Here's How To Open a Can Without a Can Opener

Vegetables in cans


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Vegetables in cans

The MacGyver Method

If Angus MacGyver can disarm a nuclear bomb with a paper clip, there's no doubt he could open a can without a can opener. But as much as you might want a heroic, mullet-haired genius to drop from the sky armed with a do-it-yourself can opener, we're not sure you'll find one on TaskRabbit. Luckily, this detailed guide (with video!) will teach you how to channel your inner MacGyver. Here's how to open a can without a can opener.

Related: DIY Projects That Are Easier Than You Think

Canned corn with a spoon on the table
Snezhana Kudryavtseva/istockphoto

Opening a Can With a Spoon

Difficulty: medium

Video Tutorial

Hold the metal spoon firmly in the palm of one hand and use your other hand to hold the can. Moving back and forth along the rim, rub the edges of the lid with the tip of the spoon while applying pressure. Once you've punctured a hole in the can, insert the bowl of the spoon about halfway and push the spoon's edge laterally to cut through the metal, working your way around the can's circumference. Remove the lid once you’ve cut through enough of the can.

Related: Here's Why TikTokkers Are Eating Tinned Fish For Date Night

Top view of two closed cans and one open can with knife on the wooden background
Tatiana Foxy/istockphoto

Opening a Can With a Knife

Difficulty: hard

Video Tutorial

Find a sharp knife (not a butter knife), such as a paring or pocket knife. Stand the knife carefully upright somewhere along the can's rim — where the metal is soft — with the blade facing straight down. Using the hard part of your palm, hit the butt of the knife into the can until you've made a small hole. Insert the knife into the hole, then push up with the blade to make the opening larger. Next, slowly run the knife along the rim of the can as you'd use a can opener. Rather than trying to cut through the metal using brute force, push the knife against the can's metal edge to generate enough force to push through the metal.

Related: Products to Upgrade Your Kitchen for Cheap

Detail photograph of a basalt rock on a white background

Opening a Can With a Rock

Difficulty: medium

Video Tutorial

Find a flat rock, piece of concrete, or other rough surface. Rub the top of the can against the rough object while applying pressure. After a few minutes, you'll start to see moisture form on the rock and will break through the seal along the edges of the lid, which holds the metal in place. Use a spoon, fork, knife, or other tool to pry the an open; it should come off easily.

For more great kitchen hacks, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Assorted work tools on wood. Hand tools on a wooden background, hammer with nails and screwdriver. Home renovation, construction. Hand tools and equipment. An assortment of tools.
Natalya Sambulova/istockphoto

Opening a Can With a Hammer

Difficulty: hard

Video Tutorial

Place the can on a flat surface, and hold the hammer firmly with the claw facing the can. Use the hammer's claw to puncture the lid around its rim, where the metal is softest. Repeat this process around the circumference of the can. Once you've punctured through enough metal, you can pry the can open with the hammer's claw. (Be careful of sharp edges). While a hammer will get the job done, know that it'll be a labor intensive, inelegant process that'll make a lot of noise.

Must have at home used hand tools Needle Nose Pliers on black background with copy space

Opening a Can With Pliers

Difficulty: medium

Video Tutorial

Using the end of a pair of needle-nose pliers, puncture the top of the can near its rim and continue making holes around its circumference. After piercing the can three or four times, use the pliers to pry the metal upward. If you need to remove the metal lid completely, continue making holes around the can and prying the metal upward.

Beautiful first impression of new home in Illinois
PC Photography/istockphoto

Opening the Can With a Neighbor's Can Opener

Difficulty: easy

Forget DIY can openers. Assuming you're on good terms with your neighbors, asking for a can opener next door might be preferable to smashing a can of beans with a hammer.