Simply Steamed Artichokes With Lemon Butter

Noritake China dishes

I used to make artichokes all the time. Like literally: There was a time period, circa 2010ish, during which I made them for myself and Kendrick every. single. night. I had only recently discovered them, and became fully obsessed once I realized that their true identity is a butter-delivery system that you can feel virtuous about, because vegetables.

Fun little fact: The artichoke is actually the bud of a thistle flower.

We had a family dinner last night, so I thought I’d make the four of us a throwback meal that included my go-to beef stew and the aforementioned artichokes with lemon butter. My children sampled them, albeit cautiously, and ultimately declared them “fun, but weird.” This, however, meant that they also did all the leaf-removal work and then handed over the hearts themselves to me, so I’m calling that an across-the-board win.


Look for artichokes that are heavy for their size and have tightly-packed leaves with only a little separation (because they’re actually a flower bud, the leaves open up more and more as they age, so artichokes with big separations between leaves may be on the older side). Ideally, the leaves should squeak a bit when you give the artichoke a squeeze.

  1. First, wash them and cut off all but about about 1/2″ of the stem. (Some people also cut off the sharp-ish tops, but I don’t have the patience for that. Just, you know, don’t eat the thorny bits. Obviously.)
  2. Place the artichokes in a steaming basket atop boiling water – you can add some aromatics (lemon, garlic, a bay leaf) to the water if you want to be extra.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and steam on low heat for 40 minutes or so, adding a little more hot water if the level gets too low. If a fork can easily be inserted into the base of the artichoke, it’s ready to eat.

how to make lemon butter for artichokes


  1. Lemon butter is one of those things that you can get as fussy about as you want to…or you can melt some butter in the microwave, and then throw in some juice from one of those plastic lemon-shaped squeeze bottles, if that’s how you roll (#noshame). If, however, you feel like doing it the (allegedly) *right* way, here’s what you do:
  2. Reduce the juice of 1 lemon in a small pot over low heat for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add 3/4 of a stick of butter, cut into smallish pieces. Let the butter melt gently, and then allow the lemon butter to cool a bit so it thickens up before serving.

how to make lemon butter for artichokes

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