Fresh whole artichokes are a delicious treat. But they can be intimidating to prepare, especially if you've never cooked one before. If the comments on Allrecipes popular artichoke recipes are any indication, Allrecipes cooks love these green globes of goodness and have some handy tips to boost your confidence in making fresh artichokes. Here are the top tips from the Allrecipes community of home cooks for choosing, prepping, cooking, and eating fresh artichokes, as well as tips for the most popular recipes and cooking methods.
Artichokes | Photo by Nanby
How to choose fresh artichokes:
1. Choose smaller artichokes with tight leaves. "You want fist-sized (no larger) artichokes that are deep green (not brown) and have a tight leaf formation," recommends William. "The globe should squeak when the leaves are pressed together. Globe artichokes from California are available year-round. I limit purchases to the peak season -- from March through May."
2. "Look inside the leaves to see how meaty they are," recommends KATARCZYNA. "Larger ones may seem like they'd have more, but size can be misleading."
3. "Artichokes should be heavy for their size and look full and round, not skimpy," says Gina.
4. Look for long-stemmed artichokes. "I look for the longest stems," says DOLLYM1, "and I peel away the outer skin and then chop them up and mix them in [a] bread crumb and cheese mixture. What a treat! They get just as tender."
5. Look for tender baby artichokes."The smaller, baby artichokes, if you can find them, may be more expensive, but have less waste and are more tender," says naples34102.
Grilled Garlic Artichokes | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine
How to trim and prep artichokes:
6. Trim artichokes to stand up in your pot. "Set artichokes in the sink and cover with cold water for 30 mins or so," says KJOH535880. "Then take a sharpe knife and cut the stem back [to the base] with an even cut so that they can stand upright in your pot or steamer without falling." After you cut the stem off, take kitchen shears & go around each choke & snip the tips of each leaf to remove the tiny stickers at the tops of each leaf. Run back under cold water again & now you can safely spread the leaves back some without getting pricked! Pull the center back & reach in with the tips of your fingers and pull out all of the little tiny purple leaves that are near the heart in the very center, they are too small to eat so remove them now to avoid a mess while eating them later."
7. Boil artichokes first to easily remove the pricklys. "I boiled the artichokes for about 20 minutes," says JOHANNAJOY, "so that I could scrape out the pricklys and the hairs."
8. Cut the tops off the artichoke. "I use a serrated knife to cut the top inch or so off the artichoke," says DICKWILHELM12, "then trim the remaining outer leaves primarily to remove the sharp thorns."
9. Use kitchen scissors to trim artichoke leaves. "Snip the tips of each leaf to remove the tiny stickers at the tops of each leaf," says KJOH535880. Todd adds, "Tear off the small leaves around the base and discard."
10. Burn off the thorny bits. "Here's a quick way to get rid of the prickly bits at the top of the leaves," says lorem_ipsum. "Grab the globe by the stem and run it quickly over the open flame of your gas range."
11. Boil or steam artichokes in stainless steel pans. "Aluminum pans and iron pans can turn artichokes from beautiful bright green to an unappealing grayish-green color," says foodelicious. "Use stainless steel or pans covered with an enamel coating."
12. Don't discard the artichoke's stem. "If you are cutting off the stem and throwing it away, you are throwing away one of the best parts," says Azzycray. "When cooked, the taste and texture is identical to the heart. I never buy a short stemmed artichoke. The long stems are a huge bonus."
13. "Peel the stem like a carrot," says BarbsBerry. "Trim off about a 1/2 inch off the stem only. The stem is so good, it's just like the heart of the choke without all the work to get to!"
14. Be careful, artichoke scraps will clog your sink. "NEVER place discarded leaves down the garbage disposal," warns Tony. "They are extremely tough and fibrous and may cause damage to your disposal or clog your drain!"
15. Lemon juice prevents discoloration. "Place cleaned artichokes in a big pot with cold water and the juice of one lemon," recommends panynj. "This will prolong the choke from turning color. As soon as you start to clean the choke, it will start to turn brown, so the lemon helps with that."
16. Prep extra artichokes and store in the fridge. "Artichokes are a little involved to clean & cook," says KJOH535880. "So I now clean & cook four at a time & stick them in a big zip-lock bag until we are ready to eat them. They last for quite a few days with no problem in the frig. I then set each artichoke in a microwave-proof (cereal size) bowl and nuke them for a minute or two to knock the chill off right before we are ready to eat them. Although these things taste excellent cold too."
