Learn how to cook artichokes in the microwave – this is the easiest way to steam artichokes without a steamer! Once you microwave artichokes, you’ll never be intimidated by this vegetable again!
A long time ago, in my first kitchen encounter with fresh artichokes, I broke a sweat. I was living in Santa Monica at the time and tempted by a beautiful globe artichoke display at the farmers market. In my zeal, I tackled a recipe that involved trimming the prickly leaves with kitchen sheers, using a vegetable peeler on the stem, wrangling fuzzy chokes, soaking the artichokes with lemon slices, boiling them in a pot of water with garlic cloves and a bay leaf, and finally stuffing and baking them into submission.
The artichokes were delicious, but I was exhausted, and it took a long time for me to prepare artichokes at home again. Thank goodness I learned that there was a much simpler way.
Steamed, it turns out, is my favorite way to cook (and eat) artichokes.
How to Cook an Artichoke Without a Steamer
The best way to cook and enjoy a whole artichoke is by steaming it. After my recent visit to and podcast interview at an artichoke farm, I was happy to hear that I am not alone! Every time I asked everyone at the artichoke farm to name their favorite way to enjoy artichoke, a steamed artichoke was the nearly unanimous response.
Before you pull out a large pot and fill it with cold water and a steamer basket, I have an easier way.
If you are looking for the simplest cooking method to steam artichokes, may I enthusiastically and whole-heartedly recommend using your microwave?
Microwave-steamed artichokes are not only the easiest way to cook artichokes, but it’s also the fastest! That means less prep-work, fewer dishes to wash, and no time at a stove! And no need to break a sweat. Ever!
To microwave artichokes, all you need is a large bowl, a microwave-safe cover (or plastic wrap), and of course, artichokes.
How to Cook Artichokes in the Microwave
Trim any excess stem from the artichoke with a sharp chef’s knife. If the artichoke’s tough outer leaves have tiny thorns, trim the tips of the artichoke with kitchen shears or kitchen scissors. I find that most of the artichokes available at the grocery store require minimal trimming.
Rinse the artichoke, and place artichokes in a glass bowl large and deep enough, depending on the size of the artichoke. Add about 3/4 cup of water (enough water for at least an inch of water) to the bowl and cover the bowl with a silicone microwave cover or plastic wrap. You will want to create enough of a seal so that it traps the steaming liquid as it cooks.
Cook the artichoke in the microwave for 5-7 minutes on high heat. The cooking time may vary depending on the size of your artichoke and the power of your microwave, so I like to start at 5 minutes and check for doneness by gently tugging on the outer leaves. If the leaves release easily and the flesh attached is tender, it is done.
If it needs more time, return the artichoke to the microwave and continue cooking in 2-minute increments.
When the artichoke is cooked, allow it to cool slightly. Be careful handling the hot, steamed artichokes! Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce (melted butter and aioli are popular choices)!
Test it by gently tugging on the outer leaves. If the leaves release easily and the flesh attached is tender, it is done.
In general, it takes about 5 to 7 minutes to cook an artichoke in the microwave. It depends on the size of your artichoke and the power of your microwave. Carefully test your artichoke after about 5 minutes for doneness. If it needs more time, continue cooking in 2-minute increments.
Working from the outer to the inner leaves, scrape the base of each leaf with your front teeth to remove the flesh attached to the leaf. Discard the leaf and continue until you reach the center. The base of the small leaves will be edible. Discard the hairy choke close to the heart of the artichoke; artichoke hearts are the sweetest edible part and have a nutty flavor.
In most cases, yes! If you trim the cooked stem so the bottom of the artichoke is more stable on a plate, be sure to eat the stem! However, if you find that the stem is too stringy, then discard it.
Yes. Just be sure your glass bowl is large enough to accommodate the artichokes.
More Artichoke Recipes
Artichoke Salad with Fried Mozzarella
Tomato and Mozzarella Ravioli with Tomatoes, Baby Kale, and Artichokes
Artichoke and Avocado Dip
Skillet Pesto Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Artichokes, and Roasted Butternut Squash
Artichoke and Feta Tarts with Tomato Salad
- 1 artichoke
- Trim any excess stem from the artichoke. If the artichoke's outer leaves have tiny thorns, trim them with scissors. Rinse the artichoke, and place in a bowl large and deep enough for the vegetable. Add about 3/4 cup of water to the bowl and cover the bowl with a silicone microwave cover or plastic wrap.
- Cook for 5 minutes on high. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the artichoke and the power of your microwave, so check for doneness by gently tugging on the outer leaves. If the leaves release easily and the flesh attached is tender, it is done. If it needs more time, return the artichoke to the microwave and continue cooking in 2-minute increments. *Be careful handling the hot, steamed artichokes.
- When the artichoke is cooked, allow it to cool slightly. Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce!