How To Open A Can Without Can Opener: 4 Super Easy Ways

A can opener can be a real lifesaver when you need to open canned food. However, when you’re outdoors and you don’t have access to one, it can be a huge problem. As a prepper, you need to know what to do when you find yourself in that kind of situation.

You can open a can without a can opener using a metal spoon, a pocket knife or a chef’s knife. You can even use a rock.

Curious to know how that’s possible? This article explains that and more.

Using A Metal Spoon

Using A Metal Spoon
  1. Set the can down on a stable surface. While using the spoon with the other hand, keep the spoon firmly in place with one hand.
  2. Place the spoon’s tip on the lid’s inner edge. A little, raised lip crimped onto the can’s lid will serve as the can’s sealant. The inside of this lip is where you want to place the spoon. Hold the spoon inside the bowl towards the can’s lid.
  3. Gently move the spoon’s tip back and forth. Work it over the same little region directly where the lid’s edge is crimped. The can will start to deteriorate due to friction caused by moving the spoon back and forth. Continue until you have entirely removed the cover.
  4. Slide the spoon over and continue to massage. Vigorously rub the region adjacent to where you last rubbed. Continue until you have entirely removed the cover. You have now slightly widened the hole you created in the lid.
  5. Go all the way around the entire lid. Keep moving the spoon over and rubbing until you have ringed the can lid entirely. Now the lid ought to be unfastened. Your canned food will pour out if you turn it on its side.
  6. Squeeze the cover open. Submerge the spoon under the lid’s edge. To make the lid pop out of position, pry it upward. Lift it away slowly to expose the food within.
  • If using the spoon to remove the lid proves challenging, consider using a knife. 
  • Don’t cut your finger on the sharp tip when you peel the lid off. If you need to protect yourself, use a towel or wear gloves.

If you don’t have a spoon, you may use a flathead screwdriver or any other metal object with a comparable edge in place of it.

You might also try using one of the tines of a fork with enough strength to pierce the lid. But beware—it could potentially mutilate the fork.

Using A Pocket or Kitchen Knife

Using A Pocket or Kitchen Knife

Find a knife without a bolster that covers the heel. Then, follow the steps below:

  1. Set the can down on a flat surface. The ideal height for a table is hip level. To readily reach the can, take a position over it.
  2. Place the knife’s tip on the lid’s inner edge. Hold the knife vertically as opposed to at an angle. Ensure your fingers are out of the blade’s path if the handle slides. Your hand should have the backup.
  • This approach is more efficient than using the blade of your knife to try to saw the lid off. Doing so risks getting metal shavings in your meal and ruining your knife.
  • To prevent slipping, ensure the knife is fully extended and securely fastened.
  • Alternatively, you may use a chisel or another robust and thin item like a pocket knife.
  1. Gently clap your hands together. Use your other hand to shake the hand holding the knife handle gently. The knife’s point will pierce the can’s lid with this bit of smacking action.
  • Don’t hit too forcefully. Keeping the knife under control is essential.
  • Open your hand and strike with the palm of your hand. You can keep your composure by doing this.
  1. Move the knife to the side and drill a fresh hole. Move the knife’s tip a few millimeters to pierce the can again and use the same approach.
  2. Keep going until you’ve made punctures around the entire can as you would with a can opener; circle the whole lid. Now the lid ought to be unfastened.
  3. Pry the lid off. Insert the knife’s point into one of the holes. Utilize it to pry up the lid. Gently remove the lid off the can.
  • If required, saw through the lid’s remaining attached components using a smaller knife.
  • Before attempting to take off the lid, cover your hand with a towel or sleeve to shield your hand from the lid’s jagged edges.

Using A Chef’s Knife

Using A Chef’s Knife
Taras Kul

If you need to open metal cans faster or are confident with your knife abilities, you may try using the heel of a large chef’s knife. It is the section of the blade closest to the handle, much like you would a traditional can opener. 

