How to Open a Coconut

Cracked coconut

It can be hard to know how to open a coconut if you've never done it before. Unlike most other fruits, you can't simply bite into it or easily peel off the skin. Tools are required or at least a very, very hard surface.

There are two different ways to open a coconut. The first one can be used if you only want to get the juice out of it. The second method is for you if you would like to access the meat of the coconut. Before you get started with either method, pull as much of the "hairs" off of your coconut as possible. It will make your task easier to accomplish.

How to Open a Coconut to Access the Juice

To get the juice or milk out of the coconut, all you need is one hole that is at least a half inch long. Some spots on the coconut are easier to drill through than others, so make it easy for yourself by following these instructions:

  1. Find the three round spots, or eyes, on your coconut. Touch each spot and determine the one that is the softest. It is usually the one that would be the thumb hole if the coconut were a bowling ball.
  2. Poke the end of a paring knife into the middle of the spot. Then work your way around in a circle to make the knife wide enough to accommodate the screwdriver.
  3. Take your screwdriver and push its tip into the hole. Then twist it and push down until you feel it pop through to the coconut's flesh to the core.
  4. Pull the screwdriver out. Turn the coconut upside down over a pitcher. If the juice comes out, you're done. If not, use your knife to make the hole larger.

If you want the juice to come out faster, you can make two holes in the coconut. That way air comes in one while the juice comes out the other. You can also stick a straw in your hole and drink directly from your coconut.

Opening a Coconut to Dig Out the Flesh

If you need to crack open the coconut all the way to get the white flesh out of it, use these directions instead.

  1. Find the three spots on the coconut and locate the two that are the closest together. These are the coconut's "eyes."
  2. Hold your coconut where the eyebrows would be, and smack it on a hard surface.
  3. Keep banging it until you hear a crack. Your coconut will split pretty close to in half.

Once you have the coconut opened, you can peel off the flesh with your paring knife or with a peeler. Be careful to open it over a bowl or the sink so that you can catch the juice before it ends up on the floor. If you want to keep the juice, of course, a bowl will be best. Note that you will probably end up with some flesh mixed in, so you may have to skim it out before drinking it.

If you have a coconut that is particularly stubborn and these directions on how to open a coconut don't work, you can simply wrap a towel or a plastic bag around the coconut and hit it on the ground or smack it with the head of a hammer. Your coconut will be pretty much obliterated, but you can still eat it.

Preparing Your Coconut

Once you have your coconut opened, you may be wondering how to prepare it. Most people choose to grate the coconut, shred it or cut it into chunks. You can also make it into a sweet topping by mixing it with powdered sugar. Frozen coconut makes a delicious vegan desert.

How to Open a Coconut