Do jello shots go bad?

Most adult parties enjoy a few of your favorite drinks and even a glass of liquor or two, but liquor like vodka can be strong and is never everyone’s idea of a fun drink to get the party going. Enter the jello shots. Jello shots are fun to eat and drink, and they are straight from the fridge/ freezer to provide that zingy expectation for your party or event.

Did you know making jello shots is easy? You just take your favorite jello flavor, mix it in boiling water, let it cool, and add your alcohol. The alcohol can be flavored like flavored vodkas or straight. The alcohol content will not freeze for most hard liquor, so there is always that little extra kick when needed.

This article will look into jello shots and provide the information needed to develop the perfect party jello shot. We will also answer some of those questions that never get answered.

Let’s dive into it.


Do Jello Shots expire?

The answer is yes, but three components should be examined before you come to an absolute conclusion.

Jello powder. The powder will absorb moisture and expire or spoil quickly. Jello powder has an incredibly long shelf, as if it is in a sealed package but unsealed.

Plain jello kept in the fridge will only last for ten days maximum before it should be tossed in the garbage.

If you are making jello shots, you can assume that a bottle of your favorite vodka or hard liquor will be consumed in at least two years. So the alcohol is not going to expire within the jello.

Adding alcohol to jello does make a slightly different product from plain jello. The jello will be semi-solid but still jiggly and fun. Semi-solid jello will have a shelf life in the fridge of approximately 5 days.

How long can Jello Shots sit out?

For the best jello shots, they should be refrigerated and kept cool. Remember, they are semi-solid and not the firm jiggly jello that you would serve your kids.

The problem with leaving jello shots on the side to sit is that jello has a low melting point, so if your room temperature is increasing with all of your guests, your jello shots may melt, leaving you with flavored melted jello. It is not a great look or flavor when melted.

It is possible to become loaded with bacteria, but two elements in the jello will help prevent bacteria from contaminating it. 

The first is the jello itself. Jello contains a high sugar content that bacteria are not fond of, making it hard to proliferate on this sugary surface.

The second is alcohol. Bacteria will not be able to settle on alcohol. However, if the shots are left out too long, the alcohol will evaporate, and the water content of the jello will become susceptible to bacteria growth, spoiling the product.

Do Jello Shots need to be refrigerated?

There are two elements to this answer, but both are yes. The jello powder or jello sheets are dissolved in boiling water when you make jello shots. Leave the water to cool down sufficiently, so it’s at room temperature.

Add the same amount of liquor, such as vodka, as you did water. Of course, this can be adjusted to taste and the amount of alcohol you like in your jello shots.

Adding the liquor when the jello is at room temperature will prevent the alcohol from boiling off, making your jello shots less potent.

Jello will not be set at room temperature, so it must be placed in a cold fridge for at least 5 hours or until the jello is set.

When the jello is set, jello shots can be served to your guests, but in between, the jello shots should be placed back in the fridge. Cold jello shots are much nicer than room-temperature jello shots starting to become sloppy.

Keep them cold.

How long do Jello Shots last in the fridge?

3 to 5 days. If you find yourself with leftover jello shots, they will only last for 5 days in the fridge before they should be tossed.

Can you freeze jello shots to extend their life? It is not recommended but depending on how many jello shots are left over, it makes it worth a shot, but they will not last forever in the freezer, so it is a toss-up if they should be thrown out or tried to be kept.

Do jello shots have to be covered in the fridge?

No, if you have covers and other foods in the fridge that have a strong odor, like some cheeses, then covering the jello shots could be a good idea to prevent any tainting of the jello shots from overpowering foods in the fridge.

You will possibly be making trays of jello shots, so it will be ok to stack the jello shots in the fridge. This should not change the setting time of the jello. But on average, the jello shots will set in around 5 hours and will be ready for serving.

Remember to keep the jello shots cool before refrigerating. This will do two things: it will prevent the fridge’s internal temperature from elevating, which could cause bacteria growth in foods stored in the fridge, and it will prevent alcohol from evaporating before the jello is set.

Can you put warm jello shots in the fridge?

Yes, but be aware that warm jello in the fridge will elevate the fridge’s internal temperature, which could cause bacteria growth on other foods stored in the fridge. Interestingly warm jello shots in the fridge will set at the same time as cool jello shots!

You may lose some of the alcohol content of a warm jello shot as it evaporates. So, if you are placing warm jello shots in the fridge to set, you may want to add a ¼ or ½ cup more liquor to compensate for the evaporation of the alcohol.

It is an excellent excuse for boozy jello shots!

Jello shots facts

Can you freeze jello shots?

If you have procrastinated and left the jello shots to the last moment, the freezer is unlikely to save your bacon, or in this case, jello shots.

Jello shots do not set any quicker despite the cooler temperature. In fact, you can get ice crystals forming in the jello, which will crush the jello structure, making it sloppy.

If you are going to try and freeze jello shots, fill the container as far as possible without spilling and then place a lid on the jello shot container. If you use plastic shot cups, they come with lids that click into place.

Once they have set, transfer them to keep in a cold fridge and keep your fingers crossed they are still good to eat.

If you have leftover jello shots freezing them may be your only option to try and salvage the jello shots. Again use lids if you have them, or place them in an airtight container. Jello will get freezer burn which destroys the structure of the jello, and it’s endive but not the nicest thing to eat.

Do jello shots go bad if not refrigerated?

Jello shots will melt. Jello has a low melting point and will return to liquid at room temperature if left out for long enough.

Due to the high sugar content of the jello and the alcohol in liquor, jello shots are safe if left out of the fridge, but common sense should prevail.

A jello shot is not a jello shot if the jello is not set and the product is not cold.

Do jello shots go bad in the fridge?

Jello shots have a relatively short shelf life in the fridge, and they last from 3 to 5 days, depending on the temperature of the fridge and the type of jello used in the mixture.

If your jello shot has lost its jiggle in the fridge, then you know it’s at the end of its life and should be discarded.

If jello shots don’t look right, then it’s time to toss them in the garbage.

Can you freeze jello shots?

It is possible, but don’t expect to use them in three months. If you intend to freeze jello shots, you will need to add more gelatin so the jello can withstand the harsh environment of the freezer.

Add a couple of spoons extra of gelatin, and the jello shot should be good for 1 month in the freezer.

How long does jello take to set?

Jello shots are typically set within 4 to 5 hours of being placed in the fridge.

It will depend on the quality of the jello, the amount of alcohol, and the temperature of the fridge. The temperature of the jello has little to do with the setting time.

Final thoughts

Jiggly jello shots are great at any party or adult family event, and they bring something different and enjoyable than just a staring glass of liquor on the rocks.

They are easy to make and consume, but keeping them refrigerated is the best way to serve a delectable product to your guests.

If they are left on the side, they will likely melt and become a distant relative of a jello shot.

Freezing jello shots is not the best option.

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