How to Serialize enums as strings in .Net Core

Last Updated: Reading Time: 1 min

If you try to serialize an enum to Json using System.Text.Json in .Net Core, it converts it into an integer by default.

public enum Seasons

var seasons = Enum.GetValues<Seasons>().ToList();

When you serialize the list of seasons using the serialize method, i.e. JsonSerializer.Serialize(seasons), it gives an output of [0, 1, 2, 3, 4].

As you can see, this is not very readable and almost meaningless unless you look at the code.

To overcome this, you can specify a built-in converter to do the conversion to strings and pass it into a JsonSerializerOptions object.

var SerializerOptions = new JsonSerializerOptions
        PropertyNameCaseInsensitive = true,
        Converters = { new JsonStringEnumConverter() }
JsonSerializer.Serialize(seasons, SerializerOptions);

This will give an output of ["Unknown", "Spring", "Winter", "Autumn", "Summer"] which is much more readable.

You can use the same converter for deserializing the enum.

var seasons = JsonSerializer.Deserialize<T>(json, SerializerOptions);

This gives an output of [Seasons.Unknown, Seasons.Spring, Seasons.Winter, Seasons.Autumn, Seasons.Summer]


Using the built-in JsonStringEnumConverter, we can get a more readable output in our JSON.