How to Open a Young Coconut

Cutting coconut
Somsak Bumroongwong / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • 01 of 08

    Gather your materials.

    To open your young coconut the way Thai people do it in Thailand, you will need a steady and safe work surface, such as a large cutting board, and a large, good quality meat cleaver. You might also want a straw in order to drink the water. I like to have a dish towel nearby to wipe up any little spills. Once you've learned this technique for opening Thai coconuts, you can be enjoying their sweet taste in under a minute, rather than hitting them with a hammer or throwing them on the ground...MORE (both of which I used to do, before I learned this technique!).

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  • 02 of 08

    Make your first cut.

    Assuming you are right handed, hold the coconut steady with your left hand near the bottom of the coconut. Important: Make sure your thumbs and fingers are wrapped around the coconut and not sticking up anywhere! You want to use the bottom corner of the blade of the meat cleaver to make the cut, so hold the cleaver at about a 45-degree angle about 1 - 1 1/2 inches below the tip of the coconut. If this is your first time opening a Thai young coconut this way, you may want to take a few slow...MORE practice strikes first, in order to get your aim right. You will need to strike hard enough to crack through the inner shell of the coconut, not just the soft outer fiber. See the above picture for exactly where you want to make the first cut when opening your Thai young coconut.

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  • 03 of 08

    Make your second cut.

    Next, make another cut in the same manner as the first one. Remember to watch those fingers! As shown above, your second cut should be perpendicular to the first one. With a bit of practice, you'll get your aim right, and you'll also be able to tell just how much force you need.

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  • 04 of 08

    Make your third and fourth cuts.

    Make your next cut parallel to the first one. You should now have three incisions forming a "U" shape around the top of the coconut. Make one more cut to "connect the dots" and form a square around the top of the coconut. Getting hungry to eat that young coconut? You're almost there!

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  • 05 of 08

    Open the "lid".

    Using the corner of the blade, pry the "lid" open. If it doesn't open fairly easily, then the cuts that you have made are not deep enough, and you'll need to do them again, this time using more force.

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  • 06 of 08

    Drink the water, or save it for later.

    If you want to drink the coconut water, now is the time! Stick in a straw and enjoy! Or, if you will be using the fresh coconut water in a recipe or want to save it for later, invert the coconut over a large glass to collect the water. Most young coconuts have about 10 ounces of fresh coconut water, so you will need a tall glass or large cup. But you're not done yet! You've still got to crack open your coconut to enjoy the soft white flesh inside.

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  • 07 of 08

    Open the coconut.

    Turn the coconut on its side. Again holding the cleaver at a 45-degree angle so that the bottom tip of the blade is making the incision, strike firmly into the coconut. You want to strike hard enough so that the blade stays stuck in the coconut when you lift up the handle. Next, holding on to the handle, carefully whack the coconut onto your work surface a few times until it splits open.

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  • 08 of 08

    Scrape out and eat the coconut flesh inside.

    Congratulations! You have successfully opened your young coconut the way ​it's done in Thailand! Use a spoon to scrape the soft white flesh out of the shell. Yum! That wasn't so hard, now was it? And that sweet creamy treat is well worth the effort. Enjoy!