17. Mix fresh and canned artichokes. "Fresh artichokes are always a bit of extra work," says Paula, "but the flavor extraction makes them worth it. I steamed 4 artichokes, discarded the leaves, cut up and added the bottoms and the steaming water, then I added a can of artichoke bottoms to make up for the missing pulp from the leaves. The result was a flavorful, creamy artichoke soup."
Cream of Artichoke Soup I | Photo by Linda T
How to stuff artichokes:
18. Blanch artichokes first to avoid soggy stuffing. "I thought the stuffing would get really soggy by the time the artichoke was fully done," says chellebelle. "So I blanched the artichokes for 20 minutes over medium heat, removed and drained off excess water, and then cut off the stem and tops and removed the choke (the prickly center, do not remove heart). Then I mixed the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stuffed each artichoke with mixture, spreading leaves to stuff."
19. Squeeze lemon juice over the artichokes. "Before you core the artichokes, make sure they are covered in lemon juice to prevent discoloration," says SLynn.
20. Remove the hairy part attached to the heart. "Gently scoop out with a spoon by tracing the edge of the hair where it touches the heart and only scooping out the hair," says Todd. "With light pressure and moving back and forth, the hair will dislodge from the heart if you slide the spoon in between the two."
21. Remove the choke with a serrated grapefruit spoon. "A great way to remove the choke is to use a grapefruit spoon," says Skoo. "It's easy to get it out whole that way!"
22. Remove the choke with a melon baller. "I used a melon-baller to remove the choke, and it came right out," says your mom. "My daughter loved not having to deal with it while eating her artichoke."
23. Remove the choke before stuffing. "I take the choke out after boiling but before stuffing," says lauralee. "I am very generous in stuffing, I make sure and stuff every leaf."
24. Rap steamed artichokes on a hard surface to open leaves. "After cleaning and prepping, turn artichokes upside down and smack them top/cut edge down onto the counter or cutting board. It opens the leaves."
25. Be patient and thorough when stuffing artichokes. "Be generous when stuffing, separating the leaves with your fingers," says LucyDelRey. "Stuff the center as well as between the leaves. This takes patience."
26. Slice garlic thin so it melts. "Slice the garlic very thin instead of mincing," suggests francinesmail. "The slices, if sliced thin enough, melt into the artichoke as it steams."
How to steam artichokes:
27. Steam artichokes to retain nutrients. "I don't boil artichokes," says Cynthia, "I steam mine. Helps keep all those nutrients!"
28. Pack artichokes into steaming pan so they don't fall over. "When simmering the artichokes make sure the globes all fit snuggly together in the saucepan," says LucyDelRey. "The key is to prevent them from toppling over so that you do not have a soggy mess."
29. Steam artichokes in a canning pot. "If you have a hot water bath canning pot with the rack in the bottom, use that," recommends panynj. "It will help the chokes stand and not fall over and get soggy."
30. Too much water can dilute flavor. "I usually leave only enough water in the pan to cover the bottom," says R_CAESAR, "and add more water as it evaporates so not to burn the pan. Too much water may wash out flavor."
31. Lemon adds bright flavor. "Add fresh lemon juice to the water and throw in the peel, too -- it's quite good," says KELARJIAN.
32. Add a splash of vinegar to the water. "It may sound odd, but vinegar gives it a nice, very subtle taste," says Johanna Back-Frommer.
33. A little broth boosts flavor. "I steam them in chicken broth," says suzanne. "Much more flavor. I have made these for years -- the chicken broth makes this recipe rock."
34. Cut large artichokes in half to steam. "To make sure my large artichokes cooked completely, I cut them in half and placed them in the steamer insert cut-side down," says KRYSTENL. "It's easier to remove the 'choke' from them prior to serving this way too."
35. A little baking soda keeps the color from fading. "If you put a bit of baking soda in the water, the artichoke stays nice and bright green," says Jaye. "I do this with any green veggie I am steaming."
36. Steam first then bake artichokes. "I steamed them for 30 minutes, then removed the inedible part of the choke, stuffed them, and baked them in 1 inch of water in a 450 oven, covered for 30 minutes," says Here's_What's_Cookin'. "Removed the cover and baked for another 10 minutes. Delicious."
37. Crisp them under the broiler. "I steamed them already filled in a steamer basket," says KELLYJELLO, "then put them under the broiler for a few minutes to crust. We dipped the leaves in unsalted melted butter. You don't need salted butter -- the breadcrumbs add plenty."
