Cargo subcommand to work with AWS Lambda

cargo, subcommand, aws, lambda, aws-lambda, rust
pip install cargo-lambda==0.8.3


cargo-lambda Build Status

cargo-lambda is a Cargo subcommand to help you work with AWS Lambda.

The build subcommand compiles AWS Lambda functions natively and produces artifacts which you can then upload to AWS Lambda or use with other echosystem tools, like SAM Cli or the AWS CDK.

The start subcommand boots a development server that emulates interations with the AWS Lambda control plane. This subcommand also reloads your Rust code as you work on it.

The invoke subcommand sends request to the control plane emulator to test and debug interactions with your Lambda functions.


Install this subcommand on your host machine with Cargo itself:

cargo install cargo-lambda



Within a Rust project that includes a Cargo.toml file, run the cargo lambda build command to natively compile your Lambda functions in the project. The resulting artifacts such as binaries or zips, will be placed in the target/lambda directory. This is an example of the output produced by this command:

❯ tree target/lambda
├── delete-product
│   └── bootstrap
├── dynamodb-streams
│   └── bootstrap
├── get-product
│   └── bootstrap
├── get-products
│   └── bootstrap
└── put-product
    └── bootstrap

5 directories, 5 files

Build - Output Format

By default, cargo-lambda produces a binary artifact for each Lambda functions in the project. However, you can configure cargo-lambda to produce a ready to upload zip artifact.

The --output-format paramters controls the output format, the two current options are zip and binary with binary being the default.

Example usage to create a zip.

cargo lambda build --output-format zip

Build - Architectures

By default, cargo-lambda compiles the code for Linux X86-64 architectures, you can compile for Linux ARM architectures by providing the right target:

cargo lambda build --target aarch64-unknown-linux-gnu

Build - Compilation Profiles

By default, cargo-lambda compiles the code in debug mode. If you want to change the profile to compile in release mode, you can provide the right flag.

cargo lambda build --release

When you compile your code in release mode, cargo-lambda will strip the binaries from all debug symbols to reduce the binary size.

Build - How does it work?

cargo-lambda uses Zig and cargo-zigbuild to compile the code for the right architecture. If Zig is not installed in your host machine, the first time that your run cargo-lambda, it will guide you through some installation options. If you run cargo-lambda in a non-interactive shell, the build process will fail until you install that dependency.


The start subcommand emulates the AWS Lambda control plane API. Run this command at the root of a Rust workspace and cargo-lambda will use cargo-watch to hot compile changes in your Lambda functions.

⚠️ This command works best with the Lambda Runtime version 0.5.1. Previous versions of the rumtime are likely to crash with serialization errors.

cargo lambda start


The invoke subcomand helps you send requests to the control plane emulator. To use this subcommand, you have to provide the name of the Lambda function that you want to invoke, and the payload that you want to send. When the control plane emulator receives the request, it will compile your Lambda function and handle your request.

Invoke - Ascii data

The --ascii-data flag allows you to send a payload directly from the command line:

cargo lambda invoke basic-lambda --ascii-data '{"command": "hi"}'

Invoke - File data

The --file-data flag allows you to read the payload from a file in your file system:

cargo lambda invoke basic-lambda --file-data examples/my-payload.json

Invoke - Example data

The --example-data flag allows you to fetch an example payload from the aws-lambda-events repository, and use it as your request payload. For example, if you want to use the example-apigw-request.json payload, you have to pass the name apigw-request into this flag:

cargo lambda invoke http-lambda --example-data apigw-request

After the first download, these examples are cached in your home directory, under .cargo/lambda/invoke-fixtures.