Shakshuka is a simple dish made of gently poached eggs in a delicious chunky tomato and bell pepper sauce. Said to have originated in Tunisia, this breakfast recipe is popular in many parts of North Africa and the Middle East. It is so satisfying, you can serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Read through for important tips and watch the video for how to make shakshuka!

Shakshuka in cast iron skillet

What is shakshuka?

A North African dish, said to have originated in Tunisia, shakshuka, ponounced Shak-SHOO-kah, is made of soft cooked eggs, gently poached or braised in a delicious chunky tomato and bell pepper sauce. The seasoning can vary from one recipe to another, but you'll often find warm spices like cumin, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes for some heat. (If you're familiar with the popular Southern Italian dish known as eggs in purgatory, then this idea of cooking eggs in tomato sauce is not new to you!)

Many think of this dish an Israeli breakfast food because it is quite popular in places like Tel Aviv, but these eggs in tomato sauce are something you'll find in many parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Fun fact, the origins of the word shakshuka comes from the Arabic for "all mixed up" or "shaken."

Growing up in Egypt, my favorite was from a Cairo restaurant near the Nile called Felfela, where they served shakshuka eggs mild or spicy, with or without meat (often small chunks of beef or lamb), with a stack of warm pita bread. And it's often listed as a breakfast (or dinner) food next to things like falafel and ful muddamas.

poached eggs in shakshuka tomato sauce in cast iron skillet with pita bread and sides of cucumbers and olives

Shakshuka

This easy shakshuka recipe is something I make often for Sunday brunch, although I'm not shy to serve it for dinner as well. There are two main components to this recipe: The chunky tomato sauce and the eggs.

The sauce starts with a sofrito of chopped onions, green bell peppers, and garlic, seasoned with North African flavors including cumin, coriander, paprika and a dash or red pepper flakes (you can omit the red peppers if you don't eat spicy food). Whenever possible, I like using fresh ripe tomatoes when making shakshuka (the softer tomatoes will do great here). But when tomatoes are not in season, I am okay using a can of whole plum tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes.

Once the sauce is ready, you'll simply nestle the eggs in it and allow them to gently cook in the simmering sauce until the whites settle. The eggs are meant to be runny, but if you don't like them that way, it's fine to cook them to your liking.

ingredients to make shakshuka

Ingredients: what you'll need to make shakshuka

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegetables: 1 large chopped onion, 1 to 2 green bell peppers, and 2 minced garlic cloves. These three ingredients (plus spices) creates a sofrito to start the chunky sauce.
  • Spices: coriander, cumin, paprika-- a trio of warm North African flavors. If you like spicy shakshuka (some call it eggs in purgatory), add a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
  • Tomatoes: In this recipe, I use 6 fresh medium-sized tomatoes and about ½ cup of tomato sauce, this combination gives me the texture and flavor I'm looking for. It helps if your fresh tomatoes are soft and almost overripe. If tomatoes are not in season, you can replace them with 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes or 6 cups canned chopped tomatoes with their juices. If you use the canned tomato alternative, you can omit the tomato sauce.
  • Eggs: 6 large raw eggs
  • Garnish: This is totally optional, but for me a handful of fresh chopped parsley and mint just before serving adds freshness and a pop of color. And if you love your shakshuka with feta, then add a sprinkle of creamy feta cheese just before serving.

How to Make Shakshuka

The print friendly recipe with measurements is just below, but here is a quick tutorial with a few photos to help you along. This recipe basically has two main steps:

  • Make the shakshuka tomato sauce. Start by sauteing chopped onions, bell peppers, and garlic with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil in a large, heavy skillet or pan (with a lid). Season with kosher salt and coriander, paprika, cumin, and crushed pepper flakes. Cook for at least 5 minutes, stirring, until the veggies are tender, then add fresh diced tomatoes (I used 6 vine ripe tomatoes) and ½ cup of tomato sauce. (Or, if you don't have fresh tomatoes, you can use canned a large 28-ounce of canned whole tomatoes or 6 cups of canned diced tomatoes). Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, then uncover and cook a few more minutes until your sauce has thickened.

