How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener

You are probably out camping or glamping while googling this in the middle of making a canned tuna delicacy when you realize you didn’t pack the can opener. You will maybe turn to the nearest metallic thing you can find to help you get that can open or give up and make something else.

Not to worry, in this article, you will get some pointers on how to open that can without your good can opener. First of all, understand that the lid on the can is a pretty thin piece of metal that has been crimped onto the can’s body.

Most spoons or knives are stronger and thicker, and that is probably why you naturally gravitate for them to open your can but to be honest, they are not things we could recommend. Imagine using the knife, it slipping and hurting you badly, something that could be avoided.

The easiest way we would recommend safer is wearing the metal on the lid by rubbing it with a metal spoon then using that spoon’s edge to break the seal off. What if you are in a hurry?

You can use the bottom of a chef’s knife that avoids the risks of a knife slip. Below we will look at other methods we could use in-depth.

With A Spoon

Opening with a spoon

Now, this method will get you working your arms like you’re in the gym. Grip the spoon base where the handle and the scooping part meet for optimum control, then place it tip first on the inner edge of the rim and rub your spoon back and forth to weaken the metal.

Once you’ve punctured it and made a small hole, rub the spoon continuously until you make an even bigger hole to pry it open. Make sure to use a not-so-special spoon because, after all this, it may be “maimed.”

Bike Tool

Another heads up to note is that using this might break the tool. Use the bike tool to stab the tin hard in the weaker area s the rim until you have a hole you can work your way through.

Do not use your hands to pull the lid up after making some progress just because. You may risk an untimely visit to the hospital, and it’s not worth it.


This is technically a can opener, and you probably have it sitting in a drawer somewhere. They are usually used for piercing cans of condensed milk to make a spout, but you could use that to make more punctures then move through the edge of the can to get the lid off.

Rock Or Concrete

The rock or concrete her would be like an emery board for the nails. Start by placing the bottom of your can against a rough surface like a concrete slab, then continuously rub the can down until the metal abrades.

You will start seeing some moisture seeping out, and that will be your cue to now use a spoon or pliers to remove the lid.


For the pliers, use the flat-nose or needle-tip plier and grab the can’s lip, twisting it to break the seal. Do this to the entire can until you can grab under the edge and lift the top off. This may also be a hassle, so another way of using them could be placing them closed on the rim and hitting down the can until you make an opening. Twist and pull the pliers through that hole around the edge to open it.

A Fork

Opening A Can Of Spaghetti With A Fork

We talked above about your spoon being maimed, but now, using a fork will most definitely destroy it to no return. Kind of similar to how you use the spoon, grip the fork’s base, and place it on the can where one prong is on the inner edge while the other three are over the rim.

Press the pong inside the metal carefully until the prong makes a hole; then, keep the prong inside and work your way around the entire edge to rip the metal. If that is hard, make several small holes and then go around the edge. That will be easier.

Chef’s Knife

Drive the knife’s bottom edge, which is also the widest part closest to the handle of the knife, into the can and pierce through it. After that, proceed as you would with a can opener carefully because it is still a knife. Make sure your other hand is holding onto the can for optimal control.


Of course, this is when you are out camping, and you have this lying around somewhere. Be warned that this is pretty dangerous to use, but if you can be safe, you’d hack it. Start by placing the can vertically, placing the tip of the blade on the outer surface.

Strike the end of the handle until the tip makes a hole on the metal, then work your machete around the edge of the can.

Tin Snips

You can use them to cut the outer rim off, breaking the seal off and allowing you to lift the lid off. You could use the knife or spoon to lift that to avoid unnecessary cuts.

After knowing about all the ways you could open a can without a can opener, you have the liberty to choose whatever works for you, but while these methods could do, they are still time consuming and annoying.

Some may jerk up the can, so using it again for survival wouldn’t be possible. So, if you know you pile up cans of food in the fridge or camping is regular for you, make sure you stock up on a can opener too because they are better to use any day.

You could even get these cool multi-tools that come with can openers too or the keychain-sized P38 that are used by soldiers.