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Shakshuka – North African Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Shakshuka is a hearty skillet meal made of open-faced eggs cooked in a thick, savory tomato-pepper sauce. It is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Shakshuka Recipe

Shakshuka is a traditional recipe commonly served as breakfast in Tunisia, Israel, and other parts of the Middle East and Northern Africa. It is a simple meal that comprises simmering tomato sauce, some onions, fine spices and herbs, garlic, and gently poached eggs in one skillet. 

It is easy to make, filling, nutritious, and I definitely will recommend everyone try this at least once in place of the regular egg breakfasts. I guarantee that you’ll keep making this recipe over and over again at home.

Customizing Shakshuka

The classic shakshuka recipe is very easy to customize to suit personal tastes, so long as the basics are still present. Although the content of the dish may vary from person to person, you will generally find some onions, tomatoes, paprika, cumin, chili powder, fresh garlic, and if you like a little extra heat in your food, cayenne pepper in every variation of the dish.

I decided to start out with the traditional recipe, but if you so desire, you can add some feta cheese, spinach, Brussels Sprouts, or other vegetables of your choice. 

 Shakshuka served in a plate and garnished with parsley.

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is an easy-to-make, one-pot, traditional middle eastern dish made with tomatoes, peppers, eggs, herbs, and spices. It is similar to a French omelet or Italian frittata, but they are poached in a sauce instead of frying the eggs. The flavors tend to be plenty, making it always satisfying, and you can treat it as a main course if you like, allowing you to stuff yourself full of delicious flavors.

Shakshuka is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner on those cold winter days. But don’t let the name fool you; Shakshuka can be served as an appetizer in lunch or dinner gatherings.

Ingredients For Making Shakshuka

The ingredients for making shakshuka are basic. You need onion, tomatoes ( fresh or canned), red bell pepper, garlic, and spices.

Ingredients for making  Shakshuka

How to Make Shakshuka

Sautee the onions with a little olive oil on medium heat until it becomes translucent, then add your red bell pepper, garlic, and spices and stir fry until they bring out a fragrant aroma.

Once that is done, pour in your tomatoes and break them down into smaller bits. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes, then using your spatula, create small grooves in the sauce to pour in your eggs.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and leave to simmer for an additional 5-8 minutes or until all the eggs are fully cooked. Right before serving, sprinkle some salt, freshly chopped cilantro, and parsley over the sauce for garnishing, and then enjoy.

Is Shakshuka Spicy?

The level of spiciness depends on how heavy-handed you are with your peppers. The usual spices that appear in a shakshuka dish are chili powder, paprika, and cumin — none of which adds excessive heat to your food. 

I would say that these spices are there to add flavor to the dish and not necessarily heat. However, if you would love for your dish to have an extra kick, you can add some Cayenne, black pepper, or Harissa pepper. Some people may also switch the red bell pepper for some jalapeños.

What To Serve With Shakshuka

Once you’re done, you can serve the dish with some pita bread or other types of flatbread. You can also serve shakshuka with some grits, hummus, cucumber salad, Greek Salad, crusty bread, or roasted potatoes.

Hot shakshuka in a skillet

Tips on Making the Best Shakshuka

  • If you don’t mind dairy products in your food, then you should consider adding goat cheese or crumbled feta over your shakshuka to give it an additional depth of flavor and creaminess.
  • Try not to cook your shakshuka in a cast iron pan as the tomato base (which is acidic) may erode your cast iron’s seasoning. The result is a slightly metallic flavor added to your meal and a dull cast iron pan. To be on the safer side, I would recommend using a regular stainless steel pan to make the dish.
  • If you want some extra flavor to your dish, consider roasting the peppers first before using them.
  • The tomato base needs to be thick enough to support the eggs to form a thick dipping sauce. Allow the tomatoes to simmer until the sauce thickens before breaking in the eggs.
  • You need a big skillet with a lid to cook this meal. This way the eggs are poached evenly and gently.
  • There’s no limit to how many eggs you can add. It’s all up to you and the size of your pan. However, try not to overcrowd the pan or you’ll end up with unevenly cooked eggs. A 12-inch pan should take about 5 large eggs at most. 
  • You can adjust the timing to cook your eggs how you like them. If you love runny eggs, then you can take them off the stove after about 5 minutes but if you prefer firmer yolks, you can cook for up to 8-10 minutes. However, try not to overcook the eggs on the stove as the hot sauce continues to cook the eggs even after the heat is off.
  • You can also add some meatballs and make the dish into a hearty meal for dinner.

Other breakfast recipes you might want to try include:

Delicious Shakshuka in a pan

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a hearty skillet meal made of open-faced eggs cooked in a thick, savory tomato-pepper sauce. It is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories:

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 green peppers chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (Cannned)
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley or cilantro chopped

Instructions

  • In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped bell pepper and onion and cook until the onion becomes translucent – about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and spices and cook for another 1 minute.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until it starts to thicken. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Make 6 wells in the sauce (one at a time) using a spoon and crack the eggs inside each well.
  • Cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the eggs are set to your liking.
  • Garnish with parsley or cilantro. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you don’t mind dairy products in your food, then you should consider adding goat cheese or crumbled feta over your shakshuka to give it an additional depth of flavor and creaminess.
  • Try not to cook your shakshuka in a cast iron pan as the tomato base (which is acidic) may erode your cast iron’s seasoning. The result is a slightly metallic flavor added to your meal and a dull cast iron pan. To be on the safer side, I would recommend using a regular stainless steel pan to make the dish.
  • If you want some extra flavor to your dish, consider roasting the peppers first before using them.
  • To form a thick dipping sauce, the tomato base needs to be thick enough to support the eggs. Allow the tomatoes to fully simmer until the sauce thickens before you break in the eggs.
  • You need a big skillet with a lid to cook this meal. This way the eggs are poached evenly and gently.
  • There’s no limit to how many eggs you can add. It’s all up to you and the size of your pan. However, try not to overcrowd the pan or you’ll end up with unevenly cooked eggs. A 12-inch pan should take about 5 large eggs at most. 
  • You can adjust the timing to cook your eggs how you like them. If you love runny eggs, then you can take them off the stove after about 5 minutes but if you prefer firmer yolks, you can cook for up to 8-10 minutes. However, try not to overcook the eggs on the stove as the hot sauce continues to cook the eggs even after the heat is off.
  • You can also add some meatballs and make the dish into a hearty meal for dinner.

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