    cooked tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and garlic
  • Add the eggs and cook. When the sauce is ready, use the back of a spoon and make some holes in the sauce. Crack your eggs and nestle each egg in one of the holes you created. Cover the skillet and allow the eggs to simmer in the sauce over medium-low heat until the egg whites have settled (as I said earlier, the eggs are supposed to be soft and somewhat runny. If you like your eggs hard, you can let them cook a bit longer).

    eggs cooked in the shakshuka sauce
  • Serve immediately! Once the eggs are ready, garnish with parsley and serve immediately!

What to serve with Shakshuka?

There is no right or wrong way to serve this tasty dish, but in my opinion, bread such as pita or a crusty loaf (or even challah) is essential. (I've been known to even use up extra garlic bread to dunk in the chunky tomato sauce). You can serve shakshuka with other dishes. Here are a few ideas:

Shakshuka with meat

If you want to incorporate meat in this shakshuka recipe, you'll use ½ pound of ground or small diced meat, lamb or beef are common options. Cook the meat first in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until fully browned, and season with kosher salt, black pepper, and if you like, a dash of allspice. From there, add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers and make the shakshuka sauce by following the recipe.

Or, if you have some leftover meat from a leg of lamb or lamb rack chops, give them a new life by serving them over shakshuka.

More egg recipes to try:

Browse more breakfast recipes. Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop

4.99 from 174 votes

Easy Shakshuka Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
Shakshuka served in a cast iron skillet
Easy shakshuka made with eggs that are gently poached in a simmering mixture of tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and garlic. A few warm spices and some fresh herbs complete this satisfying one-skillet dish!
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 30 minutes
Total – 30 minutes
Cuisine:
Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Tunisian
Serves – 6 people (up to)
Course:
Breakfast, Lunch

Ingredients
  

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 2 green peppers chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 6 cups chopped tomatoes)
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Instructions
 

  • Heat 3 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onions, green peppers, garlic, spices, pinch salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook a bit longer to allow the mixture to reduce and thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Using a wooden spoon, make 6 indentations, or "wells," in the tomato mixture (make sure the indentations are spaced out). Gently crack an egg into each indention.
  • Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and cook on low until the egg whites are set.
  • Uncover and add the fresh parsley and mint. You can add more black pepper or crushed red pepper, if you like. Serve with warm pita, challah, or crusty bread of your choice.

Video

Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: You can prepare the shakshuka tomato sauce one night in advance.  Let cool completely, then store in the fridge in a tight lid glass container. When you are ready the next day, warm up the sauce in a skillet and add the eggs and follow the recipe from step #3 on.
  • Leftovers Storage: Leftovers will keep for 1 to 2 days if stored properly in the fridge in tight-lid glass containers. Warm up over medium heat, adding a little more liquid to the shakshuka sauce if needed.
  • To add meat: If you want to add meat, cook about ½ ground beef or ground lamb in some extra virgin olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Once fully cooked, remove the meat from the skillet, wipe the skillet well and follow steps #1 and #2 to make the shakshuka sauce, only this time, add the cooked ground meat to the skillet to simmer with the tomatoes for 15 minutes or so before adding the eggs.
  • Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and all-natural and organic spices used in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 111kcalCarbohydrates: 10.9gProtein: 7.7gFat: 4.7gSaturated Fat: 1.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 163.7mgSodium: 170mgPotassium: 550.3mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 5.9gVitamin A: 1954.4IUVitamin C: 55.8mgCalcium: 61.3mgIron: 1.9mg
Tried this recipe?

*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!

Share it with the world

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...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.
4.99 from 174 votes (65 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Ella says:

    I’ve never eaten shakshuka. So I’m not sure about flavors. We aren’t fond of green peppers though and I’m not sure adding red, yellow, or orange would make the dish too much like pasta sauce? Any other ideal veggies? I read lentils suggested above… Ill definitely add those. Thanks!

