In the world of fried foods, there are some items that I will order in a restaurant, but likely never try to make at home. Fried artichoke hearts are high on that list. Now that I have an air fryer, I can’t believe that I’ve been missing out on them for so long.
Luckily, one doesn’t need to cook and prepare a fresh artichoke for this dish. Any supermarket variety will do, such as Reese or Cara Mia Artichokes, just be sure to get ones packed in water and not oil. If packed in water, they will be far easier to work with!
Why Air Fried Artichoke Hearts are Different
Artichokes themselves are a really unique food. There are lots of interesting textures between the leaves and the hearts, combined with a hint of meatiness and a metallic flavor that puts them in a camp by themselves.
Frying them only takes it to the next level by adding a crispy exterior to break through.
However, deep frying artichoke hearts can be a mixed bag. The result, many times, is a soggy artichoke that trapped copious amounts of fryer oil between the leaves.
Enter the Air Fryer.
Suddenly, the artichoke heart no longer needs to be submerged into a gallon of fryer oil. A few spritzes of olive oil is all that’s needed to create a super crispy final product.
Dredging Artichoke Hearts for Frying
We’re going to follow a standard 3-step breading procedure that one would use for any fried food: flour, egg wash, bread crumbs.
This is the same process I use for air fried avocado fries, which are just as delicious.
Set up three bowls. One with half a cup of flour, the other with 2 beaten eggs and the last with 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs.
There are two ways you can then batter up your air fried artichoke hearts: doing it all at once, or in stages.
I’ve found that I get the best results if I dredge them all in flour first and let them rest on a plate
Then rinse off my hand and proceed to dip them all in the egg wash and roll in the breadcrumbs second.
At this point they are ready for any additional seasoning. I’ll hit them with a little garlic powder and a few twists of black pepper. Always season the items, not the flour/breadcrumbs. Much less waste and more gets on the actual food.
Air Frying Artichoke Hearts in 8 minutes
Once your air fryer is preheated, set it to 360 degrees for 8 minutes
Give your battered artichokes a spray of olive oil on one side while still on the plate. It’s best to use either a manual pump spray, or canned Olive Oil, to ensure a light, even coating.
Carefully place them in the fryer basket with the oiled side down. Give them one more spray on top and then start cooking.
Halfway through, turn them over and rotate in the basket if necessary.
Dipping Sauce for Air Fried Artichoke Hearts
As the artichoke has a pretty strong personality on its own, its dipping partner needs to be bold in a very different way. Something rich and creamy will give the right contrast to the sharp, fried flavors of the artichoke.
If you don’t have time to whip something up, ranch or blue cheese dressing would be a fine choice, as they are for nearly any fried food.
For artichokes, I like to make a really garlicky aioli. And I mean really garlicky.
A Kitchen Hack for Garlic Aioli
The classic way to make aioli involves raw eggs, a lot of very tedious whisking with a slow drizzle of oil.
I’m not a big fan of raw eggs, especially with two young kids, so I take a big shortcut and start with half a cup of prepared mayonnaise.
Add in a squeeze of fresh lemon, a few chopped garlic cloves and a fresh herb (e.g. parsley, chives or basil) and you have a delicious aioli that should lack any risk of food-borne illness.
And it’s ready in a fraction of the time!
If you have another favorite dip for fried artichokes, please share in the comments!
An air fryer is perfect for making these crispy air fried artichoke hearts that pair wonderfully with a simple garlic aioli.
- 1 Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts (in water, not oil!) Drained well
- 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 Large Eggs, Beaten
- 1 Cup Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1/2 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
- 1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Herb (e.g. Basil, Chives, Parsley) Optional
Drain artichokes well in a colander and lay them out on a kitchen towel to dry more while you assemble your dredging station and pre-heat your air fryer
In 3 different bowls, set up a flour bowl, an egg wash bowl and a panko bowl with a large plate at the beginning and at the end
One by one, lightly dust each artichoke heart in the flour, tapping off excess and put them on the first plate until all artichokes are coated.
Take an artichoke and dip them in the egg wash, roll them on the panko and press to coat them well. Place each one on the plate at the end.
Spray the top side of the dredged artichokes with olive oil and then carefully transfer them to the pre-heated fryer basket. Place them in oiled side down and then spray them all on the top
Cook for 8 minutes at 360 degrees
In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make the garlic aioli dipping sauce. This can be made a few hours earlier if you really want the garlic flavor to develop.