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% Tin.png
Name tin
Base price 5 zm
Nutrition (varies)
Turns to eat (varies)
Weight 10
Conduct (varies)

A tin is a special kind of comestible that will not dilute or rot, and may give valuable intrinsics, although they are usually too slow to be eaten in an emergency.


Tins can be made by applying a tinning kit to a corpse, as well as being randomly generated. Tins of spinach can be found, wished for, or created through polymorphing; They cannot be created with a tinning kit. Spinach will increase your strength attribute, unless it is cursed ("It contains some decaying green substance"), in which case your strength will decrease.

Tins containing the meat of genocided monsters will not be randomly generated. If you wish for such a tin, you will get an "empty tin" instead. Tins created before the species was genocided will still appear as "tin of foo", but upon opening "It turns out to be empty". Furthermore, tins of unique monsters cannot be wished for.

Eating tins[edit]

When you attempt to eat a tin, if you are polymorphed into a metallivore you will "bite right into the metal tin" and if you are a monster with no limbs you will receive the message "You cannot handle the tin properly to open it." Otherwise, you will attempt to open the tin. The time taken for this depends on whether the tin is blessed, and on your currently wielded weapon. A blessed tin has equal chances of opening immediately ("The tin opens like magic!") or with a one turn delay ("The tin seems easy to open.")[1]. A wielded tin opener will also allow you to quickly open any tin based on its beautitude: blessed will open all tins immediately, uncursed in 0-1 turns, cursed in 0-2 turns. A wielded crysknife, athame, or any kind of dagger will open a tin in three turns. With a pick-axe or an axe (but not a battle-axe) the tin will open in six turns. Using a weapon this way can't break it like forcing. Without any tools, a tin will take between 10 and 10 + 500/(Str+Dex) turns to open.[2]Cursed tins are difficult to open and have a small chance of being trapped. Opening a trapped tin causes an explosion and can stun you.

Once you have opened a tin, you will receive a message telling you what it contains (and identify the contents of any tins that were in the same stack, if you have already eaten the corpse of that kind of monster), and will be given the choice of eating it or discarding the contents. (If you are hallucinating, this message will be inaccurate. It is safest not to consume any unknown tins whilst hallucinating, lest you accidentally consume cockatrice meat.) If you choose to eat it, you will receive another message of the form "You consume (food preparation method) (monster)". (e.g. "You consume boiled sewer rat.") Eating the contents of an opened tin takes one turn.

The possible food preparation methods are "deep fried", "pickled", "soup made from", "pureed", "rotten", "homemade", "stir fried", "candied", "boiled", "dried", "szechuan", "french fried", "sauteed", "broiled", and "smoked"; The type of preparation is determined when the tin is eaten, so tins that stack (i.e., of the same monster) may be in different styles. Most non-spinach tins have low nutritional value (see below), but tins of pureed monster have nutritional value 500, which is more than half that of a food ration. Rotten tins have negative nutritional value and will cause you to vomit. Cursed tins are always rotten, and tins made by you with a tinning kit are always homemade or rotten.

Eating a deep fried or french fried tin will give you slippery fingers which will cause you to drop your weapon. It is therefore unwise to eat tins in a shop without first unwielding your weapon.

Corpses that convey intrinsics will have the same probability of conferring that intrinsic when they have been tinned. Tinning makes poisonous and rotten corpses safe, however, as your character picks out the good bits for the tin that (s)he can fit inside. It is popular to tin dragons, as you will still get the intrinsic, but without the enormous meal.


An unidentified tin will appear as a "tin". Once the contents are known, one of the following descriptions is adopted instead:

Appearance Notes
tin of foo meat foo is a fleshy monster
tin of foo foo is a monster suitable for vegetarians
tin of spinach spinach is suitable for vegans
empty tin suitable for those going without food


The nutrition of a tin varies depending on the way it was cooked. Below is a list of the possible variations of the contents of a tin.[3]

Tin Nutrition Notes
Spinach 600 Increases strength
Pureed 500
Candied 100
Sauteed 95
Stir fried 80
Broiled 80
Szechuan 70 In UnNetHack: 50% chance of a fortune cookie
Deep fried 60 Causes slippery fingers
Dried 55
Homemade 50
Boiled 50
Smoked 50
Pickled 40
French fried 40 Causes slippery fingers
Soup 20
Empty 0
Rotten -50 Causes nausea

