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Can you core an apple without an apple corer?


Apples are one of the most popular and commonly eaten fruits around the world. They are crunchy, sweet, and delicious eaten raw or used in various recipes. A whole apple can be eaten as a snack, but many people prefer to remove the core and just eat the fleshy part of the apple. This is where an apple corer comes in handy – it allows you to quickly and easily remove the core and seeds from an apple. But what if you don’t have an apple corer? Is there a way to core an apple without this specialized tool?

Reasons for coring an apple

There are several reasons you may want to core an apple:

  • Remove the tough, woody core – The core of an apple is tough and fibrous, making it difficult to bite into and chew.
  • Remove the seeds – Apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide so some people prefer to remove them before eating.
  • Make apple rings – Coring an apple allows you to slice it into rings which can be used for various recipes and food presentations.
  • Make stuffed apples – Removing the core creates a cavity in the apple that can be filled with ingredients like nuts, oats, brown sugar, spices etc to make a stuffed baked apple.
  • Reduce choking hazard – Whole apples can present a choking risk for toddlers and young children. Coring an apple helps minimise this.
  • Aid digestion – Some people find eating the whole apple including core can lead to digestion issues due to the extra fiber.

So while it’s not absolutely necessary to core an apple before eating it, doing so makes it easier and more pleasant to eat for many people. It also allows you to get more use out of the apple in recipes and presentations.

Ways to core an apple without a corer

If you don’t have an apple corer handy, don’t worry – there are a few methods you can use to core an apple without a specialized tool:


A sharp paring knife is one of the most readily available tools that can be used. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Wash and dry the apple thoroughly.
  2. Place apple on a cutting board and hold firmly.
  3. Position paring knife at top center of apple, point downwards.
  4. Press knife into apple and slice downwards, angling knife slightly to follow the shape of the core.
  5. Rotate apple and repeat slicing around core until it is fully cut out.
  6. Use knife tip to help pull out pieces of core from center.

Be very careful when using a knife and supervise children. Slicing too deep can mean losing a lot of the apple flesh.


A metal teaspoon can also be used to core an apple. Here is the method:

  1. Wash and dry apple.
  2. Hold apple firmly on its side.
  3. Push spoon into top center of apple, angling inwards into core.
  4. Twist spoon and pull out piece of core.
  5. Turn apple and repeat around center until entire core is removed.
  6. Use tip of spoon to scoop out any remaining bits.

Go slowly when using a spoon and apply constant, firm pressure.

Apple corer tools

While not as convenient as an actual apple corer, there are some items commonly found in kitchens that can be used:

Item Method
Corkscrew Twist corkscrew into top center of apple and pull straight out to remove core plug.
Metal skewer Push skewer through top of apple and out bottom to pierce through core. Twist and pull out.
Thin wooden dowel Use hammer or mallet to gently drive dowel through core of apple. Twist slightly to loosen core and pull out dowel.

Be careful when forcing objects through the apple and supervise children.

No tools

If you don’t have any suitable tools on hand, you can still core an apple using just your hands:

  1. Hold apple firmly on its side in palm of hand.
  2. Use thumb of other hand to push into flesh at top center and break through skin.
  3. Keep pushing thumb into core, breaking it up from multiple angles and pulling bits out.
  4. Once most of core removed, use fingers to pull out any remaining loose pieces.

This method takes more time and effort but can be done in a pinch without any tools.

Tips for coring apples without a corer

  • Use fresh, firm apples – Softer more ripe apples will be harder to core this way.
  • Work slowly and gently – Rushing can damage the apple flesh or your hands.
  • Aim to remove the core in pieces – Don’t try to pull out the whole core in one go.
  • Use an upward motion – Pulling straight out pushes the flesh inward.
  • Cut out any bruised sections – Damaged parts won’t core neatly.
  • Rotate apple as you work – Coring from different angles helps.
  • Stop before reaching bottom – Leave base intact for stability.

Things to avoid

When coring apples without the proper tool, there are some things to avoid:

  • Don’t cut too deep – This will remove excess flesh making the apple smaller.
  • Don’t twist knife or spoon – This damages the inside flesh.
  • Don’t force tools through – Applying too much pressure can break the apple or tool.
  • Don’t use very hard or soft apples – The right firmness makes coring easier.
  • Don’t leave broken fragments – Be sure to remove all pieces of core.
  • Don’t give young children knives – Supervise and use safer methods.
  • Don’t rush – Take your time for best results.

Rushing or using inappropriate force when coring apples without the proper apple corer can lead to suboptimal results. Patience and the right technique will provide better outcomes.

Does it work well without an apple corer?

Coring an apple without a proper apple coring tool is more time consuming and tricky but can certainly be done. The key things that determine success are:

  • Using a very sharp knife – A dull knife will mash the apple flesh.
  • Taking your time – Rushing leads to mistakes.
  • Having reasonable expectations – It won’t look as neat or uniform as using a corer.
  • Accepting some flesh loss – Removing the core completely involves losing a bit of apple.
  • Finishing the job – Be sure no pieces of core are left behind.

So while a bit messy and imperfect, coring an apple without a corer can work reasonably well and is a handy skill to know. Just adjust your process and expectations.

Alternatives to coring apples

If you don’t have a corer and coring them with a knife, spoon or other tool doesn’t appeal, there are some alternative approaches:

  • Cut apple into very thin slices – The core becomes insignificant in thin slices.
  • Dice apple into small cubes – Again, core pieces become very small.
  • Bake/cook apples whole – The core softens and isn’t noticeable when cooked.
  • Juice or puree apples – Removing core not needed when making juice or puree.
  • Cut around core – Slice off sides of apple sections, avoiding core.

Depending on what you plan to use the cored apples for, some of these approaches may work better than attempting to fully core them without a proper coring tool.

Should you buy an apple corer?

Based on the time, effort and imperfect results associated with coring apples without the right tool, purchasing an apple corer is highly recommended if you regularly core apples. Here are some benefits of owning an apple corer:

  • Much faster and easier than makeshift methods
  • Creates uniform, cylindrical hole through center
  • Ejects core plug in one piece with no fragments left behind
  • Minimizes apple flesh loss for maximum yield
  • Safer than using knives
  • Inexpensive – available for $5 – $15
  • Handy tool to keep in the kitchen

Investing in a quality apple corer is worthwhile, especially if you core apples frequently or in large batches. It eliminates the hassle and frustration of alternative methods.


While it’s definitely possible to core an apple without a specialized coring tool, the results are often messy, time consuming and imperfect. With some clever improvising using items like knives, spoons or skewers, you can get the job done, but the process is usually slow and care needs to be taken to avoid damaging the apple flesh. For anyone that regularly enjoys cored apple slices, rings, stuffed apples or uses cored apples in recipes, purchasing an inexpensive apple coring tool is highly advisable for convenience, safety, speed and neatness. However, it’s good to know some DIY methods for situations when you need a cored apple and lack the proper corer.