How to Cook Artichokes

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Learn how to cook artichokes using two simple methods: boiling and steaming. Master the preparation technique for trimming the prickly leaves to make them easier to eat. I’ll also show you how to remove the inedible choke to enjoy the delicious artichoke heart in the center.

How to cook artichokes.

Recipe Science

  • Boiling artichokes softens the tough fibers and pectin in the cell walls in the leaves and heart, making those parts edible.
  • Steaming artichokes preserve more of their subtle, nutty flavor and nutrients.
  • Soaking trimmed artichokes in acidulated water prevents browning by slowing the oxidation process that causes discoloration.

Artichokes are beautifully colored olive green and sometimes purple globes that stand out amongst the other vegetables at the market. This veggie is a perennial thistle in the sunflower family. It’s loaded with nutritional benefits, such as fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, calcium, iron, and potassium. They may look intimidating, but they’re actually really easy to cook.

Using simple cooking methods like boiling and steaming softens the protective outer leaves and the artichoke heart. This is a delicious appetizer to share. Other methods, like roasted artichokes and Instant Pot artichokes, can also be used, but they require a slightly different preparation.

How to Prepare an Artichoke

Person using scissors to trim the leaves of an artichoke.

Step 1: Trim the Leaves

Rinse the artichoke with cool water to remove any dirt. To cook a whole fresh artichoke, the first thing to do is cut off the top. Depending on the size, that’s about a ½ to 1 inch. The tips can feel prickly like thorns, so you want to cut a few rows from the top first to expose the inside of the vegetable.

Use kitchen scissors to trim off the tips of each leaf. All of the edible meat is at the bottom of the leaves attached to the base, so you’re not losing any as you trim. Cut the stem off of the bottom so it can sit upright for serving. However, the stem is edible if the fibrous outer layer is peeled off.

Step 2: Soak in Lemon Water

Place the cut artichoke in a solution of water and fresh lemon juice so that the exposed trimmed leaves won’t brown. The exposed flesh oxidizes quickly when exposed to air. A dip in acidulated water can help prevent enzymatic browning by lowering the pH of the liquid environment and reducing enzyme activity.

How to Boil Artichokes

How to boil artichokes.

Step 1: Boil the Artichoke

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the artichoke to the water, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover.

Tongs removing a boiled artichoke from a pot of water.

Depending on the size of your artichokes, it will take 20 to 35 minutes to cook. Drain and cool slightly before serving.

To test for doneness, carefully transfer the boiled artichoke to a plate and then tug on one of the large outer leaves. If it’s easy to pull off the base, it’s ready. Otherwise, if needed, add it back to the water and continue cooking until it’s tender.

Experimentation Encouraged: The water can be seasoned with peppercorns, bay leaves, and garlic for an aromatic boiling liquid.

How to Steam Artichokes

How to steam artichokes.

Step 1: Steam the Artichoke

Fill a large pot with a few inches of water. The water should not go above the steamer basket. Place the steamer basket in the pot, followed by the trimmed artichoke. Cover the pot and steam over medium-high heat.

Cooked artichoke on a steamer basket inside a pot.

Once the steam builds up in the pot, cook until the outer leaves are easy to pull away from the base. This method takes 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size. The steam is very hot, so be careful when removing the cover.

Pro Tip: Remove the artichoke with tongs with the heat turned off. Allow the artichoke to cool slightly before serving.

Removing the Artichoke Heart

How to remove the artichoke heart.

After all the leaves have been eaten and removed, you’ll find a meaty heart in the core. Just remove the inedible fuzzy, bristle-like piece on top with a spoon. The heart will be tender, so you can eat right away.

Way to Serve Artichokes

Person holding an artichoke leaf in a white dipping sauce.

Now that you know how to cook artichoke hearts, there are a variety of ways to enjoy them. Drizzle on high-quality olive oil and sea salt for simple seasoning. Coat with breading and fry for a crunchy coating. Add it to salads, pasta, or pizzas.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you stop the artichokes from turning brown after cutting?

To prevent artichokes from turning brown after cutting, prepare a bowl of acidulated water using lemon juice or vinegar, which inhibits enzymatic browning. Place cut artichokes immediately into this solution to minimize air exposure. Aim to cook the artichokes promptly, as heat halts the enzymatic reactions responsible for discoloration.

Do you cut the stem off an artichoke before boiling?

If the fibrous green skin is peeled first, the inner white part of the stem can be left intact. This is edible and tenderizes when cooked.

Is it better to boil or steam an artichoke?

Both methods effectively tenderize the artichoke. I prefer steaming because the hot water vaper cooks the leaves and heart without diluting the flavor.

How long to cook artichokes?

The cooking time for artichoke recipes depends on size and method. Steaming and boiling a large globe artichoke can take 20 to 35 minutes. If it’s easy to pull an inner leaf away, then it’s ready to eat. Baby artichokes take about 20 minutes to cook. Trim some of the outer leaves, then you can eat the entire vegetable. That’s because the fuzzy choke has not developed in the center like large artichokes.

What parts do you eat on an artichoke?

The bracts, or inner leaves connected to the heart, have edible meat towards the bottom of the leaf. The inner white part of the stem is also edible. The tough outer leaves have little to no meat, and the hairy choke is inedible.

What sauce do you serve with artichokes?

You can eat an artichoke plain or simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Alternatively, serve with artichoke dipping sauces like hollandaise sauce, melted butter or browned butter, mayonnaise, garlic aioli, or basil pesto. It’s fun to dip each leaf in the sauce and then scrape the meat away using your teeth.

Hungry for More?

Now that you know How to Cook Artichokes, if you tried any of these methods, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

How to Cook Artichokes

Learn how to cook artichokes perfectly every time using the boiling and steaming methods to create a delicious shareable appetizer or snack.
4.94 from 111 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


Lemon Water

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Boiled Artichoke

  • 2 ½ quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large artichoke, or two small

Steamed Artichoke

  • water, enough for steaming
  • 1 large artichoke, or two small


Prepare the Artichoke

  • Trim the Leaves – Rinse and dry the artichoke. Hold it firmly at the base and use a large chef’s knife to cut the top two rows of leaf tips. Use kitchen shears to trim the ends of the leaves to remove the sharp thorns. Cut the stem off flush with the base of the artichoke bulb.
  • Soak in Lemon Water – In a medium bowl, add water and lemon juice. Submerge the artichoke and let it sit in the acidulated water until ready to cook. This helps prevent the leaves and stem from browning.

Boiled Artichoke

  • Remove the artichoke from the lemon water. In a medium pot, bring water and salt to a boil. There should be enough water to cover the artichoke. Add the artichoke to the water, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the leaves can be easily pulled off, about 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size. Drain and cool before eating.

Steamed Artichoke

  • Remove the artichoke from lemon water, shaking off the excess moisture. Fill the bottom of a large pot with about 2 inches of water so that it's below the steamer basket when inserted. Add in the steamer basket and then the artichokes.
    Cover the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Once the steam is built up in the pot, start the cooking time. Cook until the leaves can be easily pulled away from the bulb, about 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Storing: Store cooked artichokes in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Freeze: Wrap and store cooked artichoke in a freezer bag for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 2 servings
Calories 38kcal (2%)Carbohydrates 8g (3%)Protein 2g (4%)Sodium 76mg (3%)Potassium 299mg (9%)Fiber 4g (16%)Vitamin C 9.5mg (12%)Calcium 36mg (4%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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19 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. CMann says

    I start with fat, dense artichokes. Using sheaths, start at bottom of choke, trimming leaves work my way up. Then, using serrated knife, cut the upper tip off, & trim stem. Place upside down in seasoned water(salt&lemon wedges). I boil for 45minutes+. Remove from heat, cool 10 minutes. Keeping upside down, gently take chokes & place on paper toweled plate to drain & store in fridge 2-4 hrs. When ready to eat, I use Catalina dressing to dip.

  2. Connie Allen says

    Someone said to cook in boiling water with a bay leaf butter melted with lemon juice for dipping ?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can boil the artichokes with bay leaf if you’d like. Sounds delicious with melted butter and lemon.

  3. marti says

    cooked artichokes can be kept in a covered container, chilled up to 4-5 days

    another really easy, delicious dipping sauce if good EVOO, a pinch of fine sea salt, few drops of fresh lemon juice; stir ’til salt dissolves; taste, adjust seasoning – enjoy

  4. Sammie says

    Thank you for giving such easy instructions! I haven’t had an artichoke since I was 9 years old visiting my aunt in California. A local store her in Colorado had them for .99 and I thought since I’m having to stay home why not try to do them myself. I got 3 and they turned out great. The dipping sauce added just the right amount of flavor. It was fun educating my husband and son on how to eat one. Thanks again for all the how to instructions.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Happy to hear that the instructions we easy and that you got the chance to have artichokes after such a long time!

  5. JC says

    This is the best sauce I’ve ever had with artichokes. I don’t really have a recipe I just prepare to taste. For 1 choke, use about 2-3 tablespoons mayo, about 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt to taste, onion powder to taste, slight amount of ground white pepper, and dried parsley. Let sit while choke is cooking to combine flavors. Mix altogether and let sit while choke is cooking to combine flavors. Enjoy! The BEST!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, this sauce sounds creamy and delicious. Thank you for sharing, I’m sure others will love it too!

  6. Rich Allman says

    I have just purchased a artichoke. How do you store them until the next day. Put them in water or stere in the refrigerator?

  7. Rosie says

    Is it possible to OVERCOOK them? Mine is still tough. I left them in hot water, low heat for way more than 30 min. And how to you know how to buy a good one?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Fresh artichokes should have bright great leaves, not look dry, and make a squeaky sound when pressed. I always test for doneness by seeing if a leaf from towards the center is easy to pull out.

    • MICHAEL BROCK says

      Are you trying to eat the whole leaf. Even cooked correctly the leaf will be tough. You scrape the bottom of the leaf with your teeth. You don’t eat the whole leaf.

    • Bev says

      You will know when they are done when the leaves pull off easily. I start checking around 25 min. then check every 5 min after. I like mine cold so I put them under cold running water to stop the cooking, Over done is mushy

  8. Dennis Murphy says

    Used the steaming method for years. Recently switched to pressure cooking. About 7-9 min. at pressure depending on size of choke. Perfect every time.
    Biggest challenge is finding “good” chokes in Asheville, NC.