How Long to Boil Artichokes?

How Long to Boil Artichokes

Artichokes are one of those vegetables that you really have to boil and prepare carefully before eating. There are parts of the plant you want to avoid eating. Not all of the artichoke is edible! When boiled correctly however, the artichoke can make a delicious and complimentary side to any meal!

I always boil the entire artichoke first, then prepare it to eat. It’s a lot easier to pull apart to get to the edible bits!

I have put together a guide that you can easily follow to boil your next batch of artichokes. Scroll on to learn more about my method!

So, how long will it take me to boil an artichoke?

It will take you approximately 20 to 30 minutes to boil an artichoke, or 25 to 35 minutes to boil multiple artichokes in a single layer in a large pot.

Prior to boiling artichokes, cut the stems off! The artichoke needs to be able to sit on its base in the pot while boiling. The stems are edible though, so if you want to add them into the boiling process, that’s perfectly fine. I usually add them into the boiling water when I have 5 minutes left of boiling time.

How to buy artichokes for boiling

When buying artichokes to boil there are a few things to look out for!

  • Look for closed vs open outer bracts. These are the pointy leave like things on the outside of the artichoke. These are younger and have the most tender flesh!
  • Buy the heavier ones. If some feel lighter or heavier, buy the ones that weigh the most. They will stay submerged in the water in the pot when boiling!

How to Boil an Artichoke Step by Step

Step 1: Cut the stem off the artichoke. This is so you can place the artichoke sitting upright in your pot of water.

Step 2: Fill your pot with water. Place all artichokes in the pot. Only have as many that will fit in a single layer. The base of the artichoke should be sitting upright in the pot. Fill enough water to keep the artichokes fully submerged, allowing at least an inch of space at the top.

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Step 3: Season the water! (Optional). Even though I predominantly season my artichokes after boiling, I have learned that by seasoning the water while boiling will add some rich flavor to the artichoke! Add a glove of garlic, dash of salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice from one large lemon to the water. It really brings out the flavor. Trust me on this!

Step 4: Turn heat to high and boil. Bring the water to a boil It’s ok to keep the artichokes in the water as you wait for the water to boil!

Step 5: Boil for 20 to 35 minutes. Boiling time depends on the size and quantity of artichokes you want to boil! If you are boiling a single artichoke on the smaller side, aim for 20 minutes. if you are boiling up to 4, boil up to 35 minutes. Leave uncovered and reduce heat to a medium high.

Step 6: Put stems in boiling water. (Optional). Those stems you cut off in Step 1 are edible, so when you have 5 minutes left boiling time, add in your stems if you choose too! This way, we don’t waste any part of the vegetable!

Step 7: Remove from heat and water. Turn the stove off and remove the pot from heat. Drain the artichokes by turning them upside in a bowl. This will help the water drain off the leave.

Step 8: Prepare for Eating! Not all parts of an artichoke are edible. So now we’ll go over the anatomy of an artichoke so you know which parts to eat and which to stay away from!

Anatomy of an Artichoke

Knowing what part of the artichoke you can eat is very important if you are boiling it! The entire artichoke is not edible. I found this out the hard way!

Inner and Outer Bracts- These are the pointy things that looks like leaves on the outside of the artichoke. The ones on the outside are called outer bracts and the ones on the inside are inner bracts. You start by peeling the bracts off starting at the top and working your way down. Only the bottom portion of the bracts are edible. This will be the part at the base of each bract that attaches to the body of the artichoke.

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Choke– This is the hairy layer that surrounds the heart of the artichoke. The choke is inedible because you will literally choke if you eat it! Do not eat this part. Peel it off the heart and discard!

Heart- Not only the heart of the artichoke, but it’s also the heart of the flesh! This is the tender edible flesh many people are familiar with when eating artichokes.

Stem- The stem is edible! Sprinkle with favorite seasoning!

Preparing an Artichoke to Eat

After you have removed the leaves and the heart, separate the hearts onto another plate. Drizzle some olive oil on top of the hearts and sprinkle with garlic powder, basil and thyme! You can do the same with the stem or season them another way!

This is the most tender and tasty part of the artichoke!

Wrapping Up

I hope you learned something new about boiling artichokes today! We covered more material than normal today, but I think you’ll find it’s all important and will make your experience in boiling artichokes more enjoyable.

Remember to always cut the stems off prior to boiling so you can sit the artichokes upright when boiling. Then add the stems to the boiling water when you have 5 minutes left.

And don’t forget to save this post so you know which parts of the artichoke you don’t want to eat!

Drop me a comment below to let me know how your next artichokes come out!