Framework for running integration tests in an isolated environment
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Test Kitchen is a framework for running project integration tests in an isolated environment using Vagrant and Chef. You describe the configuration for testing your project using a lightweight Ruby DSL.

We use Vagrant baseboxes built with Bento.

Quick start

When you use test-kitchen your test config and the tests themselves live along-side the cookbook within the cookbook repository. To get started, install the test-kitchen gem. This makes available the kitchen command which is the main way you will interact with test-kitchen. It is modelled loosely on the vagrant cli.

$ gem install test-kitchen

Now you can ask test-kitchen to generate basic scaffolding to get you up and running:

$ cd my-existing-cookbook
$ kitchen init

Run this command to converge your cookbook's default recipe:

$ kitchen test

What does it do?

Test kitchen runs through several different kinds of tests, depending on the configuration.

First, it does a syntax check using knife cookbook test. This does require a valid knife.rb with the cache path for the checksums stored by the syntax checker.

Second, it performs a lint check using foodcritic, and will fail and exit if any correctness checks fail.

For cookbook projects, it provisions a VM and runs the default recipe or recipes set as "configurations" (see below) in the Kitchenfile to ensure it can be converged. If a cookbook has minitest-chef tests, it will run those as well. If the cookbook has declared dependencies in the metadata, test-kitchen uses Librarian to resolve those dependencies. Support for Berkshelf is pending

For integration_test projects, it provisions a VM and runs the integration tests for the project, by default "rspec spec".

In either cookbook or integration_test projects, if a "features" directory exists, test-kitchen will attempt to run those tests using cucumber.

All this is configurable, see the DSL section below.


Even if you haven't yet got around to writing any tests, test-kitchen is still useful in providing an easy way to test that your cookbook converges successfully on a variety of platforms.

Test-kitchen looks at your cookbook's metadata.rb file to see which platforms you have indicated that it should support.

For example your cookbook metadata might contain the following lines:

supports 'centos'
supports 'ubuntu'

This says to Chef that you expect your cookbook to work on both CentOS and Ubuntu. When you run kitchen test, test-kitchen consults this metadata and will test your cookbook against these platforms only.

If your cookbook doesn't specify the platforms that it supports then it will be tested against all platforms supported by test-kitchen. Alternatively if you have specified a platform that test-kitchen doesn't yet support a warning message will be displayed.


Very often you will want to test different independent usages or configurations of your cookbook. An example would be a cookbook like the mysql cookbook which has client and server recipes. These need to be converged separately to prove that they will work independently. If you only converged them both on the same node you might find that the client recipe unexpectedly relied on a resource declared by the server recipe.

You need to tell test-kitchen what the different configurations are that you want your cookbook tested with. To do this we edit the generated test/kitchen/Kitchenfile and define our configurations:

cookbook "mysql" do
  configuration "client"
  configuration "server"

Each configuration optionally has a matching recipe in the cookbook_test subdirectory:


This recipe is responsible for doing the setup for the configuration tests. For example in the case of mysql the server recipe will include the standard mysql::server recipe but then also setup a dummy test database. The tests that then exercise the service will be able to verify that mysql is working correctly by running queries against the test database.

Testing a single configuration only

To run the tests for a single configuration only specify the configuration on the command line:

$ kitchen test --configuration my_configuration

Excluding platforms and configurations

If you know that a certain configuration is not expected to work on a platform you can choose to exclude it from the build:

cookbook "mysql" do
  configuration "client"
  configuration "server"

  # we only want to test amazon against the client configuration
  exclude :platform => 'amazon', :configuration => 'server'

  # we don't want to test freebsd at all even though it's in the metadata
  exclude :platform => 'freebsd'

Adding Tests

As we saw above, there is a lot of value in just converging your cookbooks against the platforms that they should support. However to really get the benefits of test-kitchen you should write tests that make assertions about the converged node. Test-kitchen will by default look for these tests and run them if they are present.

You can add these tests at two levels:

  • You can test the converged node as a 'black box' - that is you can test that the node provides a service that you expect to be available, without looking at how that service was implemented. This is necessarily service-specific - for our MySQL example this would mean connecting to the running database and executing database queries. If you add a features directory with Cucumber features underneath the kitchen directory then test-kitchen will run these after converge to verify the service behaviour.

  • You can also ignore the service functionality and make assertions about the state of the server (packages installed on the server and the file paths created). These tests are normally less useful than the black box tests, but are probably easier to get started with if you haven't written tests before. If you use minitest-chef-handler then your MiniTest::Spec examples will be run following the converge in the report handler phase of the Chef run.

Cucumber Examples

Here's an example feature for our MySQL cookbook:

Feature: Query database

In order to persist and retrieve my application data
As a developer
I want to be able to query the database

  Scenario: Query database
    Given a new database server with some example data
     When I query the database
     Then the expected data should be returned

The @server tag at the top of the feature specifies that this feature is associated with the server configuration. Test Kitchen will run any features in the test/features subdirectory tagged with the configuration name in order to check that the service is working as expected.

In this case, after converging MySQL, we are going to check that we can query the database and get back the data that we expect. For a webserver we would check that the default webserver page was available.

Writing our examples in plain english means that Chef users who know just-enough-ruby are able to quickly see what functionality our cookbook should support, without having to wade through the actual test code.

Test Setup

Frequently you will want to do some additional setup in order to be able to adequately test your cookbook. For example the scenario above assumes that the test database and example data have been created.

To do this you can create a test cookbook at mysql/test/kitchen/cookbooks/mysql_test/. Each configuration has a matching test recipe of the same name where you can perform any necessary setup.


Any minitest-chef-handler tests placed in files/default/tests/minitest within your cookbook will be run as the final part of the converge in the exception and reporting handler phase. You can use these to check that the expected resources were actually created.

For our MySQL example this looks like:

describe 'mysql::server' do
  it 'runs as a daemon' do

Matchers are available for most resource types.

Kitchenfile DSL

The Kitchenfile has a relatively lightweight Ruby domain-specific language that allows you to describe various aspects of how your project should be tested.


Use a platform block to describe the versions of a particular platform that should be tested.

platform - This is the name of the platform, with a block containing its versions. Each platform named must match a platform in Chef (e.g. centos, ubuntu, debian, etc) and can be specified as a string or a symbol.

version - Specify one or more versions for the platform, with a block containing the name of the box and the URL where the box can be downloaded.

box - This is the name of the Vagrant box that should should be used for the platform and version.

box_url - This is the URL to the base box file to use for the box for this platform and version.

Platform Example

platform :centos do
  version "5.8" do
    box "opscode-centos-5.8"
    box_url ""


Describe the configurations that test-kitchen should run for a cookbook project in a cookbook block.

cookbook - The name of the cookbook to test, with a block containing additional project configuration.

configuration - Specify one or more configurations as a string. See the configurations section

lint - Specify whether to perform lint checking with foodcritic with a boolean. Can also specify a list of tags to ignore, see example.

exclude - Exclude a configuration from a particular platform passing it a hash with the platforms and configuration to exclude. See example below.

memory - Specify an amount of memory in megabytes as an integer. The default is 256.

run_list_extras - Additional recipes that are required in order to run the tests. Create these cookbooks in test/kitchen/cookbooks.

preflight_command - The command to run before provisioning the tests, by default this is knife cookbook test and foodcritic for the cookbook being tested.

script - A script to use for running spec tests. Defaults to rspec spec.

runtimes - An array of Ruby runtime versions to run tests (features, specs) under. This uses RVM, and that must be installed and available. At this time, that is assumed to be in the base box. The default for cookbook projects is [], which effectively disables spec/feature tests. Set to the Ruby versions installed in your custom base box under RVM.

Cookbook Examples

Excerpt from Opscode's apache2 cookbook Kitchenfile:

cookbook "apache2" do
  configuration "default"
  configuration "basic_web_app"
  configuration "mod_authnz_ldap"
  configuration "mod_ssl"
  exclude :platform => 'centos', :configuration => 'mod_authnz_ldap'
  run_list_extras ['apache2_test::setup']

Disable lint checking for the zsh cookbook:

cookbook "zsh" do
  lint false

Ignore certain foodcritic rules in the lint check, which must pass in an array. For example to ignore the "prefer strings over symbols" and "check for solo" rules:

cookbook "mycookbook" do
  lint(:ignore => ["FC001", "FC003"])

To ignore just the "prefer strings over symbols rule", it still needs to be an array at this time.

cookbook "mycookbook" do
  lint(:ignore => ["FC001"])


Describe how to perform integration tests for an arbitrary software project with an integration_test block.

integration_test - The name of the project to test with a block of additional configuration for how to run the test(s).

language - The language of the project.

install - The command to install the requirements to run the test.

specs - Specify whether to run specs with true or false, default true.

features - Specify whether to run features with true or false, default true.

script - A shell script used to run the tests.

runtimes - An array of Ruby runtime versions to run tests (features, specs) under. This uses RVM, and that must be installed and available. At this time, that is assumed to be in the base box.

Integration Test Example

integration_test "mixlib-shellout" do
  language "ruby"
  install "bundle install"
  specs true
  features false

Bugs and Issues

Use the issue tracker to report bugs, features or other issues.


How to contribute to Opscode open source software projects

License and Author

Author:: Andrew Crump ( Author:: Seth Chisamore (

Copyright:: 2012, Opscode, Inc. (

License:: Apache License, Version 2.0

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Components used by test-kitchen are licensed under their own individual licenses. See the accompanying LICENSE file for details.