    Ella

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Ella. It is actually quite delicious with red, yellow and/or orange peppers. I've actually gone that route before when that's all I've had on hand. I say, go for it!

  2. Glenda Pratt says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Second time making it. Love your recipes!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thank you, Glenda!

  3. Catherine Cox says:

    5 stars
    This is such an easy and delicious breakfast. I added cubed ham, sauted mushrooms, sliced spinach, basically cleaning out the fridge. I chose basil and thyme and chopped garlic cloves to season. I always have Aleppo pepper at the table so we sprinkled it liberally over. So good and a hit. Definitely a meal for Christmas brunch at my daughter's house this year. Thank you for all the fantastic recipes and happy holidays to you and your family.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Catherine! Same to you!

  4. John R. Mason says:

    4 stars
    Thanks for posting this recipe! I have prepared this meal twice for dinner and my wife loves it. Great low fat, low carb option, and it's one pan for easy clean up.
    I plan to add this to "my go" to recipes.

    John

    1. Suzy says:

      Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, John!

  5. Courtney says:

    5 stars
    Would it be okay if I subbed the seasonings for zataar?

  6. RH says:

    5 stars
    fantastic!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thank you!

  7. Theresa L Wunsch says:

    5 stars
    easy and tasty; very I found this recipe and thank you for sharing!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Theresa!

  8. Kellen says:

    5 stars
    Second time making this and it is amazing. I made a few changes this time round-- used three sweet peppers (green, red, and yellow) and stirred in some crumbled feta cheese before adding the eggs. Creamy and delicious!! Thanks, Suzy, for all the wonderful recipes 💜

  9. Kim Alwan says:

    Shakshouka شكشوكه is arabic word for "mixture" in Tunisian arabic dialect an it the quintessential meal of Arabic cuisine throughout North africa and arabic middle east.Thank you for stating it's origin.Excellent recipe.Many Thanks

  10. R Grabar says:

    How many calories is this with the two eggs?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hello! There is one egg per serving. So 2 servings with two eggs would be approximately 308 calories. Please note that the nutritional information is just a best estimate using a basic nutritional calculator.

  11. David says:

    Just did it. I added two personal touches. Stir fried a few capers justb4 adding the tomatoes and when the sauce was cooking, sprinkled a few lentils. Nice!

  12. Yuri Lee says:

    5 stars
    Great shakshouka recipe! Thank you for being transparent with its origins, many of the other recipes I found online claim otherwise. However authenticity is evident in this ones taste!

  13. Ana Mu says:

    5 stars
    I have try your shakshuka recipe and I love it. It's faster and easier to cook than the spanish pisto and it's nice to try similar dishes but with different flavors. Actually I think I am going to mix both recipes the netx time.

    1. Tuki says:

      Would love to try this recipe for a potluck brunch party on Sunday. But there are 10 people. Any suggestions on how you can make this work?

      1. Suzy says:

        Hi, Tuki. I would recommend making it in two batches.

  14. Kelly McGrew says:

    I’ve always wanted to make this dish because it is just so beautiful! I had a bunch of tomatoes and eggs and mint on hand so I figured last night was the night. It was fabulous!! I used red peppers instead of green, and I added chopped cilantro with the mint, and my boyfriend (who is Indian) decided to have his with parathas instead of pita and sourdough that I had for mine.

    About 15 minutes in we realized that neither of us had come up for air nor spoke a word to each other 😆 this recipe is just so good! This will be added to my regular rotation!

    Thanks for a wonderful meal.

    1. Suzy says:

      Yay!! So glad you both loved it! Thanks, Kelly!

  15. Jaime says:

    5 stars
    Making this right now! I love your recipes! Just realized I haven't made this since last May!

  16. Andre says:

    5 stars
    A winner every time. All the friends and family I've cooked it for have added it to their personal repertoire.

    1. Suzy says:

      That's great! Thanks, Andre!