Tins of nurse meat[edit]

Tins of nurse meat are a potent but complicated resource, and deserve special consideration. Like the corpse of a nurse, a tin of nurse meat will restore you to full hit points. This makes nurses an attractive target for tinning when you encounter them. Tins of nurse meat have some advantages and some disadvantages relative to potions of full healing:

  • First and foremost, consumption of nurse meat is cannibalism for human characters! Fortunately, tinning the corpse does not count as cannibalism--only eating the tin does. So it is possible to tin nurses against a future need, when you might prefer the penalties of cannibalism to death.
  • Unlike potions, tins never explode or dilute, so are always safe to carry in main inventory, even in such hostile environments as the Plane of Fire.
  • On the other hand, even a blessed tin will take two turns to heal you (one to open and one to consume), which is slower than quaffing a potion in main inventory and no faster than retrieving a potion from a bag before quaffing. A (non-cursed) homemade tin will always provide 50 nutrition, and can cause you to choke to death if you are satiated; this is never the case with a potion.
  • A full healing potion can only restore a maximum of 400 hit points; nurse meat always restores you to your maximum, however high that is. However, a non-cursed full healing potion can also raise your maximum HP if your current HP is maxed out by it, which the tin won't do.


Tins from Hack 1.0 through NetHack 2.3e behave quite differently from the modern form. There is no tinning kit in these versions, and consequently there are no tinned monsters. Randomly generated tins can produce the following results:[4][5]

Message Nutrition
It contains spinach - this makes you feel like Popeye! 600, increases strength
It contains salmon - not bad! 60, causes slippery fingers
It contains first quality peaches - what a surprise! 40
It contains apple juice - perhaps not what you hoped for. 20
It contains some nondescript substance, tasting awfully. 500
It contains rotten meat. You vomit. -50
It turns out to be empty. 0

Tins in their modern form first appear in NetHack 3.0.0. That version has only spinach, deep fried, pickled, soup, pureed, and rotten tins;[6] a tinning kit will produce one of these (except spinach of course), rather than the homemade tin.

NetHack 3.1.0 adds the homemade tin,[7] and modifies the tinning kit to produce this type only.[8]

NetHack 3.3.0 adds the complete list of tins given above.[9]


UnNetHack includes the Free Fortune Cookie Patch; there is a 50% chance for a szechuan tin to contain a free fortune cookie.


SLASH'EM once again modernizes the tins: They no longer tell exactly what the tin contains, unless the player has already eaten the particular meat. Instead, they will only give some general information ("It smells kind of like a dog or other canine."), or not even that ("The smell is unfamiliar."). This makes eating tins much more risky, as the players could accidentally commit cannibalism or eat cockatrice meat, and one may easily lose vegetarian conduct without knowing. Furthermore, tins can be generated with the same traps as other traditional containers.

Minor bug[edit]

You can find tins of monsters that do not leave corpses, such as clay golems and air elementals but also of mummies and zombies. Even in wizard mode you cannot wish for such tins. It is bug number 667.

If you try to eat them, the game will probably not crash, and you can get the effects of the corresponding corpses. For example you can gain a level from a wraith tin. Air elemental and yellow light tins will be empty. It seems that the tinning process was applied, so you will probably not get food poisoning from a mummy/zombie tin.

Encyclopedia entry[edit]

"You know salmon, Sarge," said Nobby.
"It is a fish of which I am aware, yes."
"You know they sell kind of slices of it in tins..."
"So I am given to understand, yes."
"Weell...how come all the tins are the same size? Salmon
gets thinner at both ends."
"Interesting point, Nobby. I think-"

[ Soul Music, by Terry Pratchett ]


  1. eat.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1419
  2. eat.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 1461
  3. eat.c in NetHack 3.4.3, line 132
  4. eat.c in NetHack 2.3e, line 40
  5. eat.c in NetHack 2.3e, line 70
  6. eat.c in NetHack 3.0.0, line 36
  7. eat.c in NetHack 3.1.0, line 118
  8. apply.c in NetHack 3.1.0, line 1771
  9. eat.c in NetHack 3.3.0, line 128

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}}.