Best Shakshuka

Have you ever tried shakshuka? In this recipe, eggs are poached in a spicy, spinach-flecked tomato sauce. It's a nourishing, delicious dinner or brunch!

Shakshuka recipe

In her cookbook Sababa, Adeena Sussman writes that shakshuka originated as a breakfast for workers, who would scoop the eggs and sauce into pita bread for a convenient handheld breakfast. It’s North African in origin (Adeena says that the name comes from the Tunisian word for “shaken up”), but it’s now popular throughout the Middle East.

These days, you can find a million shakshuka recipe variations. Some have a tomato base, and others are made with fresh greens. No matter what, they always feature eggs cooked in a thick sauce.

My recipe starts with a bold tomato and red pepper sauce that’s spiced with harissa, cumin, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then, chopped fresh spinach joins the mix, adding gorgeous flecks of green. Finally, gently poached eggs nestle into the sauce. It’s rich, flavorful, and oh-so-good. Even though shakshuka is a traditional breakfast food, you could just as easily enjoy this recipe for a brunch or weeknight dinner.

Shakshuka recipe ingredients

Shakshuka Serving Suggestions

Luckily, this shakshuka recipe is a breeze to make! It only requires a handful of pantry ingredients, and you could even skip the spinach if you don’t have any on hand. This recipe still tastes great without it.

Delicious and easy to make, this shakshuka recipe would be an excellent choice for a holiday brunch (don’t forget the mimosas!) or breakfast, or even a weeknight dinner. To make it a truly show-stopping dish, top it with sliced avocado, crumbled feta, and fresh parsley leaves. Then, scoop it up with pita or slices of the best crusty bread you can find.

Shakshuka Recipe Tips

  • Get the sauce nice and thick. You need a thick tomato sauce to support the eggs in this recipe, so don’t cut the simmering time short! I let mine cook for a full 15 minutes before I crack in the eggs.
  • Make sure you have a large lidded skillet. You’ll need to be able to cover the pan in this recipe – it’s essential for poaching the eggs evenly and gently.
  • Use however many eggs are appropriate for your pan. I list a range for the number of eggs in this recipe, and how many you use is really up to you. There should be a little space between each egg in the pan – they shouldn’t be crowded. In my 12-inch skillet, I can fit up to 5. But if I’m just making this recipe for Jack and me, I stick with 3 eggs. If we have any leftover sauce, I make a personal-sized shakshuka the next day!
  • Adjust the timing depending on how you like your eggs. How long you cook your eggs will depend on how you like them. I love mine when the egg whites have just set and the yolks are perfectly runny, so I take them off the heat after 5 minutes. If you like firmer yolks, you can cook them for up to 8 minutes. Keep in mind that they’ll continue to cook in the hot sauce even after you take them off the stove.

Shakshuka

More Favorite Brunch Recipes

If you love this shakshuka recipe, try one of these delicious brunch recipes next:

Then, find more healthy breakfast recipes here and more great brunch ideas here!

Best Shakshuka

rate this recipe:
4.99 from 95 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Serves 4
Originally from North Africa, shakshuka is a popular breakfast food throughout the Middle East. This recipe is simple and satisfying, featuring eggs poached in a harissa-spiced tomato sauce. Serve it with pita or crusty bread for breakfast, brunch, or dinner!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste*, see note
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 3 to 5 eggs
  • cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Microgreens for garnish, optional
  • Toasted bread, for serving

Instructions

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a 12-inch lidded stainless steel or enamel-coated cast-iron skillet. Add the onion, red pepper, salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne, if using. Stir and let cook for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and harissa paste. Simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
  • Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Make 3 to 5 wells in the sauce and crack in the eggs. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, 5 to 8 minutes. The timing will depend on how runny you like your egg yolks.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the feta, parsley, avocado, and microgreens, if using. Serve with toasted bread for scooping.

Notes

*If you're sensitive to spice use a mild harissa (like Mina Harissa Mild), for a spicier shakshuka, use hot harissa (like Trader Joe's Hot Harissa).

 

114 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Jason Jones
    06.21.2022

    If I only have dried harissa spice, how much would you recommend using as a substitute for the harissa paste?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.22.2022

      Hi Jason, I’d probably go with 1/2 teaspoon.

  2. Jal
    06.02.2022

    5 stars
    So delicious! I couldn’t find harissa paste but worked perfectly well with dried harissa seasoning

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Chandreyi
    05.07.2022

    5 stars
    Just made these. So tasty- even without the harissa which I didn’t have in the house . I just made sure to be generous with the other spices. Added a few chickpeas too.

    Love your website – really beautifully presented.
    Tried your tahini salad dressing too which was a revelation!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.07.2022

      I’m so glad you loved the shakshuka and the tahini dressing!

  4. Marie-Claire Kearney
    05.06.2022

    This is the most delicious go to brunch recipe . Made it several times over and recommended to friends . I didn’t have harissa paste so used some tomato puree and harissa seasoning instead. Goats cheese / fresh coriander can be used to garnish instead of feta / fresh parsley. Really you can make it how you prefer. Real depth of flavour and very filling.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.07.2022

      Oh yum, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Keith
    04.12.2022

    5 stars
    I’ve made this dish twice. It is AMAZING. My family have different tastes, but everyone likes this one. Very easy to make.

    I was eating it and I said out loud, “Where have you been all my life?”

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.13.2022

      Ha ha, I’m so glad it was a hit!

      • Keith
        05.12.2022

        5 stars
        I’m making this again tonight. I can’t wait. But I’m going to add Chorizo. Nom Nom.

  6. Joel
    04.05.2022

    Quick question – would it be easier to start with passata, rather than reducing the chopped tomatoes so much?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.05.2022

      Hi Joel, either would work, the crushed tomatoes stew down nicely.

  7. Grace
    01.29.2022

    5 stars
    I’ve made this countless times and it always comes out fantastic. I usually sub harissa for tomato paste and it adds amazing flavor. Such an easy go-to! Thank you for this great staple!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.01.2022

      I’m so glad you’ve been loving it!

  8. Brandi Kosh
    01.25.2022

    5 stars
    Love Love Love this!!
    I made this for the first time, and my family really enjoed it. I made it again adding diced zucchini and yellow squash. I also used a little syricha since I did not have harissa. Omg it was delicious!! Thank you for this recipe

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.