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 70 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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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. venny
    08.24.2020

    Hi! i cannot find any harissa paste in here. what can i substitute it with?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.24.2020

      Hi Venny, you can skip it or you can and add some spices like cumin, coriander, a few red pepper flakes, or a little caraway… you could also add a few diced red peppers. Those are some of the flavors that are in harissa that could spice up your tomato sauce.

      • Venny
        08.24.2020

        Thanx for your reply 😄

  2. Farah
    08.23.2020

    Thank you for this delicious recipe. I like it when a when a dish from my country’s cuisine gets famous, it makes me feel proud, the only thing is that I’m not « israelien » (actually Palestine) nor middle eastern, I am from Tunisia which a country in North Africa, and shakshuka in North African (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya) You can check the origin of this meal with a simple google search, please correct the information, thank you.

  3. WP
    08.21.2020

    How much spinach is “a cup of fresh spinach, chopped”? Can I use frozen chopped spinach, which I always have on hand?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.22.2020

      It’s a packed cup of fresh spinach. You can use frozen, I’d use probably 1/2 cup frozen spinach. I hope you enjoy!

  4. Sasha Kadun
    08.21.2020

    This dish is amazing!!
    Thank you for sharing.
    I also added pickled red onion and jalapeños on top.

  5. Rachel
    08.07.2020

    What type of bread specifically, did you use in the images displayed here in your dish?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.07.2020

      it’s baguette in the picture.

  6. Jeanine Donofrio
    07.04.2020

    I’m glad you loved it!

  7. Jane
    06.18.2020

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was INCREDIBLE!

    For the sauce I used a jar of strained san marzano tomatoes and blended it together with some leftover roasted peppers that I had from the previous night. Also in the blender I added all the spices + the harissa paste. Once blended I added it to the pan where I had already sautéed with onions and garlic. I found I still wanted some texture though so I tossed in some diced fire roasted tomatoes.

    From there I followed the recipe exactly! This is going to be a forever staple. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.12.2020

      Hi Jane, I’m so glad you loved it!!

  8. Lauren D
    05.19.2020

    5 stars
    This was AMAZING!
    I used to go out for this dish once per week but have been missing it dearly since quarantine. This recipe was spot on- authentic and absolutely delicious. Thank you!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.12.2020

      Hi Lauren, I’m so glad you loved it so much!

  9. Minal Khilnani
    05.08.2020

    5 stars
    Made this today. Family went bonkers😁 so good and healthy. One way to brunch. Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.15.2020

      Hi Minal, I’m so glad everyone loved it!

  10. Sarah
    04.04.2020

    5 stars
    I‘ve been looking for a good shakshuka recipe for a while and this turned out amazing! Thank you for the useful tips and great photos. I will definitely try more of your recipes.

  11. Amy
    02.21.2020

    Hi, i want to make this dish for brunch tomorrow. I got crushed tomatoes in a can, do i drain the liquid??

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.22.2020

      Hi Amy, no don’t drain the liquid, it all goes in. I hope you enjoy!

  12. 5 stars
    I was first introduced to Shakshuka by my friends last year. While I enjoyed eating their recipe… I must say that yours is even more delicious Shhh… don’t tell them =)

    Thank you! This is a keeper for sure.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.03.2020

      Hahaha, I’m so glad you loved the shakshuka…I won’t tell 🙂

  13. Opal
    09.07.2019

    5 stars
    loved this!

    Didn’t have feta or bread. Used Monterey Jack and corn tortillas and tripled the harissa. Didn’t have canned crushed tomatoes so I combined a small can of tomato paste, small can of tomato sauce and two kumatos pulsed. Still. So. Good.

    Was quick and easy and perfect to empty out the fridge of extra things.

  14. Maddie
    07.01.2019

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe! I used the Trader Joe’s Harissa paste and it was the perfect amount of heat and spice in the dish. Will definitely make this again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      So glad you loved it!

  15. Tanzeela
    04.17.2019

    I added in some crushed mushrooms and this was DELICIOUS. Super flavorful in every bite, will be making again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.17.2019

      Yesss!! I love hearing that! I’m so glad you enjoyed 🙂

      • Ray
        03.06.2021

        Shakshuka literally has been around before israel was even a state. It’s an arab dish. Also eaten in Palestine

  16. Rachel Louise
    04.01.2019

    5 stars
    This was so, so, SO fabulous! We didn’t use the cayenne or harissa bc of our preschooler and toddler, and yet it was phenomenal! Everyone gobbled it up. This will be a new fave in our rotation for sure!

  17. E
    01.26.2019

    5 stars
    Made this dish and received so many compliments of pick eaters in the house. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Julia
    11.26.2018

    Hi there,

    If we wanted to add more eggs, making a total of 6, would you up the sauce too, or would it be ok to just add two more eggs? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.26.2018

      Hi Julia, I think it’d be fine to add just 2 more eggs, it’s a pretty flexible recipe. I’d just see how many will fit in your skillet once you start cracking them in. I’m guessing that a 10-inch skillet will hold about 5, and a 12-inch skillet could hold 6. (Anything smaller and you’ll have a very eggy top layer). Hope that helps!

  19. Billy
    12.29.2017

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried shakshuka before – but I love that it has harissa and spinach – it looks so delicious. Definitely going to have to try making this one at home the next time I head to the grocery store. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe!

  20. This recipe is just lovely. Thanks for creating it! If it’s ok for you I would like to share it on Canalla’s social media.

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.