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8 Simple Tricks To Open A Can Without A Can Opener

Picture a scenario of yourself cooking in the kitchen and you need to open a can but can’t seem to find your can opener (if you happen to own one). Rather than getting frustrated, there are different ways you can open that can without a can opener.

Keep reading this article to learn different methods of how you can open a can without a can opener.


Knife: This method of opening a without a can opener is rather intuitive. All you need is an object such as a knife, screwdriver, chisel or similarly shaped tool combined with a little bit of muscle. If you have a hammer or other tool you can use to baton the top of your tool of choice, it can make this even easier. Place the can vertically and place the tip of the blade on the outer surface. Gently strike the end of the handle until the tip pierces the can. Then work your way around the outer edge of the can.

Spoon:  Whether it’s a titanium spoon or a regular old metal spoon from your kitchen drawer, spoons are one of the most common items you should have no trouble locating in an emergency. Once you’ve gotten your hands on a metal spoon, with just a little bit of friction on the top of the can, you will have your can open in no time. Puncture the lid with a spoon and then use the spoon like a can opener to remove the lid. This method is going to hurt your hands (unless you have some gloves).

Fork: Place one prong on the can’s outer edge. Press down until the prong penetrates the lid. Then with the prongs facing away from you (and with just one prong inside the lid) work the fork up and down to tear the metal, slowly turning the can. As you progress, you can flip the fork and even use the handle which might give you better leverage. You’ll probably ruin your fork – and bruise your hand – but at least you’ll get some sweet sustenance.

Concrete / Flat Stone:  If you have access to a hard, slightly abrasive surface such as a concrete sidewalk, street, brick, or rock, with a bit of elbow grease you can have a can open in less than 60 seconds. Rub the lid on a piece of concrete until it wears through the top rim. This one is messy – and you’ll want to watch for metal shards and concrete/rock dust.

Metal File: It is similar to the concrete method only that this times, you have the can upright and as such you won’t food juices going everywhere as you open the can. Once you file off the top rim, you can just pop off the lid. You’ll still want to watch for metal shavings.

Flat-nose Pliers: With the pliers, pinch and twist the outer rim of the can. Work your way around the circumference of can, carefully breaking the seal of the can. Once you have broken the seal, use the pliers again to pinch the edge of the lid and pull upwards.

Tin Snips: Use the tin snips to cut the outer rim off. This is probably the safest and easiest method – only improved on by an actual can opener.

Your Hands: This will take the most strength of all – and unleash your inner caveman. You’ll want to dent the sidewall of the can – one large dent on each side. Then work the two ends back and forth until the can splits in two. This technique can work on both large and small cans – although the larger (taller) the can, the easier it will be.

Safety Note: All these methods involve a measure of risk – as you are cutting, tearing and filing metal, making sharp edges and (in some cases) sharp metal shards. Please use caution should you attempt any of these methods.

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