How to Get the Meat Out Of a Coconut

The Ultimate Guide on
How to Get the Meat Out of a Coconut

I love fresh coconut – it’s so versatile! I can use it in desserts, make coconut milk, or even use it for food decoration.

However, I was put off using the fresh version for a long time. This was because I had no clue how to get the meat out of a coconut.

Of course, I soon realized that this wasn’t a good enough excuse and decided to figure out how to do this myself.

If you are eager to master this particular skill, you are in good company. Here is everything you need to know about scooping out coconut meat.

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What You Will Need

  • A Fresh Husked Coconut: you will need a fresh coconut for this project. Look for one that is heavy and contains water inside. Avoid fruits that have any cracks or damage on the outside.
  • Clean Screwdriver: this will be used to drain the coconut water inside the drupe.
  • Meat Mallet: you will use this to crack open the shell
  • Clean Hammer: you can substitute a meat mallet with a clean hammer
  • Butter Knife: you can use this tool to pry the coconut away from the shell
  • Vegetable Peeler: will work to remove softer pieces of shell still clinging to the coconut meat.
  • Oven: can be used as an alternative method to remove the coconut meat from the shell
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    How to Remove Coconut Meat

    As coconuts are sealed up pretty tight, you can’t just scoop the meat out right away. Rather, there are several stages involved.

    To make sure that everything goes according to plan, follow the steps detailed here.

    On this note, here is the best way to get coconut meat out:

    How to Drain the Coconut Water

    As mentioned, fresh coconuts contain coconut water or juice. So, the first thing you will need to do is drain the drupe.

    The coconut water can be discarded or saved to drink or add to smoothies.

    Step 1: Test the “Eyes”

    On one side of the coconut, you will find a grouping of three “eyes”.

    Press the screwdriver into each eye and find the softest one.

    Step 2: Create a Hole in the Eye

    Once you have located the softest eye, press the screwdriver into this spot with some force.

    Continue to do this until you have made a large enough hole.

    Step 3: Drain the Coconut

    Invert the coconut so that the hole is placed directly over a bowl or jug.

    Hold the coconut in this position until all the coconut water has been drained.

    cracked coconut

    How to Open the Coconut

    Now it is time to crack the coconut open and reveal the flesh inside. Remember to be careful during this process.

    Always make sure that the meat mallet or hammer is angled well away from the hand holding onto the coconut. 

    Step 1: Get a Good Grip on the Coconut

    Use your non-dominant hand to get a good grip on the coconut.

    You should only be holding the bottom or side portion of the coconut as you will need to aim the meat mallet or hammer at a greater surface area.

    Step 2: Tap the Coconut in One Spot

    Find a particular spot on the coconut and hit it.

    Repeat this action several times, ensuring that you have a good grip on the coconut. 

    Step 3: Tap the Coconut in Several Places

    Once you have weakened a particular spot, it is time to move on.

    Imagine a horizontal line following the width of the coconut.

    Hit the coconut along this imaginary line. Make sure to hit one spot several times to weaken it.

    Continue this motion until the coconut shell separates into two halves. 

    How to Extract Coconut Meat

    This is the step where you learn how to cut coconut meat away from the shell. Here's what you must do:

    Step 1: Place the Halves Facing Downwards

    The concave portion of the coconut halves should be facing downward on a cutting board.

    The meat side should be facing the board. 

    Step 2: Gently Tap the Shell with a Hammer

    Use the hammer to gently tap the shell portion of the coconut.

    This will work to dislodge the meat and make it easier to separate. 

    Step 3: Use the Butter Knife

    Once the meat has been loosened, slip a butter knife between the shell and the meat.

    Make sure to angle the butter knife away from you.

    Jostle the knife while moving it forward. This will cause the meat to completely dislodge from the shell. 

    Step 4: Remove Excess Shell

    There still may be a softer portion of the shell stuck onto the coconut meat.

    You can use the vegetable peeler to scrape the excess shell off. 

    Alternative Method to Remove Coconut Meat

    If you are having trouble removing the meat from the shell, there is another method you can try. This involves your oven.

    fresh coconut meat

    Step 1: Prep the Coconut

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Place the two halves of the coconut on a baking tray and put it in the oven.

    Step 2: Bake the Coconut

    You can keep the coconut in the oven for around 20 to 30 minutes.

    Keep an eye on the coconut. When the meat starts pulling away from the shell, it is time to take the coconut out of the oven.

    Step 3: Use a Knife to Pry Away the Meat

    Wait until the coconut is cool enough to hold.

    Then, stick the butter knife between the shell and the meat and lift upwards until the meat pulls away completely. 

    Step 4: Peel the Excess Shell

    If there is still any soft shell clinging to the meat, use the vegetable peeler to remove it from the meat.

    After you are done removing the meat from the shell, you can use it immediately or freeze it for later. The choice is up to you.

    This concludes our tutorial on how to get coconut meat out of its shell. What did you think?

    While it may take you a couple of tries, mastering this technique will help you immensely. Once you have figured out how to extract the meat, you will have fresh coconut at your disposal.

    Not only will this make for a much healthier ingredient, but you may end up saving some money in the process too!

    Riya Borah


    Riya Borah 

    Nutritionist Educator

    Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.

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