Learn how to cook Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes, a funny-looking yet healthy and delicious root vegetable.
How to cook Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes? There are many ways to do it: you can roast, boil, steam, or pan-fry them. All methods are easy, and the results are super delicious.
What are Jerusalem artichokes?
Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, sunroots, or topinambur, are root vegetables belonging to the same family as the sunflower. They are native to North America and found their way to Europe at the beginning of the 17th century.
The plant grows above ground, up to 3 meters, and has yellow flowers. But we want the edible tuber, not the overground growing plant. The tubers grow underground (like potatoes). They look a bit like a large, browner ginger root, have a nutty, sweet, slightly earthy flavor and a crisp consistency, and are utterly delicious.
They lost popularity twice in their history. The first time once the potatoes became very popular, and the second time after WW II. As potatoes were rationed during the war, people started relying on sunchokes, swede, and turnips.
All these three vegetables were shunned after the war’s end because people associated them with the war. Thankfully, they are regaining their popularity today. See our Swede Soup (Rutabaga Soup); it’s delicious!
Despite their name, they have nothing to do with Jerusalem and are not artichokes either. Jerusalem is the mispronunciation of the Italian word for sunflower – girasole. Artichoke comes from the fact that they taste a bit like real globe artichokes.
When and where to find them?
Jerusalem artichokes are in season from late Autumn to early Spring, so now is the time to get them. You can find them at the local market or in a larger grocery store.
Ingredients for roasting sunchokes
Do you have to peel Jerusalem artichokes?
- You don’t have to peel them; the skin of Jerusalem artichokes is edible. But if you decide not to peel the sunchokes, you must clean them very well. The tubers are full of dirt and grit. The best way to clean them is by soaking them in cold water to loosen the dirt and then brushing them thoroughly with a vegetable brush under running water.
- If you peel and cut them, immerse them immediately in a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice to prevent them from browning, the oxidation process starts immediately. If you intend to fry or roast them, dry them well with a paper towel.
What’s the best way to eat them?
There are so many different ways you can enjoy Jerusalem artichokes. You can have them raw in salads; you can boil or steam them, fry them in the pan, or roast them in the oven. You can make soups or mash them.
- Raw: They are great, either grated or thinly sliced, in salads. However, keep in mind that raw Jerusalem artichokes cause flatulence.
- Soup: Make this delicious Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (Sunchoke Soup) with bacon, a spicy and creamy soup that really tastes incredible!
- Steam: Halve or quarter the clean tubers, place them in the steamer, and steam them until tender. It will take about 15 minutes, but check and allow a bit more time if they are not as tender as you want them to be.
- Boiled: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt to the water and boil the chopped sunchokes until tender; this will take about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Check with a fork.
- Tip: If you want to use them for salads, 10 minutes of cooking time should be enough. If you want to mash them, cook them until soft.
- Pan-fried: Slice the tubers thinly. Cook them on medium heat in a mixture of butter and olive oil for about 10 minutes or until done and slightly crispy around the edges. If desired, add a few finely sliced cloves of garlic during the last couple of minutes of the cooking time (they should only have enough time to get golden). Stir often and sprinkle them with flaky sea salt and roughly ground black pepper before serving.
- Roasted: Soak them in cold water for 20 minutes (1). Dry them well. Halve or quarter the sunchokes, depending on their size.
- Season: Mix them with oil and spices (2), place them in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a roasting tin (3), and roast Jerusalem artichokes in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, tender on the inside and slightly crispy around the edges (4).
Keep them in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer in a paper bag or wrapped in paper towels to absorb humidity. Depending on how long they have been sitting at the market, you can keep them for 6 to 8 days.
Once you’ve cleaned and cut them, they will only last 1 or 2 days.
The best about them regarding health is that they have no starchy carbohydrates and thus a lower glycemic index than potatoes, and they are not fattening.
Sunchoke produces quite a bit of flatulence; their unofficial name is “fartichokes.” They contain inulin, which can cause gas and bloating. Inulin sensitivity varies from one person to another, yet to avoid flatulence, it’s better to cook the tubers before eating them. Adding a splash of lemon juice to the boiling water might help against gas problems
How to serve Jerusalem artichokes?
- Mashed sunchokes are a great low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. Serve them just as you would serve mashed potatoes. We love them with Beef and Apple Stew, Authentic German Goulash, Pörkölt Recipe (Hungarian Pork Stew), or Baked Brats in the Oven.
- Boiled or steamed: Serve them with fish or chicken. Try them with White Fish Fillet in Tomato Sauce or Orange Salmon with White Wine Sauce.
- Roasted or pan-fried: A perfect side dish for just about anything, for instance, Slow Cooker Country-Style Ribs, Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast, Cast-Iron Chicken Thighs, or Roasted Stuffed Whole Chicken.
- Pan-fried or oven-roasted Jerusalem artichokes are also super tasty on their own. I love to serve them with Low-Calorie Hummus, tahini sauce, or Mint Yogurt Sauce. If you like, serve them with a little lemon juice squeezed on top. Or with melted sage butter.
I hope that this easy guide on how to cook Jerusalem artichokes will help you cook more with this healthy and delicious vegetable. Here are more easy guides on how to cook vegetables:
- How to Cook Frozen Corn (on the Cook and Kernels)
- How to Cook Sweetheart Cabbage
- Buttered Leeks (How to Cook Leeks)
- How to Cook Sauerkraut
- Roasted Frozen Cauliflower
More tasty recipes with unusual vegetables
How to Cook Jerusalem Artichokes (or Sunchokes)
- Baking sheet
Roasted Jerusalem artichokes:
- 1 lb Jerusalem artichokes 450 g
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 sprig rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
Roasted Jerusalem artichokes:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C while you soak the Jerusalem artichokes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Soak Jerusalem artichokes (Note 1): Place them in a large bowl and cover them with cold water. Soak them for 20 minutes. Scrub them with a brush under running water, and ensure that all the dirt is removed.
- Cut: Halve the smaller sunchokes and quarter the larger ones. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Season: Sprinkle the tubers with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste), and 1 sprig of finely chopped rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary). Toss well to coat the vegetables.
- Roast the Jerusalem artichokes for about 25-30 minutes until they are tender on the inside and slightly crispy around the edges.
- Serve immediately with a few lemon wedges on the side (optional but nice).
- Clean them well. Grate or slice them very thinly and serve them on salads (Note 2).
- Halve or quarter the clean sunchokes. Place them in a steamer and steam them for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Check and allow a bit more time if they are not as tender as you want them to be.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt to the water and boil the chopped vegetables until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Check with a fork (Note 3).
- Slice the Jerusalem artichokes thinly. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the slices on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until done and slightly crispy around the edges.
- If desired, add a few finely sliced cloves of garlic during the last couple of minutes of the cooking time (they should only have enough time to get golden). Stir often and sprinkle them with flaky sea salt and roughly ground black pepper before serving.
- Make this creamy and spicy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup.
- Soaking: It is an optional step, but it helps loosen the dirt and grit, thus making cleaning easier. If you don’t have time to soak the sunchokes, ensure that you wash them very well.
- Remember that raw Jerusalem artichokes cause even more flatulence than cooked ones.
- If you want to use them for salads, 10 minutes of cooking time should be enough. If you want to mash them, cook them until soft.