How to Open a Can Without an Opener

How can you open a can without an opener? Well, it’s not impossible. It is possible to use your hands and cut the top of the can with whatever knife or tool you have on hand. You could do this by putting some pressure around the lid until intentionally breakage occurs at one side of the lid where there is less material.

It doesn’t matter if you are at home, camping in the woods or stuck somewhere without a can opener. Sometimes an open jar will do just fine! Learn how to open cans with other things like knives and your bare hands.

The “how to open a tuna can without a can opener” is a question that we get asked quite often. If you’re in need of one, try using your teeth or some other sharp object.

Open a can without an opener illustration.

Do you recall the moment in The Road when the youngster and his father come into an undisturbed, fully equipped underground bunker? The starving nomads gleefully gape as they devour crate after crate of canned food, a miraculous oasis in an otherwise bleak, horrific terrain. “They licked the spoons and tilted the bowls and drank the thick sweet syrup,” says the couple as they open the cans and prepare a feast of canned pears and peaches.

But what if the can opener hadn’t been discovered among the goods by the father and son? Fortunately, they would not have been out of luck if they had known some alternate opening procedures. 

Food cans are composed of rather thin metal, despite how impenetrable they seem. It’s simple to use a number of tools to exploit the can’s flaw. If you don’t have a can opener, here are three options to get you through your next dinner.

Without a can opener, how do you open a can?

Knife for the Pocket

1: With the tip of the knife just within the can’s edge, hold it straight up and down. In case of a slip, grip the handle so your fingers aren’t in the way.

2: Puncture the can by pushing straight down. Rather of “sawing” the lid, which may dull your blade and leave shavings in your food, lift it back out and repeat.


1: Take a metal spoon and rub it firmly on the rim of the lid.

2: Once you’ve broken through, keep going until you’ve detached the lid.


1: Turn the can upside down on a flat rock and aggressively massage it until it begins to leak.

2: Squeeze the can using your hands to snap the top off, being careful not to spill the contents.

Do you like the illustrations in this guide? Then our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness is for you! Get a copy from Amazon.

Ted Slampyak created the artwork.



The “how to open a can with your hands” is a survival skill that you should learn. You can use your hands, or you could use a stick, or even another metal object.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you use instead of a can opener?

A: You can use the edge of a spoon, knife blade or even your thumb nail to pry open cans.

How do you manually open a can?

A: The can openers blade is spring-loaded. To open the can, you must push down on it to make the blades close over the lip of the metal lid and cut through it.

How do you open a can with a spoon?

A: The spoon is the tool you will use to open a can.

Related Tags

  • how to open can with can opener
  • hacks to open a can without a can opener
  • how to open a can with a key
  • how to open a tuna can with a can opener
  • how to open a can without a can opener reddit