Kitchen Tips

How to Hollow Out a Coconut

Here’s a quick guide to hollow out a coconut. Follow these 3 simple steps to perfectly hollow out a coconut without any residual waste.

Draining the Coconut:

How to hollow out a coconut

Image Courtesy: Vegan Feast Catering used under the Creative Commons Licence

Find the eyes of the coconut:

The coconut usually has three “eyes”, which are spots on one end. Two will be hard, and one will be the soft spot which you can tap into to drain.

Remove strands from the husk to get at the eyes.

This is easy enough to do with your hands or a small knife.

Poke into the eye:

Poke through the eye with a knife, through the meat, and into the liquid. If not, use a screwdriver or a drill bit.

If need be, tap the end of the screwdriver or drill bit with a hammer.

If you hear a hissing sound once you break through to the meat, it means the coconut is depressurizing. If you don’t, it’s possible your coconut has gone bad.

Drain the water:

Make sure the coconut water is good before you combine it with other water. It should be fairly clear, with no clouds or hints of slime.

Cutting the Coconut in Half:

How to hollow out a coconut

Image Courtesy: Vegan Feast Catering used under the Creative Commons Licence

Locate the “center point”: 

Every coconut is marked by a thin line along the middle. This is where it will be easiest to break the coconut in half.

Hold the coconut in your non-dominant hand. The eyes should be facing down and the ends should be facing out to the sides.

Smack the coconut:

Use the blunt, back side of a heavy blade to slowly break the coconut in half. A meat cleaver is great as there is a natural curve to the back side of the blade. This matches the curve of the coconut, applying pressure evenly.

Rotate the coconut about a quarter of a turn with each rap:

Crack the knife against the line a second time whilst making slight rotations. 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.

For some coconuts, this will take a few smacks. For others, it will take a few full rotations.

Keep rapping and turning until the crack has gone all the way around the coconut and it splits cleanly apart.

Cleaning Out the Coconut:

How to hollow out a coconut

Image Courtesy: jpotisch used under the Creative Commons Licence

Pry the meat away from the shell:

Position the back of a spoon between the meat and the shell. The meat will come off in chunks as it breaks loose. If the meat is difficult to remove, use a small paring-like knife to shred at it. Make a cut into it and drive the knife along the edge. Use this meat in your dish.

Place the 2 coconut halves on a cookie sheet in the oven at 150°C (300°F) for 1-2 hours:

If you want to use the coconut shell for craft, you can further bake it in the oven. The amount of time you need depends on the size of the coconut and the thickness of the meat. Once it’s finished, the meat will have shrunk and you’ll be able to pull out the meat in one piece.

Place the coconuts shell-side down in a ventilated area:

Give them a few days to fully dry and harden. Giving them this extra drying-out period will make them easier to use.


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