Troubleshooting 'Could not find method plugins() for arguments' error in Gradle

Published on 2023.11.25


Gradle is a powerful build tool used for building and managing projects written in various programming languages, including Java. However, when working with Gradle, you might come across an error message that says 'Could not find method plugins() for arguments'. This error usually occurs when there is a problem with the Gradle configuration or when the required plugin is not correctly defined.

In this article, we will explore the possible causes of this error and provide solutions to troubleshoot and fix it.

Causes of the error

  1. Incorrect Gradle version: The plugins() method might not be available in older versions of Gradle. Make sure you are using a compatible version of Gradle.

  2. Missing or incorrect buildscript block: It is essential to include the buildscript block in the build.gradle file to define the required plugins. Ensure that the block is present and correctly configured.

  3. Missing or incorrect plugin declaration: If you are using custom plugins or external dependencies, make sure they are correctly declared in the build.gradle file. Verify the spelling and version numbers.

  4. Invalid plugin syntax: Check for any syntax errors in the plugin declaration. Ensure that the plugins are defined in the correct format.


Follow these steps to troubleshoot and resolve the 'Could not find method plugins() for arguments' error:

  1. Check Gradle version: Run the 'gradle --version' command in the terminal to check the installed Gradle version. If it's an older version, update Gradle to a compatible version.

  2. Verify buildscript block: Open the build.gradle file and ensure that the buildscript block is present and correctly configured. It should include the repositories and dependencies necessary to resolve the plugins.

  3. Review plugin declaration: Double-check the plugin declaration in the build.gradle file. Ensure that the plugins are correctly spelled and have the required version numbers.

  4. Check plugin syntax: Make sure the plugin declaration follows the correct syntax. Check for any missing or extra characters that might cause the error. Refer to the plugin's documentation for the correct syntax.

  5. Clean and rebuild project: Sometimes, the error might occur due to a corrupted build cache. Try cleaning and rebuilding the project using the 'gradle clean' command followed by 'gradle build'. This can help resolve any issues related to caching.


The 'Could not find method plugins() for arguments' error in Gradle can be frustrating, but with the troubleshooting steps provided in this article, you should be able to identify and fix the issue. Remember to double-check your Gradle version, buildscript block, plugin declaration, and plugin syntax. By following these steps, you can ensure that your Gradle build process runs smoothly without encountering this error again.