How To Cook Artichokes

5 from 3 votes

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Check out our step-by-step guide on how to cook artichokes, complete with tips, dipping sauces, and artichoke recipes! 

Cooked artichokes on a cutting board.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Tips for Picking the Best Artichoke
  2. Parts of an Artichoke
  3. How To Prepare an Artichoke for Cooking
  4. Methods of Steam Artichokes
  5. How to Cook Artichokes in a Pressure Cooker
  6. How to Cook Artichokes on a Grill
  7. How to Eat an Artichoke
  8. Homemade Artichoke Dipping Sauce
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Recipes Using Artichoke Hearts
  11. How to Cook Artichokes
  12. Artichokes Recipe Recipe

Artichokes are a sharable side dish that are fun to peel apart and dip in your favorite sauce. There are a few ways to cook your artichokes depending on your time and how you prefer them. Learn about the anatomy of the artichoke and how each component comes together and is cooked. Preparing an artichoke is simple and doesn’t take long. Enjoy these with your next meal!

Tips for Picking the Best Artichoke

Artichokes are mostly in season in the spring and early summer so you have a better chance of finding a good-quality one then. However, they can be found at most grocery stores year-round. Follow these simple tips to help pick the best artichoke for cooking!  

  • Size – When picking out an artichoke, you want to find one that seems heavy for its size. the heavier the artichoke the more moist and fresh it is. The size of the artichokes is important and will give you more meat on the artichoke as well.
  • Color – Find the vibrant, green artichokes at your local grocery store. These are the ones with the most flavor and freshes.
  • Petals – Look for one where the petals are tight and close together. 
  • Leaf tips – The leaves need to be tight and compact. This will help hold in the freshness. If the leaves are brown or dry, it is an older artichoke that will not be as good.
  • Stem – Pick a firm stem that is not mushy or soft.
  • Squeezing – Squeeze the artichoke a bit to make sure it is not overripe or soft and spongy.
  • Thorns – Try to find an artichoke with not a lot of thorns. The thorns only mean it is harder to hold onto the artichoke with your hands.
A picture of an artichoke with the different parts labeled.

Parts of an Artichoke

Though many believe an artichoke to be a vegetable, it is the bud of a large thistle before it blooms. If you cut an artichoke in half you can find the thistle inside. The image below shows all the different parts of the artichoke.

  • Outer petals – The hard, outermost layer of the artichoke. These petals are very tough and are edible, however, most people discard the tough outer leaves after biting off the meaty part.
  • Inner petals – The inner petals are not quite as tough as the outer layer. These tender inner leaves can be cut up with the artichoke heart and eaten or used in recipes.
  • The “choke” – The purple, hairy-looking center is the thistle or the “choke”. It is spiny and inedible. I am guessing it is called the “choke” because that is what you will do if you try to eat it. It is easiest to remove after the artichoke has been fully cooked, however, some like to remove it before cooking. Either way works just fine. 
  • The “heart” – This is the meatiest, most tender part of the whole artichoke. You can often buy just the artichoke hearts at most stores. Most people prefer to do this because it is easy, but fresh, tender artichoke hearts just can’t be beaten!
  • Stem – The stem of the artichoke is edible. It is tender but stringy, kind of like celery. 

How To Prepare an Artichoke for Cooking

Cooking an artichoke is a simple task and tastes amazing when softened! Rinsing the artichoke just like any other veggie and then trimming it properly is the best success when cooking artichoke.

  1. Rinse – When prepping an artichoke for cooking, you want to give it a good scrub first. Put it under running water and scrub it clean like you would a potato.
  2. Trim the stem – As mentioned above, the stem is edible. Trim up about 1/4″ of the stem and remove any excess little leaves or petals. 
  3. Cut off the top – Next, chop off the top 1/3-ish of the artichoke. This is the part where all the outer leaves come together into a tight tip. 
  4. Prevent browning – Once you cut off the top, cut a lemon in half and rub some of the lemon juice over where you just cut. This prevents the cut edges from browning (they brown quickly after they are cut). 
  5. Cut the petals – Using kitchen scissors, snip off the top, pointy parts of all the petals around the artichoke. Now your artichoke is prepped and ready to cook!
A whole artichoke that has been cleaned and trimmed.

Methods of Steam Artichokes

Steaming artichokes is one of my favorite methods of cooking them. It is a simple process that still has flavor and takes less than an hour. You will love the tender, soft pedals that really make it easy to enjoy with a hint of lemon flavor.

  1. Fill up a pot with about 1″ of water (you can salt the water if desired).
  2. Place prepped artichokes directly in the water or on a steaming rack.
  3. Squeeze lemons over the top of the artichokes and place the remaining rinds in the pot.
  4. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid.
  5. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until you can easily remove one of the outer petals with your fingers or tongs (be careful, it will be hot).
Three uncooked artichokes in a pot with lemons.

How to Cook Artichokes in a Pressure Cooker

To cook artichokes in an Instant Pot, place about 2 cups of water in the Instant Pot then add the lemons. Place the artichokes in the Instant Pot cut-sides-down (stem UP). Cook on high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your artichokes. If you remove the artichokes and find they aren’t tender enough, just add them back to the pot and pressure cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. 

