Is it possible to not return any data when using a GraphQL mutation?


I have several GraphQL queries and mutations, now I’m trying to implement a delete mutation without returning any data:

    type Mutation{
        addElement(element: ElementData): ID
        removeElement(id: ID): ┬┐?

However, it seems to be required to have a return value for the delete operation. Is there a way to perform an “empty” response in GraphQL? I would like to avoid things like returning a boolean or status flag if possible.

I’m not sure on what are the best practices for GraphQL delete operations.

4 Answers


According to this Github issue you cannot return nothing.

You can define a return type which is nullable e.g.

type Mutation {
  addElement(element: ElementData): ID
  removeElement(id: ID): Boolean

But I suggest you return the id of the deleted element, because if you want to work with a cached store you have to update the store when the delete mutation has ran successfully.


  • 29

    In case of deletion you are better off returning the product ID, as suggested (since it's graphql, perhaps even the whole product). However, some operations truly require no data. For those cases one could define type Void and then do someOperation(input: InputObject!): Void to indicate the intent clearly.

    – Avius

    Oct 15, 2018 at 15:20

  • 1

    An example of a mutation that needs to return value is a logout, which would just destroy the session.

    – Sandy

    Apr 2, 2022 at 9:28


(A) Solution with graphql-scalars

The original answer is below.

Here is another one solution with graphql-scalars library:

  1. install npm install graphql-scalars and then
  2. import their Void type:

(B) Solution with a custom scalar

Note: design with void-result from mutations goes against "GQL best practices"

This example was written for NodeJS Apollo Framework, but it is pretty easy to convert the implementation for your language/framework

I’m pretty sure: there is an NPM-package named graphql-void but if you don’t want to add another one dependency just copy this code.

1. define Void-scalar in your schema

# file: ./schema.gql

scalar Void

2. implement resolver

// file ./scalar-void.js

import { GraphQLScalarType } from 'graphql'

const Void = new GraphQLScalarType({
    name: 'Void',

    description: 'Represents NULL values',

    serialize() {
        return null

    parseValue() {
        return null

    parseLiteral() {
        return null
export Void

3. add the resolver to ApolloServer

Add the Void resolver to the options of your instance of Apollo Server:

# file: ./server.js

import { ApolloServer } from 'apollo-server-express'
import { Void } from './scalar-void'

const server = new ApolloServer({
    typeDefs,  // use your schema
    resolvers: {
        Void: Void,
        // ... your resolvers

4. use Void for your mutations in the schema

Finally, use the new scalar in your schema:

# file: ./schema.gql

type Mutation{
    addElement(element: ElementData): ID
    removeElement(id: ID): Void


  • 8

    What part of the linked "GQL best practices" do you suggest is saying that a void-returning mutation is bad practise? I was unable to find any such recommendation.

    – MEMark

    Sep 28, 2020 at 9:04

  • 1

    @MEMark : "Every mutation should have a unique payload type" . and I'm going to update the link in the answer

    – maxkoryukov

    Jul 22, 2021 at 18:21


If you use TypeScript and graphql-codegen:

  • In the GraphQL schema:

    scalar Void
    type Mutation {
      removeElement(id: ID): Void
  • In the codegen config for resolvers:

        Void: "void"

With this config TypeScript will ensure that nothing is returned from the removeElement mutation resolver. And the returning value for the mutation will always be null on the GraphQL side.


Check out graphql-scalars Void. This is standard boilerplate for all of my GraphQL projects.

npm i graphql-scalars 

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