How does one crack open a Brazil nut in order to get the whole nut? When I go to the store I can get entire nut meats. Unfortunately, with whole nuts, it's a pain.

I've used the nutcracker longitudinally and horizontally and/or both, but the nut never comes out whole.

7 Answers 7


From here

Freeze Brazil nuts, or soak them in water for several hours before cracking.

Stand frozen nuts with the point facing up and hit with a hard object, such as a hammer, to crack.

Crack soaked nuts with a nutcracker. Place the nut in the grip of the nutcracker so that the seam of the shell is subjected to the direct force.

Use minimum force necessary to split the shell when squeezing, in order to avoid crushing the nut kernel inside. Rotate the nut while squeezing so the shell cracks slowly.

Extract the kernel from the shell.

Allow the kernels of soaked nuts to dry for a few hours after cracking.

Read more: How to Crack Nuts | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_10768_crack-nuts.html#ixzz16j8GzCOo


Microwave them. My microwave is 820W, so adjust the time according to the wattage of your microwave. Have a bowl of cold water near, as the nuts will be hot. One brazil nut = 30 seconds on high. Drop the hot nut in the cold water for a few seconds, just until it's cool enough to handle. Use a nut cracker and gently crack it slightly. Put it back in the cold water until the nut inside is cool, or not if you want warm nuts, which are tasty as well. You may need to used the cracker again, but the nut should come out whole.

  • Welcome to the site! This sounds easy and delicious! Dec 31, 2015 at 1:00
  • Very clever! Can you nuke more than one Brazil nut at at time?
    – ElmerCat
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:32

If you own a vise, there's a very easy way. First, freeze the nuts for an hour or two. Then put them in your vise and squeeze the nut on the ends. Turning the vise handle allow precise, specific pressure on the shell while avoiding damaging the seed. I did a 1lb bag in 10 minutes.


****No soaking, no freezing, no boiling**! We had Brazil nuts that stuck to the shell so tightly that after they were cracked, they had to be scraped off the shell with a knife. I found that 30 seconds in the microwave before cracking them released them from the hull and every nut came out whole.

  • Interesting... how many did you 'nuke' at a time?
    – elbrant
    Feb 10, 2019 at 0:37

No need to follow the complicated instructions in the other responses. However, skip the nutcracker - you will need better tools.

I use a tongue-and-groove pliers set to the widest position that still "bites" to create an initial crack in the nut. After that I use a quite narrow regular, flat, screwdriver to widen the crack the pliers created, either by pushing in the screwdriver in the crack and rotate it or pushing it in between the kernel and the shell and bend.

Hard to describe the direction I insert the nut in the pliers, but if you think at is as an orange cleft, you place the narrow edge that is located towards the centre of the fruit and the wide edge that is next to the peel in the pliers.

This way 70-80 % of the nuts opens with the kernel in one piece.


I use 45 seconds in a 1250 watt microwave, then, being careful not to burn my hand on the hot nut, crack carefully along the to seam using adjustable vice-grip pliers adjusted so that they don't crush the kernel when the shell breaks and the pliers slam shut.

3 or 4 cracks that way usually opens it up enough to extract the kernel intact. The microwaving seems to release the kernel from being stuck to the shell so that it comes out fairly readily. The vice-grips give you plenty of leverage if you use a large one and its adjusting feature lets you exert as much force as needed without concern that when the shell breaks, you would overshoot and crush the kernel.

A rubber band wrapped several times around the end of the handle and holding down release lever prevents the pliers from locking closed, allowing you to sort of "nibble" your way along the nut's seam without having to let go and release the pliers before taking the next "bite". The workshop vice, suggested above, would have the same advantage, but most people don't have one mounted on their kitchen table.


I keep a my nutcracker and a small hammer in the nut bowl and a small solid cutting board underneath to crack them on. Only use hammer for Brazil's. Just tap on the sides enough to hear a small crack. Then hit straight down on the tip vertically to break the nut. I eat them casually so microwaving freezing and soaking seems like a lot of work to crack open a couple nuts. This works 70 to 80% and the ones that don't break right just make me appreciate the whole nuts more

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