Don't give up on canned foods just because you don't have a can opener. These are the can-opening solutions you've been looking for.
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If you've searched every junk drawer in your kitchen looking for your can opener without any luck, don't fret. There are multiple ways to open a can without a can opener, and it doesn't have to involve a knife (although we'll show you how to do that, too). Use common household items to open a can without a can opener — here's how.

Related: Browse our entire collection of Canned Food Recipes.

How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener: 3 Ways

Here are three methods for opening a can without a can opener. Remember, opening a can without a can opener can create sharp and jagged edges on the lid of the can, so always use caution. Consider wearing safety gloves or covering your hands with a towel before prying off the lid.

How to Open a Can With a Metal Spoon

Steer clear of sharp objects by using a metal spoon to open your can. Here's how:

  1. Place the can on a flat, stable surface. Use one hand to hold it firmly and grip the spoon with the other hand.
  2. Place the tip of the spoon against the inner edge of the lid (where you would normally place a can opener).
  3. Hold the spoon so the inside of it is facing the lid of the can. Start rubbing the spoon back and forth while pressing it down hard against the can to make a groove, and eventually a hole.
  4. From this hole, use the edge of the spoon to slowly cut all the way around the top. Once you get the lid weakened enough, pry open the lid.

How to Open a Can With a Knife

Top view woman hand holding closed can and knife to open it on the wooden background
Credit: Adobe Stock

If you're more comfortable using a knife, this method uses a chef's knife to puncture the lid.

  1. Place the can on a flat, stable surface. Use one hand to hold it firmly.
  2. Grip the handle of a chef's knife and position the corner of the blade (the part closest to the handle) perpendicular to the inner edge of the lid.
  3. Push the corner of the blade downwards until you puncture the lid.
  4. Repeat this process around the rim of the lid until you're able to pry it open.

How to Open a Can With a Rough Surface

If you find yourself without any tools and need to get a can open (say if you're camping) you can look to nature for a can opener. Here's how to open a can using a large rock or stretch of concrete:

  1. Find a large, flat rock or a piece of concrete with a rough surface.
  2. Place the can upside down on top of the rock, so that the seal is touching the rock.
  3. Rub the can back and forth over the rock using a scrubbing motion to create friction.
  4. Stop when you see moisture appear on the rock. If you rub too long you could rub right through the lid and your food will spill. Turn the can over to check the lid every so often.
  5. Once the seal is broken, pry the lid open. This method takes a little more work but when you're in a pinch it gets the job done!

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