How To Cut An Artichoke

Woman hands cutting off the top of an artichoke on a wooden board.

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Here are the ways of preparing artichokes for a variety of cooking methods, from steaming and boiling to roasting and air frying. Master the essential steps of cleaning, trimming, and prepping artichokes to enjoy their delightful flavor and texture in your favorite dishes.


  • 2 fresh globe artichokes
  • 1 lemon


Basic Steps for Cleaning and Trimming Artichokes

  1. Rinse the artichoke: Hold the artichoke under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris from the leaves. Gently open the leaves slightly with your fingers to ensure that the water reaches the inner parts.
  2. Remove the outer leaves: Peel off a few of the tough, dark green outer leaves from the base of the artichoke. These leaves can be fibrous and less enjoyable to eat.
  3. Trim the top: Finally, use a serrated knife to cut about 1 inch off the top of the artichoke. Immediately rub the cut side with lemon to prevent it from browning.
  4. Cut off the thorny tips: Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, snip off the thorny tips of the outer leaves.
  5. Trim the stem: Cut the stem to about 1 inch in length to make the artichoke easier to handle during cooking. Optionally, you can also use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer of the stem, exposing the more tender inner part.

Preparing for Different Cooking Methods

  1. Steaming or Boiling: After cleaning and trimming the artichokes, they can be left whole for steaming or boiling. There's no need to remove the choke before cooking, as it can easily be scooped out with a fork after the artichokes are cooked.
  2. Stuffing (Removing the Choke): After cleaning and trimming, remove the top third of the leaves, spread the leaves apart gently, and use a spoon or a melon baller to remove the choke. Coat the inside of the artichoke with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
  3. Roasting & Air Frying: After cleaning and trimming, cut the artichokes in half or quarters, and remove the choke with a spoon or a melon baller. Rub the cut surfaces and the inner part of the artichoke with lemon juice to prevent browning.
  4. Roman-Jewish Fried Artichokes: After cleaning and trimming, remove as many outer leaves as possible, cut the top third of the remaining leaves, and scoop out the choke. Gently spread the leaves apart like a flower and keep the prepared artichokes in lemon water to prevent browning until ready to fry.
  5. Braising (Down to the Heart): After cleaning and trimming, remove the outer leaves, cut the top third of the remaining leaves, trim the stem and remaining green parts with a paring knife, and remove the choke. Coat the heart with lemon juice to prevent browning before braising.


  1. Choose fresh artichokes: Pick heavy, tightly closed artichokes with minimal blemishes for the best taste and texture.
  2. Prevent browning: Work quickly, using lemon juice or a lemon water bath to keep cut surfaces from turning brown.
  3. Trim thorny tips: Use caution and trim sharp tips with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife for safer handling and eating.
  4. Use sharp tools: Employ a sharp knife and sturdy tools, like a melon baller or spoon, for easier and safer trimming.
  5. Remove tough parts: Peel off outer leaves and fibrous parts for a better eating experience.
  6. Adapt to the cooking method: Select the appropriate preparation method for your chosen dish and cooking technique.