Deleting CloudFormation Stacks - Tutorial

Welcome to this tutorial on deleting CloudFormation stacks in AWS CloudFormation. As your infrastructure evolves, there may come a time when you need to remove a CloudFormation stack and its associated resources. CloudFormation provides a straightforward process for deleting stacks while ensuring the proper cleanup and removal of resources.

Example of Deleting a Stack

Let's consider an example where you have a CloudFormation stack named "MyStack" that you want to delete.

aws cloudformation delete-stack --stack-name MyStack

In the above example, we use the AWS CLI command delete-stack to initiate the stack deletion process. The command specifies the stack name as "MyStack".

Steps to Delete CloudFormation Stacks

  1. Identify the stack you want to delete.
  2. Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to delete the stack.
  3. Optionally, perform a stack update to remove or disable any dependencies or references to the stack being deleted.
  4. Use the AWS CLI, AWS Management Console, or AWS SDKs to initiate the stack deletion.
  5. Monitor the stack deletion progress using CloudFormation events and stack status.
  6. Validate the successful deletion of the stack and its associated resources.

Common Mistakes when Deleting Stacks

  • Deleting the wrong stack unintentionally due to incorrect stack name or selection.
  • Forgetting to remove any dependencies or references to the stack being deleted, resulting in failures or issues in other parts of the infrastructure.
  • Not understanding the impact of deleting a stack and its associated resources.
  • Not reviewing stack events or ignoring warnings or errors reported during the deletion process.
  • Attempting to delete a stack without the necessary permissions, resulting in access denied errors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What happens to the resources when I delete a CloudFormation stack?

When you delete a stack, CloudFormation automatically removes the resources created by the stack, ensuring their proper cleanup and deletion.

2. Can I recover a deleted CloudFormation stack?

No, once a stack is deleted, it cannot be recovered. However, you can create a new stack using the same template or restore the stack from a backup if you have one.

3. Are there any charges for deleting CloudFormation stacks?

No, there are no additional charges for deleting stacks. You only pay for the resources provisioned and used by the stack until the deletion is complete.

4. Can I delete a stack that is in progress or failed?

Yes, you can delete a stack that is in progress or has failed. CloudFormation will attempt to clean up the resources associated with the stack.

5. How long does it take to delete a CloudFormation stack?

The deletion time for a stack can vary depending on the number and complexity of the resources being deleted. You can monitor the stack events and status to track the progress.


Deleting CloudFormation stacks is a straightforward process in AWS CloudFormation. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial and being aware of potential mistakes, you can safely remove stacks and associated resources as needed. Regularly reviewing and managing your stacks ensures a clean and efficient infrastructure.