How to Grate Coconut

Coconut is a spherical tropical fruit with a hard brown exterior and milky white interior. Its sweet flesh is used in numerous cooking recipes as well as a main ingredient in soaps. Grated coconut is often used as a dessert ingredient or topping. The hard outer shell of the coconut can pose a problem for those who wish to open the fruit and use its edible contents. Cracking the fruit open in order to grate fresh coconut can be difficult, but with the right tools and proper procedure, it's possible. Use these steps for grating a coconut.


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    Select a fresh coconut. Shake the coconut and listen for the sound of the coconut milk inside. Inspect the exterior shell for mold and other visible defects. If any mold is present, do not purchase the coconut.
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    Pull off the wispy strands of brown hair from the exterior of the coconut with your hands. You do not need to remove every bit of the husk, but try to pull off most of it so that at the end you have a fairly bald brown coconut.
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    Locate the coconut's "eyes." These are 2 small depressions close in proximity on the coconut. Look below or above these 2 eyes for the singular eye.
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    Stab the single eye with a drill bit that will fit your particular coconut's depression.
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    Twist the drill bit into the coconut-through the exterior shell and interior meat-until you reach the hollow center.
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    Drain the milky liquid out of the hole into a small bowl. Perform an odor test to make sure the coconut has not gone bad. If the liquid smells sour, the coconut, and the liquid, should be thrown out.
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    Bake the coconut. Place the drained coconut on a glass baking dish and into a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit (204.4 degrees Celsius) oven for at least 20 minutes.
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    Remove the coconut from the oven once it has split open. Allow it to fully cool.
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    Break apart the coconut.
    • Wrap the cooled coconut in a towel and place it on a steady counter. Bang the coconut with a mallet to break it apart. Take off the towel. Remove pieces of coconut, prying the flesh from the shell as you go.
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    Peel off the coconut's brown skin. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape off the leftover brown membrane.
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    Rinse the coconut and allow it to dry.
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    Select a grating tool. You can use the teardrop-shaped grating side of a cheese grater or a food processor.
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    Grate 1 small piece of coconut at a time.
    • Hold a piece of coconut at the apex of the grater and move it down over the grates rapidly. If using a food processor, place a few pieces of coconut into the cavity and pulse them with a medium shredding disk until they are adequately shredded.
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    Place the shreds into the freezer to cool and harden them.


  • An alternative method for opening a coconut requires using a meat cleaver to crack the coconut open by its seam. The seam is located between the 2 eyes. Hit the coconut with the meat cleaver along its seam, rotating it as you hit. Once the coconut cracks, you should be able to pry it open with your hands.
  • You can use a coconut shredder to grate coconut into very fine shreds.


  • Do not bake the coconut without first draining the fluid. It can explode due to pressure caused from the heat increasing the temperature of the fluid.
  • Always wear protective eye goggles and an apron when cracking open a coconut. Coconut pieces can go flying and coconut milk can stain clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill bit
  • Glass baking dish
  • Oven
  • Small bowl
  • Towel
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Water
  • Cheese grater or food processor
  • Freezer
  • Protective goggles
  • Apron
  • Meat cleaver (optional)
  • Coconut shredder (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Food Cutting Techniques