How To Set Up Jest for React Testing?

How To Set Up Jest for React Testing

Testing is a crucial aspect of modern software development. It helps ensure that your code functions as intended and prevents regressions as you make changes to your codebase. For React applications, Jest has become one of the most popular testing frameworks due to its simplicity, speed, and extensive features. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of setting up Jest for testing your React applications.



Before diving into setting up Jest, make sure you have the following prerequisites installed:

1. Node.js and npm: Jest requires Node.js, a JavaScript runtime, and npm, the Node.js package manager. You can download and install them from the official Node.js website.

2. React Project: You should have a React project ready that you want to test using Jest. If you don’t have one yet, you can create a new React project using tools like `create-react-app`.

Step 1: Installing Jest

To get started with Jest, you need to install it as a development dependency in your project. Open your terminal and navigate to your project directory, then run the following command:


npm install –save-dev jest @babel/preset-env @babel/preset-react react-test-renderer


– `jest`: The Jest testing framework.

– `@babel/preset-env`: Babel preset for compiling modern JavaScript down to compatible versions.

– `@babel/preset-react`: Babel preset for transforming JSX syntax.

– `react-test-renderer`: A package for rendering React components in tests.

Step 2: Configuring Babel

Since Jest requires Babel for transpiling your code, you need to create a Babel configuration file in your project’s root directory. Create a file named `babel.config.js` and add the following content:


module.exports = {

  presets: [‘@babel/preset-env’, ‘@babel/preset-react’],



This configuration tells Babel to use the specified presets to transpile your code.

Step 3: Writing Your First Test

Jest uses a simple and intuitive syntax for writing tests. Create a folder named `__tests__` (double underscore before and after “tests”) in the root of your project. Inside this folder, create a file named `example.test.js`. This naming convention is important as Jest will automatically pick up files with `.test.js` or `.spec.js` suffixes for testing.

Now, let’s write a basic test to check if the rendering of a React component works as expected:


import React from ‘react’;

import { render } from ‘react-test-renderer’;

import MyComponent from ‘../MyComponent’; // Import the component you want to test

test(‘renders correctly’, () => {

  const component = render(<MyComponent />);




In this example, we’re importing the `render` function from `react-test-renderer` to render our component. The `toMatchSnapshot()` function from Jest’s `expect` API is used to create a snapshot of the rendered component. Snapshots are a way to track changes in your component’s structure over time.

Running Your Tests

Step 4: Running Your Tests

To run your tests, open your terminal and navigate to your project’s root directory. Then, execute the following command:


npx jest


Jest will start executing your tests and provide feedback on whether they pass or fail. If everything is set up correctly and your component renders as expected, you should see output indicating that the test passed.

Step 5: Watching for Changes

Running tests manually every time you make a change can be cumbersome. Jest provides a useful feature that automatically re-runs your tests whenever you make changes to your code. You can use the following command:


npx jest –watch


This command initiates the watch mode, where Jest will monitor your files for changes and rerun tests whenever you save a file.

Step 6: Adding More Tests

As your application grows, you’ll likely need to test various aspects of your components. Jest provides a wide range of testing utilities to handle different scenarios, such as simulating user interactions, mocking external dependencies, and testing asynchronous code.

To add more tests, create additional `.test.js` files in the `__tests__` directory. You can organize your tests by component or feature to keep your project structured and maintainable.


Setting up Jest for testing your React applications can significantly improve the quality and stability of your codebase. With its simple syntax, powerful features, and quick feedback, Jest provides an excellent testing experience for developers. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can establish a robust testing workflow that helps catch bugs early, streamline development, and ensure your React components work as intended.