Unit testing

Unit testing aims to isolate a small portion (unit) of code and test it for logically predictable behaviors. It generally involves mocking objects or server responses to simulate real world behaviors. Some benefits to unit testing include:

  • Quickly find and isolate bugs in code.
  • Provides documentation for each module of code by way of indicating what certain code blocks should be doing.
  • A helpful gauge that a refactor has gone well. The tests should still pass after code has been refactored.

In the context of Prisma, this generally means testing a function which makes database calls using the Prisma Client.

A single test should focus on how your function logic handles different inputs (such as a null value or an empty list).

This means that you should aim to remove as many dependencies as possible, such as external services and databases, to keep the tests and their environments as lightweight as possible.


This guide assumes you have the JavaScript testing library Jest already setup in your project. If you do not then the following short guide will help you to get up and running.

Prisma uses TypeScript and Jest can be setup to use TypeScript with the help of the ts-jest package.

$npm install --save-dev jest typescript ts-jest @types/jest

Next create a jest.config.js file at your projects root, adding the following configuration:

1module.exports = {
2 clearMocks: true,
3 preset: 'ts-jest',
4 testEnvironment: 'node',
5 setupFilesAfterEnv: ['<rootDir>/singleton.ts'],

The above configuration declares a path to a singleton.ts file, this can be called anything you like, the following guide will name it singleton.ts. The module the path points towards is the code that runs setting up the testing framework before each test file is executed.

Add a script to your package.json file which will run the tests. The -i flag will ensure that the tests are run one at a time to avoid any race conditions. The scripts will look for a folder at your projects root called __tests__ (double__underscore), and run any tests within files, within that folder.

1 "scripts": {
2 ...otherScripts
3 "test": "jest -i"
4 },

Mocking the Prisma client

To ensure your unit tests are isolated from external factors you can mock the Prisma client, this means you get the benefits of being able to use your schema (type-safety), without having to make actual calls to your database when your tests are run.

This guide will cover two approaches to mocking the client, a singleton instance and dependency injection. Both have their merits depending on your use cases. To help with mocking the client the jest-mock-extended package will be used.

$npm install jest-mock-extended@2.0.4 --save-dev

At the time of writing, this guide uses jest-mock-extended version ^2.0.4.


The following steps guide you through mocking the Prisma Client using a singleton pattern.

  1. Create a file at your projects root called client.ts and add the following code. This will instantiate a Prisma client instance.

    1import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client'
    3const prisma = new PrismaClient()
    4export default prisma
  2. Next create a file named singleton.ts at your projects root and add the following:

    1import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client'
    2import { mockDeep, mockReset, DeepMockProxy } from 'jest-mock-extended'
    4import prisma from './client'
    6jest.mock('./client', () => ({
    7 __esModule: true,
    8 default: mockDeep<PrismaClient>(),
    11beforeEach(() => {
    12 mockReset(prismaMock)
    15export const prismaMock = prisma as unknown as DeepMockProxy<PrismaClient>

The singleton file tells Jest to mock a default export (the Prisma client instantiated in ./client.ts), and uses the mockDeep method from jest-mock-extended to enable access to the objects and methods available on the Prisma client. It then resets the mocked instance before each test is run.

Dependency injection

Another popular pattern that can be used is dependency injection.

  1. Create a context.ts file and add the following:

    1import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client'
    2import { mockDeep, DeepMockProxy } from 'jest-mock-extended'
    4export type Context = {
    5 prisma: PrismaClient
    8export type MockContext = {
    9 prisma: DeepMockProxy<PrismaClient>
    12export const createMockContext = (): MockContext => {
    13 return {
    14 prisma: mockDeep<PrismaClient>(),
    15 }

If you find that you're seeing a circular dependency error highlighted through mocking the client, try adding "strictNullChecks": true to your tsconfig.json.

  1. To use the context, you would do the following in your test file:

    import { MockContext, Context, createMockContext } from '../context'
    let mockCtx: MockContext
    let ctx: Context
    beforeEach(() => {
    mockCtx = createMockContext()
    ctx = mockCtx as unknown as Context

This will create a new context before each test is run via the createMockContext function. This (mockCtx) context will be used to make a mock call to Prisma and run a query to test. The ctx context will be used to run a scenario query that is tested against.

Example unit tests

Prisma already tests query functions like findMany. A real world use case for unit testing Prisma might be a signup form. Your user fills in a form which calls a function, which in turn uses Prisma to make a call to your database.

All of the examples that follow use the following schema model:

1model User {
2 id Int @id @default(autoincrement())
3 email String @unique
4 name String?
5 acceptTermsAndConditions Boolean

The following unit tests will mock the process of

  • Creating a new user
  • Updating a users name
  • Failing to create a user if terms are not accepted

The functions that use the dependency injection pattern will have the context injected (passed in as a parameter) into them, whereas the functions that use the singleton pattern will use the singleton instance of the Prisma client.

import { Context } from './context'
interface CreateUser {
name: string
email: string
acceptTermsAndConditions: boolean
export async function createUser(user: CreateUser, ctx: Context) {
if (user.acceptTermsAndConditions) {
return await ctx.prisma.user.create({
data: user,
} else {
return new Error('User must accept terms!')
interface UpdateUser {
id: number
name: string
email: string
export async function updateUsername(user: UpdateUser, ctx: Context) {
return await ctx.prisma.user.update({
where: { id: user.id },
data: user,

The tests for each methodology are fairly similar, the difference is how the mocked Prisma Client is used.

The dependency injection example passes the context through to the function that is being tested as well as using it to call the mock implementation.

The singleton example uses the singleton client instance to call the mock implementation.

import { createUser, updateUsername } from './src/functions-without-context.ts'
import { prismaMock } from './../singleton'
test('should create new user ', async () => {
const user = {
id: 1,
name: 'Rich',
email: 'hello@prisma.io',
acceptTermsAndConditions: true,
await expect(createUser(user)).resolves.toEqual({
id: 1,
name: 'Rich',
email: 'hello@prisma.io',
acceptTermsAndConditions: true,
test('should update a users name ', async () => {
const user = {
id: 1,
name: 'Rich Haines',
email: 'hello@prisma.io',
await expect(updateUsername(user)).resolves.toEqual({
id: 1,
name: 'Rich Haines',
email: 'hello@prisma.io',
test('should fail if user does not accept terms', async () => {
const user = {
id: 1,
name: 'Rich Haines',
email: 'hello@prisma.io',
acceptTermsAndConditions: false,
prismaMock.user.create.mockRejectedValue(new Error('User must accept terms!'))
await expect(createUser(user)).resolves.toEqual(
new Error('User must accept terms!')
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