AWS CloudFormation Support

When you run chalice deploy, chalice will deploy your application using the AWS SDK for Python). Chalice also provides functionality that allows you to manage deployments yourself using cloudformation. This is provided via the chalice package command.

When you run this command, chalice will generate the AWS Lambda deployment package that contains your application as well as a Serverless Application Model (SAM) template. You can then use a tool like the AWS CLI, or any cloudformation deployment tools you use, to deploy your chalice application.


Using the chalice package command is useful when you don’t want to use chalice deploy to manage your deployments. There’s several reasons why you might want to do this:

  • You have pre-existing infrastructure and tooling set up to manage cloudformation stacks.
  • You want to integrate with other cloudformation stacks to manage all your AWS resources, including resources outside of your chalice app.
  • You’d like to integrate with AWS CodePipeline to automatically deploy changes when you push to a git repo.

Keep in mind that you can’t switch between chalice deploy and chalice package + CloudFormation for deploying your app.

If you choose to use chalice package and CloudFormation to deploy your app, you won’t be able to switch back to chalice deploy. Running chalice deploy would create an entirely new set of AWS resources (API Gateway Rest API, AWS Lambda function, etc).


In this example, we’ll create a chalice app and deploy it using the AWS CLI.

First install the necessary packages:

$ virtualenv /tmp/venv
$ . /tmp/venv/bin/activate
$ pip install chalice awscli
$ chalice new-project test-cfn-deploy
$ cd test-cfn-deploy

At this point we’ve installed chalice and the AWS CLI and we have a basic app created locally. Next we’ll run the package command and look at its contents:

$ $ chalice package /tmp/packaged-app/
Creating deployment package.
$ ls -la /tmp/packaged-app/
-rw-r--r--   1 j         wheel  3355270 May 25 14:20
-rw-r--r--   1 j         wheel     3068 May 25 14:20 sam.json

$ unzip -l /tmp/packaged-app/  | tail -n 5
    17292  05-25-17 14:19   chalice/
      283  05-25-17 14:19   chalice/
      796  05-25-17 14:20
 --------                   -------
  9826899                   723 files

$ head < /tmp/packaged-app/sam.json
  "AWSTemplateFormatVersion": "2010-09-09",
  "Outputs": {
    "RestAPIId": {
      "Value": {
        "Ref": "RestAPI"
    "APIHandlerName": {
      "Value": {

As you can see in the above example, the package command created a directory that contained two files, a file, which is the Lambda deployment package, and a sam.json file, which is the SAM template that can be deployed using CloudFormation. Next we’re going to use the AWS CLI to deploy our app. To this, we’ll first run the aws cloudformation package command, which will take our file and upload to an S3 bucket we specify:

$ aws cloudformation package \
     --template-file /tmp/packaged-app/sam.json \
     --s3-bucket myapp-bucket \
     --output-template-file /tmp/packaged-app/packaged.yaml

Now we can deploy our app using the aws cloudformation deploy command:

$ aws cloudformation deploy \
    --template-file /tmp/packaged-app/packaged.yaml \
    --stack-name test-cfn-stack \
    --capabilities CAPABILITY_IAM
Waiting for changeset to be created..
Waiting for stack create/update to complete
Successfully created/updated stack - test-cfn-stack

This will take a few minutes to complete, but once it’s done, the endpoint url will be available as an output:

$ aws cloudformation describe-stacks --stack-name test-cfn-stack \
  --query "Stacks[].Outputs[?OutputKey=='EndpointURL'][] | [0].OutputValue"

$ http ""
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Length: 18
Content-Type: application/json

    "hello": "world"