A simple savory breakfast, Cilbir (Turkish Eggs) is perfectly poached eggs, served over a delicious garlicky yogurt, and finished with a warm spicy butter or olive oil sauce with red pepper flakes. Enjoy with fresh bread, like Simit or Barbari!

Cilbir Turkish Eggs in a blue dish

What is Çılbır?

Turkish Çılbır, pronouned chil-bir, is basically poached eggs served over a bed of thick, garlicy yogurt and finished with a generous drizzle of warmed butter (or, in my case, a robust extra virgin olive oil) with a good dash of Aleppo pepper (or similar red pepper flakes).

Most people's idea of yogurt for breakfast is something sweet like a parfait topped with fruit or a couple tablespoons of granola. But if you’re ready for something new, this savory yogurt breakfast from Turkey is so worth a try!

I first encountered Çılbır in Izmir, Turkey back in 2006. I was impressed by how few ingredients--many of which are the same ingredients in my favorite Soft Scrambled Eggs--make this perfectly decadent breakfast.

For such a simple dish made of a few staples--eggs, yogurt, garlic, olive oil (or butter)--this savory Mediterranean diet-friendly breakfast is delicious and comforting in the best way.

These Turkish eggs are best served immediately with simit or some chunky rustic bread to wipe every last bit of the rich and silky yogurt!

Turkish eggs in a blue and white dish

Since poached eggs are the star of this Turkish eggs breakfast, you'll want to poach your eggs perfectly so that you have firm whites encasing or covering a beautiful runny yolk on the inside.

How to poach an egg?

If you've never poached an egg before, no worries. It's simple but there are a few things to keep in mind. People have different ideas for how to make perfect poached eggs but I'll be sharing what's worked for me:

  1. Boil the water. In a saucepan, bring your water to a boil. I add a very little bit of vinegar to the water, which helps keep the egg white together (it looks better that way). This is optional, you can poach an egg without vinegar but I recommend it, especially for your first few times. Unless you add a large amount of vinegar, the taste won't transfer to your egg!
  2. Crack the egg and drain the egg whites. Instead of cracking the eggs directly into the water, I prefer to crack one egg at a time into a small fine mesh sieve first. Give the sieve a little shake to allow the liquidy part of the egg whites to drain, giving you neater-looking poached eggs.

    A cracked in a mesh sieve
  3. Create a vortex in the water. Once the water is boiling, use a wooden spoon to stir the water to create a vortex. This helps create spherical poached eggs.
  4. Cook the egg for no more than 3 minutes. Quickly add the egg to the middle of the vortex (you can only cook one at a time) and cook for just 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper or paper towel.
Olive oil, Greek yogurt, garlic cloves, Aleppo pepper and two eggs

What you'll need to make Turkish eggs

A handful of simple ingredients and seasonings is all you need to make !

  • Greek yogurt - Choose plain, whole milk Greek yogurt. Be sure to allow it to come to room temperature for this recipe.
  • Garlic - a clove or two of fresh garlic, minced finely.
  • Eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil - Traditionally, these eggs are finished with a drizzle of melted butter, but I prefer to use a robust extra virgin olive oil. You can see my favorites here, and if you like an olive oil with a peppery finish, try the Greek Early Harvest EVOO or the Spanish Hojiblanca EVOO.
  • Aleppo pepper - Aleppo pepper flakes are not terribly spicy, although they provide a good kick and a subtle sweetness. You can use other red pepper flakes you have on hand. Or, if you're a big fan of spice, try try finishing with a sprinkle of Urfa Biber in addition to the Aleppo pepper–you can learn all about this earthy, wine-like spice in our guide.

How to make Turkish eggs (Çılbır)

Though the final dish may look a little fancy, making this poached eggs and yogurt breakfast is surprisingly easy. Breakfast for two can be ready in just 10 minutes!

  • Prepare the garlicky yogurt sauce. Whisk together yogurt (at room temp), garlic and salt. Divide between the two serving bowls and set aside.

    Garlicky yogurt sauce being whisked
  • Poach the eggs. Poach each egg in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes (see tips for how to poach eggs just above). When the second egg is cooking, begin the next step.

    Two poached eggs on parchment paper
  • Make the warmed olive oil sauce. In a small pan, gently heat a good 3 tablespoons or so of extra virgin olive oil with 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper flakes over medium heat.
  • Assemble. Immediately transfer to poached eggs to the prepared yogurt bowls and drizzle with the heated olive oil. Serve with your favorite rustic bread.

    Overhead view of Cilbir poached eggs with garlic sauce

Tips for success

If this is your first time preparing this dish, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • The yogurt must be at room temperature. You'll want to use thick whole milk yogurt (that's why I chose Greek yogurt) and you'll need to allow it to come to room temperature before stirring in the garlic and other ingredients. Do not refrigerate the yogurt mixture while you are cooking the eggs.
  • Don't overheat the olive oil. The olive oil and Aleppo pepper should be heated quickly until warm but not left on the stove at high heat.
  • Serve Cilbir immediately. Cilbir should be served as soon as the eggs are finished cooking.
  • Add fresh herbs. This is optional and not traditional, but I love a sprinkle of fresh herbs like dill or mint on top of the dish before serving.
cilbir topped with aleppo pepper in a blue and white dish

Serving suggestions

As mentioned above, cilbir should be served immediately, when all ingredients are warm. Turkish eggs are traditionally served with rustic or crusty bread to scoop up the egg and every last bit of the olive oil and yogurt sauces.

How to store

There is really no good way to store leftovers for this recipe, so you want to make just as much as you will be eating. If you are just preparing breakfast for one, simply cut the recipe in half and only prepare one dish of the yogurt sauce. Poached eggs should not be refrigerated or frozen.

More egg recipes:

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4.85 from 52 votes

Cilbir: Turkish Eggs in Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

Suzy Karadsheh
Cilbir Turkish Eggs in a blue dish
A simple savory breakfast, Cilbir (Turkish Eggs), is made of perfectly poached eggs that are served over garlicky yogurt and finished with a spicy olive oil or butter sauce with red pepper flakes. Enjoy with rustic toast for a complete, flavorful breakfast or brunch.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 10 minutes
Total – 20 minutes
Cuisine:
Turkish
Serves – 2 servings
Course:
Breakfast

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (made with whole milk, at room temperature)
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)

Instructions
 

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the room-temp yogurt and garlic, a good pinch of kosher salt and whisk well. Divide the yogurt mixture between two serving bowls and set aside for now.
  • Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Stir in the vinegar.
  • Meanwhile, crack an egg into a small fine mesh sieve over a small bowl. Gently swirl the eggs in the sieve to drain the liquidy part of the egg whites (this gives you a neater-looking poached egg). Transfer the egg to a ramekin.
  • When the water is ready, using a wooden spoon, stir the water to create a vortex. Quickly add the egg to the middle of vortex and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. When ready, using a slotted spoon, transfer the egg to a plate that’s been lined with parchment paper.
  • Prepare and cook the second egg exactly as you did the first.
  • While the second egg is cooking, quickly make the olive oil sauce. In a small skillet, warm the olive oil and Aleppo pepper over medium heat.
  • Immediately transfer the poached eggs to the prepared yogurt bowls (simply place each egg on top of the yogurt mixture) and drizzle with the heated oil.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite rustic bread.

Video

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 343.8kcalCarbohydrates: 6.3gProtein: 17.2gSaturated Fat: 5.7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 170.2mgSodium: 142.4mgPotassium: 106.1mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 3.8gVitamin A: 896.3IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 166.9mgIron: 1.3mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Em says:

    instead of yogurt i used cottage cheese for extra protein. i made gooey eggs in the air fryer for 10 minutes at 270 degrees celcius. it taste amazing!!

  2. Hanaa Hameed says:

    5 stars
    Delicious

  3. Sandra says:

    5 stars
    oh my goodness.., this was fabulous!!

  4. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    I made this this morning. I have never poached eggs before and I feel that i could do a better job bc it was wispy everywhere. I didn’t use olive oil but butter since you said that was the traditional way to serve. This was great! How odd, how satisfying. In a way it with the warm butter hitting the yogurt is seemed hollandaise-esque. I will make this again ( and hopefully get better at poaching) I also served it with pita bread and that worked out well, too.

  5. Diosa Diaz says:

    5 stars
    Hi
    My tummy can’t tolerate spicy foods but I love the presentation
    What would suggest I use instead of the pepper flakes?
    Thank you for sharing your recipes with us. Most recipes online Ari hit or a miss, and but yours are always spot on delicious again, thank you for sharing.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Diosa. I think paprika would work in place of the aleppo pepper here, for a less spicy version. Enjoy!

  6. Rama Mukherjee says:

    4 stars
    Loved it for its simplicity. I shall try it tomorrow positively.

  7. Rama Mukherjee says:

    Love

  8. Mary says:

    5 stars
    Love this poached egg dish. However, with a dairy intolerance could you suggest alternatives to the yogurt? Vegetables of course, but what are your other suggestions?

  9. Leanne says:

    5 stars
    Love this ! I like a 6 minute boiled egg instead of poached. A bit of cilantro is nice too. Thank you, delicious

    1. Gizem says:

      5 stars
      I tried this recipe and it turned out perfect. As a turkish person, i approve 10/10.

      1. TMD Team says:

        Yessss! Love that, Gizem. Thank you!

  10. JessDR says:

    This is my all-time favorite egg dish! I love the idea of doing it with olive oil. I definitely recommend mint - the recipe my Turkish teacher gave me called for adding dried mint along with the pepper, and it’s nice with fresh too.

  11. Tricia says:

    5 stars
    This is simply INCREDIBLE! The flavor exploded in every tastebud. Thank you so much for this simple and yet so beautifully flavored dish! It's a keeper!!!

  12. Fiona says:

    I prepared these eggs in a slightly different way.I fried them in a little amount of extra virgin olive oil.I added salt and pepper to the pan and served them on multigrain sourdough toast. They were wonderful covered in thick creamy yoghurt. Cumin, garlic powder, two kinds of paprika and some dried mint joined the party. A spoon of your toum garlic sauce and it was perfect.Thanks Suzy.

  13. Leni says:

    5 stars
    Lovely breakfast, flavorful and full of protein.

  14. Mary says:

    5 stars
    I used roasted garlic because I had it. I also used half butter half olive oil in my sauce. This is so good and so easy I’ll eat it often.

  15. Judy says:

    5 stars
    This was fantastic - a real surprise for breakfast. Very hearty. Be careful to just "warm" the sauce, as the aleppo pepper can burn. A unique and satisfying dish.

  16. Charlotte says:

    I make this, like, a minimum of three times per week but often more! It's so incredibly delicious and has become my all-time favorite breakfast. I've lost 10 pounds in 21 days eating Mediterranean food like this!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Wow! Thanks wonderful, Charlotte!