Vegan Jello Shots Starring Agar Agar

vegan jello shots

You don’t need boring old Jello to make Jello shots! Here’s how to use agar agar to make delicious vegan jello shots!

Gelatin is not vegan. It’s not even vegetarian! Conventional gelatin is made from ground up bones and tendons. YUM! Some folks have told me that Kosher gelatin is vegan, but from what I’ve read, it’s derived from dead fish.

Luckily, you don’t need powered bones to make a jelly dessert. You can just grab some agar agar and get to it!

Confession: I am not a big booze-drinker. At most parties, I’d much rather stick to beer or wine. The way to get me to do the booze thing is to hide it in desserts, so when my friend Kip said that she wanted to make grown-up vegan jello shots for her birthday party, I was all in!

We made root beer shoots and cosmopolitan ones, and we learned some lessons. For the cosmo shots, we used exactly the amount of agar that the recipe called for. For the root beer ones, we doubled it. The cosmo ones came out OK, but they were a little bit soft. The root beer ones….I think I’m still chewing the root beer one that I tried. The lesson: use one and a half times the amount of agar agar! Here are the recipes we used (adapted from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen), adjusted accordingly.

Vegan Cosmopolitan Jello Shots


  • 1c cranberry juice (the 100% juice blend kind)
  • 1c orange vodka
  • 1/4c lime juice
  • 1/4c orange liqueur
  • 1 3/4 agar agar powder
  • lime zest

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat half of the cranberry juice and lime juice with the agar agar, until it’s simmering. Stir for a few minutes, until the agar agar is fully dissolved.
  2. Quickly add the rest of the juices, stir, then add your booze.
  3. Pour the mixture into a square pan and chill for a few hours, until everything is gelatinized.
  4. Flip your jello shots onto a flat surface, like a cutting board, and slice them into cubes. Grate some lime zest over them, and you’re ready to serve!

rootbeer jello shots

Vegan Root Beer Jello Shots


  • 1c root beer
  • 1 1/2t agar agar powder
  • 2/3 cup root beer flavored vodka (I think you could use regular vodka or vanilla vodka instead.)
  • toothpicks

Cooking Directions

  1. Bring the root beer to a simmer on the stove, and stir in the agar agar. Keep stirring on low heat until it’s fully dissolved.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, and add your booze, then pour the mixture into a square pan.
  3. Chill for a few hours, until everything is gelatinized.
  4. Flip your jello shots onto a flat surface, like a cutting board, and slice them into cubes. Add your toothpicks, so folks can eat them like fancy finger food!

Of course, now I’m a little bit obsessed with agar agar. I’d never cooked with it before, and it set up like magic! Have you guys made any cool vegan jello shots or anything else with agar agar? I want to play around with it some more!

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11 comments on “Vegan Jello Shots Starring Agar Agar
    • Hi. Alcohol is antiseptic but the gel itself contains a lot of free water, that is, water that bacteria or fungus/mold could use to grow. I think a shot like this could taste fresh for at least three days, maybe longer, and probably won’t actually spoil for weeks because of the alcohol. You could probably also freeze them, where they’ll keep for months (assuming they’re packed really, really airtight). They will pick up flavors from other things in the fridge….

  1. Hi, I’m wondering if the “t” after the measurement for the agar powder is supposed to mean teaspoon or tablespoon.

    These look lovely. I want to try some for a potluck <3

  2. Ohmygoodness vegan jello shots! I love it! I actually had my first jello shot the other day at a wine festival–I guess it was wine shot? (I was rather sloshed by the time we had that…hmm…)–and I’m loving your take on it. And I’m so breaking out the agar agar because real gelatin still gives me the shivvers.

    • Wine shot! That sounds so good! Maybe with a bit of lime or something? I’m not sure if wine on its own would gel – you might have to experiment. Alcohol is tricky. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Don’t ask me why *this* is the thing that caused me to do more reading, but I poked around and kosher gelatin is absolutely NOT vegan as a matter of course. There are some versions made with carrageenan, agar-agar, etc, but they also make it with collagen, a mammal product (and there are fish versions too).

    I’m going to have to stop reading about it now, because this is the same kind of rabbit hole that led me to spend an hour and a half researching the Amish not too long ago.

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