The best sausage rolls for your picnic

Tram-Anh Doan
26 May, 2015

Sausage rolls are to a picnic what David Dimbleby is to BBC coverage of a national event: an essential, irreplaceable component upon which enjoyment of the whole event hinges. Sausage rolls have gone gourmet since the days of childhood parties with fifty frozen sausage rolls from Iceland (and to be clear, there’s still a place in our hearts for those). But which is the best sausage roll available on the High Street for your picnic? We tasted a lot of sausage rolls so you didn’t have to. 


Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference mini pork sausage rolls, £2 for 12
Sausage rolls sainsburys

The golden, glazed colour of the pastry gives these sausage rolls a lovely hand-made look. The proportion of pastry to meat is a bit unbalanced in favour of the pastry, and the meat could do with a touch more seasoning. Overall though, with 12 mini sausage rolls in a pack, you can’t buy much better with your shiny £2 coin. 

Looks: 3.5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Taste: 3/5
Total: 10.5/15


Gail’s sausage roll, £2.95 for 1
Sausage roll gails

This is the sausage roll to end all sausage rolls. It is the shining pinnacle of what can be achieved with pastry and pork. They look sensational, from the glossy glaze and the mix of sesame seeds scattered on top of the flaky pastry, to the caramelised edges of the sausage meat. Fennel seeds, mustard, coarsely chopped free-range pork produce a filling that had us demolishing the rolls in seconds. Outstanding. At £2.95 for one big sausage roll, it’s not cheap, but worth every penny.
Looks: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Taste: 5/5
Total: 14.5/15


Marks & Spencer’s Ultimate pulled pork sausage roll, £7.00 for 1
Marks and spencer gastro sausage roll

This is a luxurious show-stopper of a sausage roll and one that, while wouldn’t be the most practical sausage roll to take on a picnic (like the Donald Russell ones, it needs to be cooked in the oven and served hot), would definitely be a talking point. Pork crackling crumbs top the puff pastry to give it an unusual but delicious texture. And then there’s the pulled pork, decadent and intense in its flavour, enhanced by red onion jam and ale rarebit sauce. It’s all served with some piccalilli, in case you haven’t had quite enough flavour. It’s the ultimate indulgent experience and after a few mouthfuls, starts to become a bit too indulgent, which feels akin to complaining that your diamond wallet has too many notes in. Expensive, yes, but reassuringly so, as they say. 
Looks: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Taste: 4.5/5
Total: 13.5/15

Waitrose mini pork sausage rolls, £2.29 for 12

We always expect a lot from a Waitrose product, but the flat appearance of these sausage rolls is a bit underwhelming. The pastry, however, is nicely glazed but is unmistakably bland. The mix of herbs comes through well in the sausage meat, but sadly there isn’t quite enough to make this sausage roll anything special.

Looks: 3/5
Value for money: 3/5
Taste: 3.5/5

Total: 9.5/15

Donald Russell mini artisan sausage rolls, £4.75 for 8

As you would expect from the award-winning mail-delivery butcher, the quality of pork in this sausage roll is excellent. It could, however, have done with additional flavours to liven up and cut through the density of the pork. The pastry is buttery, flaky and has an addictive texture. It certainly has the robust feel of a proper butcher’s sausage roll, but in a world of gourmet sausage rolls, the overall taste needs to be a bit more exciting to make it the centrepiece of a picnic. 

Looks: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
Taste: 4/5
Total: 12/15


As much as we love these sausage rolls, there are times when any respectable picnic needs some good quality homemade ones.

Try these recipes for inspiration

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