Abstract This paper proposes a novel testing method to investigate the tearing energy of metallic foams under quasi-static indentation. The method involves a specimen with pre-cuts, which is then subjected to indentation by a rigid block of appropriate size. Experiments were conducted with aluminum foam (ALPORAS) with a relative density in the range of 7–11%. The force–displacement curve of the indenter was obtained, which showed stages of the indentation/tearing process. A new equation was derived to calculate the tearing energy of the foam based on the measured force as well as the densification strain of the foam, which was overlooked in the previous studies. The values of the tearing energy from the present experiments were then correlated, empirically, to the relative density of the foam, which showed a linear relationship. The densification strain in the compacted zone was also investigated.