38. Cool steamed artichokes. "I set them on a paper plate or some paper towels to cool some," says KJOH535880. "This also helps remove any excess moisture so you don't end up with a puddle on your dinner plate."
Other ways to cook artichokes:
39. Grill artichokes. "I boiled the artichoke halves the day before, drained them thoroughly on paper towels, and refrigerated them before scooping out the chokes with a spoon and grilling them the next day," says Aimee.
40. Broil artichokes. "Boil the artichokes for 20 minutes and then refrigerate them for 1 hour," says BB. "Broil the artichokes on high, as close to the burners as possible (without touching of course), for approximately 20 minutes. This gave them the nice charred look and flavor on the outside."
41. Simmer artichokes in white wine. "I add about a cup of white wine to the water, no oil in the water, and simmer for 45 minutes," sais Cia Bella. "The wine perfumes the artichokes and adds a nice hint of flavoring."
42. Sauté artichokes: "Before I sautéed them, I rubbed the insides with a cut lemon and squeezed the juice from 1/2 of the lemon over the artichokes," says Cheryl. "I used more olive oil than butter, which helps prevent the garlic from getting too dark."
43. Cook artichokes in the pressure cooker. "Wrap artichokes in foil and pressure cook for 10 minutes at 15 pounds," says Fastcooker.
How to tell if your artichokes are done:
44. Use the stem to test for doneness. "Pierce the stem with a knife," recommends KELARJIAN. "If it goes through easily, it's done. So don't cut off the stem; just trim off the end like you would cut flowers before placing in a vase."
45. Test the heart for doneness. "Cleaning the centers before cooking gives you an area (the heart) to insert a fork into to check for doneness, (beware of steam)," says KJOH535880. "When it goes in without any effort then they are done."
New Orleans Stuffed Artichokes | Photo by CookinBug
How to eat artichokes:
46. Scrape artichoke leaves with your teeth. "You don't eat the whole leaf," says Party Chef. "What you do is remove a leaf, dip in butter or sauce, and scrape the fleshy part off with your teeth. Discard the rest of the leaf."
47. Get to the heart of the artichoke. "When you get to the thin papery leaves," says BaysChick, "take a knife and cut at an angle around the edge of the paper white leaves. Take your fork and remove all the white feathery part and what you have left is the heart of the artichoke. Cut that into bite-size pieces and enjoy!"
48. Dip the heart whole and eat it. "Dip the whole thing in butter or ranch dressing and eat every bit of it," says Todd. "It's the best part of the artichoke!"
49. Try cooked and chilled artichokes. "Blanch them in ice water and place them in the fridge for a couple of hours to get them nice and cold," says Argentinian Griller. "Serve like a salad with your favorite vinaigrette."
50. Pair artichokes with a high acid white wine. "Crisp Sauvignon Blanc with its high acid and grassy, mildly vegetal flavors actually works well with steamed artichokes," says lorem_ipsum. "Asparagus, too!"
Now get the recipes!
The above tips and tricks were all featured in these top-rated fresh artichoke recipes:
Artichokes: Simple and delicious steamed artichokes. Serve these with melted butter for dipping.
Stuffed Artichokes: A simple stuffing with Italian bread cubes, garlic, parsley, Romano cheese, and oregano.
Grilled Garlic Artichokes: These artichokes are grilled with a lemon garlic basting and dipping sauce.
Simply Roasted Artichokes: Watch the video below to see how to make these simple roasted artichokes.
Killer Artichokes: The grill adds smokey flavor to fresh artichokes. Baste them with butter, garlic, and shallots.
Garlic Sauteed Artichokes: You'll sauté artichokes in garlic butter and then give them a quick steam on the stovetop.
Cream of Artichoke Soup I: A creamy artichoke soup with steamed fresh artichokes, chicken stock, veggies, cream, and a little dry vermouth.
Grilled Artichokes -- The Best Way to Eat Artichokes: Give the artichokes a quick boil and then take them to the grill, basting with butter, garlic powder, and seasoned salt.
New Orleans Stuffed Artichokes: Stuff fresh artichokes with a robust mixture of Italian bread crumbs, provolone, pimento-stuffed olives, parsley, garlic, green onions, celery, and bell pepper, seasoned with hot pepper sauce, anchovies, and Worcestershire sauce.
Check out our collection of Artichoke Recipes.
VIDEO: Simply Roasted Artichokes
Discover Chef John's simple wrap-and-roll technique for roasting artichokes. "This recipe is so simple, it's hard to call it a recipe," he says. Watch Chef John trim and prep the artichoke for slow roasting: