How to Cook Artichokes in the Microwave ♥

How to Cook Artichokes in the Microwave, it's dead easy, dead delicious.
Today's vegetable recipe: Fresh whole artichokes cooked in the microwave. Dead easy. Quick. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point.

~recipe & photo updated 2012, republished 2013~
~more recently updated recipes~

ORIGINAL 2008 POST So the Year 2008 will go down as the Year Alanna Finally 'Got' Artichokes. When I stuffed artichokes, my friend Cindy wrote, "Your artichokes look great. But please don't tell my girls because all I do is throw them in the microwave."

My friend Ann, too, after we both received an artichoke primer at our bookclub last week, found cooking artichokes in the microwave pretty interesting exciting. "OMG!!!" she wrote. "I bought an artichoke today and cooked it for lunch. Seven minutes in the 'wave and ten minutes 'rest' and then I devoured it!!!!!! Wow! I will fix another one tonight!!!"

The microwave? Can dense and prickly thistles really cook in the mike? Yes, said my source of all questions about vegetable cooking techniques. So yes, but then, how long do we cook artichokes in the microwave? In minutes! (Detail below.)

Dead easy. Dead fast. Dead delicious. I've died and gone to artichoke heaven.

2012 UPDATE So I've joined the ranks of those who only cook artichokes in the microwave. That probably means I don't really "get" artichokes but for once or twice a year, this works for me. And even earns an exclamation point! or two!!

REVIEWS
"I just tried it and tested a couple of leaves - worked well!" ~ Lin
"I had no idea it would be that easy." ~ Magpie
"So yummy and so simple!" ~ seashell

MICROWAVE ARTICHOKES

Hands-on time: 3 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Per artichoke

Prep the artichokes. (Don't worry, this is way easier and faster than the number of steps would indicate.)
Rinse the artichokes. Even if they've been washed before, rinse again so there's some moisture.
Tear off any lower outside leaves that are a little wrangly looking.
Cut off the stem. UPDATE: A reader suggests trimming the stem but leaving it on, since the inside of the stem is really an extension of the heart and thus quite edible and often quite delicious. I've tried this twice, both times the stem's interior was dark and a little icky. Perhaps this works well with just-fresh artichokes?
With a sharp knife, slice off the tip of the leaves, about an inch. UPDATE: A reader suggests drizzling a tablespoon of lemon juice into the innards of the artichoke, eliminating bitterness.
With scissors, snip off the sharp tips of the outside leaves, turning the artichoke as you go.
Place the artichoke in a microwave safe dish that's deep enough to hold the artichokes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. (I used a Corning dish with a glass cover, it worked perfectly. UPDATE Readers also report wrapping in double layers of waxed paper and wet paper towels.) Place in the microwave on high for --
Large globe artichokes, about 8 - 12 ounces each
1 artichoke - 7 minutes
2 artichokes - 10 minutes
4 artichokes - 15 minutes (arrange in a circle)
6 artichokes - 19 minutes

Small whole artichokes, about 2 ounces each
4 artichokes - 10 minutes
8 artichokes - 11 minutes
16 artichokes - 14 minutes

Microwaves do vary in power so check one before serving.

To serve, tear off the leaves. Between your teeth, scrape out the fleshy part at the base of each leaf, discarding the rest. (It helps to keep a big bowl handy.) The leaves will become increasingly more tender toward the middle. Once the leaves are gone, there will be a thistly, hairy-looking center (this is the 'choke') that is not edible. With a grapefruit spoon, scoop out and discard the choke. At its base is the artichoke's heart, a moist, dense nibble of deliciousness.



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41 comments:

I'll definitely be trying this!

How amazing ... I'll try it with the large artichokes you can buy, rather than the little buds from the garden which you can eat whole after poaching in a little olive oil

Thanks for sharing
Joanna

I'm all for any method that makes the eating of whole artichokes easier and more accessible. I don't mind spending time eating an artichoke leaf by leaf -- in fact, it's the best way to savor it -- but I love the idea of simplifying the cooking process.

I just tried it and tested a couple of leaves - worked well!

BTW - a little known trick with artichokes - if you don't mind laying them on their sides (or squashing them together in your cooking vessel) you can leave some of the bottom on (I cut around the outside a bit to get the harder part off). Tastes just like the heart.

Kalyn ~ It's got your name all over it!

Joanna ~ From the garden? What, real people can grow artichokes?! Now that would be real heaven!

Lydia ~ I'm loving the savor process too.

Lin ~ Excellent tip, thank you!

My problem with artichokes has never been a time thing. It's getting good artichokes for a reasonable price.

I love artichokes... I'm guessing we'll start seeing decent artichokes in a month or so and then we can go to town. But we're going to be bad and have Hollandaise sauce for the first ones. :-D

-Elizabeth

I love artichokes but they always seem like such a chore to make. As soon as we move and get a microwave, I will definitely be trying this!

No way... really? OK it didn't even occur to me. The microwave!
Artichokes at our fruit market in WA are $2 each right now.
Love your blog!

Alanna, I was thinking about the idea of real people growing artichokes and that it probably has to be done somewhere like California, but look! This farmer on the outskirts of Toronto grows 'Imperial Star' artichokes:

Toronto Star Article: Globe artichokes in Markham (Oct 10, 2007)

Of course, it doesn't say how he has managed to do this so far north.

The article mentions that this fellow's artichokes are smaller. I really love the small artichokes - they don't seem to have a choke!

-Elizabeth

P.S. After we have our Hollandaise sauce fix, we'll switch to dipping the leaves in blue cheese dressing (blue cheese and mayonnaise) OR a simple vinaigrette.

P.P.S. We are the last people in North America who do not own a microwave oven. But I still don't think it's that tricky to cook the artichokes. All we do is cut the stem off and then set them upright in a large pot with about a quarter inch of boiling water in the bottom; cover and steam for about 20 minutes - until we can easily put a fork through the bottom of an artichoke.

You were saying that artichokes are pricey veggies. Well, to make sure you are getting your money's worth pick the ones that are heavy for their size and have firm and tightly closed leaves. Artichokes are really good for stimulating bile flow, which can help to prevent gallstones, and they also have silymarin, an antioxidant that helps the liver.

Elizabeth ~ I don't think it's a time thing, it's a convenience thing -- and the fact that they taste great, with so little fuss. Hollandaise allowed! The sauce I used was aioli :-)

Lady ~ Hmm, okay, I take it back, it IS a time/chore thing!

Darby ~ Thanks!

Elizabeth ~ Well if you can grow artichokes in Toronto, you can grow artichokes in Chicago (same latitude) which means you can grow them in St. Louis. (I love the idea of smaller ones too.) Thanks so much for the link, you always seem to "add" to the conversation, it's much appreciated.

John ~ Thanks for the info.

Whoa - I had no idea it would be that easy. I think artichokes are buy one get one free @ safeway, but they're $3.99 each... so that's $2/artichoke. I've never bought them before.

I didnt know you can cook artichokes in the microwave... You learn something new everyday.

Thank you, Alanna! What a nice thing to say.

I did a little more reading about the "Imperial Star" artichokes the farmer just outside Toronto is growing. It turns out that they are a thornless variety! Someone (sorry, now I can't remember where I read it in the forest of artichoke links I followed) did a comparison between "Green Globe" and "Imperial Star" and said that the flavour of the Green Globe (with thorns) was preferable to the thornless "Imperial Star". I gathered from reading that both of these varieties could be treated as annuals and would produce fruits in the first year.

-Elizabeth

P.S. Thank goodness that Hollandaise is allowed! I don't know if I could say my artichoke fix was complete if it didn't involve at least one small bowl of Hollandaise. ;-)

Hey Alanna -- I just forwarded this to a friend who is facing down his first whole artichoke tonight. I've got to try this method -- I've always done the steam-on-stove method, but am so incorrigibly impatient...I never want to wait that long for the artichokes to be ready!

Yay! You "got" artichokes. Your life will be dramatically improved now. Trust me. :)

I just made these and downed TWO for my dinner! So yummy and so simple! I made a dipping sauce of 1 T light mayo and "some" lemon juice, but found I didn't need it!

I followed Lin's suggestion of cooking and eating the stem and she is right! Tastes just like the heart! And, the stem forms a great handle. When you are down to the choke cut the entire thing in half, then remove the choke. Presto! Grab the handle, scoop up some sauce, and guide the treat right to your mouth!

I am out in CA and there are artichokes everywhere so some really nice man gave me some. All I have is a micro so thank-you for the recipe I can't wait to eat them up fresh fresh artichokes, also the tip about weight watchers was great to know.
thanks again
cynthia

Re: the high price of artichokes...It's not quite the same, but Trader Joe has a bag of individually quick frozen artichoke hearts for around $2.00 for a 1-lb. bag. Very easy and yummy to quickly cook in a vinaigrette or add to dishes.

okay, so this is a year or so late, but your blog came up when I googled microwave artichokes. And is the best of the four pages I opened, for readability and encouragement.

I love the idea of not heating up the apartment for artichokes, makes it a quick idea, not a project in my barely-cooking household.

Also, when the jumbo artichokes are on sale for a dollar at my usually overpriced local grocery, I can buy up a pile, microwave them, and freeze them!

The freezing instructions call for 20 minutes of cooking, plus 25 once they are out, so I'm guessing that 75 or 80 percent microwaved would be right for freezing, and then heating them up plus a bit longer cooking will do it for thawing. I guess I'll find out if that's gonna work, lol.

Again, thanks for this post!

Hi Lily, Thanks so much for adding to the information here, it's great to know that artichokes can be frozen, too. Let me know how it goes!

Just a quickie variation on your microwave tip, Alanna. I was in a hurry, with no appropriate glass or plastic vessel handy, so I rinsed the large artichoke, then wrapped it up in some water-soaked sheets of paper towel. Make sure it's covered completely, then place it on a m/w-safe plate. I nuked it 8 minutes on High, cooled for 10, and it was simply scrumptious :). While it cooked, I mixed a creamy dip from mayo, a bit of ketchup and some gourmet orange mustard. Thanks again for the idea. Tummy is all happy, as we speak ;).

I started microwaving artichokes right after I got my first microwave oven -- maybe 20 years ago? The cook book that came with it said to wash and trim, just as your instructions do, leaving water clinging to the leaves. Then wrap in a double thickness of waxed paper. Place on a microwave safe plate or dish, and zap for 5 minutes or so, depending on your microwave and the size of the artichoke.

This works for corn on the cob, too. Of course you zap for a shorter period of time.

Great recipe for cooking artichokes in the microwave, thanks. In the recipe, it says to put the artichokes in the "mike" ... I am sure this is a misprint and meant to put "mic", short for microwave!

Yess, been doing this since my boyfriend showed me how- one big tip! Pour a tablespoon of citrus juice (lemon or lime) into the top of each artichoke before putting it in the microwave. Without this I find they come out really bitter. I like my artichoke leaves dipped in melted margarine seasoned with garlic :)

2 for five at safeway in ca usa

Thanks for the info! Just please don't ever put plastic wrap in mic or plastic reusable containers... If u do, you will be ingesting harmful particles from the plastic :(

Too funny. I google "how to prepare artichoke microwave" and yours was the top of the search. :) Thanks Alanna!

Cooking your artichokes in the microwave is just a waste of money. Artichokes are packed with nutrients, and by cooking them in the microwave your killing all the vitamins and nutrients. Microwaves cook at extremely high temperatures which kill the vitamines.

After spending an hour trying to find a good recipe for Artichokes, I found yours. Thank you so much! It is exactly what I have been looking for--a nice easy (& quick) recipe for ONE artichoke. Now that I can micrtowave one I will be eating them much more often. Oh.....in S.W. Washington they are runnning around $2.00 per artichoke at present.

I hate to share this (but HAVE to, all at the same time!)... we're currently living in Rome, and I picked up 4 of the big artichokes today at our local market for less than 40 cents each. Local produce over here rocks, sometimes!

No need to gloat, Rick. :-)))) (So envious.)

Um... I'm assuming you put water in with the artichoke?

Hi Lol ~ There's enough moisture just from rinsing the artichoke, so um, no water in the pan!

If you want to stuff artichokes. ....could you still microwave after stuffing them?

Interesting! I've never thought to microwave artichokes. Definitely something to try. Great if you want only 1 or 2 - I suspect if you cooking a bunch, simmering or steaming is still the way to go. Good stuff - thanks.

I like to put paper-thin slices of lemon in between the leaves before microwaving. Love artichokes! Wish I could afford them more often.

I never thought of cooking artichokes in the microwave, such a great idea. Although I usually prefer steaming, this would be great if you are short on time.

Im about to try this, but I did want to add that as someone who has been eating artichokes since before I was old enough to remember, all this stuff about trimming the points off the leaves is a bunch of nonsense. I'm sure if you are going to be serving them at a "nice dinner" its all well and good, but in more than 50 years of eating them I have yet to seriously damage my fingers on one of the thorns.

Unless you are serving these to guests, why bother trimming the tops of the leaves off. For me, I eat them weekly and just cook 'em and eat 'em. Not tried the microwave method yet, but will do so.

I love artichokes, but hate the time of steaming or boiling them. Can't wait to try this out!! Thanks!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna