How to Hollow Out a Coconut

Whether you’re cracking open a coconut for the juice, to make a yummy recipe, or even to use the shell for a craft, hollowing out a coconut is a simple process. Drain the coconut water out into a cup before gently hitting the circumference of the coconut to crack it open. After that, all that’s left is removing the coconut meat from the shell. With the use of a few simple tools like a knife and hammer, you’ll have a hollowed out coconut in no time!


[Edit]Draining the Coconut

  1. Find the soft eye of the coconut. Similar to a bowling ball, the coconut will have three “eyes” located at one end. Use a knife to test each eye, pointing the tip of the knife into an eye to try to create a hole. Two of the eyes will be hard, while the third will be soft and let you poke through to the meat.[1]
    Hollow Out a Coconut Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • These eyes are also known as the coconut’s germination pores.
  2. Use a sharp tool to make a hole in the soft eye. This can be done using a knife, drill bit, screwdriver, or a pointed kitchen tool. Create a hole roughly the size of your pinky, poking through the shell until you get to the white meat of the coconut.[2]
    • A meat thermometer is another useful tool.
    • Tap your screwdriver or drill bit gently using a hammer, if necessary.
    • This hole allows the water to drain from the coconut.
  3. Drain the water into a bowl, jar or cup. Hold the coconut upside down over a cup and gently shake the coconut up and down. Let the coconut drain completely before trying to crack it open.[3]
    • Save the coconut water for later, if desired—coconut water is great for smoothies, marinades, cocktails, and salad dressings.

[Edit]Cutting the Coconut in Half

  1. Locate the coconut’s equator. This is a thin line along the middle of the coconut, also known as its natural center point. This is where it will be easiest to break the coconut cleanly in half. Find this line before you begin tapping.[4]
    Hollow Out a Coconut Step 4 Version 2.jpg
  2. Tap along the equator gently until the coconut cracks in half. Using a hammer or mallet, go around the circumference of the coconut gently hitting the shell. Rotate the coconut as you tap, ensuring you hit each part of the coconut’s equator. Keep going in this manner until you hear a cracking sound. Once it starts cracking, use less and less force to keep it in two large pieces.[5]
    • Be careful not to hit the coconut too hard, or it will come apart in pieces instead of in natural halves.
    • Avoid using a sharp blade or knife to hit the coconut—this can be dangerous.
    • Don’t worry if your coconut takes some time to crack open—some coconuts are simply easier to split than others.
  3. Pry open the coconut if it doesn’t separate naturally. If your coconut cracks but doesn’t split open, pry open the coconut gently by placing a dull knife in the crack and applying leverage. Situate the knife into the largest crack to help ensure a nice split.[6]
    Hollow Out a Coconut Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Aim for cracks all the way around the coconut before prying it open to make the process easier.

[Edit]Removing the Meat

  1. Hold a coconut section in one hand with your cutting knife in the other. It’s best if you hold the coconut in your non-dominant hand to leave your dominant hand for removing the meat. Choose a knife with a curved edge instead of a pointed tip to make the process easier.[7]
    Hollow Out a Coconut Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • A paring knife or steak knife works well.
  2. Make a cut into the coconut, pressing down until you reach the shell. Use your knife to form a perpendicular line from the coconut’s cracked edge. Cut deep enough into the flesh of the coconut so that you feel the hard inner shell.[8]
    • The length of this cut is up to you and your knife, though the longer the cut the more flesh you’ll likely be able to pry out at once.
  3. Angle your next cut against the previous cut to form an upside-down V. Once your first cut is finished, form another cut angled out from the original one. This will create a triangular shape, or an upside-down V.[9]
    • Make sure you press deep enough into this cut to touch the shell, just as you did with the first cut.
  4. Pry the meat from this cut section using a dull knife. Situate your knife under the flesh in the center of your two cuts. Gently pry the meat from this cut section of the coconut, twisting your knife if necessary.[10]
  5. Cut the rest of the sections to remove all of the meat. Continue making upside-down V shapes with the meat, cutting deeply until you reach the shell before prying the meat out.[11]
    Hollow Out a Coconut Step 11.jpg
    • This may take some time, so use caution and be patient!
    • Use this process to remove the meat from the other half of the coconut as well.



  • You can also try scooping the meat of the coconut out with a spoon.
  • Put your coconut in a plastic bag before hitting it with a hammer if you’re worried about making a mess.
  • Freeze the coconut overnight before cracking it open to make the meat easily fall out.[12]
  • Put the coconut in the oven at for 15 minutes to shrink the meat from the coconut’s shell.[13] If you do this process with a whole coconut, the breaks will likely be irregular, and it must be drained beforehand so that steam does not cause it to explode.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to remove the brown part off of the meat, if desired.[14]


  • Exercise caution when using sharp instruments, such as knives.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Knife
  • Cup or bowl
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Paring knife
  • Vegetable peeler (optional)
  • Screwdriver or drill bit (optional)

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuXnXYFwMRI#t=3s
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpOxJ9EnP_w#t=50s
  3. https://www.foodnetwork.com/grilling/summer-parties/photos/how-to-break-down-a-coconut
  4. https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/156-a-better-way-to-extract-coconut-meat
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuXnXYFwMRI#2m40s
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuXnXYFwMRI#t=3m36s
  7. http://www.thenaughtyvegan.com/how-to-remove-coconut-meat.htm
  8. http://www.thenaughtyvegan.com/how-to-remove-coconut-meat.htm
  9. http://www.thenaughtyvegan.com/how-to-remove-coconut-meat.htm
  10. http://www.thenaughtyvegan.com/how-to-remove-coconut-meat.htm
  11. http://www.thenaughtyvegan.com/how-to-remove-coconut-meat.htm
  12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn-vbYtB4p4#t=4s
  13. https://www.bbc.com/food/coconut
  14. https://www.foodnetwork.com/grilling/summer-parties/photos/how-to-break-down-a-coconut