How to Trim and Cook Artichokes

Cook, How-To, In Season, Learn, Spring

I attended culinary school during the winter, when fresh vegetables like tomatoes and zucchini were nowhere to be found. As a result, I got to cook a lot of artichokes.


These prickly plants were intimidating at first, but it didn’t take long for me to hone my trimming skills. In fact, I came to appreciate the vegetable’s mild flavor and delicate leaves, which you have to peel away to reach the tender heart.


Always have a bowl of lemon water nearby when you prepare artichokes. Like apples and pears, they discolor quickly and the acid in the lemon helps to keep them pale.


How to Trim and Cook Artichokes - Step 1Start at the basePull off and discard the tough outer leaves until you reach the tender yellow inner leaves.
How to Trim and Cook Artichokes - Step 2Cut off the stemCut the stem off flush with the bottom of the leaves and discard it.
How to Trim and Cook Artichokes - Step 3Trim the topUsing a serrated knife, slice off the top 1 to 2 inches of the remaining leaves to remove the thorns. Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise through the center. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the furry choke and drop the halves into a bowl of lemon water. If your recipe calls for quartered artichokes, cut each half lengthwise and then drop the quarters into the lemon water.


When it comes to cooking artichokes, keep the flavors simple. Lemon and garlic are classic pairings, as in our recipe for Artichokes Stewed with Lemon and Garlic. Slow simmering over low heat ensures they’ll be completely tender. After they become soft, try adding smoky flavor and a crisper texture by throwing them on the grill, or quarter them to use in a springtime frittata.


For more information about selecting, storing and preparing artichokes, check out our tips at


About the author: Olivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.

3 comments about “How to Trim and Cook Artichokes

  1. Adam

    Have you tried the fried and smashed artichokes they serve in Italy? Simple and to die for!!!

  2. Olivia Ware Post author

    As a matter of fact, we just taste-tested some of those Roman artichokes from the Williams-Sonoma test kitchen! Stay tuned for a recipe later this year.

  3. From Test Kitchen to Catalog: Artichoke & Lemon Fritto Misto

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