This tutorial includes a short video and step-by-step photos for how to prep artichokes for cooking. You’ll learn tips for selecting, cleaning, and trimming fresh artichokes.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my affiliate disclosure.
So you picked up an artichoke and now you’re wondering how to prepare it? I’ve been there! I used to be so intimidated by artichokes that I didn’t even have a recipe for fresh ones on the blog until last year!
But once you get the hang of it, preparing fresh artichokes for cooking is easy and quick. Now that I know the tricks of the trade, I can’t get enough of this healthy and beautiful vegetable.
The following sections include tips for selecting, trimming, and washing artichokes. Be sure to check out the photos and videos to use as a reference while you’re in the kitchen!
The most commonly available variety is the globe artichoke, which has bright green outer leaves. You can find artichokes year-round at most grocery stores, but their peak season is spring. If you’re lucky, you may even see the less common purple artichokes out there!
When selecting artichokes, hold them up to your ear and squeeze. If the artichoke squeaks, it’s fresh. Inspect the leaves, and avoid artichokes with cracked or dried out leaves. Some browning on the outer leaves is normal.
How do you prepare artichokes?
- Slice off the stem and pick off the lower leaves.
- Cut off about 1/2-inch from the top of the artichoke. A serrated knife or a very sharp chef’s knife works best for this task.
- At this point, you can clean the artichoke. Place it under cold running water to rinse away any dirt. Use your fingers to gently open the leaves if you can. Turn the artichoke upside down over the sink to drain excess water before returning it to the cutting board. To prevent browning, squeeze lemon juice over the cut surface (optional).
- Use kitchen scissors to snip the tips of the outer leaves so that they have flat edges.
- Your artichoke is now ready for cooking!
How to Prep Artichokes for Steaming, Boiling, and Roasting
If you are steaming or boiling artichokes, keep them whole after you prep them. Whole artichokes can also be cooked in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. When roasting artichokes, you can slice them in half and remove the fuzzy choke before cooking.
Can you prepare artichokes ahead of time?
Since cut artichokes can turn brown when exposed to the air, it’s best to prepare them just before cooking. However, cooked artichokes can be made ahead of time. Reheat them in the microwave for about a minute on high.
Now that you now how to prep artichokes, check out all of these delicious ways to prepare them:
- Roasted Artichoke Halves
- Instant Pot Artichokes
- Microwave Artichokes
- Three Artichoke Dipping Sauce Recipes
To eat a cooked artichoke, pull off a leaf and scrape it between your teeth. Discard the leaves after eating. Do not eat the fuzzy choke at the center of artichokes. However, the heart is perfectly edible (and delicious!), and the stem can be eaten if it’s not too tough.
Watch How to Trim Artichokes
How to Prep Artichokes
- Cutting board
- Kitchen scissors
- 1 artichoke
- Slice off the stem of the artichoke, leaving about 1/2-inch, and remove the lower leaves.
- Cut off about 1/2-inch from the top of the artichoke. Rinse the artichoke under cold running water, gently opening the leaves if you are able. Turn the artichoke upside down and let it drain over the sink before returning to the cutting board.
- Rub lemon juice on the cut surface to prevent browning. Personally, I don't always do this step because I usually roast or steam my artichokes, which causes them to lose their color anyway.
- Use kitchen scissors to snip the tips of the outer leaves, to yield flat edges. Your artichoke is now ready for boiling or steaming. Whole artichokes can also be roasted, but I prefer to cut them in half before roasting and remove the fuzzy choke from the center with a spoon.
- Cut artichokes react with air and will turn brown, so it’s best to clean and trim them just before cooking.
- When selecting artichokes at the store, squeeze them to see if they squeak, which is a sign of freshness. The leaves should not be cracked or overly dry, but some browning on the outer leaves is normal.
- To cook artichokes: try oven-roasted, Instant Pot, or microwave. And check out my favorite artichoke dipping sauces.
Enjoy artichoke season! – Lizzie