How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener

February 13, 2022 // 11 minutes read

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How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener - Bugoutbill.com

How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener

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Indeed, even the most organized people might occasionally find themselves in a ‘situation’, like not having a can opener. Canned products are frequently the main fixing to a dish-think the pumpkin puree for pumpkin pie, the carnation milk for a flan, the beans for a bean salad!

Indeed! The can opener is a household essential – usually available but sometimes not; how will you respond if you don’t have one?

Possibly your can opener is broken, lost, or covered at the bottom of a moving box.

Maybe your lodging or excursion rental just doesn’t have one.

Has this happened to you before? Join the club…

Regardless, you may find yourself anxious to get into a container of beans,yet you just can’t make it through the lid…


However, do not despair!

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Learning these life hacks is always useful.

It’s essential to take note that the metal of a can is actually intended to be opened (despite how it may feel right now!), so with a little persistence and a few other normal tools, the job will be a good one.

Sometimes, the cover will even turn out to be extremely flimsy – meaning that you can press either side of the can with two hands, and the entire lid will pop right out neatly.


The metal will have a nasty sharp edge once it’s compromised, so assuming you have the option to wear gloves or (or similar) on your hands before you attempt to open the can without an opener, make sure you do.

Fortunately, there are many ways of opening a can using normally available family objects.

Here is a fun fact for you:

The first proper opener wasn’t created until roughly 50 years after the can itself. It seems it didn’t ocurr to the early designers and producers that it would be handy to have a unique tool to open them.


Canned food was initially saved only for the military. Fighters and mariners had a lot of sharp carries available to them to cut the jars open.

With this…

In this article, we’ll be checking out the various techniques on how to open a can without a can opener. Besides that, we’ll likewise be checking out:

  • The various approaches for you to look over to get familiar with these tricks of the trade;
  • A few hints you can utilize;
  • And a lot more!

Perhaps you’re exploring nature and acknowledged you failed to remember a basic part of making supper. Whatever the explanation, you want a can opener… and it’s MIA.

 All hope isn’t lost: Here are six straightforward ways on how to open a can without a can opener.

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Method 1: Use A Spoon

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Yes, a spoon can be used to open a can. You just need to make sure the spoon is metal, not wood or plastic, and is well-built. Rather than using a metal “spork,” use a real spoon; the small tines may merely bend or break off without piercing the lid.


Try this method if you have a little time (and a spoon):

So here’s how you go about it:

As you hold a solid spoon in your palm, grip it with all four fingers, leaving the bottom sticking out just a little below your pinky finger. For stability and easy control over the tool, your pinky should sit inside the curve of the spoon.

And then…

Rub the side of the spoon back and forth along the pinched side of the can, where the can opener would normally penetrate, with firm pressure. Hold the spoon firmly and rub the metal until it becomes brittle.


It will make a hole after a few minutes. Pry the edge of the spoon upward along the inner edge of the can, slowly breaking the top off as you press the spoon into the hole. Make a large enough cut to pry the lid upwards by working into the hole along the can’s circumference.

Method 2: Rough Surface

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Is it possible to open a can even if you don’t have a metal spoon and various knives such as a butter knife, steak knife, small knife, and pocket knife? 

Absolutely yes!

This method should be used only if you are without tools.

To open a can without a can opener, there’s one additional technique to open a can that requires a lot of raw effort and patience. A flat rock, large rock, or stretch of concrete, as well as a soft towel to clean the top of the lid, are all you’ll need.

The procedure is really simple!

Pick a rough surface or flat surface and sand down the can’s top ridge until it breaks the seal. Open the lid, wipe off the metal shavings, and cook or eat the food inside.

You should rotate the can to uniformly sand down the top, as well as have an additional t-shirt or sweat towel ready to catch and clean up when it pops. Every now and then, squeezing the can’s inner edge helps put pressure on the top seal.

You’ve struck (liquid) gold once there’s wetness on your makeshift sander, and the can’s seal should be open.


You’ve done the impossible: you’ve opened a can without using a can opener.


If you’re trying to open a can and don’t have a knife or a spoon on hand, you’re most likely in a pinch. This procedure takes some time, but it will absolutely work in a pinch.

Here are a few pointers to consider:

Rotate the can regularly to uniformly wear down the edge, and squeeze it every now and then to help break the seal apart. As soon as you start to notice wetness on the rock, you know the seal has broken.

Even though we may not be throwing away our can openers, these simple tactics will come in handy when needed. Survive on your next camping trip by demonstrating these serious survival abilities.

Method 3: Pocket Knife

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Consider this scenario:

You’re on a trip with no metal spoon but your trusty pocket knife, and you’ll still be able to eat that can of soup you brought.

Isn’t it great!

Any smaller knife, whether it’s a Swiss army knife, a kitchen knife’s blade, or a survival knife’s blade, would suffice.

