Mongoose: Find all documents whose IDs are in an array

Updated: December 31, 2023 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


This tutorial provides a comprehensive guide on how to retrieve documents from MongoDB using Mongoose based on a list of IDs. This is a common requirement when dealing with relational data or batch operations.


  • Basic knowledge of Node.js and MongoDB
  • Mongoose ODM installed and setup with a MongoDB database

Before diving into code, it’s crucial to understand that MongoDB uses a unique identifier, ObjectId, for keeping track of documents.

Setting up the Model

First, define a Mongoose model for retrieving the documents.

const mongoose = require('mongoose');
const Schema = mongoose.Schema;

const itemSchema = new Schema({
  // Schema definition

const Item = mongoose.model('Item', itemSchema);

Basic Find Operation

To retrieve documents by an array of Ids, we can use the $in operator in the query object.

const ids = [...]; // Array of ObjectIds
Item.find({ '_id': { $in: ids } }, function(err, docs) {
  if (err) {...}

Using async/await

It is recommended to use async/await for better code clarity and error handling.

async function getItems(ids) {
  try {
    const docs = await Item.find({ '_id': { $in: ids } }).exec();
  } catch (error) {

Advanced Queries: Populating References

Often, documents contain references to other collections. To fetch related documents, use the populate method.

Item.find({ '_id': { $in: ids } }).populate('referenceField').exec((err, docs) => {...});

Best Practices

When querying by a long list of IDs, it’s important to consider the performance impact. Indexing the _id field can improve query performance.

Best Practices:

  • Use async/await for modern, clean code.
  • Handle all possible errors gracefully.
  • Ensure proper indexing for performance.


To sum up, querying documents by an array of IDs can be efficiently performed using Mongoose’s find operation with the $in operator. This tutorial covered the basics up to more complex scenarios with nested population. Applying the best practices outlined will help in crafting well-constructed, performance-efficient database queries.