updateOrCreate method Laravel Guide

How to use updateOrCreate method Laravel Correctly?

Laravel is a robust PHP framework designed to make web development easier and more enjoyable. One of its powerful features is the updateOrCreate method, which simplifies the process of updating existing records or creating new ones if they don’t already exist. This function can be particularly useful when you need to ensure that your database contains unique records without writing lengthy code. In this article, we’ll explore how to use the updateOrCreate method laravel correctly.

What is updateOrCreate?

The updateOrCreate method attempts to find a record in the database that matches the given attributes. If it finds one, it updates that record with the provided values. If it does not find a matching record, it creates a new one with the specified attributes and values. This method can save time and reduce the complexity of your code.

Basic Syntax

The updateOrCreate method takes two arguments:

  1. Search criteria (an array of attributes to match against existing records).
  2. Values (an array of attributes to update or set when creating a new record).

Here is the basic syntax:

    ['attribute_to_match' => $value_to_match],
    ['attribute_to_update_or_create' => $value]

Example Usage

Scenario 1: Updating or Creating a User

Imagine you are managing a list of users, and you want to update a user’s email address if they already exist in the database by their ID, or create a new user if they don’t exist.

Here’s how you can use updateOrCreate for this scenario:

use App\Models\User;

public function updateUserOrCreate(Request $request)
    $validatedData = $request->validate([
        'id' => 'nullable|integer',
        'name' => 'required|string|max:255',
        'email' => 'required|string|email|max:255|unique:users',

        ['id' => $request->id], // Search criteria
            'name' => $request->name,
            'email' => $request->email,
        ] // Values to update or set

    return redirect()->route('users.index')->with('success', 'User information has been updated or created successfully.');

In this example:

  • The first argument ['id' => $request->id] is used to search for an existing user by their ID.
  • The second argument contains the values to update if the user is found, or to use when creating a new user if no matching user is found.

Scenario 2: Managing Inventory

Consider a scenario where you are managing product inventory. You want to update the stock quantity if the product exists based on its SKU, or add a new product if it doesn’t exist.

use App\Models\Product;

public function updateOrCreateProduct(Request $request)
    $validatedData = $request->validate([
        'sku' => 'required|string|max:255',
        'name' => 'required|string|max:255',
        'quantity' => 'required|integer',
        'price' => 'required|numeric',

        ['sku' => $request->sku], // Search criteria
            'name' => $request->name,
            'quantity' => $request->quantity,
            'price' => $request->price,
        ] // Values to update or set

    return redirect()->route('products.index')->with('success', 'Product information has been updated or created successfully.');

In this example:

  • The search criteria is ['sku' => $request->sku], meaning it searches for a product with the given SKU.
  • If a product with that SKU exists, it updates the name, quantity, and price.
  • If no product with that SKU is found, it creates a new product with those attributes.

Best Practices

  • Validation: Always validate the incoming data to ensure it meets the criteria before using it in updateOrCreate.
  • Atomic Operations: Use updateOrCreate inside database transactions if the operation is part of a larger set of operations that need to be atomic.
  • Proper Indexing: Ensure the attributes you are using in the search criteria are indexed in your database for optimal performance.


The updateOrCreate method in Laravel is a powerful tool that can help simplify your code when dealing with database records that need to be updated or created based on certain criteria. By using this method, you can ensure that your operations are performed efficiently and concisely. Remember to validate your data, use proper indexing, and consider transactions for atomic operations to get the best out of this functionality.

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