The Sass JavaScript API can be used to to drive Sass Compilations from JavaScript. It even allows an application to control how stylesheets are loaded and define custom functions.

The sass package on npm is a pure-JavaScript package built from the Dart Sass implementation, and includes Dart Sass's command-line interface.

The sass-embedded package on npm is a JavaScript wrapper around a native Dart executable, and in general is faster than sass.

Both sass and sass-embedded provide the same JavaScript API using the same underlying Dart Sass implementation, but have speed and platform tradeoffs.


The JavaScript API provides two entrypoints for compiling Sass to CSS, each of which has a synchronous variant that returns a plain CompileResult and an asynchronous variant that returns a Promise. The asynchronous variants are much slower, but they allow custom importers and functions to run asynchronously.

  • compile and compileAsync take a path to a Sass file and return the result of compiling that file to CSS. These functions accept an additional Options argument.

    const sass = require('sass');

    const result = sass.compile("style.scss");

    const compressed = sass.compile("style.scss", {style: "compressed"});
  • compileString and compileStringAsync take a string that represents the contents of a Sass file and return the result of compiling that file to CSS. These functions accept an additional StringOptions argument.

    const sass = require('sass');

    const input = `
    h1 {
    font-size: 40px;
    code {
    font-face: Roboto Mono;

    const result = sass.compileString(input);

    const compressed = sass.compileString(input, {style: "compressed"});


Most popular Node.js build systems have integrations available for the JS API:

Legacy API

The sass package also supports an older API. Although this API is deprecated, it will continue to be supported until the release of version 2.0.0 of the sass package. The legacy API is also supported by the node-sass package, which is a native extension wrapper for the deprecated LibSass implementation.

The legacy API has two entrypoints for compiling Sass to CSS. Each one can compile either a Sass file by passing in LegacyFileOptions or a string of Sass code by passing in a LegacyStringOptions.

  • renderSync runs synchronously. It's by far the fastest option when using Dart Sass, but at the cost of only supporting synchronous importer and function plugins.

    const sass = require('sass'); // or require('node-sass');

    const result = sass.renderSync({file: "style.scss"});
  • render runs asynchronously and calls a callback when it finishes. It's much slower when using Dart Sass, but it supports asynchronous importer and function plugins.

    const sass = require('sass'); // or require('node-sass');

    file: "style.scss"
    }, function(err, result) {
    if (err) {
    // ...
    } else {


While multiple factors go into how long Sass compilations take, there are general speed trends that can help you minimize your compilation time.

With the sass package

With the sass package, the synchronous calls will be faster than asynchronous calls due to the overhead of making the entire evaluation process asynchronous. While the Compiler and AsyncCompiler class are available, they aren't faster than than the module-level compilation methods when using sass.

With the sass-embedded package

The sass-embedded package provides significant speed improvements in certain situations, and is generally faster than sass for large or frequent compilations. When using the module-level compilation methods, asynchronous calls are generally faster than synchronous ones due to the overhead of emulating synchronous messaging with worker threads and concurrent compilations being blocked on the main thread.

The Compiler and AsyncCompiler classes provide significant improvements when using the sass-embedded package. These classes persist and reuse a single Dart process across multiple compilations, avoiding the need to repeatedly start up and tear down a process.

When compiling a single file using sass-embedded, there is not much difference between the synchronous and asynchronous methods. When running multiple compilations at the same time, an AsyncCompiler will be considerably faster than a synchronous Compiler.

Other factors like Functions, Importers and the complexity of your Sass files may also impact what compilation methods work best for your particular use case.