"You may need an appropriate loader to handle this file type" with Webpack and Babel

I am trying to use Webpack with Babel to compile ES6 assets, but I am getting the following error message:

You may need an appropriate loader to handle this file type.
| import React from 'react';
| /*
| import { render } from 'react-dom'

Here is what my Webpack config looks like:

var path = require('path');
var webpack = require('webpack');

module.exports = {
  entry: './index',
  output: {
    path: path.join(__dirname, 'dist'),
    filename: 'bundle.js',
    publicPath: '/dist/'
  module: {
    loaders: [
        test: /\.jsx?$/,
        loader: 'babel-loader',
        exclude: /node_modules/

Here is the middleware step that makes use of Webpack:

var webpack = require('webpack');
var webpackDevMiddleware = require('webpack-dev-middleware');
var config = require('./webpack.config');

var express = require('express');
var app = express();
var port = 3000;

var compiler = webpack(config);
app.use(webpackDevMiddleware(compiler, {
  noInfo: true,
  publicPath: config.output.publicPath

app.get('/', function(req, res) {
  res.sendFile(__dirname + '/index.html');

app.listen(port, function(err) {
  console.log('Server started on http://localhost:%s', port);

All my index.js file is doing is importing react, but it seems like the 'babel-loader' is not working.

I am using 'babel-loader' 6.0.0.


  • NOTE: The following applies for Babel 6.x and Webpack 1.x. See the end for an update.

    You need to install the es2015 preset:

    npm install babel-preset-es2015

    and then configure babel-loader:

        test: /\.jsx?$/,
        loader: 'babel-loader',
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        query: {
            presets: ['es2015']

    UPDATE: For those coming across this question with more recent versions of Babel or Webpack:

    • For Babel >= 7.x, you should be using @babel/preset-env
    • For Webpack >= 2.x, you should be using options instead of query