NuGet CLI reference

The NuGet Command Line Interface (CLI), nuget.exe, provides the full extent of NuGet functionality to install, create, publish, and manage packages without making any changes to project files.

To use any command, open a command window or bash shell, then run nuget followed by the command and appropriate options, such as nuget help pack (to view help on the pack command).

This documentation reflects the latest version of the NuGet CLI. For exact details for any given version that you're using, run nuget help for the desired command.

Installing nuget.exe


  1. Visit and select NuGet 3.3 or higher (2.8.6 is not compatible with Mono). The latest version is always recommended, and 4.1.0+ is required to publish packages to
  2. Each download is the nuget.exe file directly. Instruct your browser to save the file to a folder of your choice. The file is not an installer; you won't see anything if you run it directly from the browser.
  3. Add the folder where you placed nuget.exe to your PATH environment variable to use the CLI tool from anywhere.


Behaviors may vary slightly by OS distribution.

  1. Install Mono 4.4.2 or later.

  2. Execute the following command at a shell prompt:

    # Download the latest stable `nuget.exe` to `/usr/local/bin`
    sudo curl -o /usr/local/bin/nuget.exe
  3. Create an alias by adding the following script to the appropriate file for your OS (typically ~/.bash_aliases or ~/.bash_profile):

    # Create as alias for nuget
    alias nuget="mono /usr/local/bin/nuget.exe"
  4. Reload the shell. Test the installation by entering nuget with no parameters. NuGet CLI help should display.


To make the NuGet CLI available within the Package Manager Console in Visual Studio, see Using the nuget.exe CLI in the console.


See feature availability for exact details.

  • All commands are available on Windows.
  • All commands work with nuget.exe running on Mono except where indicated for pack, restore, and update.
  • The pack, restore, delete, locals, and push commands are also available on Mac and Linux through the dotnet CLI.

Commands and applicability

Available commands and applicability to package creation, package consumption, and/or publishing a package to a host:

Common Commands Applicable Roles NuGet Version Description
pack Creation 2.7+ Creates a NuGet package from a .nuspec or project file. When running on Mono, creating a package from a project file is not supported.
push Publishing All Publishes a package to a package source.
config All All Gets or sets NuGet configuration values.
help or ? All All Displays help information or help for a command.
locals Consumption 3.3+ Lists locations of the global-packages, http-cache, and temp folders and clears the contents of those folders.
restore Consumption 2.7+ Restores all packages referenced by the package management format in use. When running on Mono, restoring packages using the PackageReference format is not supported.
setapikey Publishing, Consumption All Saves an API key for a given package source when that package source requires a key for access.
spec Creation All Generates a .nuspec file, using tokens if generating the file from a Visual Studio project.
Secondary Commands Applicable Roles NuGet Version Description
add Publishing 3.3+ Adds a package to a non-HTTP package source using hierarchical layout. For HTTP sources, use push.
delete Publishing All Removes or unlists a package from a package source.
init Creation 3.3+ Adds packages from a folder to a package source using hierarchical layout.
install Consumption All Installs a package into the current project but does not modify projects or reference files.
list Consumption, perhaps Publishing All Displays packages from a given source.
mirror Publishing Deprecated in 3.2+ Mirrors a package and its dependencies from a source to a target repository.
sources Consumption, Publishing All Manages package sources in configuration files.
update Consumption All Updates a project's packages to the latest available versions. Not supported when running on Mono.

Different commands make use of various Environment variables.

NuGet CLI commands by applicable roles:

Role Commands
Consumption config, help, install, list, locals, restore, setapikey, sources, update
Creation config, help, init, pack, spec
Publishing add, config, delete, help, list, push, setapikey, sources

Developers concerned only with consuming packages, for example, need only understand that subset of NuGet commands.


Command option names are case-insensitive. Options that are deprecated are not included in this reference, such as NoPrompt (replaced by NonInteractive) and Verbose (replaced by Verbosity).