Learn how to cut an artichoke with these handy step-by-step photos.
Artichokes on a wood surface and in a bowl
Credit: Helen Norman

From the thorny leaves to the hard exterior, fresh artichokes may seem intimidating. Oftentimes recipes will call for canned or frozen artichokes as an easy alternative, like we do in recipes like Spinach & Artichoke Dip Pasta and Artichoke & Egg Tartine. However, once you learn how to cut an artichoke properly, you'll want to use fresh artichokes whenever possible. Read on for step-by-step instructions for how to cut fresh artichokes.

How to Prepare Artichokes

Step 1. Using a sharp knife, cut off about 1 inch from the top of the artichoke.

Cutting the top off an artichoke
Credit: Karla Conrad

Step 2. Trim ½ to 1 inch from the stem end, and if the stem is fibrous, peel it with a vegetable peeler.

How to Cook Artichokes-Removing-Stem

Step 3. Remove the small, tough outer layer(s) of leaves from the stem end and snip all remaining spiky tips from the rest of the outer leaves using kitchen shears.

How to Cook Artichokes-Cutting-Leaves

Step 4. Remove the fuzzy choke with a spoon.

close up of scooping out the inside of an artichoke
Credit: Karla Conrad

Step 5. Rub the whole artichoke, especially the cut portions, with a lemon half. The lemon juice will keep the artichoke from turning brown.


If you don't plan on using the artichokes immediately, you can also place the prepped artichokes in a bowl of cool water with a squeeze of lemon to prevent browning.

Once you have prepped the artichokes, the possibilities are endless. Whether you keep them whole or cut them in half, learn how to cook artichokes, and a recipe like Steamed Artichokes with Herb Aioli will be just the start.