Cherry Vegan Jello Shots

In your search for fun vegan cocktails, make sure you keep this cherry vegan jello shots recipe on your list. Not only are they delicious, but I also made these jello shots vegan, and you can make them too, with only 5 minutes of hands-on time!

Several jello shots sit next to each other. They each have whipped cream on top and maraschino cherries.

If you’re having a party, there’s nothing like having some jello shots around to increase the fun factor! I love these vegan jello shots with agar agar because they’re vegetarian, vegan, and super easy to make. If you love quick and easy jello shots, this is the recipe for you because they’re ready in right around 30 minutes!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using Kool-Aid gives you lots of flavor options and keeps this recipe fun, colorful, and easy
  • Adding plain or flavored vodka is simple and adds the perfect amount of alcohol, too
  • Topping each glass with whipped cream and a cherry keeps these shots fun and delicious
  • Reusable glass shot glasses keep this recipe environmentally friendly

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Kool-Aid — You’ll need one packet of unsweetened cherry Kool-Aid (or any other flavor). Don’t like Kool-Aid? You can substitute any favorite colorful juice, such as pomegranate juice. The color may not be as bright, but it will work.
  • Sugar — Simple granulated sugar works best.
  • Water — If your water has flavor to it, consider using filtered water.
  • Vodka — I used plain vodka, but you can try a flavored one, liked whipped cream vodka.
  • Agar agar — I buy this at health food stores or online.
  • Whipped Cream — You can serve these vegan jello shots plain, but adding a bit of coconut whipped cream on top is not only beautiful, it’s tasty, too.
  • Maraschino cherries — These are optional, but they add a nice touch.

Ingredient Spotlight

A wooden bowl an da wooden measuring spoon are full of agar agar flakes.

What is Agar Agar?

Agar agar (referred to as kanten in Japan) is made from sea-based red algae and it’s used in recipes to create a jelly-like substance very similar to jello. It’s a great vegetarian jello option for vegans and vegetarians who want to avoid animal-based gelatin. The two main forms of agar agar are flakes and powder, although you can also buy it in bars. The ratio of agar agar flakes to powder is 2 to 1. So if you are using flakes you’ll need 1 tablespoon per cup of water, whereas with the powder you’ll need only 1 teaspoon. Agar agar flakes are available in most health food stores and require 2 to 3 minutes of boiling to activate them. The powder can be ordered online and is much easier to work with as it doesn’t require as much boiling to soften it.

How to Make Vegan Jello Shots with Alcohol

  1. Cook the liquid with the agar in a saucepan for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  3. Pour the liquid into shot glasses.
  4. Place in the fridge to set.
  5. Serve and get ready for the fun!

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.

Step One: Activate the Agar Agar

In a saucepan combine the Kool-Aid, sugar, water, vodka, and agar agar. Give it a stir and then place it over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.

Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 3 minutes until the agar is dissolved.

A red mixture is in the bottom of a saucepan.

Step Two: Pour into Shot Glasses

  1. Remove the pan from heat and allow the liquid to cool slightly.
  2. Pour the cherry mixture into shot the glasses.
  3. Place shot glasses on a pan or tray.
  4. Place the tray in the fridge to set, around 30 minutes up to an hour.
Red liquid is being poured from a glass pyrex measuring cup into jello shots.

Step Three: Serve

When the cherry jello is set, you can serve them as-is, but they’re even more fun with some coconut whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top. Then serve them and get ready for the fun!

A single cherry jello shot sits on a white table. It has whipped cream and a cherry on top.

The Best Jello Shots

Jello shots are not a new thing. You’ve probably seen them a thousand times before. The problem is, jello is not vegan or vegetarian. Gelatin can be found in a lot of commercial products (like PopTarts, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Jello), and it’s made from animal products.

If you’re interested you can learn more about gelatin and how it’s made.

Of course, these agar agar jello shots prove a great point — we don’t need gelatin thanks to this amazing sea algae!

I buy agar agar at our local health food stores and even at the health food section of our grocery store. But if you don’t have agar agar at a nearby store, you can also buy it online. It may seem a little pricey at first, but you only use it a bit at a time, so it lasts a while. I bought a set of 3 packets and they’ve lasted nearly 2 years and still going.

Storage Tips

Transfer uneaten jello shots to an airtight container where they will keep for up to 4 or 5 days in the fridge. The consistency of the jello is best the day you make them, but they’re still enjoyable days later.

Several jello shots sit next to each other. They each have whipped cream on top and maraschino cherries.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What's the best alcohol to use for jello shots?

Hands-down the best alcohol to use for jello shots is vodka. However, you can try other types of alcohol, such as rum, whiskey, or even champagne.

How do you eat a jello shot?

You can eat jello shots however you want, but I don’t recommend swallowing it whole. Instead, swish it around in your mouth until it dissolves into a tasty mixture in your mouth before swallowing. Always be mindful when consuming alcohol and drink responsibly.

More Vegan Cocktails

These cherry vegan jello shots are so much fun! Here are even more fun boozy drinks to try:

Three shot glasses have cherry vegan jello shots that are topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries.

Vegan Jello Shots

Add a little fun to your weekend with these vegan jello shots, made with a vegetarian version of gelatin and with less than 10 ingredients!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Chilling Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 29 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 90kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 packet cherry Kool-Aid
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup vodka
  • 1 tablespoon agar agar flakes
  • 10 maraschino cherries
  • Optional: Coconut Whipped Cream

Instructions

  • In a saucepan combine the Kool-Aid, sugar, water, vodka, and agar agar. Give it a stir to combine and then place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 3 minutes until the agar is dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour the cherry mixture into shot glasses. Place in the fridge to set, at least 30 minutes, but up to an hour.
  • Serve as-is or add dollops of coconut whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, and get ready for the fun!

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

Agar-Agar: You can use 1 tablespoon of agar flakes or 1 teaspoon of agar powder.
I highly recommend reusable glass shot glasses rather than disposable plastic ones. They’re not that expensive, and you can use them time and time again.
Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

8 Responses to Cherry Vegan Jello Shots

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyVegan in Vegas Reply

    For the agar agar – flakes or powder?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Great question – I used agar agar flakes. Love that stuff!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyThalia @ butter and brioche Reply

    Perfect for summer! These jello shots are such a cool idea.

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMegan {Country Cleaver} Reply

    Ohhh these look dandy for summer!

  4. 5 stars
    Those look terrific! Oreos and cherry, two great flavors right there!

    I think you may be onto something with SSS. Sounds suspiciously like me lately. Or it might just be finals getting to me, lol 🙂

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Finals can bring on a whole host of symptoms. The good news is…vegan jello shots make most things better. 🙂

  5. SO glad you posted this. When I first became vegan I tried a jello shot recipe with agar agar and apparently I went overboard with it. It was so nasty…the texture was all wrong. I am looking forward to making a tried and true recipe. Plus chocolate and cherries are meant to be together….enough said

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I know how you feel, Jennifer. Sometimes working with new ingredients can be a challenge. I think agar agar is definitely worth giving it another try. I hope you like it!

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