How to Open a Coconut at Home

While the thought of coconuts conjures up images of tropical beaches with white sand, an iridescent turquoise ocean, and coconut palms waving about in a gentle breeze, the nuts themselves can be tough to crack, and the ordeal is unlikely to be as peaceful and serene as the surroundings from which they come.

There are a variety of methods available for cracking coconuts open, and most of these tend to be dangerous, as they involve techniques such as striking the coconut with a large mallet or cleaver. However, there is a safer way to go about it, and the trick is to gently work on softening up the shell before you attempt to split it open.

Things Required:

– Two oven mitts
– One large nail
– Oven to heat the coconut
– Coconut
– Hammer
– A chef’s knife


  • 1

    Start by preheating an oven to roughly 375 degrees. You will need to use the oven later on in order to create cracks in the shell of the coconut.

  • 2

    While the oven is heating up, hold the coconut in your hand and feel the eyes of the coconut – these are indentations at the top of the nut. Check to see which ones are the softest, then take a long, completely clean large nail, hold it on the eye, and pound it into the softest eyes with your hammer, to create holes in the coconut for drainage.

  • 3

    Hold the coconut upside down over a glass or bowl, and allow the coconut water to drain out. This might take a while, depending on how wide or small the holes you created are, so try leaving the coconut upside down over the glass/bowl for around 10 to 15 minutes. You can use this coconut water in a recipe, or drink it straight – it will be delicious either way.

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  • 4

    Once all the water has been drained out, place the coconut on a shallow baking pan (this could be a pie pan or a cookie tray). Slide it into the preheated oven for around 20 minutes, or until you hear a pop or crack, which means the coconut is expanding.

  • 5

    Turn the oven off, put on both your oven mitts, and take the coconut out of the oven. The heat will have caused several cracks to open up on the surface of the coconut shell. While it is still hot, wrap the coconut in a towel, and either hit it with the hammer, or whack it against a hard surface like a cement pavement or your driveway. This will cause the coconut to split open entirely, and you can now use a knife to cut and dig out the meat.

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