a week or more. But the flavor will diminish as time goes by.
Jello shots reportedly became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, especially among college students.
The invention of the jello shot is often credited to Tom Lehrer, an American mathematician, singer-songwriter, and satirist, who claimed to have invented them as a way to get around alcohol restrictions while serving in the U.S. Army.
According to Wikipedia, they could be traced back to the 14th century!
The UK equivalent to Jell-O is typically Hartley’s Jelly. It is a similar gelatin-based product used to make dessert jellies.
Hartley’s Jelly and Jell-O are similar in that they are both gelatin-based products used to make dessert jellies. However, they are made by different companies and might differ slightly in ingredients or flavors.
You can sometimes buy Jell-O in UK supermarkets—check the “World Foods” aisle. However, it is not as commonly found in grocery stores as it is in the US. You might have more luck finding it in stores that sell American products or online.
In the United States, the term “jelly” typically refers to a type of fruit preserve that is clear and firm, similar to what is called “jam” in the UK.
“Jell-O” is a brand name that has become a generic term for gelatin desserts, including what are known as “jelly” desserts in the UK.
The brand Jell-O has been so popular in the U.S. that it has become synonymous with this type of dessert.
Besides the taste, the best part about jello shots is that they are easy to make! We have listed several more fun combinations below.
More Boozy Jello Shot Ideas To Try
Now that you know how easy it is to make jello shots, it’s time to experiment!
- The main ingredients are always jello, water, and alcohol, so it’s an easy recipe to remember!
- First, dissolve the jello in hot water, then add the cold water and alcohol. Some of the combinations replace the water completely with other cold liquids.
- For a lighter jello shot, use sugar-free jello.
Here are more fantastic jello shot combinations you might want to try:
Margarita Jello Shots: Make lime jello, then add tequila and triple sec. Garnish with a small lime wedge and a sprinkle of sea salt. Want a spicy shot? Add a sprinkle of Tajin seasoning instead of salt. Pair these shots with Mexican and Tex-Mex food.
Blue Hawaiian Jello Shots: Use Berry Blue Jello, combine with blue curaçao and coconut rum, and garnish with a maraschino cherry to make a jello shot version of this classic cocktail!
Cherry Cola Jello Shots: Dissolve the cherry jello with hot water as usual, replace the cold water with cola or cherry cola, and add bourbon. Garnish with a cherry.
Pimms Fruit Jello Cups: Make strawberry jello and add some finely chopped cucumber, fresh strawberry, and mint. Add cold lemon-lime soda and Pimms instead of water. Garnish with a slice of orange and a mint leaf.
Peach Fizz Jello Shots: Made with peach jello and champagne. Garnish with a gummy peach ring candy. Use peach juice and gelatin powder if you can’t find peach-flavored jello.
Coconut Cream Dream Jello Shots: Take coconut flavor to the next level with this shot. Use coconut jello, and replace the cold water with cold coconut cream and cold coconut rum. Then, stir some shredded coconut into the jello mixture.
Garnish with a sprinkle of shredded coconut on top of the jello. These would be great as a dessert served in larger shot glasses with a spoon – a coconut lover won’t be able to resist these tasty treats!
Lemon Drop Jello Shots: Use lemon-flavored jello, and add lemon vodka. Garnish with sugar on the rim of the jello shot cup and a slice of candied lemon.
Watermelon Jello Shots: Use watermelon jello, add vodka, and garnish with a small watermelon slice or a watermelon gummy. You could also make this in two layers, with green jello on the bottom and the watermelon flavor on top.
Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shots: Another classic cocktail gets the jello shot treatment! Use strawberry jello, add white rum, and a splash of lime juice. Garnish with some whipped cream and a strawberry.
Cherry Brandy Jello Shots: Use cherry jello, add brandy, and garnish with a cherry. Alternatively, use blackberry or raspberry jello and garnish with the same fruit as the jelly flavor.
Cranberry Cosmo Jello Shots: Make jello with cranberry juice and gelatin. Add vodka and a splash of triple sec. Garnish with a twist of orange or lemon peel.
Apple Cider Jello Shots: Make apple jello (use apple juice and gelatin if you can’t find the flavor in stores), cold apple cider instead of water, and a splash of Fireball cinnamon whiskey for an autumn-inspired shot.
Tropical Sunrise Jello Shots: Mimicking a Tequila Sunrise, these jello shot versions have orange jello with tequila on the bottom and a yellow layer of pineapple jello on top. These tasty treats are the perfect size for a summer gathering!
Pineapple Peach Fizz Jello Shots: Use peach jello for the base, replace the regular cold water with sparkling water and peach schnapps, and add a pineapple layer made with a box of island pineapple jello mix. Add a small pineapple wedge or fresh pineapple chunks as a garnish for a tropical drink feel.
Peach Jello Shots: Use peach jello, peach schnapps, and a small splash of cold pineapple juice from a can for a tropical twist. Finish them off with a cocktail umbrella—these are guaranteed to be a huge hit at any pool party!
Creamy Piña Colada Jello Shots: The next time you want to turn piña coladas into jello shots, use cold coconut milk, coconut rum, and coconut jello to make a white layer on the bottom of the cup.
Then make a pineapple layer with hot pineapple juice, cold pineapple juice (make sure to use from a can and not fresh juice), and pineapple rum. Finish with a cocktail cherry for a final flourish!
Remember, the combinations are limitless! You can always experiment with your favorite cocktails to create your own unique jello shot recipes, or check out our 100 Jello Shot Recipes for even more inspiration.