Introduction: How to Open a Coconut

Picture of How to Open a Coconut

This instructable will show you how to open a coconut with just a hammer the stylish way. I learned this method last year on a sailing holiday.

With this instructable i want to say thank you for the nice sailing trip through the Yasawa Islands in Fiji.

This is my first instructable so please be gentle with me. I'm also a non native english speaker so please correct me where i use inappropriate words.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

All you need is a hammer and of course a coconut. The screwdriver is not needed. (Picture 1)

If you got the coconut in a store it probably comes already "bare" so you can skip the "peeling" step.

I got mine from directly under a coconut palm, so i had to peel the bast off (Picture 2, it is the Blue lagoon, yes the one where they made the film)

Step 2: Peeling the Coconut

Picture of Peeling the Coconut

The Coconut is surrounded by a large cover of bast which we must get rid of before we can open the coconut.

To do so hammer thin slices into the bast hood of the coconut (picture 1). The bast hood is really strong so make your slices thin.
If you finished hammering your slice rip it off (picture 2 and 3).

Repeat the hammering/ripping steps until your coconut is completely bare.

You'll be surprised how small the coconut is compared to the bast cover, at least i was (picture 4).

Note: To rip the bast cover off you can also use a chopping knife or something bigger, but I love my fingers (all ten of them) and this would also add another tool to our material list.

Step 3: Top Off

Picture of Top Off
This is the main step: Opening the coconut in an easy and stylish way.

Before I learned this method all opening methods involved excessive power (which means destroying the nut in any way) or the use of tools you can't carry around with you (like putting the coconut in an hot oven to crack the nut).

This new method can be done by anyone, even children (if they know how to safely use a hammer) :
  • Take the bare coconut in one hand and the hammer in the other.
  • Easily hammer around the nut, describing a circle around the top of the nut. There is no need for hammering strong.
  • After a few circles of hammering the coconut will begin to crack open just under the circular line you have hammered (picture 2).
  • After 2 or 3 more hammering circles the top of the coconut will pop off and you can open it (picture 3)
  • Now you can drink the coconut milk and eat the white meat (is it called so?) from the top of the coconut.

Step 4: Further Steps

Picture of Further Steps

The circular hammering method works also fine for breaking the coconut into more rings. So you can easily access the rest of the coconut meat.


vaxjo (author)2007-10-03

> ...the white meat (is it called so?) I think it's more frequently called the "flesh" but your instructions are pretty clear. I just need to find myself a coconut, now.

Weissensteinburg (author)vaxjo2007-10-03

Meat is the most common term I've heard for it. ...I once got a coconut so I could make the horse hoof things from monty python.

matseng (author)Weissensteinburg2007-10-03

Yea, meat is the word that I've heard from English speaking Phillipino and Indian people. I was first thinking of the word "Copra", but that's the dried meat.

Wikipedia says the following in the article about coconuts:

"Adhering to the inside wall of the endocarp is the testa, with a thick albuminous endosperm (the coconut "meat"), the white and fleshy edible part of the seed."

And I rather call it meat than "Endosperm" which in at least my ears sounds very disgusting ;-)

jongscx (author)matseng2007-10-03

I prefer endo- to exo- any day...

knownassociate (author)jongscx2016-10-01

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.Best kinda-off-topic comment ever!!!

Because my teenage grandson(whom I've raised since he was 3 months old) loves everything coconut I decided a fresh coconut might be interesting. In seconds he had poked a hole in the end and shook the water into a glass which he drank with gusto. I suggested using a machete, he declined and opted for tapping along the circumference with the back of a heavy knife(no sense of adventure) luck so far...I'm thinking my rock hammer might be just about perfect ^.^ Wish us luck...

SnuffyDaPenguin (author)matseng2007-10-04

Not to mention the color, and it's sort of slimy when it's fresh... Coconut is like the best food ever though, it can be used as medicine, weapon (lol), not susceptible to bugs or pests, prolly not disease either, won't go bad til you open it for a few days, and where it grows in the jungle, you'd want the laxative effect it gives because of all the weird diseases and stuff there...

Whatnot (author)SnuffyDaPenguin2007-10-04

Except that coconut, being a nut, is extremely rich in calories.. Mind you, you did the hammering and the peeling as exercise ;)

Ha, a man after my own heart, who needs a horse when you have coconut shells...

Dude , how can you get a coconut ? a swallow can't carry it , or can it ?

An African Swallow can.

Yeah, but you won't find an African swallow, they're non-migratory.

Wait a minute -- supposing two swallows carried it together?

No, they'd 'ave ta 'ave it on a line...

Well, simple! They'd just use a standard creeper!

What, run under the dorsal guiding feavers?

Well, why not?

*end scene* *CLUNK!* Bring out your dead..." *CLUNK* "Bring out your dead..." *CLUNK!* "Bring out your dead" *CLUNK* "Bring out your dead" *CLUNK* "Bring out your dead" "Got one right here!"
"I'm not dead"
"Yes you are"
"I'm not"
"He isn't?"
"Oh, well he will be soon, he's very ill"

PetervG (author)Weissensteinburg2007-10-03

I've done it already.. haha

Weissensteinburg (author)PetervG2007-10-03

Yeah...I did that about a year ago.

Could you post an instructable on that? :)

PetervG (author)balloondoggle2007-10-04


I would..but I don't plan on going and getting another coconut any time soon. All you do is split it in half, and bang them against each other.

ssaigol (author)2016-04-18

If you look at the top of the coconut (husk removed), you will see three "Eyes". Feel around and your will notice that one of the eyes is softer than the other two. Use a screwdriver, or even the back of a spoon with a slim handle to poke a hole. Now you can either stick a straw in or shake the water out into a glass or a canister of your choice. The trick prevents any of the water from getting wasted.

Once the liquid is out, it is time to get your frustration out. Tap away with a hammer all around the coconut. For the time being keep the taps gentle. The idea is to create vibrations in the shell to the meat inside can get dislodged. Be Patient... After about 4 to 5 mins of tapping (depending on the freshness of the coconut), increase the intensity of your hammering just enough to crack the shell. Will practice your will be able to crack the shell without cracking the ball of meat inside. Once a crack develops, go back to gentle taps and work the crack around the nut.


alexisgonzalez (author)2016-04-15

I believe the liquid inside the coconut is refereed to as coconut water, since is clear almost like water. Coconut milk is white and is obtained by squeezing the pulp of the coconut.

bevin.chu (author)alexisgonzalez2016-04-16


ArtS13 (author)2016-04-15

Thanks for this instructible Don't worry about your English. It's
far better than most of our high school graduates these days. Our future
politicians LOL

SnuffyDaPenguin (author)2007-10-04

Nice instructable, i liek this one, it's nice to know...I almost stabbed myself several times, my dad's way. (requires holding the nut between your feet on the ground and leaning over ti with a power drill :\)

kaiga (author)SnuffyDaPenguin2008-09-06

I tried opening my coconut by putting it in a vice first then drill it , but i tightened the vice too much and it made a really loud crack that was slightly louder than a 20 gauge shot gun. I still got the meat but i was scared

Hikerbchbum (author)kaiga2016-04-15

Got a good laugh. Thx

IamTheMomo (author)2016-04-15

We are planning to move to Costa Rica, so this is such great information to learn! Thanks!

LukeR33 (author)2016-04-08

so I'm working my way around and around the coconut, and starting to think this method is rubbish, and pop, off came the top exactly as it did in the picture. This is an awesome post, and a great way to open a coconut. thanks :)

AZF1 (author)2016-03-02

thx so much!

isavendetta (author)2015-12-23

Thanks a lot! It worked perfectly!

PuzzleDragon made it! (author)2015-12-04

Easier than I thought it might be! Thanks!

kmcmorrow (author)2015-11-24

Brilliant! I used to murder them by nailing the eyes, baking them, etc. This technique I will try, thank you!
*Your English is better than mine. Only thing, I think I saw "off" (sic) replacing the preposition "of".
My question: how long can a coconut be stored, 1) before shelling and 2) after cracking? Guidelines, recommendations?

uwe (author)kmcmorrow2015-11-26

Thank you, I fixed the "get rid of" part

drinkflinger (author)2015-07-22

Finally I Opened a Coconut ! No more lawn ornaments ! Yeah Thank-You

barbara.b.spring.5 (author)2014-09-24

Thank you! I could never do it without your instructions!!! It is the first time I have it peel the bast off! And nobody else start their instructions from the very first step!!!!!

Lemartes (author)2007-10-09

Mmkay, so I opened my coconut... how am I supposed to EAT it? At least I can still make Monty Python horse FX.

smashbob (author)Lemartes2008-09-28

are you suggesting coconuts migrate? i suppose a swallow could have carried it. its not a matter of gripping it…

bfallica (author)smashbob2014-09-03

African swallow or European swallow?

Dungeonbrownies (author)Lemartes2007-10-13

All you neeed is patsy for your clippity clop advetures.

wood floats like???

noname420 (author)Lemartes2007-11-10

shes a witch burn her

cnuteasy (author)2013-08-15

I know an easiest way to open coconut shell.

Enjoy CoCo Easy.

unusedname (author)2013-06-25

Nice job on your instructable. By the way for all you guys just wanting to know, a rock works just fine. I just went out side and found a fist sized rock and did with it what is described with a hammer here. Yummy coconut!

J-Five (author)2013-06-16

Anyone have any dynamite???

Misac-kun (author)2013-05-20

A hammer, is something i must add to my Emergency Kit.

dgonzales-vera (author)2011-06-29

Great. I will have to try this. Your instructions are perfect. Thanks.

raziz (author)2011-05-18

errr.. you grind the white meat, you can add a little water then squeeze the ground meat to get "coconut milk" and mix with something else in a drink, the water inside the shell it the isotonic "coconut juice". if you poke a young coconut, the juice will squirt out and the best one will taste carbonated/fizzy.

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