Made with two vibrant layers and flavored with real cotton candy, these cotton candy jello shots are a boozy treat that are fun, sweet, and eye-catching.

This post contains affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy.

Side shot of multiple jello shots on a wooden board, showing off the pink and blue layers.

About Cotton Candy Jello Shots

Vibrant and fun, these cotton candy jello shots are the perfect blend of color, sweetness, and spirits. Great for cooling down a summer party or simply having a new way to enjoy one of the best childhood treats in your “wiser” years.

What’s in cotton candy jello shots?

  • Pink Starburst gelatin and blue Starburst gelatin – Used as a base to create the pink and blue layers. Feel free to use other flavors of gelatin or stick to only one color.
  • Pink cotton candy and blue cotton candy – To give these jello shots their namesake cotton candy flavor. You can use up to two cups of cotton candy in each batch of gelatin to get the flavor intensity you’d like. You can also use any extra cotton candy for decorating the tops of the jello shots.
  • Cool Whip – Used for giving the top blue layer a solid color and also for decorating the tops of the jello shots. However, this ingredient is primarily for looks, so feel free to skip it if you’d like.
  • Light corn syrup and pastel sprinkles – Used for decorating the rims of the jello shot cups. Totally optional but creates a fun presentation.
  • Water and vodka – Because every jello shot needs spirits for punch and water to form the gelatin.
Close up side view of an undecorated cotton candy jello shot, showing off the opaque blue layer on the top.

What type of vodka should you use?

To keep with the cotton candy theme, any cotton candy flavored vodka or spirit will work just fine. I have used Pinnacle brand in the past and enjoyed it.

What tools do you need to make jello shots?

Before getting started, make sure you have the following on hand:

  • 2 Ounce Plastic Shot Cups with Lids. You can also use standard shot glasses, but be aware that you can’t “shoot” with those – since it’s solid glass, you can’t squeeze the cups to help loosen the jello. If you use any type of firm container, plan on serving the jello shots with spoons.
  • Funnel or Injector – Makes it easier to fill the jello cups.
  • Mixing bowl, saucepan, whisk – All used for preparing and mixing the jello shots.

Can you make jello shots in advance?

Yes, you totally can! That’s the best part about jello – once it’s made, it can last a few days in the refrigerator. Just make sure the jello shots are stored in a sealed container (or that the individual cups have their lids).

However, I would recommend waiting to decorate the jello shots with whipped cream and sprinkles until just before serving. The whipped cream will “deflate” over time, becoming a soupy mess on top of the jello shots, and the color of the sprinkles will bleed into the cream.

And whenever possible, hold off on decorating with cotton candy until just before the jello shots are to be consumed. The cotton candy will begin to melt as soon as it touches the whipped cream or jello so it’s best to limit the time they touch.

Side view of multiple cotton candy jello shots sitting on a wooden board, some decorated and some not.

How long are jello shots good for?

How long jello shots will keep in the refrigerator will depend on whether the tops of the jello have been decorated or not.

Without decoration, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three to five days.

With decoration, it’s best if the jello shots are consumed within one to two hours of being made.

Can you freeze jello shots?

Bad news here, guys. Because jello shots have a gelatinous form and freeze differently than water or juice, I can’t recommend freezing these jello shots. The freezing process will change the texture of the jello and dilute the flavor.

For best results, enjoy these jello shots while they’re freshly made.

Notes & tips for these jello shots

  • Although you may be tempted to, do not add more than 1/2 cup alcohol to each batch of gelatin. Alcohol does not solidify, so more alcohol would cause the jello not to set properly. The recipe is balanced so that you can still enjoy boozy jello shots with classic jello texture.
  • This recipe is designed to use two-ounce jello shot cups. You can also use one-ounce jello shot cups to easily double the yield (but you will have smaller jello shots).
  • If you’d like to pink layer to be opaque like the blue layer, reduce the amount of water used by a half cup (so a total of one cup water) and mix in two cups of Cool Whip as instructed for the blue layer.
Hand holding a single cotton candy jello shot, showing off the Cool Whip, sprinkles, and cotton candy decorated on top.

More fun jello shots

How to make cotton candy jello shots

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – If you’d like to decorate the jello shot cups, coat the rims with light corn syrup and then dip the rims in a bowl of pastel sprinkles. This is a totally optional step but can give the shot cups a fun presentation.

Step 2 – Add water to a saucepan, then bring to a boil.

Step 3 – Add pink starburst gelatin to a large mixing bowl, then pour in boiling water. Whisk them together until the gelatin is dissolved.

Step 4 – Add about one cup of pink cotton candy to the bowl, then whisk until dissolved. Do a quick taste test; if you’d like the cotton candy flavor to be stronger, continue to add and whisk in more cotton candy. You can add up to two cups total of cotton candy.

Step 5 – Pour in the vodka, then whisk again to combine. If the mixture is still warm, give it some time to cool down some before doing the next step.

Step 6 – Create the first layer by pouring the jello into the decorated shot cups, filling about 1/2 of the way full. Once ready, transfer the jello shots to the refrigerator to set.

Step 7 – Let chill.

Step 8 – When the first layer is set, prepare the blue gelatin the same way you did the pink: boil water, mix boiling water with blue gelatin until dissolved, add up to two cups of blue cotton candy and whisk, then add chilled vodka and whisk again.

Step 9 – Add some Cool Whip to the blue gelatin, then whisk until dissolved. If the mixture is still warm, give it some time to cool down some before doing the next step.

Step 10 – Pour the blue gelatin on top of the pink gelatin, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way to nearly full.

Step 11 – Let chill again.

Step 12 – Top each jello shot with more Cool Whip, sprinkles, and bits of cotton candy (all optional).

Step 13 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Side shot of multiple jello shots on a wooden board, showing off the pink and blue layers.
5 from 1 vote

Cotton Candy Jello Shots

20 mins prep + 10 mins cook + 3 hrs Setting Time
102 kcal
Yields: 15 jello shots
Made with two vibrant layers and flavored with real cotton candy, these cotton candy jello shots are a boozy treat that are fun, sweet, and eye-catching.

Ingredients 

  • pastel sprinkles, optional
  • 2 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup vodka, divided
  • 2 cups pink cotton candy, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 2 cups blue cotton candy, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 2 cups Cool Whip, softened, plus more for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, add pastel sprinkles. Wet the rim of a jello shot cup with corn syrup and gently dab the cup in the sprinkles, coating the rim. Repeat this step for all shot cups used. TIP: Corn syrup will dry quickly so it's best to decorate one shot cup at a time.
    pastel sprinkles, light corn syrup
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat.
    2 1/2 cups water
  • In a large bowl, pour in boiled water and add pink starburst gelatin. Whisk quickly until gelatin is dissolved.
    3 ounces pink starburst gelatin
  • Add 1 cup of pink cotton candy to bowl, then whisk until dissolved. Do a quick taste test; if you’d like a stronger cotton candy flavor, whisk in more cotton candy, up to a total of 2 cups.
    2 cups pink cotton candy
  • Add 1/2 cup chilled vodka to gelatin mix and whisk quickly until combined.
    1 cup vodka
  • If mixture is still warm, allow to cool slightly.
  • Using a funnel or injector, pour pink gelatin into prepared shot cups, smoothing or spooning out any bubbles that form on top. If cups are decorated, be careful not to disrupt sprinkles. Fill cups about 1/2 of the way, leaving plenty of room for the second layer.
  • Place jello shots in the refrigerator and let set for 1 hour or until firm.
  • When ready to add the next layer, prepare the blue gelatin the same way as the pink: boil 1 cup water, mix boiling water with blue gelatin until dissolved, add up to 2 cups blue cotton candy and whisk, then add 1/2 cup chilled vodka and whisk again.
    2 1/2 cups water, 3 ounces blue starburst gelatin, 2 cups blue cotton candy, 1 cup vodka
  • Add 2 cups Cool Whip to blue gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved.
    2 cups Cool Whip
  • If mixture is still warm, allow to cool slightly.
  • Remove jello shots from the refrigerator. Using a funnel or injector, pour blue gelatin into shot cups, smoothing or spooning out any bubbles that form on top. Keep an eye on the consistency; if cream begins to separate, whisk again. If cups are decorated, be careful not to disrupt sprinkles. Fill cups the rest of the way, roughly 3/4 of the way or nearly full.
  • Place finished jello shots in the refrigerator and let set for 2 hours.
  • Top each jello shot with more Cool Whip, sprinkles, and pieces of cotton candy (all optional). TIP: If decorating with cotton candy, do not add until just before serving as it will melt into the cream.
    pastel sprinkles, 2 cups pink cotton candy, 2 cups blue cotton candy, 2 cups Cool Whip
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1jello shot | Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 0.04g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.02mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy