How to Open a Coconut

You need:

1 coconut


large nails


Preheat oven to 375. Using your hammer and nails, poke a hole in each of the eyes of the coconut. If necessary, use the screwdriver to enlarge the holes. Drain out the milk, making sure it smells and tastes sweet. If the milk does not taste sweet, the coconut is inedible. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minute or until you hear a pop and it has cracked. Remove from the oven. Hit it with a hammer until it splits. Tap the shell with the hammer until the meat falls away from the shell.

If you need grated coconut, you can place the meat into a food processor and pulse until the desired texture is reached.

My thoughts:

This sounds scary and dangerous but it’s really not. The skin pops right off after it’s heated without the coconut meat being affected taste or otherwise. Just make sure you use very clean nails and a clean screwdriver.


  1. Does the coconut taste different after coming out of the over vs just cracking without placing in oven?

  2. I was born on a teeny island tucked away in the Caribbean where there are lots of coconuts. The method employed by every cook there is to crack the coconut first and deftly drain the “water” into a glass. (Drink this immediately–its good for you.) You then give the coconut several sharp thwaks! against a tile-less surface. I have tried the oven method and I’ve found that 25 minutes is enough to start that nut cooking. I do it this way: first, I take an ice pick, and poke the softest eye. I drain the coconut water and then take the coconut into my garage where I take a hammer and give it several sharp hits. The coconut opens up and if it’s fresh, big chunks of white meat fall out of the shell. Remove the rest with the sharp tip of a knife.

  3. i love young coconut, I used to use lots of hammers and drills even before. Now I just use a clever, one hit to the side fo the top, then a couple solid hits to the top and it open nicely. Im not too found of the older brown coconuts…

  4. seems like a lot of work.

    Best method is take the coconut, find a threshold (main doorway e.g.) or any other hard raised surface (e.g. stairs) and give it a good thwack in the middle (equator of the coconut). The thing will split, right along its equator, allowing you to drain the juice into a cup (drink it, it’s yum!!!!) – then a couple more hits and the thing will be in two halves. To further break the halves into smaller pieces, just beat it. A little violence and it’s fresh coconut time!! : )

  5. i actually appreciate this tip, unlike everyone else, because in my haste to open a coconut and cut out the flesh, i sustained a deep knife wound and had to get stitches. that was more than a year ago, and i haven’t touched a coconut since. this inspires me to try again, and now i know no knives will be involved! thank you!

  6. Thanks AJ: I thought it was a helpful tip, I have had many close calls with coconut opening that I’d rather avoid. I also have 2 dogs and I’d rather not do a method that involves throwing the coconut on the ground.


  7. a friend went to hawaii and all we got was a lousy coconut. (and a great pineapple) the milk in the coconut was yucky. oh well, the pineapple was good.

  8. I found a new invention for young coconut see it can also be used on the mature ones for dehusking then piercing the soft 3rd eye draining the fluid which is good to extract cream from the grated coconut flesh by squeezing the gratings in a bowl full of coconut juice and some warm water there are many kinds of graters available

  9. To drain the coconut water I use one blade of strong kitchen scissors to gore out the soft eye (closest to the husk’s axis)and one other eye. Then I up-end the husk over a fine sieve and glass or bowl and 6+ oz of clean, sweet coconut water will trickle out.

    To open the husk I put it in a towel (not too large) and either hit it with a hammer or swing it hard against concrete or brick. It can bounce, but that is easy to control. A couple of wacks reduces the husk to shards and often separates the meat from the husk.

    (Two people can work from here; e.g. one prying and one peeling.)

    Next I pry off any meat still stuck to the husk:

    Use a sturdy knife with a strong tip. Never cut or thrust towards your own body/hand, and never apply force you cannot control when the meat gives way. (See aj’s comment… ouch!)

    Pick a spot to poke several times, between husk and meat. Then push between the layers and twist the blade* so a chunk of meat pops free. Try to get chunk sizes that suit you for the next step.

    *Be sure your knife can handle the twist –you do not want the blade to break, and perhaps spring across the room. I once had a box cutter blade zing past my temple, when cutting a small branch. Think about it!

    Use a good, sharp potato peeler to remove the brown skin that is usually on the meat. Why does no one mention this skin? Watch that your finger tips don’t get in the way of the peeler’s business edges. I peel along edges & from edges to center.

    Then I rinse the pieces off in clean water. (P.S. – Hide some pieces in the fridge for later, before everyone else can get to them.)

  10. the best and easiest way to open a coconut is to use a hammer. in the islands they use a large rock or the back of a machete.

    first, drain the coconut juice using a sharp object on the soft eye. find the thin line or bump that extends from the top of the nut, down to the bottom. to have your coconut split into halves… hold your coconut in one hand and the hammer in the other. strike the coconut (with force) on the center of the line.

    some people are able to do this with one strike. if it just cracks it open… rotate the coconut and hit it again on the edge of the crack. continue if necessary.

  11. the coconut milk before u cook it tastes horrible try cooking it then draining it, it tastes better.

  12. Truthfully I’ve never eaten a coconut. I guess since I now know how why not.

  13. I found that a corkscrew for wine was a perfect fit for removing the meat and making the hole for the water to pour out of.

  14. That’s so interesting. I’ve never heard of that. I’ve got a second coconut that I may have to try it with. Thanks!

  15. This one makes the most sense to me. The skin needs to come off!!

  16. I have been on every search engine for over a hour trying to find…do U wash it first?

  17. I guess you could but I'm not sure why. You throw the the shell away.