[Instant Pot] Insta-Artichokes! How to Steam Whole Artichokes in a Pressure Cooker

cooked artichoke garnished with fresh herbs and lemon.

With Instant Pot, whole steamed artichokes are faster and easier than ever! Read on for everything you need to know to master this special treat.

Jump To Section:

Original publish date February 2, 2015. Updated 2022 with new photos and expanded information.

The artichoke: nature’s finger food.

Au naturale. Simply steamed. Is any other plain vegetable quite so botanically romantic? Maybe it’s the delicately sweet flavor. Maybe it’s because they love cool, salty California air, like I do. Maybe it’s because you’re literally eating a dang flower! Whatever it is, sitting down to share an artichoke is something special.

Why Instant Pot is the Best Way to Cook Artichokes

Artichokes have earned a reputation for being a pain to prepare – their tough structures definitely need some cooking before they’re ready to melt in your mouth. On the stove top, you’re looking at upwards of 40 minutes of babysitting the pot, making sure the water level doesn’t boil too low.
Inside of a pressure cooker, water boils at a higher temperature which allows a dramatically shorter cook time. And with Instant Pot, you can safely “set it and forget it” and look forward to dipping tender leaves into your garlic butter faster than ever!

Step By Step: How to Cook Artichokes in Instant Pot

Begin by preparing your fresh artichokes. After washing them, discard any damaged outer leaves and use a large sharp knife to chop off the stem and the top third of each artichoke.

slicing off top third of artichoke with serrated bread knife.

Apply lemon juice to the cut edges to prevent browning (simply wipe a fresh lemon wedge over each artichoke top). If desired, you may choose to snip off the thorny tip of each external leaf – but understand that these soften after cooking, so the task is mostly aesthetic. If I’m in a hurry (like usual!) I leave them intact.

raw artichoke with top sliced off, rubbed with lemon wedge.

In your Instant Pot, pour in a cup of water (or 1.5 cups if you’re using an 8-quart model), add any desired aromatics, then place the trivet rack or a steamer basket to hold your artichokes. You can place them stem-side-down or stem-side-up – I have not noticed a difference between these arrangements, so use whatever placement is a better fit for your batch.

two raw artichokes on rack over water, ready to pressure cook in instant pot.

Close the lid, select the manual high pressure mode, and set the proper cook time (more on that in the next section!). When the cooking time is complete, carefully open the valve for a quick release and ENJOY! They can be served hot or chilled. I usually go for hot ones!

two cooked artichokes in instant pot

How Long to Pressure Cook Artichokes?

The trickiest thing about pressure cooking artichokes is deciding how long to let them cook. I’ll preface this challenge by emphasizing that if you’re worried about overcooking, it is smart to start with a shorter cook time – you can always turn the cooker back on for a couple of extra minutes if needed. Having said that… two main factors determine ideal cook time:

Artichoke Size: Small, Medium, Large…?

Seasoned Instant Pot cooks know that the size or thickness of whatever you’re cooking is the main variable in determining the proper cook time. The batch size is rarely important – it doesn’t matter if you’re cooking a single artichoke, or packing your cooker to max capacity (as long as you’re allowing decent airflow). What matters most is the size!

I’ve learned about how artichokes are categorized by size from the California Artichoke Advisory Board. This industry resource reports size grades based on count per case, so I’m translating these rules into individual artichoke weights for consumers like us:

Large artichokes are about 12-15 ounces, or 340-425 grams. This is the size I most often find in my local stores.

Medium artichokes are about 7-11 ounces, or 200-310 grams.

Small artichokes are about 6 ounces, or 170 grams. Any produce smaller than this would be sold as “baby artichokes” which would call for an even shorter cook time. I have not tried baby artichokes in my pressure cooker yet, but I will keep an eye out for my next chance to find a bag of them!


My general guideline is to pressure cook large artichokes for 15 minutes, medium artichokes for 10 minutes, and small artichokes for 5 minutes. However, sometimes adjustments are needed…

Seasonality and Freshness: How Tender or Tough…?

If you’ve cooked a few artichokes, you’ll know that some are a little fresher and more supple, and don’t need to cook as long – while others are extra fibrous and ornery, and benefit from extra cooking time.

Seasonality, growing conditions and freshness are all factors. In the USA, the vast majority of artichokes are grown in California. They are produced year-round, but the main harvest season is Spring (~ March to May). In my experience, artichokes obtained early in this period are the most likely to be tender and quick-cooking.

When shopping for artichokes, use your senses: heavy, solid specimens with tight petals are a sign of freshness (versus light ones with loose, open petals – which may indicate an older or woodier artichoke).

Based on your assessment of your artichokes, you may choose to adjust your cook time up or down by a few minutes (from the general times given for each size above). It is difficult to advise more precisely, but with a little practice you will quickly gain confidence!

Please feel welcome to share your experience in the comment section, especially if you have any tips for fine-tuning your cook times.

Instant Pot Pressure-Steamed Artichokes

How Much Water to Add?

When pressure cooking, you don’t need to worry about the water level as much as when cooking on the stovetop because you don’t lose water to evaporation!

All you need to do is use the minimum amount of water required for your cooker to reach pressure. Instant Pot recommends a minimum volume of 1 cup for 6-quart cookers, and 1.5 cups for 8-quart cookers.

Adding Aromatics to the Cooking Liquid

Instead of steaming over plain water, you can take the opportunity to infuse your artichoke with a little extra flavor by tossing your favorite aromatic ingredients to the pressure cooker.

Try spiking your water with lemon slices, smashed garlic cloves, hot peppers, bay leaves, or fresh herbs.

How to Eat Artichokes

If you’re new to whole artichokes, here is a quick primer on how to enjoy them:

  • Start by plucking off an outer leaf. Hold the tip of the leaf with your fingers, and notice the tidbit of soft cooked flesh at the leaf’s base.
  • Dip it into your favorite sauce, then bite into it, and keep your teeth closed around it while you pull the leaf out of your mouth. Savor your mouthful, and discard the tough, inedible part of the leaf.
  • Continue until you run out of leaves; at the core, you will find the choke, which is the actual flower amidst the plant structure. It is fuzzy and inedible – scrape out the hairy threads and discard.
  • Under the choke, the rest of the tender vegetable attached to the stem is the heart. Slice, dip, and savor it.
cooked artichoke with fresh herbs and lemon

What to Serve with Steamed Artichokes

Steamed artichokes are most often served as an appetizer or first course. You can even think of this as a meal-prep item, to serve chilled or gently reheat (store in the fridge for up to 4 days).

They make a delicious healthy side dish for pairings like steak, fish, or chicken. Of course, a dipping sauce is essential – this topic merits a section of its own!

Dipping Sauces to Serve with Artichokes

Melted Butter – even better with a few cloves of freshly minced garlic.

Hollandaise Sauce – another warm, buttery dip – emulsified with egg yolks to make it extra creamy.

Chilled Aioli, Mayonnaise or Dijonnaise – all culinary variations on egg yolks blended with oil. Counter the richness by mixing in punchy flavors like mustard, peppers and/or fresh herbs.

Green Goddess Dressing – green on green! Creamy, tangy, loaded with fresh herbs. My favorite recipe for this is Cookie & Kate’s Easy Green Goddess Dressing.

Chimichurrri – for a little South American fusion flair, try this rich and flavorful blend of herbs in olive oil. I love chimichurri and frequently mix it up it in a mason jar attached to my blender! I’ve posted the recipe here: Chimichurri in a Hurry.

Nutrition Insights

Food for thought, from your friendly neighborhood Registered Dietitian Nutritionist + food science buff!

For optimal nutrition, it’s essential to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables – and artichokes are certainly uniquely different than other veggies we encounter!

Artichokes are especially rich in antioxidant compounds, which contribute to anti-inflammatory effects and the prevention of various chronic diseases. Large amounts of polyphenol antioxidants are the reason why they are so susceptible to browning after being sliced (just like apples!).

Dietary fiber is another benefit – about half of the total carbohydrate in artichokes is fiber, so they are valuable in gut health support and the downstream benefits of a happy, healthy microbiota.

We’re lucky that this special veggie treat is suitable for just about every ‘flavor’ of healthy eating – paleo, keto, gluten free, vegetarian/vegan… enjoy, everybody!

Other Vegetables to Prep with Instant Pot

raw zucchini noodles in instant pot

[Instant Pot] Insta-Zoodles!

cooked whole beets in instant pot.

[Instant Pot] Insta-Beets!

raw kale in instant pot

[Instant Pot] Insta-Greens!

steamed artichoke garnished with fresh herbs and lemon

Instant Pot Steamed Whole Artichokes

Mary Clare Fraker, MS RD
With Instant Pot, whole steamed artichokes are faster and easier than ever! 
Guidelines for determining ideal cooking time (scale up/down for intermediate sizes and/or to account for fresher vs. tougher produce):
Large artichokes (about 12-15 ounces / 340-425 grams): 15 minutes
Medium artichokes (about 7-11 ounces / 200-310 grams): 10 minutes
Small artichokes (about 6 ounces / 170 grams): 5 minutes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Time To Pressure 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Servings 2 Appetizer Servings Per Large Artichoke
Calories 40 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • whole artichokes
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the artichokes with water and remove any damaged outer leaves. Using a sharp knife, carefully trim off the stem and top third of each artichoke. Rub the cut top with a lemon wedge to prevent browning.
  • Set the steam rack or a steamer basket into the Instant Pot’s cooking insert, place the artichokes on top, and pour in water (1 cup for 6-quart models, or 1.5 cups for 8-quart models). Close the lid, with the valve set to sealing position. Select Steam mode, leave the setting on High Pressure, and adjust the time based on the guidelines in the recipe headnote (5-15 minutes based on size).
  • When the cooking time is complete, carefully open the valve to manually release the pressure. Use tongs to remove the artichokes from the cooker and serve warm with the dipping sauce of your choice.
Keyword artichokes

If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a comment and star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating. To follow along for more healthy Instant Pot recipes, you can subscribe via email or follow on Instagram 👍

Instant Pot Recipe Index
https://fueledbyinstantpot.com/recipes/

80 thoughts on “[Instant Pot] Insta-Artichokes! How to Steam Whole Artichokes in a Pressure Cooker”

  1. People need to know about cutting out the fuzzy choke thing too, when they’re chopping away at it.

    1. Good point! This is covered in the “how to eat” link” – I actually don’t bother to remove it first when I pressure-steam them whole like this. After eating the fleshy petals, you can scoop out the fuzzy choke in the center (not good eats!) to get to the tasty heart underneath!

      1. I have found that a grapefruit spoon works real good at getting the choke out.
        Harold in Grants Pass, OR

  2. If you pour the water in first and put the Instant Pot on “saute” while you are cleaning and de-fanging the artichokes, you can cut the time it takes to come to pressure when you cook them – the water’s already boiling. Oh, and put some lemon slices and maybe a bit of garlic and peppercorns in the water for extra flavor later.

  3. I made artichokes in my instapot last night with this recipe. It worked but they were much mushier (hearts) than I’m used to and I’d probably cut the cooking time some. I’m new to the Instant Pot and am not nearly as wild about it as all my friends were. I’m used to my real pressure cooker, which I used at least once a week before getting the Instant Pot. Artichokes take only 10 minutes in a stovetop one (10 minutes high pressure, instant release by running cold water over the pot, done) versus 30 minutes in this. It’s the same with dried beans. I’m used to them cooking in my traditional pressure cooker in 2-4 minutes and it’s 15 in this IP. If I had it to do again, I’d just stick to my old school kitchen tools and save my money. It’s pretty though! 😉

    1. A Magical Life, were you using your old pressure cooker pot on a gas stove top or an electric? I love my Instant Pot, hands down, but I also love cooking with a gas stove top vs electric stove top as gas cooks much faster.

  4. This cooking time was way too long, my large artichokes came out pure mush. I went and found Laura’s recipe from hip pressure cooking (unfortunately too late to save my artichokes,) and she only cooks for 10 minutes on high, not 20, then 10 minutes before opening the valve. Wasted artichokes.

    1. Sorry to hear that, and surprised because I tried this several times, starting from Laura’s instructions (I believe she calls for 15 minutes for large ones) but finding my artichokes still too tough without more cooking time. Then I found recommendations from an artichoke farm to pressure-cook medium ones for 22 minutes. These things do vary, and I’m sure age and freshness are a factor.

    2. This is a great recipe. What I like most is the “set it and forget it” aspect. I’ve read all the comments, and I think that you need to experiment with the timing to see what is best for the size of artichoke you are cooking. Usually the artichokes I have are large. I have a 3 quart Instant Pot and cook two artichokes at a time. 20 to 25 minutes cooks them just right. Sometimes I serve them with drawn butter, as my mom did, but almost always I make the 2 minute mayo recipe on Serious Eats. It is delicious—I never buy store bought mayo anymore. Try it. Thank you, Mary!

  5. I’ve been eating artichokes since I was a child living in France. My Mother learned how to make a sauce from our neighbors made simply of mayonnaise and red wine vinegar. None of these other sauces appeal to me. I cannot tell you a recipe because my mother mixed it until it tasted right. So, that is what I do. It has to have the right tang from the vinegar. The sauce is a pretty pink color. We prefer ours room temp instead of warm.

    1. I was given a nice combination sauce I sure like & would be worth a try too sometime. It is simply 2 parts real mayonnaise to 1 part sour cream, mixed together and then chilled a bit.
      Harold From Grants Pass, OR

    2. My mother always made a sauce with mayonnaise and yellow mustard mixed to the taste. I think that it probably has a similar taste profile as the mayo with wine vinegar. I also had a Meyer lemon aioli sauce served with artichokes at a restaurant once which was a fabulous sauce.

      1. Only REALLY great dip we’ve used over many years, after trying many,many others, is melted butter and fresh lemon juice…lots and lots of lemon juice,and a bit of salt.
        Oh,my mouth wate s just thinking about it! Getting my ipot out NOW!

      1. 20 minute pressure cook time with 10 minute”cool” down for some pressure to reduce before opening the steam valve.

  6. I have used this recipe twice with large size artichokes. The second time even had 3 artichokes. Perfect every time. Husband, son and I love it. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I told my husband I had a new Love. His name is Instant Pot!
    Meals are so quick, easy, and full of flavor! Wow! Where were you when I was raising three teenage boys?
    We received our instant pot as a gift a few months ago. It leaves me more time after work relaxing with my first love!

  8. I followed this recipe exactly but my artichokes not only took longer (with the warm-up & cool-down) than stovetop, they were waaaay over-cooked. Mushy, actually. On the stovetop, I simmer 20 mins. Done.

    If I do this in the IP again, I will cut the time in half.

  9. I enjoy leaving about 1-2 in of the stem (peeled of the fibrous outside) on the artichoke and have found it only takes 18 min to cook if you invert them stem side up…at 20 they fall apart in the IP.

  10. Quick note–eat them right after they’re cooked. A few hours after cooking, they can develop a chemical compound that, while harmless, causes violent gastric distress in some people. I learned the hard way…

  11. Easy hollandaise sauce I make in blender. Perfect for keto! I use the flat blade of my bullet. 4 egg yolks, splash of hot sauce, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard. ( all to taste) I use half a large lemon for juice and squirt of Dijon. Blend till smooth. Couple seconds should be good. Now in another container melt 3/4 cup of butter. ( some people do unsalted) I use regular but don’t add extra salt. Make sure all butter is melted and hot. Now quickly add your hot butter to egg mixture and quickly blend. You will hear a different sound from blender when ready. Means it’s thickened.
    Now enjoy!!!!

  12. I’m trying these tonight. I usually cook mine heart-side up tho’ in “waterless cookware” (yeah, & for a LOT longer time). We’ll see our this tip turns our.

  13. I have never understood why people cut off the pointy leaves or remove the choke before cooking. The points get soft and everyone removes their own softened choke when you get down to it at the table. All you need to do is boil or steam and serve with mayonnaise, and put a big bowl in the middle of the table to toss the leaves. Super simple with a rustic flair!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating