Get Started with Mockito

16 Dec 2019  Sergio Martin Rubio  13 mins read.

Mockito is a popular mocking framework for Java applications. This framework helps you test classes in isolation and avoids creating collaborators in your unit tests. This is a very common requirement in web applications that use the MVC pattern. For instance, you might want to test a service layer that uses a utility class to check the payment method and then will call an API to process the payment. In this situation you have to instantiate or inject the utility class and the API client, and the second one will require to start a mock server. As you can see this looks like an integration test instead of a simple unit test.

What is a mock?

A mock is a proxy to the original object, so if a method of a proxy object is called, then the proxy object will decide what to do. When you do something like Mockito.mock(Foo.class) you are simply creating a proxy object of the Foo class.

Mockito uses CGLIB which is based on ASM. CGLIB generates proxy classes by extending the original class, and all the overridden methods will call MethodInterceptor.intercept() if the proxy callback is not null, otherwise the super method (original method) will be called. This brings limitations:

  • Final classes cannot be mocked.
  • Final, private or static methods cannot be intercepted.

To create proxy classes of final classes you need to perform byte-code transformations. e.g. remove the final modifier.

AMS is a framework to manipulate Java bytecode.

Mockito Setup

You can start using Mockito by adding the following Maven dependency:


If you use Gradle:

repositories { jcenter() }
dependencies { testCompile "org.mockito:mockito-core:2.+" }

Mockito is also included in spring-boot-starter-test.

Create a Mock

You can use a static method or an annotation to create a mock.

FooRepository fooRepository = Mockito.mock(FooRepository.class);
private FooRepository fooRepository;

@Mock annotation requires either MockitoAnnotations.initMocks(testClass) or @ExtendWith(MockitoExtension.class) if you are using Junit 5. In JUnit 4 is @RunWith(MockitoJUnitRunner.class).

private FooRepository fooRepository;

private FooServiceImpl fooService;

public void setUp() {
class FooServiceTest {

    private FooRepository fooRepository;

    private FooServiceImpl fooService;


Stub Methods

Any mocking framework allows you to return the desired value when a particular method is called, and with Mockito this can be achieved with Mockito.when() in combination with thenReturn(). This is what we call a stub.


How does is work? A proxy is dynamically defined, so when the static method Mockito.when() is called, the method passed is stored. Then, when thenReturn() is called, the value is also stored in the saved method. Finally, if the same proxy method with the same parameters is called again it will return the stored value this time.

You can also stub the same method multiple times:

when(fooRepository.getNumber(1)).thenThrow(new ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException());

Mockito also has other static methods that can be combined with when() method, like the one used in the previous example .thenThrow().

Method Description
thenReturn(T value) Returns given value
thenThrow(Throwable throwableType) Throws given exception
thenAnswer(Answer<?> answer) It’s use to return custom answers
then(Answer<?> answer) Alias of thenAnswer()
thenCallRealMethod() The original method is called. It’s a partcial mock.

thenCallRealMethod() cannot be used with mocked interfaces or abstract classes. No data from the original class is initialized.

You can also stub multiple calls to the same method as follows:

public void getNumberMultipleTimesTest() {
    // GIVEN
    when(fooRepository.getNumber(anyInt())).thenReturn(8, 3, 5);

    // WHEN
    Integer firstNumber = fooService.getNumber(0);
    Integer secondNumber = fooService.getNumber(1);
    Integer thirdNumber = fooService.getNumber(2);

    // THEN

Void Methods

For void methods you can use:

Name Description
doReturn(Object) In case you cannnot use when(). e.g. spy objects
doThrow(Throwable) Used when the void method will throw an exception
doAnswer(Answer) Stubs a void method with a generic answer
doNothing() By default void methods do nothing but it can be uselful when stubbing consecutive calls
doCallRealMethod() When you want to call the real implementation of a method

Argument Matchers

Mockito argument matchers give you more flexibility when writing stubs. A long list of matchers is provided:

Name Description
any() Matches anything, including nulls and varargs.
any(Class<T> type) Matches any object of given type, excluding nulls.
any<Type>() Any of the given “Type”. e.g. anyInt().
argThat(ArgumentMatcher<T> matcher) For custom argument matchers.
contains(String substring) Contains substring.
startsWith(String prefix) String argument that starts with the given prefix.
endsWith(String suffix) Ends with given suffix.
eq(T value) T argument that is equal to the given value.
isA(Class<T> type) Object argument that implements the given class.
isNotNull() Not null argument.
isNull() Null argument.
matches(Pattern pattern) For regular expressions.

