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How to open a Coconut

February 17, 2011 | 13 Comments

fresh coconut meat

Coconuts are a tropical fruit comprised of three layers; outermost, outer and inner layer. The outermost layer/husk is most often removed when fresh coconuts are purchased, thereby leaving the outer hairy layer/shell and the inner layer. The coconut, while a fruit, is not a nut, but a drupe.

If you’ve watched movies set in the Caribbean, when the coconuts are plucked straight from the tree, they still have the outermost layer, which is partially shaved off, so you drink the juice from a straw. Fresh coconuts can be notoriously difficult to crack if you’re not all too sure where to begin. It is very possible to hurt yourself in the process, so you have to ensure your safety by using items you can handle.

I’m not a huge fan of eating fresh coconut meat, it just makes me cough unnecessarily, so I tend to avoid it, same thing with roast corn. Boo, I know!

To learn how to break open a coconut, here’s what you’ll need:

Recipe Cost: $5.99 Prep: 5 mins Total: 15 mins Difficulty: Easy Serves: 3-6

fresh coconut

1. Wash and rinse coconut; pat dry with paper towel

2. One end of coconut should have 2 or 3 dark indentations/porescoconut eyes

3. Lay coconut on folded shirt/towel, place table knife over one of the ‘eyes,’ it might go in with some pressure. If not, use chopping board to hit knife, so it goes incoconut eyes

4. Drive knife into coconut ‘eye’ as far as you can go, twist the knife around if you have to

5. Position open hole over drinking glass to drain out coconut waterfresh coconut water
fresh coconut water
fresh coconut water

fresh coconut water

6. The drained coconut water will inevitably have bits of coconut and sedimentsfresh coconut water upclose

7. Using a sieve, drain coconut water to rid it of sedimentsfresh coconut water

8. Lay drained coconut on paper towel coconut

9. Tie neck of shirt, put coconut on paper towel and put inside shirtcoconut

10. Pull shirt over coconut, fold sleeves overcoconut

11. Hit/slam coconut on the floor three times till you feel it and it’s cracked

12. Take out coconut from shirtcracked coconut

cracked coconut

13. Separate coconut meat from shell (discard shell); for coconut meat stuck to shell, use table knife to gently meat pry offcoconut

14. Transfer coconut meat to a bowlfresh coconut meat

15. Rinse coconut meat thoroughly with cool watercoconut meat

16. And you’re done! Crunch away!coconut meat


  1. I used an old turtleneck sweater to break the coconut open. Be sure to tie the neck, so there is no possibility of flying coconut bits!
  2. Three good whacks did the trick for me, so don’t get overzealous and keep whacking away! It won’t do too much harm, but its unnecessary.
  3. Fresh coconut water is extremely refreshing! Omg, I love it so! You can choose to drain and chill it to drink later or use it in cooking something else.
  4. Once you’ve removed the shell from the coconut, you’ll start to notice that the coconut pulp (on the back of the coconut meat) is a bit oily. Coconut oil is very moisturizing and this is your first sample of it, at least if you’ve never used coconut oil on your body before!  It’s a must try, moreso if you have dry skin!
  5. You don’t have to scrape the brown bits of the back of the coconut meat once you’ve removed the shell. It won’t harm you and it adds more depth of flavor to the coconut.
  6. Please and please, do not use any sharp knives! You can use a nail and hammer, or basically any relatively sharp object and a heavier object to use in hitting.
  7. You don’t have to open all two or three ‘eyes,’ one is usually enough and you can leave it to drain for a few minutes and return to it.



The Recipe Cost of $5.99 is approximate for me in US dollars, but should be used an estimate only. Please keep price fluctuations & exchange rates in mind. If you’re based in the US, the grocery store(s) you frequent might have the same items cheaper or more expensive than what I purchased.

If you’re international, please keep in mind that exchange rates vary constantly. I recommend using this site to convert it from US dollars to your local currency. You might also have some of the ingredients at home already, thereby reducing the cost.

If you’d prefer to see an individual ingredient cost breakdown, let me know!


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13 Responses to "How to open a Coconut"

  1. Azuka says:

    Not exactly related to this, but how come the coconuts over here don’t taste like the ones back home? When I went back to Nigeria about 3 years ago, I ate coconut almost every day, and they definitely tasted different from the ones I bought in stores here.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Azuka!

      You know, I’m not sure and I can’t even say I remember what coconuts back home taste like. I can only think that it might have something to do with the soil in which they’re both grown, but then again, coconuts sold here might be imported, so who’s to say what it really is.

  2. Mercy says:


    My guess for your initials C.C is Coconut Candy. I hope there is a prize for this prizzle lol.

    Have a great week.

  3. Mercy says:

    I meant puzzle.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Mercy!

      Ding! Ding! Ding! And we have a winner! Lol, yup, coconut candy it is :) The prize is the recipe, lol… wayo I know :D

  4. Asmau Mohammed says:

    i want to no how to cook with coconut , and how to use coconut water

    • Yetunde says:

      Hi Asmau!

      There a few recipes on the site that incorporate coconut into them and for coconut water, you can either just chill it and drink it or use it cooking rice; just substitute plain water for coconut water.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Wow! I just had to comment on this one o! This is definitely a “21st-century-compliant” way of breaking coconuts. Plus you retain all the water and it is more hygenic this way. I used to just throw the coconut on the floor many times until it broke (*shameful face*) and as you know, most of the water gets wasted that way. Apart from that, you end up with lots of “shrapnel” (bits of coconut shell) just waiting to cut someone’s foot….Ok, I will stop here! Thanks for putting this up! I will definitely try this out!

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey you!

      Lol @ shrapnel, too funny, yet bordering on dangerous! At least, now you know a cleaner, safer method ;)

      Hope to see you around more!!

  6. debbie says:

    to break the coconut… my dad taught me to use a hammer to tap the shell of the coconut gently,. that way the shell breaks of the coconut flesh, leaving the coconut flesh whole without it being in peices… thats another way. p.s when i genlly i mean with enough force to break the shell but not too much force

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Debbie!

      That also works too, if you have a hammer, lol. Plus, I kinda like the slamming on the floor :D. Either option is fine really… thanks for sharing though!

  7. adenike says:

    This method is woooo but can u explain ao to cook coconut beans?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Adenike!

      Not quite sure what woooo means, and I’ve never heard of coconut beans before, but I imagine you would cook it in a manner similar to coconut jollof rice, by adding the coconut milk or water in one of the cooking stages before the beans is done.

      Hope that helps!

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