How to cook artichokes
Discover how to prepare and cook globe artichokes. We teach you how to steam or boil artichokes, with plenty of delicious recipes – including artichoke dip, pie and soup.
Globe artichokes are considered to be the 'true' artichokes, which are available all year round, but at their best between June and November. Jerusalem artichokes are completely unrelated to the former and not truly an artichoke. Instead, they are a variety of sunflower native to North America with a lumpy, brown-skinned tuber that often resembles a ginger root.
How to cook globe artichokes
Artichokes are a simple replacement for a salad, although they take a little longer to prepare.
What is the proper way to cook an artichoke?
You can boil, bake and grill artichokes, however we consider steaming to be the easiest and tastiest method of cooking them as it results in a good level of moisture. Boiling will also ensure a soft texture however, if you prefer this method.
- Unsurprisingly the bigger the artichoke, the longer the steaming time. Anything up to 30 or 40 minutes. The smaller ones normally take around 20 minutes or so. Larger artichokes can be slightly bitter compared to their smaller cousins.
- You'll need a good inch or so of water to steam. You can also cool the water down after cooking to make a healthy iced artichoke tea.
- Before steaming, lop the stalk off. Some people also add garlic and lemon to the water.
- You can tell when your artichoke is cooked by nimbly taking off a leaf. If it falls off easily, it's probably cooked. But, to be sure - cool it down and take a bite from the bottom of the leaf i.e. the part nearest the innards of artichoke. It's a small part, but this is the only part of the leaf that is edible.
- Remove the tough leaves close to the base of the artichokes.
- Cut off the stems completely, so the artichokes will sit flat.
- Cook in plenty of lightly salted, boiling water. It will take 15-30 mins, depending on the size and freshness of the artichoke, so check from 15 mins onwards.
- The best test of doneness is when a leaf from the middle pulls away easily. Drain well, upside down so the water runs out.
How to prepare artichokes
Watch our video for a step-by-step process for how to prepare artichokes:
- Snap back tough outer leaves until you begin to expose the pale yellow ones. Rub all cut surface with lemon juice as you go.
- Trim top off and pare down the leaves which cover the base of the heart.
- Use a teaspoon to remove the fibrous 'choke' buried in the centre. Discard.
Tip: Keep dipping the cut surfaces of the artichoke in lemon juice to stop them discolouring.
How to eat globe artichokes
You eat it by, how scooping the flesh along the leaf. It has an incredibly soft texture, or it should have if it's cooked... If not, steam for a bit longer. Some people prefer their artichokes cold, or cool. Either way, you can eat them freshly cooked or the next day. They will keep in the fridge.
The only other thing you'll need to prepare is a vinaigrette salad dressing. You eat by plucking the leaves and dipping the fleshy part into the dressing. Make sure you have a large plate on the table to dispose of the leaves. You might be surprised just how much larger artichoke debris is in relation to the parts you eat.
Lastly, the most succulent, chunky, edible part is buried deep inside - the artichoke heart. Once you've devoured the leaves you'll find a stack of 'hair' hiding the heart below. The hairy choke is inedible so take it out using a teaspoon. You will then be left with the heart and the remains of the stem.
More like this
Now you can enjoy the deep, soft and subtle flavour of the fleshiest part of this incredible green. If that's all a bit too simple for you, try some of the below recipes using this versatile vegetable.
Top 6 artichoke recipes
Artichoke & aubergine rice
This vibrant paella-style dish is packed with flavour, yet low in fat and calories. A perfect budget family midweek meal – this recipe can be batch cooked and frozen, ready to whip out on a busy evening.
Artichoke hearts with burrata
Creamy burrata and artichoke hearts make a luxurious pairing, finished with a dressing of aromatic saffron, honey and white balsamic vinegar. This elegant dish will go down a storm at a dinner party. These artichoke & chive crostini also make a sophisticated starter.
Baked artichoke dip
Hollow out a crusty loaf and fill it with a moreishly creamy mixture of artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. This crowd-pleasing dip is sure to disappear fast. For something more refreshing, try this zingy artichoke & lemon dip or serve our chargrilled artichoke baba ganoush as part of a mezze spread - perfect for dipping with flatbreads and falafel.
Spinach & artichoke filo pie
Serve this impressive vegetarian pie for a dinner party centerpiece. Packed with ricotta, spinach, leeks, sundried tomatoes and canned artichoke hearts - it's the perfect way to boost your veg intake, whilst also indulging. For more pastry inspiration, check out our artichoke, bacon & cheese tart or rustic artichoke & wild mushroom pie.
Watercress & artichoke soup
This vibrant green soup combines canned artichoke hearts with watercress and potato to make a nourishing meal, perfect for a quick lunch or starter.
Give this popular Italian bread a tasty twist by filling the dough with artichoke antipasti. As the mixture is preserved in oil, it will accentuate the flavour as well as adding a moistness to the bread.