While that box of gelatin may seem to last forever, that’s not quite the case once you prepare it. Yep, even if there is a good amount of sugar and alcohol like in the case of Jello shots.
So, ultimately, that is to say, yes, Jello shots do eventually go bad.
Whilst even plain Jello shots go bad, the other ingredients you use to spice them up can also contribute to and even accelerate how quickly they go bad.
If it’s just a standard Jello shot with water, vodka, and gelatin mix, they will likely last longer than some more “exotic” Jello shots with perishable ingredients like pumpkin pie Jello shots, eggnog Jello shots, or cranberry Jello shots.
While they all sound delicious, these Jello shots have short lives and should be consumed whilst fresh because of their ingredients.
However, if you keep it classic, the Jello shots will last longer, but still expire. I will go over what to look out for a bit later.
How Long Do Jello Shots Last?
Because packaged Jello has such a long shelf life, most people assume that Jello shots are the same. A package of powdered jello will keep for months or years if stored in a dry, cool location. But the Jello packet should be consumed within three months of opening.
But, when you transform that powder into prepared Jello, you can only keep it for a certain amount of time. Whether it’s a plain lemon Jello cup or a boozy Jello shot, it should be consumed as soon as possible. You might be wondering how long Jello shots last in the fridge. To be precise, seven to ten days. The flavors of the gelatin will diminish the longer they stay in the fridge.
If you want to have a good party, make sure the Jello shots are served within a few days. Otherwise, the Jello will be tasteless and possibly rotten. This is especially true for any shots that include fruit. If you add fruit or fruit juice to the Jello shot (like this Blueberry Champagne Jello shot recipe), you’ll have to consume it within three days.
Can You Prepare Jello Shots Ahead of Time?
Since Jello shots stay good for only about seven to ten days, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth making them ahead of time. Of course, it depends on how busy you are since most things are best when they’re served directly after they’re made.
However, while it depends on exactly what type of Jello shot you’re serving, for the most part, you can definitely prepare them beforehand if you’ll be short on time when the party approaches. You should do it at most five days before, but the fewer days the better.
However, this is only true for those Jello shots that don’t have anything more perishable or have a special presentation or ingredients that would inhibit them from sitting in the fridge for a few days.
Additionally, after being prepared, gelatin, whether infused with alcohol or not, has a shorter shelf life because it is an animal by-product.
Lastly, make sure that you don’t wait too long to serve the shots at the party if you want them to be of top quality. The flavors will become diluted after about five days.
How to Tell if Jello Shots Have Gone Bad
I’ve mentioned that gelatin is an animal by-product, but unlike other animal products like milk or meat, you won’t be able to tell if Jello shots are bad just by the smell since the alcohol or sugar smell will be overpowering. But you can tell if they’ve gone bad by the color, texture, taste, or fungus.
The first thing you’ll likely notice is the change in color. If you’ve kept the Jello in an airtight container and it’s still turning blue, green, or black, it’s time to toss it. You’ll notice dark spots or streaks running through the Jello as the color changes.
Next, the texture will change as well. Changing from their usual firmer substance to a watery liquid is the next clear sign that the Jello shots have gone bad.
Another pretty obvious sign is the appearance of fungus. Like other foods or drinks, the sign of fungus is a no-go. If you notice any bacterial or fungal growth on the shots, don’t eat them because they’ve most likely gone bad.
But, sometimes it’s hard to tell just by looking at them. But you can also tell by their taste. If the sweet flavor of Jello has been replaced by a bitter or sour flavor, it is no longer safe to eat. The taste of Jello has changed from sweet to sour, indicating that the sugar has been fermented to alcohol.
How Should You Store Jello Shots?
As you’ll find out here and in the next section, the only good place to store Jello shots really is the fridge. However, if you plan on drinking them soon, they can be taken out of the fridge, but they are best consumed when they’re still at least a bit chilled.
But, when you store them in the fridge, there are a couple of things to keep in mind for the best results.
First, whenever you put them in the fridge, whether they’re still setting or they’ve already fully set, they should be covered in either an airtight container or at the very least covered with plastic wrap. This is because jelly can easily soak up the flavors and smells of other foods in the fridge.
The next thing to keep in mind, but in the same vein, is that they should be stored in a separate part of the fridge than foods with strong odors like fish or cheese. The last thing you want is your Jello shots to have a faint fishy taste!
Can You Freeze Jello Shots?
You can put Jello shots in the freezer to help them set quicker, but you should avoid freezing them entirely. So remember to take them out!
When making jelly shots, keep in mind that high-content alcohol does not set into a solid. As a result, when you chill your shots in the fridge, they’ll always be a little wobblier and runnier than regular alcohol-free jelly.
Putting Jello shots in the freezer to speed up the setting process is a wonderful idea. If you’re organizing a last-minute party, create your shots ahead of time and freeze them on a tray and make sure to keep them level to avoid spilling.
But, be sure to take them out once they’re set. The texture of your Jello shots will begin to alter if you keep them in the freezer for too long. The goal is to chill them to a temperature just below that of your refrigerator, but not to the point of freezing them. This will assist them in setting completely and becoming as solid as possible.
Strange things will start to happen as the Jello shot begins to freeze. Inside the jelly, the water crystals and gelatin will solidify, but the alcohol will stay liquid.
This results in a strange, gritty texture in your Jello shot, which is still edible but they won’t have the same taste or texture as when they’re fresh.