Stardew Valley Modding Guide: How to Install Mods

In Short
  • Before installing Stardew Valley mods, make sure you backup the save files and also install SMAPI.
  • After that, you can visit Nexus Mods, find the mod that you like and download it.
  • You'll then open the zipped downloaded file and move the mod file into Stardew Valley Mods folder to run it.

Stardew Valley has a ton of cool features in base game. Though, if you have already achieved 100% completion in your world, you might want to get into modding. Mods are community-made content for video games you can download and install for free. They give you new content, new characters, and even make the base game grind less time-consuming. With that, let’s not waste any more time and figure out how to download and install mods for Stardew Valley.

Prerequisites to Installing Stardew Valley Mods

1. Backup Your Save Files

First things first, to recover from any potential errors and corruption, backup your save files. If you bought the game on Steam, you can easily backup the game files through the Steam’s library.

  • Right-click Stardew Valley and select “Properties“.
  • Then, go to the “Local Files” tab and click on the “Backup Game Files” button.
  • Finally, check Stardew Valley, click “Next” and choose the path for your backup files.

If you bought the game on GOG or Humble, you can backup game files manually. You can do so by accessing the saves folder by typing the following in the Run window:


Use the Run app to locate Stardew Valley saves folder
  • Then, copy the world folder that you want, or the entire saves folder to a different location on your PC or externally.
  • To restore the backup, simply paste the copied file back into the game’s saves folder.

After you backup your save files, you can start with the next step.

2. Download and Install SMAPI

SMAPI is an application that will help you run Stardew Valley mods. It’s essential you get it, as you cannot play modded Stardew Valley without it. You can find SMAPI and all the Stardew mods on the Nexus Mods platform. It’s a hub for various games’ mods that also scans the software products for viruses and provides a built-in way to donate to mod makers.

  • Visit Nexus Mods website and create an account by clicking on the button in the top right corner. You can skip the premium plan and just go for the free plan.
  • Then, visit the SMAPI download page on Nexus Mods.
  • Click on the Manual Download button on the right.
Click on the Manual button first
  • Next, click on the “Slow Download” button, which is not that slow. The zipped file will be downloaded into your Downloads folder.
Click on the Slow Download button to download SMAPI
  • Then, if you have WinRAR, open the zipped file you just downloaded. Click on the SMAPI folder, drag it and drop it onto the desktop or any folder that you want.
  • Double-click on the SMAPI folder and select the installer depending on the operating system you’re using.
Choose the option depended on the operating system you're on
  • This will open a dialogue box. Then, all you need to do is to select the file path for SMAPI. So, if you have the game on Steam, you can use the default path which is displayed as option 1.
  • If you got Stardew Valley on GOG or Humble, you can also use the default path displayed at number 1. So, simply type 1 and press Enter.
  • If you’d like to change the file path, you can by typing 2 and pressing Enter.
Choose the file path for SMAPI
  • After that, you will see the option to install or uninstall SMAPI. So, type 1 and press Enter.
  • The installation will then start. After it’s done, it will let you know you can copy the displayed link and paste it into Steam to play with mods. Simply access the Stardew Valley Properties section like before and paste the path into the Launch Options bar at the bottom.
  • If you’re not using Steam, you’ll be easily able to play with mods by running the StardewModdingAPI app. This is also the case if you got the game on Steam.
Dialogue box letting you know it installed SMAPI in Stardew Valley
  • And that’s it. Now you have SMAPI and can play with Stardew Valley mods.

Download Stardew Valley Mods

Now, let’s see where you can find mods for Stardew Valley and how you can download them.

  • First, visit the Nexus Mods website and scroll down until you find the Stardew Valley game. Alternatively, you can directly visit the Stardew Valley mods page.
Select Stardew Valley to view Stardew Valley mods you can download and install
  • Here, you can filter the mods to see which ones are newest, most popular, random and more.
  • For starters, we recommend you download the Content Patcher mod, as it is required in so many other mods.
  • So, click on the mod and it’ll lead you to that mod’s page.
Select one of the mods you want to install in Stardew Valley
  • Then, similarly to downloading SMAPI, click on the “Manual” button on the right.
Click on Manual button
  • After that, a window will pop up letting you know of any required additional files you need to have. In this case, it’s SMAPI, and we already have it. In case you don’t have the required files, make sure you download them first.
  • Click on “Download”.
Window letting you know about any additional required content
  • Then, click on the “Slow Download” button.
Click on Slow Download to start downloading the Content Patcher mod

And that’s how you can download Stardew Valley mods on your PC. Feel free to browse through the many available mods and get the ones you want.

Install Stardew Valley Mods

Now, let’s accomplish the final step of this guide, which is installing the mods you’ve downloaded in the section above.

  • Once the mod file is downloaded, you can open it with WinRAR.
  • Now, you should find the Mods folder. You can do so by locating the Browse Local Files button for Stardew Valley on Steam, or something similar to that on the other two platforms. The folder where you downloaded SMAPI will be opened, which will have three folders with one being called Mods.
Folder with the Mods folder inside it
  • Double-click to open the Mods folder. Then, simply drag and drop the mod file from WinRAR into the folder. And that’s it.
Drag and drop the mod file into the Mods folder to install it in Stardew Valley
  • Now, all that’s left to do is returning to the folder with the Mods folder inside. Then, scroll down until you find StardewModdingAPI.exe. This is the app you need to run by double-clicking and you’ll be able to play with mods.
Click on the StardewModdingAPI to run Stardew Valley with mods you installed
  • Once you run it, a black window will appear again letting you know of the mods that are being loaded. If there is any issue with the mods, there will be red text explaining what you should do.
SMAPI loading installed mods to Stardew Valley
  • As a final note, some mods may not work well for whatever reason, so after installing 1-2 mods, make sure to check if the game runs just fine. This is because if your game crashes, you will easily find the mod that’s the problem.

And just like that, you now know how to download and install Stardew Valley mods. This process may seem complex at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be installing them with no issues. With that, if our guide helped you don’t forget to share it with another Stardew Valley enjoyer.

How do I know if Stardew mods are working?

Well, you can only test the mods. Run the StardewModdingAPI app and if the content from a specific mod appears then it’s working. If you get an error while SMAPI is loading the mods, then you know right away that some may not work.

Can I use SMAPI without Steam?

Yes, you can. I got the game on GOG and the mods work just fine.

Are Stardew Valley mods safe?

Thanks to Nexus Mods ability to scan for viruses, you can see if a mod is scanned and safe. Though keep in mind that if you’re a parent, there might be some mods that are inappropriate, even though they’re made for this lovely chill farming game. So, go over the mods just in case.

Why won’t Stardew Valley mods work?

If a mod doesn’t work, it’s possible that the game versions are off. The mod might’ve not been updated recently. So, try finding the newer version of the mod or try to match the mod’s version to the SMAPI version. You can download the older SMAPI files here.

Can you remove Stardew mods?

Yes, you can do so by deleting the mod files directly in the Stardew Valley Mods folder.

Can I use mods without SMAPI?

No, most if not all mods require SMAPI, so it’s pretty much necessary.

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