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 69 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).

 

88 comments

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  1. stanp from enamelcookwareplus.com
    08.18.2017

    I have harissa powder…can I use that instead of paste…if so…how ?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.25.2017

      I’d try adding 1-2 teaspoons in place of the harissa paste, depending how potent/spicy the powder is. Hope that helps!

  2. Lauren
    02.16.2017

    This looks delish however, I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t cook acidic food in cast iron. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.17.2017

      Hi Lauren, I think the pan just has to be well seasoned (the new-ish cast iron pans come pre-seasoned). I didn’t have a problem with mine – there was no metallic taste whatsoever. Although you could really use any pan you like for this recipe.

  3. Dina from chicagoloansfast.com
    02.15.2017

    I tried to convince my husband to this but he only said that he will not eat anything with that funny name. What a shame… more for me 😀

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.17.2017

      Ha, well maybe you can just tell him it’s eggs with tomato sauce 🙂

  4. ila from mywaytocook.com
    02.05.2017

    5 stars
    I found your blog via bloglovin. Love you blog and the photos are so awesome.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.05.2017

      welcome!

  5. Sabrina B.
    02.01.2017

    saw another harissa recipe for the first time recently and then this one, beautiful, looks even better, now I’ll have to make sure to get some harissa, thank you for this!

  6. Maria from almostproperly.com
    02.01.2017

    Yes!!! From the moment Shakshuka entered our repertoire it has been the answer to just about every easy dinner and almost-empty pantry dinner. Its such a comforting dish. Your version looks fabulous with all those greens added in – and of course, the avocado on top;) YUM!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.05.2017

      Thanks Maria!

  7. Diane
    02.01.2017

    looks wonderful…however you note to skip the feta if vegan…what about the eggs if you’re vegan?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.01.2017

      Oh oops, sorry I meant to write “dairy free”…

  8. Johanne from thesunnyside.life
    01.31.2017

    When I was young and lived in Israel we would stop at an amazing restaurant called Dr. Shakshuka for an early breakfast, late dinner, after dancing the night away. I recommend you make it for breakfast one day.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe, and thanks to your mom for clipping the recipe. -Johanne

  9. All kinds of items is fulfill with vitamin and these are essential for health. “Shakshuka with Spinach and Harissa” this item will seem to see yummy. I will cook it today because I like this recipe.

  10. This looks so fantastic! What type of skillet would your recommend buying for something like this? I am preparing my wedding registry and would love to know your thoughts on a good skillet. Can’t wait to make this for my fiance!
    xoxo
    Samantha
    http://www.thenewyorkblonde.com

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.05.2017

      Hi Samantha, the cast iron skillets in the photo are Lodge. I also like Staub’s skillets because unlike regular cast iron, they can be washed and don’t need to be seasoned. Hope that helps!

  11. Donna from zebest-3000.com
    01.31.2017

    I’m so hungry right now 🙂

  12. giselle
    01.31.2017

    5 stars
    Hello from south of France!!!!
    Here below I put a link just to share with you all about the origin of this simple but so delicious dish….
    My grand mom used to cook it so often! And so do I of course, but yours seems just interesting and quite elegant!!
    Thank you for this good idea!

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakchouka

  13. Jane
    01.30.2017

    Woke up to this post on Instagram- just when I was trying to decide what was for dinner tonight! So delicious- came together very easily- did use frozen cauliflower rice –
    We all loved it ! Now I need to check out this
    Cookbook

  14. Mackenzie D
    01.30.2017

    I think you did a great job in making it look cute 🙂 Have you ever thought of doing any sort of posts on food photography / styling tips? I’m a photography and I’ve seldom come across food photos as beautiful as yours.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.05.2017

      Thank you Mackenzie! I have thought about it, maybe one day 🙂

  15. Mary Helen Markovich
    01.30.2017

    Love the potholders too! Where are they from?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2017

      The towel and the square potholder were from Anthropologie at least 2 years ago. I don’t see them in stock anymore – so sorry!

  16. Kathy K
    01.30.2017

    5 stars
    I was so happy to find this recipe this morning, realizing that I had farm-fresh eggs and all of the ingredients on hand. First time making shakshuka and it was deliciousI I made half of the recipe for lunch and look forward to enjoying the remaining sauce with fresh eggs and spinach tomorrow! BTW, your photography is visually stunning and captures the ‘essence’ of each of your recipes (IMHO). Love your cookbook too!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2017

      Hi Kathy – I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I’m so excited that you had all of the ingredients on hand. Love when that happens 🙂

  17. Heidi
    01.30.2017

    May I ask where did you get the cute little copper cups/bowls?
    The Shakshuka looks delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2017

      Hi Heidi – they’re from Anthropologie!

      • Heidi
        01.30.2017

        Thank you for responding so fast, I guess they are not available anymore! I love copper! I make all my jam in French copper jam pans.

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          01.30.2017

          Oh bummer! You might want to check a store – I got them somewhat recently. I’m surprised to see that they’re gone so quick!

  18. carlos at Spoonabilities
    01.30.2017

    5 stars
    The dish looks amazing. I’m looking forward to try 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.