Even though…

This procedure is far more dangerous than opening a can with a metal spoon; desperate times necessitate desperate methods.

I’m sure you’ll agree!

After that…

Poke the edge of the knife thru the top of the can while holding it steady in your palm on a flat, stable surface or rough surface.

And then…

Forcefully but cautiously “pound” the pommel of the knife with your free hand, palm facing down. If you believe you won’t be able to pound the knife in with enough power, you can smash it in with a block or a rough rock, taking care not to hit your hand or break the knife.

Continue poking holes around the can top’s outer edge until the top can be pried off the can.

And remember!

Peel off the can’s lid with care. Do not use your fingers to do this because the can’s jagged edges are exceedingly sharp.

Method 4: Box Cutter

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Box cutters are incredible tools for cutting through massive material as well as a can.

Indeed, you read it right!

They are also flexible because the retractable cutting sharp edges permit you to alter the length of the sharp edge relying upon the thickness of the open can.

Keep in mind!

Regardless of their accommodation, box cutters represent a danger since the edges are extremely sharp, and we don’t, for the most part, think about these as requiring unique safety measures.

With this…

Hold the case shaper handle immovably and switch it against the can so the lower part of the cutting edge punches a hole in the cover.

Work your direction around the edge of the can until the top is free, then, at that point, utilize the case shaper to get it the remainder of the way off.


It’s prudent to keep the edge confronting away from your hand.

Related: Survival Gear

Method 5: Flat Head Screwdriver

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This may not be the handiest solution if you’re short on proper tools, but if the conditions allow and you have a scalpel or flathead screwdriver and hammer on hand, this will almost certainly suffice.

To open that container, reach into your toolbox and use a screwdriver and hammer. Place the screwdriver over the lid of the can, just within the rim, while holding it firmly in your palm.

You’ll almost certainly already have one of these lying around!

And then…

Pick up the hammer with your free hand and tap the screwdriver gently until a hole is effectively poked through the can.


To puncture a hole, just position the tip of the scalpel or flathead screwdriver on the upper rim of the lid and hold it while hitting the top with the hammer. Hammer again on the chisel adjacent to the pierced hole.

Repeat until the lid is completely removed along the entire rim.

Method 6: Chef’s Knife

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Cooking knives are razor-sharp, but they’re too thin and flimsy for daily usage. Hence, a large chef’s knife should not be used the same way as other smaller blades.


Apart from attempting to open a can, using it in this manner will bend or even break the blade, putting you in danger of harming yourself.

Instead, utilize the “heel” of the blade when using a Chef’s knife.

Except for that…

You can consider opening the can with the heel of a chef’s knife (the blade closest to the handle) using it as an old-fashioned can-opener if you need to get into the can a little faster or are relatively confident in your knife skills.


You’ll need a knife that doesn’t have a bolster and covers the heel. The bolster is the thick section of a knife’s handle that sits in front.

Here’s what it comes down to:

Place the back corner of the edge (the heel) perpendicular to the can at the border with a firm grip on the handle. Push the blade’s corner downwards and dig in at an angle to perforate the can’s lid, similar to an old-fashioned lever-type can-opener. Repeat the operation around the can’s rim until the lid is weakened enough to pry it out.

Conclusion: How to Open A Can Without A Can Opener

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There you have it!

The writing is on the wall, a rundown of ad-lib tools for opening metal cans without a can opener. Some of them may be more reasonable than others depending on the circumstances you’re in right now. Yet, as long as you ad-lib well and use your best judgment to think of something speedy – there’s no question that you’ll survive the present crisis!


There are many ways of opening a can with normal family objects and tools.

While we may not be throwing away our can openers, these helpful stunts will work when you’re in need. 

Flaunt these genuine basic tricks on your next set-up camp outing.

These techniques we demonstrate will take some time, yet assuming that you’re in a situation without any tools, you probably have plenty of time to kill.

To finish up…

You can utilize anything to open a can and open canned food – you simply need the perfect proportion of power to pry or lift it open. 

Remember the can has weak points, and those are your secret weapons to help you open the can.

For cases that aren’t as time critical or really inconvenient, I’d suggest checking your supermarket shelves or Amazon Prime for a can opener. 

You’ll be glad you did.

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About Author

Bug Out Bill is an adventurer and survivor through and through. From the time he was just a little boy (Bug Out Willie) running and jumping through the backwoods of the rocky mountains in Colorado, to the man he is today. Backpacking through South America, scaling two 26,000+ ft peaks, sailing across the Mediterranean, surviving a near death 50 foot fall with very little food while waiting 6 days to be rescued in the wilderness, and everything in between. No wonder he wants to Bug Out, hahaha. BO Bill is truly a passionate outdoorsman when it comes to living life to the fullest with no boundaries. The way we were meant to live and survive. He shares that passion here with you in his writing and sharing. We hope you enjoy your stay at the Bug Out Bill website. . Now Bug Out!

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