Completely disable theme, only use own custom layouts


I don’t want a theme. I don’t need a theme. I don’t care about the themes that exist already. I just want to write my own layouts as I need them and go.

I’m only trying to publish a site on GitHub Pages. I may also want to publish the site elsewhere too.

Thing is Jekyll is incredibly stubborn on making me use themes I do not want, or ignoring layouts I’ve written.

What I use

Using Jekyll 4.2.2 with Ruby 3.1.2, on macOS 12.6.



layouts_dir: layouts
source: src


<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
		<meta charset="UTF-8" />
		<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />
		<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
		<title>{{ page.title }}</title>
		{{ content }}


# Test

What I’ve tried

  • Removing the layouts from my config and use the _layouts directory instead. No change.
  • Not specifying any frontmatter in
    • With the github-pages gem, I just get the default jekyll-theme-primer theme no matter what.
    • With the jekyll gem, I get a file listing generated by Webrick.
  • Specifying layout: default in the frontmatter in
    • With the github-pages gem, I still get the default jekyll-theme-primer theme.
    • With the jekyll gem, I’m told it cannot find the default layout and just renders the HTML of the Markdown file without a layout.

My guess is it shouldn’t be this difficult to just tell Jekyll or github-pages to just get rid of the theme, not use one at all, let me just write my own layouts, and use the default one.

So what am I missing here?

Perhaps this helps:
jekyll new YOUR_PROJECT --blank
creates a Jekyll scaffold w/o a theme.
When I started with Jekyll the themes were not helping me, I found.