What Are Sunchokes?

Plus, how to select, store and cook them.

August 08, 2023
frischer Topinambur, Tuch, Studio


frischer Topinambur, Tuch, Studio

Photo by: Westend61/Getty Images

Westend61/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

Perhaps you’ve seen sunchokes listed on restaurant menus or at your local farmers market, possibly labeled as Jerusalem artichokes. But what exactly are sunchokes? Here’s everything you need to know about sunchokes, including how to select, store and cook them.

Jerusalem artichokes on rusty background, top view


Jerusalem artichokes on rusty background, top view

Photo by: Aniko Hobel/Getty Images

Aniko Hobel/Getty Images

What Are Sunchokes?

Sunchokes are root tubers that are a member of the sunflower family. While also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are not part of the artichoke family.

Sunchokes have bumpy, brown skin and crisp, white flesh. Although sunchokes' skins are edible, they're typically peeled before they're prepared. Sunchokes can be eaten raw, but they can be difficult to digest so they're more often cooked before serving.

What Do Sunchokes Taste Like?

Sunchokes have mild, earthy flavors. They taste slightly nutty and a little sweet.


Photo by: Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam/Getty Images

Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam/Getty Images

How to Select Sunchokes

Look for sunchokes that are firm, clean and relatively smooth with minimal bumps. Avoid sunchokes with blemishes, wrinkles, soft spots or sprouts. Take care when handling sunchokes, as their thin skin makes them susceptible to bruising.

How to Store Sunchokes

Store sunchokes in a cool, dry area away from direct light. You can store sunchokes in the refrigerator crisper drawer by wrapping them in paper towels and placing them in a resealable plastic bag or reusable pouch. Stored this way, sunchokes will last up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Cooked sunchokes should be stored in an air-tight container and used within two days.

Homemade Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Sunchokes with Garlic and Cheese


Homemade Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Sunchokes with Garlic and Cheese

Photo by: bhofack2/Getty Images

bhofack2/Getty Images

How to Cook Sunchokes

Sunchokes can be roasted, sauteed, boiled or steamed and incorporated into side dishes, soups and salads.

How to Prep and Peel Sunchokes

Like many root vegetables, sunchokes should be thoroughly washed and scrubbed with a vegetable brush before eating and cooking. A sunchoke’s skin is edible, so you don't need to peel them, but sunchokes are often peeled prior to making dishes such as soups or purees to ensure a more uniform texture. To peel sunchokes, slice off knobby areas and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Sunchokes are easier to peel after they’ve been boiled or steamed.

How to Roast Sunchokes

Once washed, cut sunchokes into chunks or slices and roast them as you would potatoes or other root vegetables. Toss cut sunchokes in your preferred oil, season with salt, pepper and/or other spices and roast on a sheet pan in a 425-degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. You can also roast sunchokes anywhere between 375 to 450 degrees F if you’re cooking them alongside other vegetables or proteins and need to accommodate different temperatures.

How to Boil Sunchokes

Add whole sunchokes to boiling water and boil until crisp-tender, up to 10 minutes, depending on the size. Shock the boiled sunchokes in an ice-water bath, then peel sunchokes right away, if desired. Chop or slice sunchokes and add them to salads, sides or soups, or puree or mash them to make a side dish.

How to Sautee Sunchokes

Boil sunchokes until crisp-tender, blanch, peel (if desired) and then slice sunchokes. Heat a pan with preferred oil or fat over medium heat, add sliced sunchokes to the hot pan, and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, ensuring that the sunchokes get browned all over, about 10 to 15 minutes.

How to Steam Sunchokes

Once cleaned, halve or quarter sunchokes and add them to a steamer basket and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size of sunchokes. You can opt to peel them, or simply season and serve as a side or chop them to add to salads, soups or serve alongside other steamed vegetables.

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