Stardew Valley

How to add mods to Stardew Valley on the Steam Deck

By Steven Rondina


Jul 27, 2022

Reading time: 4 min

Stardew Valley is among the best games to play on the Steam Deck, but users unfamiliar with Linux might have trouble adding mods to the game on their handhold gaming device. Luckily, it’s not all that difficult with the help of a handy guide.

Stardew Valley is a great game that is made even better with the help of mods. This is true whether they’re just added to improve the user interface or completely transform the game with something like Stardew Valley Expanded, user-made content can make for a radically improved experience with the game.

The relatively small file size, endless replayability, and controller friendliness make Stardew Valley an ideal download for the Steam Deck and some just aren’t willing to backtrack by playing the vanilla version of the game. Installing mods on the Steam Deck should largely be familiar for those who have done it on Windows or Mac, but there are some differences when it comes to the setup. Here’s how to do it. 

How to install and use SMAPI on Steam Deck to play Stardew Valley with mods

Across all computers, SMAPI is the standard. The key difference is how installing it works on Linux compared to other operating systems. Not only that, but Steam Deck newcomers may not even know how to actually access the Linux desktop in the first place. 

This walkthrough will help you get things up and running. This is most easily done with a keyboard and mouse connected via a USB-C hub or dock, though it can still be done using the Steam Deck’s controls through alternative means.

  1. Install a browser like Firefox or Chrome on the Steam Deck
  2. Press the “STEAM” button, select “Power” and then select “Switch to desktop”
  3. Open the browser in Linux
  4. Go to, click “Download SMAPI” and select “Direct download”
  5. Extract the .ZIP file that includes the SMAPI installer
  6. Open the extracted folder
  7. Press CTRL+ALT+T on the keyboard to bring up a terminal window
  8. Drag and drop the “Install on” file into the terminal window
  9. Left click in the terminal window and then hit enter
  10. Follow the prompts to install SMAPI, which will add a new folder named “Mods” to Stardew Valley’s local files (see below for details)
  11. Log into Nexus Mods and download the mods you want to use in Stardew Valley
  12. The mods will download as a .ZIP file. Extract them to the “Mods” folder in Stardew Valley’s local files

Windows and Mac users will be happy to know that the normal version of Steam comes pre-installed on the Steam Deck and it works exactly the same as on Linux. Just open Steam from the desktop, click on the Library tab, then find Stardew Valley on the left bar. Right-click it, select “Properties,” then select “Local Files,” and then finally hit the “Browse” button. 

This opens up the Stardew Valley folder, giving you easy access to both the file you need to add as well as the mod folder in case any mods need to be updated or removed.

Users that have already tricked out their Stardew Valley experience on PC or Mac can copy and paste their mods onto a thumb drive and simply move them into Steam Deck through a USB-C hub or dock. Another option is using a website that allows file transfers, such as Google Drive.

Worth noting is that adding mods to Stardew Valley significantly increases the time it takes to launch the game. This is the case on both PC and Steam Deck, but it’s much more noticeable on Steam Deck. It’s not so difficult a process that users should avoid it, as the best Stardew Valley mods are well worth the wait.

Can you play Stardew Valley Expanded on Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck supports Stardew Valley mods, and that means you can play Stardew Valley Expanded on Steam Deck.

Stardew Valley Expanded adds a significant amount of new content to the game. This includes new items, new heart events, new NPCs, new friends, and even additional romance options. Familiar characters like Gunther and Marlon are now friendable, while other stock non-interactive NPCs like the redhead cashier at JojaMart are now full-fledged characters. This is in additional to a whole heap of brand new content.

Stardew Valley Expanded adds enough new content that it’s worth reinstalling the game for, even after completing a thorough playthrough. The only catch is that it requires a long list of other mods to support it, meaning it requires a bit of effort to pull off. But that effort is worth it for any Stardew Valley fan.


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