freshly cooked artichokes on white plate

How To Cook Artichokes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cool 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
This is a foolproof recipe on how to cook artichokes: the best way is to boil them so that you get a tender artichoke heart (it doesn’t get dry like baked or roasted artichokes). Compared to other cooking methods, boiling yields consistent results and is easily accessible for most people, without requiring special equipment. After cooking, these tender artichokes are deliciously seasoned and paired with a fantastic garlic-balsamic dipping sauce. This works great as a low carb, keto, and paleo friendly appetizer for four people.

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce:

Optional Toppings:

  • olive oil
  • ground black pepper and sea salt
  • dried thyme leaves

Instructions

  • Prepare Artichokes: Rinse artichokes. Snap off and discard any errant outer leaves on stems. Snip off any large thorns on leaves using kitchen shears. Saw off and discard top-third of leaves (inedible leaves furthest from stem) using a serrated knife. Cut off and discard lower part of stem, leaving at least 1 inch attached to artichoke (Note 2).
  • Cook Artichokes: Add artichokes to a large pot (Note 3), add water until they start to float, and cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil covered for 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a medium boil (Notes 4-9). Uncover, and transfer artichokes using tongs to a colander to drain, stem side up. Check for doneness: artichokes are done when a knife can be easily inserted into stem (parallel to fibers) with little or no resistance. Let them cool and steam out, about 45 minutes.
  • Make Dipping Sauce: Whisk or vigorously stir all dipping sauce ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until very smooth, with no mayonnaise clumps remaining. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Serve: Slice each cooled artichoke in half, down the stem, handling them carefully to avoid breaking off tender leaves. Scoop out and discard fuzzy needle-like white centers and purple leaves from each artichoke half using a spoon. Arrange artichokes on serving plates. Optionally, lightly brush cut surfaces with olive oil, and season with pepper, salt, and thyme. Serve with prepared dipping sauce and an empty plate for discarded leaves (Note 10).

NUTRITION

Makes 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving (1 artichoke half w/ sauce):
Calories 200 (83% from fat)  
Total Fat 19g 29%
   Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 450mg 19%
Net Carb 4g  
Total Carb 7.5g 3%
   Dietary Fiber 3.5g 14%
   Sugars 1g  
Protein 2g  
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 14% · Calcium 3% · Iron 4%

PHOTOS

NOTES & TIPS

(1) Selecting Artichokes. Use globe artichokes, which are green, round, and large (about 1 pound each), not the elongated types. Select ones with tightly formed leaves and a vibrant green color, avoiding any that look dry, have very woody stems, or have loose or split leaves. 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.
(2) Preparing Artichokes. You should cut off only the brown woody part of the stem. Try to leave intact as much of the stem as possible because it's one of the most delicious and tender parts of a cooked artichoke.
(3) Large Pot. The pot should be 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. If you are scaling this recipe up, make sure that the pot is large enough to comfortably fit all of the artichokes.
(4) Boiling Artichokes. I prefer the boiling method because it's a fast, easy, and foolproof method -- anyone can boil water and that's hard to mess up -- and this works for all sizes of artichokes. Boiling yields consistent results and is easily accessible for most people, without requiring special equipment. 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.
(5) Baking Artichokes. 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.
(6) Grilling Artichokes. 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 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.
(7) Steaming Artichokes. 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.
(8) Pressure Cooking Artichokes. 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 (see Instant Pot Artichokes Recipe). It’s also a little faster overall than the boiling method, with equally tender artichokes.
(9) Microwaving Artichokes. This is definitely the fastest method, and great if you’re in a rush or don’t have access to a stovetop (see Microwaved Artichokes Recipe). 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.
(10) Serving. 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. For leftovers, cover and refrigerate, reheating using the microwave.