How to test a Python AWS Lambda function locally with PyCharm Run Configurations

Ilya Bezdelev
Jul 12, 2017 · 3 min read

I was developing an Alexa skill using Python in AWS Lambda and wanted to make my local development workflow as seamless as possible. One thing I wanted to do was to test the lambda locally right from PyCharm rather than using terminal or the Lambda console. It wasn’t as easy and required quite a bit of research and trial-and-error.

Disclaimer: I am a Sr. Product Manager for AWS but this post is not endorsed by AWS in any way.

Problem statement

  • I have an AWS Lambda function in Python 3.6
  • I use PyCharm Community 2017.1
  • I want to test the code locally before pushing it to AWS Lambda by simply pressing Ctrl-R in PyCharm to speed up development time

Here are the implementation steps.

1. Running Lambda locally

First, you need to be able to run Lambda locally. For this purpose you can use the python-lambda-local package, which supports Python 2.7 and 3.6.

Install the package by running

pip install python-lambda-local

You can test if it works by going to your project directory and running

python-lambda-local -f lambda_handler event.json


  • lambda_handler is the name of your handler function
  • is the name of your file with Python code
  • event.json is the test event data

The script will provide the exact same output as the test feature in the Lambda console.

2. Enable PyCharm to run bash scripts

Now we want to run python-lambda-local from PyCharm rather than the terminal. Unfortunately, PyCharm 2017.1 doesn’t support running bash scripts out of the box, but luckily there’s a plugin called BashSupport.

Install the plugin by going to

PyCharm main menu > Preferences > Plugins (left pane) > Browse Repositories…

and search for BashSupport.

Click Install and restart PyCharm.

3. Create a bash script

Create a file named (or however you want it named) with the following contents:

#!/bin/bash echo “Testing lambda” python-lambda-local -f $1 $2 $3

$1, $2 and $3 are command line arguments to make the script generic.

4. Edit Run Configurations in PyCharm

The last step is to make PyCharm run your bash script instead of the default Python interpreter.

In PyCharm, go to Run > Edit Configurations…

Click on the + sign at the top and choose Bash.

  • Name: type “python-lambda-local”
  • Script: type or select the path to
  • Program arguments: type “lambda_handler event.json” or whatever your handler function, Python file name and test data file name are.
  • Working directory: type or select the project directory

Click OK.

5. Enjoy!

Now go to Run > Run ‘python-lambda-local’.

PyCharm will run the script and output the result in the bottom pane.

If this was helpful, hit the ❤️ and follow me. I tend to write about tech and music with occasional philosophical ramblings.

Ilya Bezdelev

Written by

I code things up, write music and try to make sense of the world. Product Manager @ AWS. Wharton MBA. Ex-DHL. All opinions are my own.