The Best Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots

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Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots are fruity and fun, full of bright colors and tasty toppings that just can’t be beat! Orange juice, grenadine, tequila: the three things that make the original Tequila Sunrise that we all know and love. So why not throw all of that into a Jello shot recipe? 

titled (shown stacked): tequila sunrise jello shots


Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots

A layer of red, a layer of orange, and sweet all the way down — it’s your favorite Tequila Sunrise recipe, but the cocktail is mixed with gelatin in a cute little cup!

Jello shots with tequila take only 10 minutes to prep and less than 3 hours to set in the fridge.

Plus, they store well, so they’re great for making whenever you have a quick second before a weekend party. The only thing better is Mimosa Jello Shots for brunch!

And with whipped cream and a cherry on top? These Tequila Sunrise Jello shots make the PERFECT summer dessert cocktails!

Speaking of summer cocktails, check out my 5 Favorite Margaritas and let me know which is your favorite!

There are so many fun ways to use this liquor in cooking, not just in cocktails. Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken is one delicious example that you absolutely have to try.

ingredients to make tequila sunrise jello shots

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions 

  • Gelatin – You’ll need a layer of red Jello-O for the bottom, so I recommend using either strawberry or cherry.

    I use plain, unflavored gelatin for the orange layer — the flavor comes from the orange juice instead!
  • Orange Juice – I like to use good ol’ Sunny D! It’s sweet, tangy, and so yummy — perfect for this Jello shot recipe with tequila!

    If it’s too sweet for you, you can use your favorite brand of OJ instead.

    Personally, I wouldn’t use any brand with pulp because it messes with the texture, but it’s your call!
  • Tequila – Use your favorite brand of tequila for the alcohol portion.

    In my opinion, silver tequila is the best candidate for any tequila Jello shot recipe as it won’t affect the color of each layer.
  • Optional Ingredients – It isn’t totally necessary, but I think a nice dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top really puts these tequila Jello shots over the top!
pouring hot water into strawberry jello powder

Prep Ahead Instructions for Jello Shots with Tequila

Assemble the shots in disposable plastic cups, and keep them covered after the second layer sets.

Use plastic shot cups that come with lids so they’re easier to transport. Plus, you can stack them to save fridge space!

If you’ll be prepping Tequila Sunrise Jello shots in advance, wait until you’re ready to serve before topping them with whipped cream and cherries.

Otherwise, the garnishes get pretty gross if they’re left in the fridge for longer than an hour or so.

a layer of red jello in plastic shot cups

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • 2-ounce Shot Cups – These typically come in quantities of 50-100, perfect for making plenty of tequila Jello shots for a huge party!
  • You also need a good, steady pouring instrument to get smooth, even layers.

    I like using a kitchen injector/syringe because it’s so easy, but any funnel or pouring pitcher will work.
pouring tequila into orange juice and gelatin mixture

Tequila Jello Shot Recipe FAQ

Are Jello shots better with vodka or tequila?

Honestly, it depends on the recipe. The juices, flavors, and toppings you want to use whether to make a Jello shot recipe with tequila, vodka, or even rum.

These Tequila Sunrise Jello shots mimic the classic Tequila Sunrise cocktail, so of course, tequila is the way to go!

How much alcohol can you put in Jello shots with tequila?

Don’t add more than half a cup of alcohol per layer. You absolutely can put too much alcohol in your Jello shots! If you do, there’s a chance the gelatin won’t set correctly.

If you really want more alcohol, you can booze up the red layer as well by swapping out half of the cold water with tequila.

How can I make Jello shots easier?

A tequila Jello shot recipe can be really messy and tricky to make — but it doesn’t have to be!

Have an injector or pitcher with a spout handy can help you create super clean, even layers.

Also, be sure to let the first layer fully set before adding the next. You really need at least an hour for the red layer to set up.

Finally, do NOT add hot water to the unflavored gelatin without dissolving it in cold water first! Otherwise, it gets a weird, clumpy texture.

plastic shot cup with red and orange jello layers

How To Store Tequila Jello Shots

Keep lids on your plastic shot cups, and remember to store them without the whipped cream and cherries on top.

If you store them this way, any Jello shot recipe with tequila will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks!

Because they last for so long, and because they’re so easy to make, I don’t recommend freezing them. Doing that absolutely ruins their consistency and texture.

stacked tequila sunrise jello shots, one with whipped cream and a cherry

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grabbing tequila sunrise jello shot with whipped cream and cherry

tequila sunrise jello shot topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherry

Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots

Donna Elick
Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots are a fun way to enjoy a classic cocktail. These tangy, sweet tequila Jello shots are perfect for summer parties!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Drink
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 15 Jello shots


  • 3 ounces red gelatin powder, 3-ounce box red Jell-O
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water, divided
  • 1 cup cold water
  • whipped cream, optional
  • maraschino cherries, optional


  • Arrange empty shot cups on rimmed baking sheet; Set aside.
  • Add packet of red Jello and 1 cup boiling water to a medium mixing bowl; stir until the gelatin dissolves. Add the cold water and stir to combine.
  • Using the injector, fill 15 shot cups ¼ full with the mixture. Transfer the tray of Jello shots to the fridge for an hour, or until gelatin sets.
  • Add the orange juice to a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the top of it. You may need to gently press down on the gelatin powder to get it wet and start the process. Leave the mixture to sit until the gelatin dissolves and no longer looks clumpy.
  • Add in ½ cup boiling water and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Add the tequila and stir to combine.
  • Using the injector, fill the shot cups with tequila mixture to about ¾ of the way full. Transfer the tray of shots to the fridge for 1 ½ hours, or until set.
  • Top with whipped cream and a cherry for serving, if desired, and enjoy responsibly!
  • Store in refrigerator without garnishes, with lids on, for up to 1 week. Do not freeze.

Donna’s Notes

  1. Nutrition shown is for 1 Jello shot, without whipped cream or cherries.
  2. Do not add hot water to the unflavored gelatin powder before it’s been dissolved in cold water. You’ll make it clumpy and stringy. It’s salvageable, but definitely not as easy to use or as nice looking.
  3. If you want to make the red layer alcoholic, swap out half a cup of the cold water for more tequila. Do not go beyond half a cup of alcohol per Jello layer or you risk the layer not setting up.
  4. I like using Sunny D for the orange juice as its sweet flavor rounds out the flavor of the shot well. Avoid using an orange juice that has pulp. The texture and appearance are unpleasant in a shot.
  5. I like using an injector because it’s quicker and easier. However, I’ve been able to use a pourable measuring cup and make it out with little mess as well.
  6. Add garnishes right before serving or within a couple hours of serving. Garnishes have a tendency to get gross sitting in the fridge for long periods. 


Serving: 1 Jello shot | Calories: 45cal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 29mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): tequila sunrise jello shots

Originally published May 2022, updated and republished December 2023

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I love jello shots, and a tequila sunrise is one of my favorite drinks. This is a perfect jello-version of a classic cocktail.

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