IDF Docker Image

IDF Docker image (espressif/idf) is intended for building applications and libraries with specific versions of ESP-IDF, when doing automated builds.

The image contains:

  • Common utilities such as git, wget, curl, zip.

  • Python 3.6 or newer.

  • A copy of a specific version of ESP-IDF (see below for information about versions). IDF_PATH environment variable is set, and points to ESP-IDF location in the container.

  • All the build tools required for the specific version of ESP-IDF: CMake, ninja, cross-compiler toolchains, etc.

  • All Python packages required by ESP-IDF are installed in a virtual environment.

The image entrypoint sets up PATH environment variable to point to the correct version of tools, and activates the Python virtual environment. As a result, the environment is ready to use the ESP-IDF build system.

The image can also be used as a base for custom images, if additional utilities are required.


Multiple tags of this image are maintained:

  • latest: tracks master branch of ESP-IDF

  • vX.Y: corresponds to ESP-IDF release vX.Y

  • release-vX.Y: tracks release/vX.Y branch of ESP-IDF


Versions of ESP-IDF released before this feature was introduced do not have corresponding Docker image versions. You can check the up-to-date list of available tags at


Setting up Docker

Before using the espressif/idf Docker image locally, make sure you have Docker installed. Follow the instructions at, if it is not installed yet.

If using the image in CI environment, consult the documentation of your CI service on how to specify the image used for the build process.

Building a project with CMake

In the project directory, run:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/project -w /project espressif/idf build

The above command explained:

  • docker run: runs a Docker image. It is a shorter form of the command docker container run.

  • --rm: removes the container when the build is finished

  • -v $PWD:/project: mounts the current directory on the host ($PWD) as /project directory in the container

  • espressif/idf: uses Docker image espressif/idf with tag latest (implicitly added by Docker when no tag is specified)

  • build: runs this command inside the container

To build with a specific docker image tag, specify it as espressif/idf:TAG, for example:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/project -w /project espressif/idf:release-v4.0 build

You can check the up-to-date list of available tags at

Using the image interactively

It is also possible to do builds interactively, to debug build issues or test the automated build scripts. Start the container with -i -t flags:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/project -w /project -it espressif/idf

Then inside the container, use as usual: menuconfig build


Commands which communicate with the development board, such as flash and monitor will not work in the container unless the serial port is passed through into the container. However currently this is not possible with Docker for Windows ( and Docker for Mac (