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New for 2024

EKS Add-ons now support receiving IAM permissions via EKS Pod Identity Associations

eksctl now supports AMIs based on AmazonLinux2023

eksctl main features in 2023

eksctl now supports configuring cluster access management via AWS EKS Access Entries.

eksctl now supports configuring fine-grained permissions to EKS running apps via EKS Pod Identity Associations

eksctl now supports updating the subnets and security groups associated with the EKS control plane.

eksctl now supports creating fully private clusters on AWS Outposts.

eksctl now supports new ISO regions us-iso-east-1 and us-isob-east-1.

eksctl now supports new regions - Calgary (ca-west-1), Tel Aviv (il-central-1), Melbourne (ap-southeast-4), Hyderabad (ap-south-2), Spain (eu-south-2) and Zurich (eu-central-2).

eksctl is a simple CLI tool for creating and managing clusters on EKS - Amazon's managed Kubernetes service for EC2. It is written in Go, uses CloudFormation, was created by Weaveworks and it welcomes contributions from the community.

Create a basic cluster in minutes with just one command

eksctl create cluster
eksctl create cluster

A cluster will be created with default parameters:

  • exciting auto-generated name, e.g., fabulous-mushroom-1527688624
  • two m5.large worker nodes (this instance type suits most common use-cases, and is good value for money)
  • use the official AWS EKS AMI
  • us-west-2 region
  • a dedicated VPC (check your quotas)
Example output
  $ eksctl create cluster
  []  using region us-west-2
  []  setting availability zones to [us-west-2a us-west-2c us-west-2b]
  []  subnets for us-west-2a - public: private:
  []  subnets for us-west-2c - public: private:
  []  subnets for us-west-2b - public: private:
  []  nodegroup "ng-98b3b83a" will use "ami-05ecac759c81e0b0c" [AmazonLinux2/1.11]
  []  creating EKS cluster "floral-unicorn-1540567338" in "us-west-2" region
  []  will create 2 separate CloudFormation stacks for cluster itself and the initial nodegroup
  []  if you encounter any issues, check CloudFormation console or try 'eksctl utils describe-stacks --region=us-west-2 --cluster=floral-unicorn-1540567338'
  []  2 sequential tasks: { create cluster control plane "floral-unicorn-1540567338", create nodegroup "ng-98b3b83a" }
  []  building cluster stack "eksctl-floral-unicorn-1540567338-cluster"
  []  deploying stack "eksctl-floral-unicorn-1540567338-cluster"
  []  building nodegroup stack "eksctl-floral-unicorn-1540567338-nodegroup-ng-98b3b83a"
  []  --nodes-min=2 was set automatically for nodegroup ng-98b3b83a
  []  --nodes-max=2 was set automatically for nodegroup ng-98b3b83a
  []  deploying stack "eksctl-floral-unicorn-1540567338-nodegroup-ng-98b3b83a"
  []  all EKS cluster resource for "floral-unicorn-1540567338" had been created
  []  saved kubeconfig as "~/.kube/config"
  []  adding role "arn:aws:iam::376248598259:role/eksctl-ridiculous-sculpture-15547-NodeInstanceRole-1F3IHNVD03Z74" to auth ConfigMap
  []  nodegroup "ng-98b3b83a" has 1 node(s)
  []  node "" is not ready
  []  waiting for at least 2 node(s) to become ready in "ng-98b3b83a"
  []  nodegroup "ng-98b3b83a" has 2 node(s)
  []  node "" is ready
  []  node "" is ready
  []  kubectl command should work with "~/.kube/config", try 'kubectl get nodes'
  []  EKS cluster "floral-unicorn-1540567338" in "us-west-2" region is ready

Customize your cluster by using a config file. Just run

eksctl create cluster -f cluster.yaml

to apply a cluster.yaml file:

kind: ClusterConfig

  name: basic-cluster
  region: eu-north-1

  - name: ng-1
    instanceType: m5.large
    desiredCapacity: 10
  - name: ng-2
    instanceType: m5.xlarge
    desiredCapacity: 2

Once you have created a cluster, you will find that cluster credentials were added in ~/.kube/config. If you have kubectl v1.10.x as well as aws-iam-authenticator commands in your PATH, you should be able to use kubectl. You will need to make sure to use the same AWS API credentials for this also. Check EKS docs for instructions. If you installed eksctl via Homebrew, you should have all of these dependencies installed already.

