How To Add Types With Jest And Typescript

Posted March 28, 2021 · 3 min read

Are you like and you are tired of having to manually add types in your TypeScript unit tests with ts-jest?

If that's the case this article may be for you!

Let's dive into the problem.

This presumes that you are writing your unit tests with jest and ts-jest.

Installing dependencies

If you don't have them set up, then add these dependencies to your project

  npm i -D jest @types/jest ts-jest

or with yarn

  yarn add jest @types/jest ts-jest --dev

Project setup

Let's set up your jest.config.js file properly

 * @type {import('@jest/types').Config.ProjectConfig}
module.exports = {
  preset: 'ts-jest',
  coverageReporters: ['html', 'lcov', 'text'],
  coverageDirectory: '<rootDir>/coverage',
  transform: {
    '^.+\\.ts': 'ts-jest',
  testPathIgnorePatterns: ['<rootDir>/node_modules/'],
  globals: {
    'ts-jest': {
      tsconfig: 'tsconfig.spec.json',

With this, we tell jest that we want to use ts-jest as our transformer for TypeScript files.

The problem

export const myAwesomeFn = (a: number, b: number) => a + b

Let's say you want to mock a function from a random module; ts-jest won't compile if you want to mock the module. Let's see the example below:

import { myAwesomeFn } from './my-awesome-module'


describe('my awesome describe', () => {
  it('should assert something cool', () => {
    myAwesomeFn.mockReturnValue('myAwesomeReturn')  })

In the code snippet above, line 7 won't compile since TypeScript cannot properly infer that myAwesomeFn is mocked by jest.

Possible solution

One way to resolve this problem is by casting the myAwesomeFn variable. For example:

import { myAwesomeFn } from './my-awesome-module'


describe('my awesome describe', () => {
  it('should assert something cool', () => {
    (myAwesomeFn as jest.Mock).mockReturnValue('myAwesomeReturn')  })

This will work but you won't get proper inference on the return type of myAwesomeFn.

@types/jest provides us with nice mock construct -- jest.MockedFunction, jest.MockedFunction, jest.Mocked and finally jest.Mock

With that in mind, we can improve the typings by using the right mock construct. But wait? How can TypeScript infer which construct to use?

Solution I came up with

With TypeScript generics and @types/jest we can come up with a nice way to let TypeScript do the job for us :)

I created this little npm package ts-jest-mock.

This package abstracts away a custom type and a utility function that we can use to improve our DX with ts-jest.

Example with ts-jest-mock

import { myAwesomeFn } from './my-awesome-module'
import { createMock } from 'ts-jest-mock'

const myAwesomeFnMock = createMock(myAwesomeFn)
describe('my awesome describe', () => {
  beforeEach(() => {
    // Type error, TypeScript will complain that we are passing a string instead of a number
    myAwesomeFnMock.mockReturnValue('myAwesomeReturn')  })

  it('should assert something cool', () => {
    // won't get executed because of compiler error
    expect(myAwesomeFnMock()).toBe('myAwesomeReturn')  })

First on line 2 we import the utility function from ts-jest-mock. Then on line 11 we use the beforeEach pattern to properly create and infer our mock with the actual return type from our mocked module. Since it properly infered the arguments and return types expected, line 11 will get a compiler error because we are trying to return a string but the actual return type is a number if you circle back when we defined this function here. Finally, line 16 won't get executed at all and jest will exit with an error code.


That's it folk, that's how you can get proper type inference in a unit test using jest and ts-jest with the help of ts-jest-mock.