But here’s the thing: using the point is riskier since it may slide (or perhaps shatter). This can injure you or damage your knife.

  1. Place the can on a solid surface first. The optimal height for a table is hip height. Never put the can between your legs or on your lap. The knife may fumble and hurt you.
  2. Hold the knife to the point where the handle and blade meet. Put your hand over the connecting point while you hold the knife’s top. Your fingertips should rest securely away from the blade’s edge, on the side of the handle.
  • Make sure your grasp is tight. Using this technique might be risky if your hand or knife are slick.
  • Use a large chef’s knife with this technique. 
  1. Place the knife’s heel on the lid’s inner edge. The broadest part of the blade is at the knife’s heel. It is on the blade’s opposite end from the tip. Put it against the raised lip on the can lid’s outside edge.
  • Right below where your hand is grasping the knife, the heel should be positioned in the middle.
  • To prevent slipping, place it tightly on the edge of the lid.
  1. Insert the knife’s heel into the can. Put intense pressure on it to make a tiny hole in the can. Try rising and bending over the can if you have problems puncturing it. With one hand, secure the knife in place. Add the second hand on top. Use both hands to push down steadily until the can is punctured.
  • To avoid being hurt, avoid striking the can with the knife. Instead, push down slowly and steadily until the knife pierces the can.
  • Avoid the temptation to pierce the can with the knife’s pointed tip. More firmly planted and less prone to slipping in the heel. Additionally, using the tip will damage the blade’s edge.
  1. Move the knife to the side and drill a fresh hole. Move it a few millimeters along the lid’s edge. Next to the initial hole, make another one using the same method.
  2. Keep going until you’ve made punctures around the can’s edge as you would with a can opener; circle the whole lid. Now the lid ought to be unfastened.
  3. Squeeze the cover open. One of the holes should receive the knife’s tip. To pry off the lid, push up. To prevent injury in the event of a slip, take care to direct the blade’s edge away from your body. Take off and throw away the cover.
  • If required, saw through the lid’s remaining attached components using a smaller knife.
  • Before prying off the lid, consider protecting your hand with a towel, or your sleeve will shield your hand from the sharp edges.

Another option is to place the can on a level, firm surface and attempt to pierce it with the point of a pocket knife or a tiny paring knife.

Be cautious! The knife might easily slide. The lid will finally come off if you keep evenly making a small hole in the can’s edge.

Using A Rock

Using A Rock

Keep this technique in reserve for when you are without any proper tools. The process is simple since the procedure is straightforward.

  1. Locate a slab of concrete or a flat rock. Choose one with a textured surface. The can’s lid won’t be pierced by a smooth rock since there won’t be enough friction.
  2. Place the can against the rock so that it is upside down. You may break the seal on the can’s top by turning it over and placing it that way.
  3. Rub the rock with the can in a circular motion. Use a scraping motion to produce friction between the pebble and the container. Continue until you see wetness on the rock or the can’s lid.
  • Check the contents occasionally by turning the can over. Stop as soon as you see dampness because it indicates that the lid is vulnerable to penetration.
  • Avoid destroying the can lid to prevent food from spilling over the rock.
  1. To open the lid, pry it open with a pocket knife. The seal should be thin enough to make it simple to insert the blade near the lid’s edge into the can. The lid may be gently removed by pushing up with the knife. Altogether remove the cover, then throw it away.
  • Alternatively, locate a rock you may use to thrash the can’s lid inward. 
  • Cover your hand with a towel or sleeve as you remove the lid to prevent cutting yourself.

Here are a few pointers: Rotate the can to wear down the edge evenly, then press it occasionally to help the seal come apart. The seal has broken as soon as you see wetness on the rock.


To sum up, these methods can be handy in an emergency situation. However, you have to keep in mind that they don’t always produce the best results.

A manual can opener is still the best way to get into a can, so don’t count on these tips as your primary solution.

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