The tender, savory leaves of an artichoke make a great side dish or appetizer, especially when served with your favorite dipping sauce. Instant Pot Steamed Artichokes take a fraction of the time compared to steaming them on the stovetop.
If I had to choose a favorite food, it would probably be steamed artichokes. Since I was a teenager, this spiky, strange-looking vegetable was at the top of my request list for my birthday dinner each year. Now Frank makes them for me every April when they’re in season. We stand around the kitchen counter, dipping the tender artichokes leaves in rich hollandaise sauce and sighing over the goodness of it all.
The one problem that has haunted us year after year is the unpredictable time for steaming these vegetables. Whole artichokes are easy to steam on the stovetop, but the cook time can vary dramatically. Fresh, smaller artichokes can steam fast but larger, older artichokes can take an hour or more! Many a year, we ate my birthday artichokes long after the rest of the meal was done and put away because those sneaky little veggies had to keep cooking.
But that’s not a problem we have anymore. Instant Pot to the rescue!
The Instant Pot / pressure cooker takes steaming artichokes from a lengthy process with lots of lifting the lid to check in on the vegetables to a 10-30 minute, totally hands off proposition.
Just prep the artichokes, load them in the Instant Pot, cover and cook. While the artichokes are steaming, whip up some hollandaise or garlic butter for dipping.
Here’s how to do it.
How to Prep an Artichoke for Steaming
If you’ve never prepped an artichoke it can feel intimidating. This is quite a strange vegetable. The good news is that, once you’ve done it, it will never feel intimidating again.
First, rinse the artichoke well, letting water run between the leaves.
Next, place it on a cutting board and slice off the stem. You’ll want to slice off enough of the stem that it can sit upright.
Then slice off the top of the artichoke to expose the layers of color on the inside of the vegetable. This will remove any spikes on the top of the leaves and will make the leaves easier to peel off later when you serve it.
Remove any remaining small, tough leaves on the outside of the artichoke. If any of the remaining leaves have thorns at the end, use kitchen shears to slice off the thorns. (Sometimes these thorns are removed before the artichokes are sold, so you may be able to skip this step.)
That’s it - these artichokes are ready to be steamed!
How to Eat an Artichoke
As intimidating as it can feel to prep a whole artichoke for the first time, it can feel equally as confusing to eat it. The most fun way is to enjoy it leaf-by-leaf.
Peel off the leaves, one at a time, and dip the tender lower portion of each leaf in sauce. Gently scrape the “meat” of that lower portion of the leaf off with your teeth. Discard the rest of the leaf.
When you reach the middle of the artichoke, the leaves will get very soft and it will be difficult to peel them off. At this point, you’ll want to remove the choke and eat the last bit of the artichoke with a fork.
This fuzzy center (“choke”) should NOT be eaten. See the photo below. The choke (top) should be discarded and the remaining tender base of the artichoke (bottom) is delicious to eat.
Best Sauces for Artichokes
- Fresh Basil Pesto
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Hollandaise Sauce (recipe coming later this week!)
- Sriracha Mayo
- Garlic Butter
- Ranch Dressing (or your other favorite creamy dressing)
More Great Vegetable Sides
- How to Steam a Whole Head of Cauliflower in the Instant Pot - A whole head of steamed cauliflower is great for slicing into cauliflower steaks, chopping into florets, or drizzling with sauce for a beautiful vegetarian dish.
- Spicy Szechuan Green Beans - Spicy Szechuan Green Beans are inspired by many plates of a similar dish I had in China. These spicy, sweet, crunchy green beans hardly resemble any other green beans I’ve tried.
- Honey-Roasted Carrots with Poppy Seeds - The crunch of poppy seeds over caramelized carrots is an indescribably great combination.
- Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon - This cabbage, cooked until tender but still crisp, becomes silky and just a bit sweet. And with the crunch of crumbled bacon...amazing.
- 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo - This is the Instant Pot / pressure cooker I use to test all meals on this site. It easily makes enough to serve the 5 members of our family (3 are young kids).
Instant Pot Steamed Artichokes
- 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker
- Instant Pot Trivet (usually comes with the pressure cooker)
- 2 large Artichokes (see note)
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Lemon, halved
- Dipping Sauce, for serving (like pesto, hollandaise, or garlic butter)
- Prepare artichokes: Rinse and drain artichokes, being sure to rinse between the leaves. Slice off enough of the stem so that the artichokes can sit upright. Slice off the top of the artichokes to remove the thorns at the top of the leaves. (Note: Sometimes all thorns are removed before the artichokes are sold in stores, but if any remain after you sliced off the top, use kitchen shears to remove them) Remove and discard any of the small, tougher leaves near the base of the artichoke.
- Add water to the bowl of an Instant Pot / pressure cooker.
- Add the trivet that came with the machine.
- Place the artichokes on top of the trivet, stem-side down.
- Squeeze the juice from the lemons over top of the artichokes and then tuck the remaining lemon peels around the artichokes (the lemon peels will continue to flavor the artichokes as they cook).
- Close and lock the lid.
- Set the pressure valve to Sealing.
- Cook on manual / high pressure, using the following timeframes as a guide (use the weight of the heaviest single artichoke as a guide): * 8 oz Artichoke - 10 minutes * 12 oz Artichoke - 14 minutes * 16 oz Artichoke - 18 minutes
- At the end of the cook time, manually release the pressure.
- Test one artichoke by peeling off an outer leaf. (The leaf should easily pull away. If it does, the artichokes are done. If not, leave the artichokes to the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Again, manually release pressure.)
- Serve artichokes with dipping sauce of choice.
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