How to Open a Coconut

How to Crack a Coconut
Leah Maroney
  • 01 of 08

    Gather Your Materials

    How to Crack a Coconut. Leah Maroney

    Cracking a coconut may seem like a daunting task, but it can be done at home with a little bit of effort. Since you can get a coconut without a husk at the store, you don't even have to worry about the hassle of peeling one off.

    There are only a few tools needed to successfully crack a coconut—you probably have most of them lying around the house:

    • Screwdriver: a Phillips head or regular screwdriver will work
    • Hammer: opt for a heavy one!
    • Coconut Shredder: You can find many different types on Amazon. There are electric varieties, ones that clamp on a table, and some that are handheld.
    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Poking Holes

    How to Crack a Coconut
    Poking holes to drain the coconut water. Leah Maroney

    Start by finding the little dark indentations at the base of the coconut. You will be poking holes through these indentations so you can successfully drain the coconut water without making a mess or wasting any of it. 

    Make sure to thoroughly clean the screwdriver before you begin. Hold the screwdriver over one of the indentations and press it into the dent. Usually, one is softer than another so try a few if you aren't having luck. Whack the base of the screwdriver with the hammer until it perforates the coconut. Do the same with the other indentations if you wish—the coconut water will come out quicker if you do multiple holes.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Pour out the Coconut Water

    How to Crack a Coconut
    Coconut water. Leah Maroney

    Pour the coconut water out of the hole (or holes) into a bowl or container and set it aside. You can use the coconut water for smoothies or to make coconut milk. Some coconuts have more water than others. Shake it to hear the water sloshing to make sure you have removed all of the water.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Find the Ridge

    How to Crack a Coconut
    Finding the ridge. Leah Maroney

    Look at the indentations in the coconut. Hold it so that it looks like there are two eyes on top and a little nose centered beneath them. If you follow the nose between the two eyes, there will be a raised ridge. This is where you are going to want to hit the coconut once you start whacking, The whacking will go much more smoothly when you hit it on the ridge. It will weaken the shell, so you'll only need to hit it a few times.

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  • 05 of 08

    Start Cracking!

    How to Crack a Coconut
    The ridge. Leah Maroney

    Hold the coconut firmly with one hand and whack the coconut on the center ridge. Turn the coconut as you whack it and keep hitting it around the center of the coconut. Only the first whack will be on the ridge. 

    Firm, hard smacks will be the most successful. Be purposeful in your swings and be aware of where your other hand is so that you don't hit yourself.

    You will be whacking around the center of the coconut so that you will end up with two nice halves. This will make it easier to shred the coconut after you have cracked it. You can also just place the coconut in a bag and whack away, but this will give you a bunch of smaller pieces. You'll then have to peel the shell off of the coconut meat, which is often more difficult.

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  • 06 of 08

    Continue Cracking

    How to Crack a Coconut
    The solid crack. Leah Maroney

    Keep turning and whacking until it is completely cracked through the middle and you have two halves.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Separate the Two Halves

    How to Crack a Coconut
    Halved. Leah Maroney

    Once you have completely cracked the coconut you should two fairly neat halves. Now it's time to get ready for shredding. 

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Start Shredding

    How to Crack a Coconut
    Shredding. Leah Maroney

    Secure your coconut shredder onto your work counter. Hold the coconut half onto the shredder and begin cranking. Rotate the coconut as you go until the entire contents have been shredded. If may take a little while to shred the whole half. The electric ones tend to go more quickly. 

    If you don't have access to a coconut shredder, you can scrape the inside of the coconut with a sharp knife or a fork. You can also pry off the meat with a butter knife. Just press it in between the meat and the shell, then pry away. Make sure to hold the coconut firmly and be careful of your fingers. 

    Fresh coconut is so delicious and far fluffier than the store-bought shredded variety! Use your shreds in a delicious recipe:

    Coconut Macaroons

    Coconut Milk

    Coconut Cream Pie