How To Crack & Open a Coconut

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

From the sweet coconut water hidden inside to the soft pulp scooped straight from the shell, fresh coconut is a treat like no other. But if you’ve ever succumbed to the allure of one of these coconuts at the store, you know that cracking it open and getting your treat can present some challenges. Here’s how to do it in a few easy steps.

One thing that will make your life much simpler is to buy a coconut with the husk already removed. Once that’s out of the way, all you need is a cleaver or chef’s knife to crack it open.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

How to Open a Coconut

What You Need

1 young coconut, husk removed

Small knife
Cleaver or chef’s knife
Ice Cream Scoop (or stiff spatula)


1. Trim Away the Outer Skin: Start by trimming away the soft skin from the top of the coconut with a sharp knife to expose the hard shell. The shell of the coconut is round, and you want to fully expose that hard, rounded dome on top of the coconut.

2. Open the Top of the Coconut: Holding the coconut firmly, use a cleaver or chef’s knife to whack into the dome. Turn the coconut and repeat whacking until you have cracked the shell around all edges. You should be able to now peel or pull of the top of the shell.

3. Pour Out the Coconut Water: The coconut water from inside the coconut can be drunk on its own, used in baking, or blended into smoothies.

4. Scoop Out the Soft Coconut Flesh: Using an ice cream scoop or stiff spatula, scoop all the soft coconut flesh from inside the coconut. This can be eaten on its own, added to stews and sauces, blended into smoothies, mixed into oatmeal, used in baking, and countless other cooking applications.

Additional Notes:

Saving Fresh Coconut: Keep fresh coconut water and flesh refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to a week.

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(Images: Chris Perez)