How to Cook Artichokes on a Grill

Want to take those artichokes to the next level? After steaming them, throw them on the grill! We have an incredible grilled artichoke recipe with detailed instructions on how to grill them here: Grilled Artichokes. Trust me, it’s worth the few extra minutes to get that deep charred flavor. 

How to Eat an Artichoke

The first time I ate an artichoke, I peeled off one of the outer petals and popped the whole thing in my mouth. I learned quickly that this was the wrong way to eat an artichoke. When you are working on the outer layers of the artichoke, you will want to peel off a petal and scrape the meaty part (that was closest to the heart) off with your teeth. I like to use my bottom teeth to scrape it clean but I have seen people use their top teeth too. Once you get to the heart, you can just dive in with a fork and enjoy the whole thing.

An artichoke heart on a fork that is sitting on a cutting board with cooked artichokes.

Homemade Artichoke Dipping Sauce

You can enjoy an artichoke plain, but it is SO MUCH better when you dip each bite into a dipping sauce. Try some of my favorite things to dip artichokes in!

  • Mayonnaise – Gives this artichoke dipping sauce a creamy and flavorful base.
  • Lemon aioli – This is basically just mayonnaise with lemon. It has so much flavor and really adds to the dipping sauce.
  • Sriracha mayo – It gives a little spicy flavor with a creamy texture.
  • Butter sauce – Melted butter, garlic butter, or lemon butter all have that creamy buttery rich taste.
  • Lemon – Infused olive oil or lemon-infused balsamic will have your tastebuds singing! You can find these at Italian markets. So good!
  • Lemon juice – A simple and basic way to enhance the flavors of artichokes. It is real and tart with the savory flavors.
An artichoke petal dipped in an aioli sauce.

“We don’t make these often, but when we do I always want more! The dipping sauce is the best too!”


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the health benefits of artichokes?

Artichokes are chock full of nutrients and antioxidants. They are also high in potassium, fiber, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and more!

Is an artichoke a vegetable?

Technically, an artichoke is a member of the thistle family, which actually makes it more of a flower. But for all intents and purposes, it is used and enjoyed like a vegetable.

Can artichokes be eaten raw?

They can be eaten raw, but they are really tough to eat. We definitely recommend cooking them first.

What is the best way to cook artichokes?

When it comes to artichokes, I prefer the steaming method. I have found that boiled artichokes tend to take on too much water and the bright, lemony flavor gets drowned out. Steamed artichokes come out tender and flavorful every time. You can also pressure cook them with similar results. You can place the artichokes on a steaming rack or in just a small amount of water, I haven’t been able to notice a difference either way.

Should I soak artichokes before cooking?

This is a personal preference. You can soak your artichokes in lemon water for about an hour to give them more tenderness and flavor, however, that is not a mandatory process.

Do you cut the stem off an artichoke before cooking?

Yes, it is best to cut the stem off of the artichoke and set it on the side.

Recipes Using Artichoke Hearts

I love eating artichokes as an appetizer or side dish, but I also love adding fresh artichoke hearts to pasta, salad, pizza, and dips. Here are some of our favorite artichoke recipes!

How to Cook Artichokes

Cooked artichokes on a cutting board

Artichokes Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Follow this easy method for cooking artichokes to perfections. Dip them in lemon aioli for a delicious appetizer or side dish.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine French, Italian
Servings 6


  • 3 globe artichokes
  • 2 lemons sliced into halves
  • water for steaming
  • salt to taste

Artichoke Sauce for Dipping (Lemon Aioli)

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Clean the artichoke and trim the stem and any excess petals from the stem.
    Using a serrated knife, cut off the top part of the artichoke where all the petals are bunched into a point. Slice a lemon in half and rub the lemon over the part where you just cut. This will help prevent browning while you are prepping the other artichokes.
    An artichoke with the top cut off
  • Next, trim all the sharp points from all the petals using scissors or kitchen shears. Repeat with all artichokes.
    Artichoke petals being cut with scissors
  • Place the artichokes in a large pot with about one inch of water. You can place artichokes in a steamer basket but it's not necessary. Add salt to taste.
    Slice the remaining lemon and squeeze over the top (reserving ½ of a lemon for the artichoke dipping sauce). Place the lemon rinds directly in the pot with the artichokes.
    Three uncooked artichokes in a pot with lemons
  • Bring water to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until a petal near the stem can be easily removed by simply pulling on it with your fingers.
    Remove artichokes and place on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the artichokes in half from the stem to the top.
    A cooked artichoke cut in half
  • Remove the thistle from the artichoke halves with by placing the tip of a spoon at the bottom of the thistle and scooping under it. The thistle should come out easily and in one big piece. Discard the thistle (it is completely inedible).
    The thistle of an artichoke that has been removed with a spoon
  • Enjoy your artichoke petals with lemon aioli or melted butter. Cut up artichoke hearts and eat plain or serve with pasta, salad, or in your favorite artichoke dip.
    An artichoke heart on a fork that is sitting on a cutting board with cooked artichokes

Artichoke Sauce for Dipping (Lemon Aioli)

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and serve with artichoke petals.
    An artichoke petal dipped in an aioli sauce

Nutrition Information

Calories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 119mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!