Environment Variables

With Keel you can have as many environments as you need and often different environments need different configuration. This is where environment variables are useful.


Do not use environment variables for sensitive values such as API keys. For these kinds of values use secrets.

Defining Environment Variables

Environment variables are defined in a keelconfig.yaml file which should be in the root of your project.

    - name: MY_ENV_VAR
      value: "my staging value"
    - name: MY_ENV_VAR
      value: "my production value"

Environment Types

Environment variable values are defined in the config file under the environment type. The available types are:

  • development - Local environments
  • test - For test runners
  • staging - Staging environments
  • production - Production environments

There isn't currently support for setting values for specific environments, only for environment types.


Environment variables must be named in UPPER_SNAKE_SNAKE and cannot start with any of the following values:

  • KEEL_
  • AWS_
  • OTEL_


Environment variables are always strings. You don't have to provide a value for every environment type.

Using Environment Variables

There are two ways to use environment variables in Keel. You can do this from your Keel schema or from your function code.

From a Keel schema

Environments variables can be accessed with ctx.env.ENV_VAR_NAME from within any expression in your schema.

model Person {
    fields {
        name Text
    actions {
        create createPerson() with () {
            @set(person.name = ctx.env.PERSON_NAME)

From a function

You can access your environments variables in a type-safe way through the ctx argument that is passed to your functions, for example ctx.env.MY_ENV_VAR.

export default MyFunction(async (ctx, inputs) => {
  // "some-vale"
  // TypeScript will catch this with the error:
  // ts(2339) Property 'FOO' does not exist on type 'Environment'.