What Are Hearts of Palm?

A Guide to Buying, Cooking, and Storing Hearts of Palm

Hearts of palm

The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Abby Mercer, Food Stylist: Kristin Stangl

What are Hearts of Palm

Hearts of palm are cut from the core of a handful of palm tree species native to South and Central America. After harvesting, they are cut into cylinders or sliced into rings and packed in water or brine. They look like smooth, thick white asparagus spears and are often said to taste like artichokes. The delicate flavor of hearts of palm makes them a popular choice for salads, but they can also be braised, fried, or boiled.

How To Use

Think beyond salads when reaching for that jar of hearts of palm. They can be roasted whole and tossed in a sauce, cut up and sautéed for taco fillings, or shredded and formed into patties as a satisfying, vegetarian alternative to crab cakes.

What Do They Taste Like?

Hearts of palm have a delicate, slightly nutty, vegetal flavor often compared to artichokes. Their texture is both creamy and crunchy, making them adaptable to a variety of dishes.


The texture of hearts of palm make them a great seafood substitute. Or, you can use hearts of palm in place of artichoke hearts (which have a similar texture and flavor).

Where to Buy

Cans or jars of hearts of palm in water or brine can be found in most grocery stores, specialty stores, health food stores, and online retailers. They are sold whole or pre-sliced, and can also be labeled as "swamp cabbage" or "millionaire's salad."


You can purchase canned or jarred hearts of palm year-round. Fresh hearts of palm are difficult to come by as they are extremely perishable and can be expensive. Canned or jarred hearts of palm should be stored in a cool, dry place and will keep for up to three months. When opened, store them in the refrigerator and use within one week.