How To Cook Artichokes Perfectly Every Time
- 2 fresh globe artichokes (large round green artichokes weighing about 1 lb each, not elongated type artichokes)
- Rinse the artichoke under cold water. Snap off and discard any errant outer leaves on the stem. If desired, use kitchen shears to snip off any large thorns on the leaves to protect your fingers while handling them.
- Using a serrated knife, saw off and discard the top-third of the leaves (the leaves furthest from the stem), which are inedible.
- Cut off and discard the lower part of the stem, leaving at least 1 inch attached to the artichoke. You should cut off only the brown woody part and try to leave intact as much of the stem as possible because it can be very delicious.
- Repeat the above steps for the second artichoke.
- Prepare a wide pot, large enough to hold the artichokes side-by-side and tall enough to close a lid over them, equipped with a glass lid (glass makes it easier to monitor the boiling). I use a pot that’s 10 inches wide and 6 inches tall.
- Add the artichokes to the pot, and then add water until they start to float. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once it starts to lightly boil, set a timer for 30 minutes. Keep the lid on. Decrease the heat as needed to maintain a light boil during the 30 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, use tongs to transfer the artichokes to a colander to drain, stem side up. Check for doneness: the artichokes are done when you can easily insert a knife into the stem (parallel to fibers) with little or no resistance.
- Let the artichokes sit at room temperature to cool and steam out, about 45 minutes. While waiting, make the dipping sauce in the next step.
Making Dipping Sauce:
- In a medium mixing bowl, add all dipping sauce ingredients.
- Whisk or vigorously stir until the sauce is very smooth, with no mayonnaise clumps remaining.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When the artichokes have cooled, slice each artichoke in half, down the stem. Carefully handle the artichokes to avoid breaking off any leaves, since they’re very tender after cooking.
- Use a small spoon to scoop out and discard the fuzzy needle-like white centers and purple leaves from each artichoke half.
- Arrange the artichokes on serving plates. Add toppings: lightly brush the cut surfaces with olive oil, and season with freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, and dried thyme leaves.
- Serve them with the prepared dipping sauce and an empty discard plate for leaves.
- To eat, peel off a leaf at a time (starting with the outermost leaves), dip into the sauce, and use your teeth to scrape off the meat of the leaf. Repeat until all of the leaves are gone. Only the heart and stem should remain (the best parts); the heart is completely edible, and the stem is edible if it’s tender and not too woody.
- Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. Reheat using the microwave.
|Makes 4 Servings|
|Amount Per Serving (1 artichoke half):|
|Total Fat 16g||25%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||7%|
|Net Carb 3.5g|
|Total Carb 7g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 3.5g||14%|
Artichokes are in season from March to May, although you can find them in many U.S. supermarkets year-round. Selecting fresh, high quality artichokes makes a huge difference in this dish; if you select a bad artichoke, it can taste dry or tough even if you nail all of the cooking steps.
For this recipe, look for globe artichokes, which are green, round, and large (about 1 pound each) — not the elongated types. Choose artichokes that have tightly formed leaves with a vibrant green color, and avoid artichokes that look dry, have very woody stems, or have loose or split leaves.
After bringing them home, store artichokes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
Recommended Cooking Method: Boiling
Boiling is a fast and easy method for cooking artichokes. It’s also foolproof — anyone can boil water and it’s hard to mess that up — and this works for all sizes of globe artichokes. Boiling also doesn’t require any special equipment or appliances.
Best yet, it results in a really tender and delicious artichoke heart without any of the dehydrated effects that you can get from roasted artichokes. This method doesn’t get as much flavor as you would from baking and grilling methods, but I find that it’s easy to season the artichoke post-cooking to get all of the flavors you want. Plus, the dip adds a ton of flavor.
Take a look at the step-by-step photos and video below for a quick primer on how to prepare and cook artichokes. At the end of this post, you’ll find a handy printable recipe with all of the details you need.
Other Artichoke Cooking Methods
- Baking: You can bake a foil-wrapped artichoke in the oven, which gives it a lot of flavor, but it can get a little dry and dehydrated. Baking also takes the most time compared to other cooking methods, and the length of time required for baking varies a lot depending on the size of the artichoke. It can be tough to balance the baking time required while avoiding dryness.
- Grilling: If you have a grill and want to use it, go for it! For some people, the grill is not always a feasible option and it’s easier to just cook artichokes indoors without firing up the grill. But if you’re having a barbecue and the grill is handy, this is definitely a flavorful cooking method you can try.
- Steaming: This is a faster option compared to baking, but it does require the proper steaming tools such as a steamer basket. You’ll also need to check occasionally to see if the pot needs more water, and the steaming time can vary.
- Pressure Cooking (get the recipe): If you have an Instant Pot or similar electric pressure cooker, this may be an easier method for you than dealing with a pot of boiling water. It’s also a little faster overall than the boiling method, with equally tender artichokes.
- Microwaving (get the recipe): This is definitely the fastest method, and great if you’re in a rush or don’t have access to a stovetop. The cooking time varies a bit depending on the size of your artichoke and your particular microwave. I also find that the texture of microwaved artichokes isn’t as tasty as that of boiled artichokes, and sometimes the stem isn’t tender enough to eat.