How to Open a Coconut

Опубликовал Admin
4-06-2021, 23:40
Coconuts are a delicious and versatile food that are especially good when eaten fresh. You may shy away from purchasing a whole coconut, though, if you assume that you need a drill, hacksaw, and other specialty tools to open one. Fortunately, you can actually open a coconut with items that you likely have in your home already. Heating the coconut in your oven helps soften it enough that you can just whack it against a hard surface to split it open. If you don't have access to an oven, a simple mallet or hammer can help crack the coconut open. Once you have it open, you only need a knife and vegetable peeler to free the coconut meat so it's ready to eat.

Draining the Coconut

  1. Poke a hole in the top of the coconut. At the top of the coconut, there are three eyes or indentations. One of these is usually the weakest, so use a sharp knife to poke each one. When you find the eye that gives most easily, insert the knife into it to create a ½-inch (1.27-cm) hole.
    • You can also use a metal skewer or screwdriver to poke a hole in the top of the coconut.
  2. Turn the coconut upside down over a glass. To collect the water from the coconut, you’ll need a glass. Place the coconut upside down over it so the hole that you’ve punched in it is directly over the glass.
    • You can also place the coconut over a bowl to collect the water. However, using a glass that the coconut just fits over the top of means that you don’t have to hold the coconut as it drips.
    • A measuring cup also works well for collecting the liquid.
  3. Allow the coconut to drain completely. After you’ve placed the coconut upside down over the glass, let it sit for several minutes or until all of the liquid drains out. You may need to shake the coconut a few times to get last bit of water out of it.
    • If you are planning to put the coconut in the oven to help open it, you must drain it first. A coconut that hasn't been drained may explode in the oven if it's heated too long.
    • If you plan to use a mallet to open the coconut, you don't necessarily have to drain it first. However, you can wind up making a mess in your kitchen if you don't, so it's best to start with a drained coconut.
    • You should collect approximately ½ to ¾ cup (118 to 177 ml) of water from the coconut.
    • The water from a fresh, young coconut should be sweet. If the liquid has an oily consistency, the coconut likely isn’t good and should be thrown away.

Using the Oven to Open the Coconut

  1. Preheat the oven. To use heat to help open the coconut, it’s important to ensure that your oven is warm enough. Set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius), and allow it to fully heat.
  2. Place the coconut on a pan and bake it for 10 minutes. Put the drained coconut on a baking sheet, and set it in the oven. Allow the coconut to bake for approximately 10 minutes or until you see a crack develop in the shell.
    • If the coconut hasn't cracked after 10 minutes, continue to bake it until you notice that the shell is starting to split. Check the coconut every few minutes, though, to ensure that you don't heat it longer than necessary.
    • If you’re in a hurry, you can also microwave the coconut. Place it on a microwave-safe plate, and heat it on medium-high power for three minutes.
  3. Remove the coconut and wrap it in a towel. When the coconut has started to crack, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Allow it to cool for two to three minutes. Next, wrap the coconut in a small kitchen towel or rag.
  4. Place the coconut in a garbage bag and hit it against a hard surface. With the coconut still wrapped in the towel, set it inside a large plastic garbage bag. Twist the bag closed, and whack the coconut against a hard surface several times until you feel it break into pieces.
    • The harder the surface that you hit the coconut against, the easier it will be to break. A concrete surface works especially well.
  5. Place a knife between the shell and meat to separate them. When the coconut is broken into pieces, remove it from the garbage bag and unwrap the towel. Take each piece, and wedge a knife between the shell and the white meat of the coconut to carefully separate the two.
    • You don’t necessarily have to use a sharp knife to separate the coconut meat and shell. It’s best to start with a butter knife and only move onto a sharp knife if you’re having trouble.
    • Steady the pieces of coconut as you’re separating the coconut shell and meat by bracing it against your table or counter.
  6. Peel the fiber away from the coconut meat. After you’ve separated the coconut, there may still be some light brown fiber covering the white meat. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the fiber as you would the skin from a potato or other vegetable. Once you’ve removed the fiber from the meat, you’re ready to eat or cook with your coconut.
    • If you don’t have a vegetable peeler, you can use a sharp knife to carefully peel away the fiber from the meat.

Opening the Coconut with a Mallet

  1. Wrap the coconut in a towel and hold it. After you’ve drained the coconut, place a folded kitchen towel around one side of the coconut. Use your non-dominant hand to hold it so the part of the coconut not covered with the towel is in front of you.
    • If you prefer, you can steady the coconut against a table or countertop. However, you’ll have to adjust it as you work so you can crack it all the way around.
  2. Turn the coconut and tap it with a mallet until it cracks. Holding the coconut with the towel, use a mallet to firmly tap it. Turn the coconut as you go so you can tap against the entire exterior of until it begins to crack in half.
    • A metal mallet tends to work best for opening the coconut.
    • If you don’t have a mallet, you can use a hammer to tap the coconut.
  3. Split the coconut shell and place it cut side down. When the coconut has cracked around the entire exterior, use your fingers to split it in two. Set the coconut down on the table or countertop with the cut side facing down.
    • If you find that the coconut doesn’t split easily, repeat the previous step of tapping around the outside with the mallet. There may be some spots where the coconut hasn’t fully cracked.
  4. Hit the coconut with the mallet to loosen the meat. With the coconut halves facing down, use the mallet to tap against each piece. That will help loosen the meat from the shell so you can separate the two more easily.
    • Make sure to tap the mallet all over the coconut halves to ensure that the meat is loosened everywhere.
    • It’s fine if the coconut halves split into smaller pieces when you hit it with the mallet. That can actually make it easier when it’s time to separate the shell and the meat.
  5. Run a knife between the shell and the meat to free it. After you’ve hit the coconut halves with the mallet to loosen the meat, wedge a butter knife between the shell and the meat. Use the knife to carefully pry the meat away from the shell until it’s completely separated. Repeat with all of the coconut pieces.
    • Be sure to use a butter knife so you don’t have to worry about cutting yourself as you work.
  6. Remove the fiber from the meat. Once you’ve separated the meat from the shell, there will still be a thin, brown, fibrous skin on the outside. Use a vegetable peeler to carefully remove the skin so just the meat of the coconut is left.
    • After the meat of the coconut is separated from the skin, you’re ready to eat or cook with it.


  • The juice in the coconut is not coconut milk - it's sweet water. The water in the nut is a naturally occurring part of the growing coconut and it changes color and taste depending on how ripe it is. Coconut milk is a processed product made by extracting oil out of the ground up white flesh, usually using boiling water. However, you can also make your own coconut milk.
  • You can also open a coconut by throwing it at a rock This will crack the coconut open and you can get at the meat.


  • Never try to bite open a coconut. It will not open it and will break your teeth.
  • Be very careful when hitting the coconut with the mallet. The coconut should be hit firmly but not so hard that you lose control of the mallet. You don’t want to accidentally hit your hand.
  • Don't put the coconut in the oven if you haven’t drained it. It might explode if it is left for too long and the water turns into steam, creating high pressure inside.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Glass, bowl, or measuring cup

Oven Method

  • Baking sheet
  • Kitchen towel
  • Plastic bag
  • Butter knife
  • Vegetable peeler

Mallet Method

  • Kitchen towel
  • Metal mallet or hammer
  • Butter knife
  • Vegetable peeler
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