Last time I was in California, my friend Cheri Oteri and I bonded over our Italian heritage—we both grew up eating homemade Italian food, surrounded by family and friends. Cheri reminisced about her Grandma’s stuffed artichokes, and of course I had to invite her over so we could make some of our own! We decided to join forces with our friends Dominique and Kelsey and make a girls’ trip out of it. Oh, it was so much fun! You can read the whole story in my latest Blame it On Biscotti blog post: Girls’ Night Out with Cheri Oteri and Friends.

Every Italian household has its own stuffed artichoke recipe, and mine is a family heirloom. They are a bit of work to prepare, but trust me—they are sooo worth it! My vegetarian stuffed artichokes recipe features homemade breadcrumbs, and two butter dipping sauce recipes are included! I make them the way my grandmother made them, and it brings a taste of our Italian heritage straight to the dining table. This one is so much fun for dinners with company. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Stuffed Artichokes

How do you eat a stuffed artichoke?

If you’ve never had a stuffed artichoke before, I’d be willing to bet you’ve tried a spinach and artichoke dip or had artichoke hearts on your pizza. If you liked them that way and now you’re wondering how to make a stuffed artichoke or “How do you eat stuffed artichokes, anyway?” then you’re in the right place. Artichokes can be intimidating vegetables—but only until you get to know them.

To enjoy a stuffed artichoke, you will be removing the leaves individually and focusing on the bottom, tender part. Start by pulling off the outer leaves one at a time. Dip the base of the leaf into sauce or melted butter then pull it through your teeth to remove the soft, pulpy portion along with the stuffing. Discard the remaining leaf and start all over again with the next one. You'll have the hang of it after just a couple of bites, I promise!

removing the leaves of artichokes
removing the leaves of artichokes

How to Work with Artichokes

For this recipe, I would suggest selecting 4 medium artichokes that are all around the same size. The large ones can be REALLY large and easily feed two people. For more tips on how to choose the right artichoke, see my article on how to choose the best artichoke: How to Pick the Best Artichoke, plus Mary’s Best Tips and Tricks for Cooking with Artichokes.

Once you get back to the kitchen, start by washing each artichoke under cold water. This helps remove the bitter-tasting natural coating on the vegetable. Cut off the stem so that the artichoke sits flat, and if you like, rub a slice of lemon on the cut edge to prevent discoloration. Keep in mind that the outer leaves may be tough. Pull off the lower leaves at the bottom, as these will be too tough to eat.

In this recipe, you’ll parboil the artichokes with quarters of lemon, which softens the leaves and makes removing the inedible “choke” much easier. You can use a melon baller or teaspoon to scrape out the inedible choke part of the artichoke.

pre-boil artichokes
Removing "choke"

How to Make Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs

If you have the time, take that extra step and make your own breadcrumbs, just like my grandmother used to do! You’ll start with a few thick bread slices, tear them into pieces, and place them on a baking pan. Remember to let the bread dry out overnight or your crumbs will be too moist. The next day, pop them into the food processor and pulse just until you get a nice, coarse, dry crumb.

You will really taste the difference using your own homemade crumbs! Keep in mind that packing your homemade breadcrumb mixture into the leaves may be a bit messy, but that’s part of the joy of cooking! Pro tip: Stuff the artichokes over a baking sheet or bowl. Then you can catch any of the crumbs that don't make it into the artichoke and use them on the next one.

Homemade Breadcrumbs
Homemade Breadcrumbs Ingredients

A Note on Baking Your Artichokes

Baking the artichokes requires a little extra attention! Make sure to read the recipe carefully to learn how to balance the liquid ratios to soften the artichokes and achieve maximum flavor! Don’t be discouraged—it’s easy to get the hang of it and the final product is so worth it. I garnished my stuffed artichoke with some freshly grated Parmesan and some lemon zest as a final touch. How will you dress yours up?

Butter Dipping Sauces to Serve with Homemade Stuffed Artichokes

Looking for something savory to dip your stuffed artichoke leaves into? Look no further. Try my Parmesan Butter Dipping Sauce recipe or my Easy Lemon Butter Sauce recipe on your stuffed artichokes, pasta, fish, and anything else you can get your hands on!