If you use an argument matcher in a method call, the rest of the arguments have to be argument matchers.

Verify Behavior

Mockito does not automatically verify all stubbed calls because the tested code should focus on values returned by stubbed methods. However, sometimes you might want to verify if a particular mock was called. You can use Mockito verify(mock).<method> to check if a particular method was called.


By default verify(mock) checks if a given method was called once. But this can be customized by using verification modifiers.

Name Description
times(int) The method is called the n times
never() The method from the mock is never called
verifyNoInteractions(mock) Verifies no interaction with any method of the given mock
verifyNoMoreInteractions(mock) Checks if the given mock has any unverified interaction
atLeastOnce() The method called at least once
atLeast(int) The method called at least n times
atMost(int) The method called at motst n times
only() Checks if the given method was the only called

The following example verifies if the method getNumber with any integer was called three times.

verify(fooRepository, times(3)).getNumber(anyInt());

In this example verify() checks if the method getNumber was called once and no more interactions with the object fooRepository were performed.


Verify Order

Sometimes you may want to verify the order in which a mock is called.

public void getNumberVerifyInOrderTest() {
    // GIVEN
    when(fooRepository.getNumber(anyInt())).thenReturn(8, 3, 5);

    // WHEN

    // THEN
    InOrder inOrder = inOrder(fooRepository);

You can create an InOrder instance and pass the mocks you want to verify in order.

Using Spies

Spies are partial mocks. This means that when you use a spy then the real methods are called unless a method was stubbed. Spies are created with the annotation @Spy or by creating an instance of the class you want to spy and passing the instance to Mockito.spy().

private FooRepositoryImpl spy;

public void saveAndGetFirstNumberWithSpyTest() {
        // throws IndexOutOfBoundsException because the real method is first called
//        when(spy.getNumber(0)).thenReturn(4);

    Integer firstNumber = fooService.saveAndGetFirstNumber(3);


In the previous example getNumber() method is stubbed, so when saveAndGetFirstNumber() is invoked getNumber() will return the value given in the stub and will call the real saveNumber() method with the value 3.

Sometimes it’s impossible or impractical to use when(Object) for stubbing spies because the real method will be called first and might throw an exception to prevent unnecessary calls to a real method during stubbing use will + given or do + when. e.g. doReturn(4).when(spy).getNumber(anyInt());

Dependency Injection

@InjectMocks is used in combination with @Mock or @Spy to inject mocks or spy fields into the object under test automatically.

@Mock // @Spy is also possible
private FooRepository fooRepository;

private FooServiceImpl fooService;

Reset Mocks

In some cases it is required to reset a mock, for instance, you might want to use a container-injected mock like the ones from Spring Framework to forget any interactions and stubbing of a particular mock.

public void getNumbersWithResetTest() {
    when(fooRepository.getNumbers()).thenReturn(List.of(4, 6, 3));
    List<Integer> numbers = fooService.getNumbers();
    assertThat(numbers).contains(4, 6, 3);


    List<Integer> emptyNumbers = fooService.getNumbers();

The use of reset is usually a code smell and it means you are testing too much in the same test method. Try to keep tests small and focused on a single behavior.

Capture Arguments

You can assert arguments after verification with captors. This is an alternative to argument matchers during stubbing, and in a similar way, it allows you to check if a mock was actually called with a particular value.

To use a captor you can simply declare an ArgumentCaptor with the class that you want to capture, and when you call verify() you will pass the argument captor object so you can write some assertions later.

public void verifyWithCaptor() {

    ArgumentCaptor<Integer> argument = ArgumentCaptor.forClass(Integer.class);

Behavior Driven Development

A test should be split into three blocks, each with a specified responsibility.

  • GIVEN: Mock initialization, configuration and stubs.
  • WHEN: Call to the SUT (System Under Test) which can a method call.
  • THEN: Assertions and verifications.

Mockito provides given() and willReturn(), which are aliases for when() and thenReturn() while stubbing, so tests perfectly fits with the Behavior Driven Development semantic. Similarly, verify() can also be replaced with then() and should().


public void givenHelloMessageWhenGetStringThenReturnsHelloMessage() {
    // GIVEN

    // WHEN
    String message = fooService.getString();

    // THEN

GIVEN, WHEN and THEN comments make intentions of unit tests clearer. Additionally it is important to name your test following the BDD conventions: <testName>Given<context>When<event>Then<outcome>. If additional statements are necessary for the descriptors you can use And in between: <testName>Given<context>And<more_context>When<event>Then<outcome>