How to Prepare Artichokes

I had never tried a steamed artichoke before I married Ryan. He is surprisingly sentimental about artichokes, because he was often served them by sweet “Sister Madras” while on a two-year church mission in Chile.

Have you ever tried one? I am insisting that you go out and buy one the moment you finish reading this. 🙂 They are so, so good! And they’re fun to eat, dipping each leaf in olive oil and lemon juice. It is a process that can’t be rushed, so it is perfect for datenight in with your spouse! Ryan and I have had some great conversations while sharing one of these after the boys are snug in their beds. If you’re new to the fantastic world of artichokes, here’s the 411…

When selecting artichokes, the tighter the leaves, the fresher they are. Brown spots are simply from early frosts and won’t affect negatively affect the taste. Some people even say the frost-kissed ones are the sweetest. 🙂


1 large artichoke (or two small ones)

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon



1. Wash the artichoke in cold water. Slice about one inch off the top. (This makes cooking them a bit easier and also gets rid of the pricklies.) Slice off the stem, as close to the bud as possible, so that the artichoke can stand upright.

2. Fill a pot with one inch of water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Place the artichoke in the water, face down. Cover and steam for 20 minutes, if it is a large artichoke. (If small, like mine, try 12 minutes.)

3. Remove lid and flip the artichoke over so that it stands upright in the water. Add about 1 cup of water. Drizzle the artichoke with 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil, allowing it to sink down within the leaves. (Yum!) Sprinkle with salt. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes (or 12, if small).

4. In the meantime, pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a small boil. Add the juice of one lemon and a generous dose of salt.

5. Remove artichoke from the pot and take off a couple of leaves, to test for doneness. The “meat,” so to speak, at the inside-bottom of the leaf should be very tender when you scrape it with your teeth. (Don’t forget to dip in the lemon oil!) If it is still tough, put it back in and check again after 5 more minutes of steaming.

This is what they look like after cooked.

And this is the heart. You can remove those little “hairs” with a pairing knife or a spoon.

Cut the heart into pieces, sprinkle with salt, and dip in the lemon oil. And tell me they are not delicious! (Because they are!!) Happy dipping!

Linked up with Tip Junkie, the Girl Creative, and Reasons to Skip the Housework! Welcome to any first-time visitors, including those from pinterest. Thank you for coming by! 

  • Leigh
    April 18, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Thank you for this, Erica! Your artichokes look beautiful and delicious. I tried steaming artichokes myself once, after greatly enjoying them at someone else’s home. Mine were a disaster. I ended up throwing away the uncooked portion of the package and decided never to buy them again. Maybe someday I’ll come back to your recipe and try again!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 18, 2012 at 6:54 am

      Ha! Follow this and I think you’ll have a much better outcome this time around! It seems like Nathan would like these, with his South America roots. 🙂

  • Becky K
    April 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I had no idea. I’ve never prepared a fresh artichoke before. Thanks for the how-to!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      I know, right? I had no idea either, until about halfway into our marriage, when Ryan suddenly remembered them. We’ve been pretty much obsessed ever since! 🙂

  • Andrea Baker
    April 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I LOVE Artichokes!! I grew up eating them. And they can be expensive, so it was always a treat when my mom got them! I’ve converted my husband to them as well. They’re really good with a lemony garlic butter sauce too.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Mmm, I have got to try some fun variations! Lemon garlic butter sounds delish!

  • Ashley Ditto
    April 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I am obsessed with artichokes! Wonderful recipe! I’m gonna add some salt! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for the encouraging words!

  • Cheri
    April 19, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I’ve never cooked or eaten an artichoke. But your blog makes me want to! I wonder if Grandpa would like one? Maybe I’ll just wait until you visit us! I admire your adventuresome side!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 19, 2012 at 4:08 am

      Definitely! I bet Grandpa would love them! I’ll make them for all of us when I’m in town!!

  • Barbara
    April 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS! I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! Great job on your blog! Check out my post on this:

    You’ve Earned It!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Thank you, Barbara! I’m honored! I really enjoy your blog too!

  • courtney
    April 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I tried these tonight, and they were so great! I had actually never eaten an artichoke like this before, and it was really fun. Thanks for the how-to!

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