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Steamed Artichoke with Lemon Butter

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This delicious Steamed Artichoke recipe with lemon butter infused with fresh thyme is a perfect appetizer for spring gatherings. The tender petals seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic are a treat you won’t want to miss.

Top closeup view of steamed artichoke with lemon wedges and lemon butter dipping sauce.

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Artichoke Recipe Overview

A simple steamed artichoke is a delightful dish to enjoy for spring. It’s a lovely dish to serve as an appetizer for all your seasonal gatherings.

  • Cooking time: 10 minutes to prep, 35 minutes to steam
  • Kitchen Tools: Large pot with a steamer basket
  • Servings: 4 to 8 servings as an appetizer
Top view of trimmed artichokes in a steamer basket with fresh thyme, lemon, salt and pepper.

What I Love About Serving Artichokes in the Spring

While I love winters in the Pacific Northwest, come February with our drizzly rain and grey skies, my eye constantly searches for spring green baby leaves, hints of yellow daffodils, and beautiful pink blooms.

When I’m shopping at my produce market, the display of fresh artichokes and lemons lets me know the season is nearly here.

This week, I gravitated to that display within seconds of walking through the door. It’s nearly here, springtime, that is.

And in my kitchen today, these beautiful early artichoke globes with lemon wedges, fresh thyme, and minced garlic created an aroma of Easter, of warmer days, pink blooms, and yellow daffodils. While the rain poured.

Oh my, I wish I could share them with you, dear reader, as they taste like the season to come.

For me, these steamed artichokes are a rite of seasonal passage. It’s my every-year tradition and has been for years.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Happy spring!

What Do Artichokes Taste Like?

If you’ve not had the pleasure of steaming artichokes, I think this is your year. It’s such a treat. The leaves are meaty and delicious with a nutty, savory flavor thanks to the seasoning, salt and pepper, and pressed garlic.

Pairing those leaves with lemon butter infused with fresh thyme is utterly and completely delicious, and perfect for Easter dinner or any seasonal gatherings, yet they’re very easy to make.

Steamed Artichoke with Lemon Butter Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this simple dish. Ingredient measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Artichoke globes
  • Olive oil for flavor.
  • Garlic cloves, minced or pressed.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Fresh lemons are needed for both the artichokes and the lemon butter.
  • Melted butter for the dipping sauce.
  • Fresh thyme sprigs for both the artichokes and the dipping sauce.

Tips for Selecting Artichokes at the Market

The most important tip when shopping for fresh artichokes this season is to look for globes with tightly packed leaves (or bracts). This will help indicate how fresh it is.

Secondly, choose a large, plumb, ripe artichoke that feels heavy, indicates moisture in the globe, and is firm to the touch.

For good measure, a fresh artichoke, when squeezed, will have a small squeak. If it feels soft when squeezed, it’s past peak freshness.

How to Prepare An Artichoke

While steamed artichokes are very easy to make, there are a couple of steps to preparing them. Let’s walk through the easy steps!

1

Artichoke Stems

Decide if you want to leave the stems intact or remove them. Stems are very tasty, much like an artichoke heart, but there are steps to prep them. Otherwise, you can remove the stems at the base of the globe. If keeping the stems, remove any leaves, trim the ends, gently score the end with an “x,” and peel away the tough outer skin of the stem and rub the cut side of a lemon to help prevent browning.

2

Prepare the Artichoke Globes

Cut off about 1 inch of the top of the artichoke with a sharp knife. Using scissors, cut off prickly points on the leaves with kitchen shears and then rub the globe with the cut side of a lemon wedge.

Top view of slicing the top off of a fresh artichokes on a wooden cutting board.
3

Steam the Artichokes

Fill a large Dutch oven with 2 inches of water and squeeze the lemon juice into the water. Using a steamer basket, add the artichoke globes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with pressed garlic. If you have extra thyme sprigs, add them. Then bring to a boil, bring to a boil, cover and steam for 35-45 minutes, or until the artichoke stem is fork-tender and the outer leaves of the artichoke can be easily peeled off.

Top view of trimmed artichokes in a steamer basket with fresh thyme, lemon, salt and pepper.
4

Make the Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce

Add the butter, juice of 1 lemon, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme into a saucepan. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Then remove the thyme sprigs and serve with warm artichokes.

Top view of 3 steamed artichokes on a white platter with lemon butter thyme dipping sauce.

Steamed Artichoke Serving Suggestions

The leaves, stem, and artichoke heart are all edible. To eat the leaves, you’ll peel them off one by one, and scrape off the tender meat and discard the tough leaf.

Once the leaves have been eaten, you will get to the heart of the artichoke. It’s here you will notice a fuzzy layer known as the “choke.” This part is not edible and can be removed by scooping it out with a spoon.

The artichoke heart and stem (if used) will remain. Both are delicious and meaty. Enjoy with the dipping sauce.

Steamed artichokes are also a delicious appetizer for Easter Dinner or spring recipes like Crème Fraiche Pasta Recipe with Peas and Bacon or Easy Asparagus Frittata or even my favorite Cream of Asparagus Soup.

More Favorite Spring Recipes

If you loved learning how to cook artichokes, check out one of these spring cooking guides next:

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Side closeup view of steamed artichoke on a green and white plate with lemon thyme butter and lemon wedges.
Horizontal view of steamed artichoke with lemon thyme butter and lemon wedges on a green and white plate.

Steamed Artichoke with Lemon Butter

This Steamed Artichoke recipe with lemon butter and thyme is a lovely appetizer or side dish for spring gatherings. Tender and delicious!
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 artichoke globes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 2 lemons halved
  • 1/2 cup butter or more to taste
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

Instructions

Artichoke Stem

  • See notes regarding artichoke stems: If leaving the stems intact, pull off any leaves on the stem. It's important to peel the stem with a vegetable peeler so that the woody, tough skin is removed. Then, using a sharp knife, trim the ends slightly, score an "x" in the base of the stem, and rub with the cut side of a lemon wedge to help prevent browning.

Preparing Artichoke Globe

  • Cut off about 1 inch of the top of the artichoke with a sharp knife. Using scissors, cut off prickly points on the leaves with kitchen shears and then rub the globe with the cut side of a lemon wedge.

Steaming Artichokes

  • Fill a large Dutch oven with 2 inches of water and squeeze the lemon juice into the water. Using a steamer basket, add the artichoke globes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with pressed garlic. If you have a few extra thyme sprigs, I like to add them into the steamer basket with a remaining lemon.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and steam for 35-45 minutes, or until the artichoke stem is fork-tender and the outer leaves of the artichoke can be easily peeled off.

Lemon Butter

  • Add the butter, juice of 1 lemon, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme into a saucepan. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Then remove the thyme sprigs and serve with warm artichokes.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Removing the choke: As you likely know, the choke is not edible. To remove it, let the artichoke cool slightly and then slice it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the choke. 
Artichoke stems: You can either leave the stems intact with some prep, (which, by the way, the stems are a tasty part of the artichoke, much like the heart), or you can cut them off so the artichoke stands up straight. Its up to you!

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 702mg | Potassium: 484mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: artichoke, steamed artichokes

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