To learn more about how to create clusters and other features continue reading the Creating and Managing Clusters section.

Listing clusters

To list the details about a cluster or all of the clusters, use:

eksctl get cluster [--name=<name>] [--region=<region>]

Basic cluster creation

To create a basic cluster, but with a different name, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-1 --nodes=4

Supported versions

EKS supports versions 1.23 (extended), 1.24 (extended), 1.25, 1.26, 1.27, 1.28, 1.29 and 1.30 (default). With eksctl you can deploy any of the supported versions by passing --version.

eksctl create cluster --version=1.28

Config-based creation

You can also create a cluster passing all configuration information in a file using --config-file:

eksctl create cluster --config-file=<path>

To create a cluster using a configuration file and skip creating nodegroups until later:

eksctl create cluster --config-file=<path> --without-nodegroup

Cluster credentials

To write cluster credentials to a file other than default, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-2 --nodes=4 --kubeconfig=./kubeconfig.cluster-2.yaml

To prevent storing cluster credentials locally, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-3 --nodes=4 --write-kubeconfig=false

To let eksctl manage cluster credentials under ~/.kube/eksctl/clusters directory, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-3 --nodes=4 --auto-kubeconfig

To obtain cluster credentials at any point in time, run:

eksctl utils write-kubeconfig --cluster=<name> [--kubeconfig=<path>] [--set-kubeconfig-context=<bool>]

Caching Credentials

eksctl supports caching credentials. This is useful when using MFA and not wanting to continuously enter the MFA token on each eksctl command run.

To enable credential caching set the following environment property EKSCTL_ENABLE_CREDENTIAL_CACHE as such:


By default, this will result in a cache file under ~/.eksctl/cache/credentials.yaml which will contain creds per profile that is being used. To clear the cache, delete this file.

It's also possible to configure the location of this cache file using EKSCTL_CREDENTIAL_CACHE_FILENAME which should be the full path to a file in which to store the cached credentials. These are credentials, so make sure the access of this file is restricted to the current user and in a secure location.


To use a 3-5 node Auto Scaling Group, run:

eksctl create cluster --name=cluster-5 --nodes-min=3 --nodes-max=5

You will still need to install and configure Auto Scaling. See the "Enable Auto Scaling" section. Also note that depending on your workloads you might need to use a separate nodegroup for each AZ. See Zone-aware Auto Scaling for more info.

SSH access

In order to allow SSH access to nodes, eksctl imports ~/.ssh/ by default, to use a different SSH public key, e.g., run:

eksctl create cluster --ssh-access

To use a pre-existing EC2 key pair in us-east-1 region, you can specify key pair name (which must not resolve to a local file path), e.g. to use my_kubernetes_key run:

eksctl create cluster --ssh-access --ssh-public-key=my_kubernetes_key --region=us-east-1

AWS Systems Manager (SSM) is enabled by default, so it can be used to SSH onto nodes.

eksctl create cluster --enable-ssm

If you are creating managed nodes with a custom launch template, the --enable-ssm flag is disallowed.


To add custom tags for all resources, use --tags.

eksctl create cluster --tags environment=staging --region=us-east-1

Volume size

To configure node root volume, use the --node-volume-size (and optionally --node-volume-type), e.g.:

eksctl create cluster --node-volume-size=50 --node-volume-type=io1

The default volume size is 80G.


To delete a cluster, run:

eksctl delete cluster --name=<name> [--region=<region>]

Cluster info will be cleaned up in kubernetes config file. Please run kubectl config get-contexts to select right context.