Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots
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Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots are fruity and fun, and 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?
Between the sweet strawberry Jell-O and the tangy orange juice in the top layer, I’m totally addicted to these tequila Jello shots! And with whipped cream and a cherry on top? These heavenly little treats make the PERFECT summer dessert cocktails!
They 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.
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! Or try these Mimosa Jello Shots, they are an absolute hit!
And you just can’t miss tequila when you start talking summer cocktails. After all, summer is all about margaritas! Check out my 5 Favorite Margaritas and let me know which is your favorite!
There are actually 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. It’s a summertime grilling must-have!
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. That’s where the orange juice comes in!
- Orange Juice – I like to use good ol’ Sunny D! It’s sweet, tangy, and so yummy — perfect for this recipe! 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 mixed drinks.
- Optional Ingredients – It isn’t totally necessary, but I think a nice dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top really takes the tequila Jello shots over the top!
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.
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Tequila Jello Shots FAQ
Honestly, it depends on the recipe. The juices, flavors, and toppings you want to use affect which alcohol is best. These tequila Jello shots mimic the classic Tequila Sunrise cocktail, so of course, tequila is the way to go!
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?
Jello shot recipes can be really messy and tricky, but they don’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.
Prep Ahead Instructions
Assemble the shots in disposable plastic cups, and keep them covered after the second layer sets. I like to use plastic shot cups that come with lids so they’re easier to transport.
Important Reminders + Tips
- Dissolve the unflavored gelatin before adding hot water.
- To prevent the gelatin from melting, keep everything chilled. Don’t leave them out of the fridge for longer than 2 or 3 hours.
- Wait until just before serving to add garnishes.
- It is definitely possible to get drunk on Jello shots – Please slurp responsibly. 😉
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. In my experience, the garnishes get pretty gross if they’re left in the fridge for longer than an hour or so.
How To Store Tequila Sunrise 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, Jello shots keep well 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.
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Other Party Jello Shot Recipes
Tequila Sunrise 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.
- Nutrition shown is for 1 Jello shot, without whipped cream or cherries.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Originally published May 2022.
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I love jello shots, and a tequila sunrise is one of my favorite drinks. This is a perfect jello-version of a classic cocktail.