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Yield: 4
Mary’s Italian Stuffed Artichokes Recipe with Homemade Breadcrumbs and Easy Butter Dipping Sauce

Mary’s Italian Stuffed Artichokes Recipe with Homemade Breadcrumbs and Easy Butter Dipping Sauce

Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 H & 10 M
Stuffed artichokes are a cherished part of Italian culinary tradition. Baked to perfection, you and your guests will savor these stuffed artichoke leaves. Serve with one (or both) of my butter dipping sauce recipes!


Stuffed Artichokes
  • 3 large or 4 medium globe artichokes
  • 1 lemon plus ½ lemon
  • 6 slices of good quality Italian bread torn into coarse pieces (let bread dry out overnight on your counter!) You will need a generous 2 cups of bread crumbs.
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup olive oil (more if needed) plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • ¾ cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano grated on a microplane
  • Lemon zest
  • Italian parsley, chopped
  • Melted unsalted butter
Optional Sauces
  • Mary’s Easy Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce
  • Butter Parmesan Sauce


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Before you stuff the artichokes, you need to prepare them. Using a sharp stainless-steel knife, cut the top off (about ½ inch). Take the lemon half and rub it over the cut portion to prevent discoloration.
  3. Cut off the stems of the artichokes so they sit flat. Use scissors to remove the first layer of tough outer leaves from each artichoke. Discard these leaves. Using your scissors, snip the sharp tips off the leaves, about ⅛-inch down from the tip.
  4. Rinse the artichokes under cool water and set aside.
  5. In a large stock pot, heat enough water to cover the artichokes. Cut the remaining lemon into quarters and place in the water. When the water is boiling, add the artichokes. Place a heat-resistant plate (one that fits inside the pan) on top of the artichokes to keep them submerged. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Uncover the pot and remove the plate. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the artichokes and place them, stem side down, on a cutting board to cool. When the artichokes are cool enough to handle, use a melon baller or teaspoon to scrape out the hairy “choke” from the center. Pull away any of the small, pale inner leaves.
  7. Now it’s time to make some seasoned breadcrumbs! Place the bread pieces that have been dried overnight in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get coarse breadcrumbs. You will need a little more than 2 cups of breadcrumbs. If you have more than you need, don’t worry! You can transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze them for later!
  8. In a mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, Italian parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano, basil, oregano, and lemon zest. Mix to combine. Now, slowly drizzle in ⅓ cup of olive oil to moisten the crumbs. If needed, add a little more olive oil. Remember to save 2 tablespoons to drizzle over the artichokes once they are stuffed.
  9. Select a baking dish that will fit the four artichokes snuggly. I use a deep Le Creuset dish with a lid, but you can also use a baking dish that has high sides and use foil as a cover. Place the artichokes, stem side down, in the baking dish. Use your fingers to nestle the seasoned breadcrumbs in between the leaves. I like to pull the leaves back gently, then use my fingers to stuff the breadcrumb mixture down towards the bottom of the leaf. If you have any leftover breadcrumbs, you can stuff them into the center of the artichokes.
  10. Carefully pour the water and wine around the bottom of the artichokes. Season the tops of the artichokes with salt and freshly ground pepper, then drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Loosely cover the baking dish with aluminum foil or, if your dish has a lid, place the lid on it.
  11. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the foil or lid. After you remove the foil from baking the artichokes, check the liquid level. If the liquid has mostly evaporated, just add a little more water to come up about ½-inch in the pan so the artichokes continue to steam while baking.
  12. Bake for another 10 minutes. The artichokes are done when you can easily insert a knife into the leaves without any resistance. If you would like a toasty top, flash the artichokes under the broiler to crisp up the top layer of breadcrumbs. Make sure to keep an eye on them!
  13. Remove the baking dish from the oven and place each artichoke in an individual serving bowl. If you like, you can garnish the tops of the artichokes with finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon zest, and chopped Italian parsley. Serve with melted unsalted butter or one (or two) of my easy dipping sauces and enjoy!


Prep Time: 30 minutes plus overnight to dry out homemade breadcrumbs

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