Best Shakshuka

This shakshuka recipe is satisfying and delicious for any meal of the day! An easy one-pan dish, it features eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.

Shakshuka recipe

Shakshuka is one of my favorite breakfasts…and lunches…and dinners. Though this Middle Eastern and North African dish is traditionally eaten for breakfast, it’s so easy, filling, and flavorful that it’s a great option for any meal of the day.

Below, I’m sharing my go-to shakshuka recipe, which features gently poached eggs cooked in a fragrant bell pepper and tomato sauce. It’s flecked with spinach and spiced with paprika, cumin, cayenne, and harissa. If you like simple meals that go BIG on flavor, you’ll love this.

What is shakshuka?

Shakshuka is North African in origin (the name shakshuka comes from the Tunisian word for “shaken up”), but it’s widely enjoyed throughout North Africa and the Middle East, in countries such as Israel. Traditionally, the dish consists of eggs poached in a spiced bell pepper and tomato sauce, though many variations exist today. Some replace the tomato base with fresh green vegetables for a green shakshuka; others swap in butternut squash or sweet potato, etc.

In this shakshuka recipe, I add spinach and harissa, a North African chili paste, to the sauce for a fresh, extra-spicy twist. Keep reading to learn how to make it!

Shakshuka recipe ingredients

How to Make Shakshuka

This shakshuka recipe is easy 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.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. First, sauté onion and red bell pepper in a large skillet until they soften.
  2. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper and cook until they’re fragrant.
  3. Stir in canned crushed tomatoes and harissa and simmer until the tomato mixture thickens. Stir in spinach, if you like.
  4. Finally, crack eggs into the sauce, cover, and cook until they’re just set, 5 to 8 minutes.

Season to taste, and top with any fixings you like. Serve with pita bread!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Mild vs. Spicy

Store-bought harissa can vary widely in spice level. 

  • If you’re sensitive to spice, look for one that’s labeled mild, such as mild Mina Harissa.
  • If you want to make a really spicy tomato sauce, choose a spicy harissa, like spicy Mina Harissa or Trader Joe’s. You could even add red pepper flakes for extra heat!

Serving Suggestions

Let’s talk toppings! They’re a fun way to introduce a wider variety of textures and flavors into this shakshuka recipe. Serve your shakshuka with…

  • Chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro. Microgreens work too!
  • Crumbled feta cheese, for salty, tangy flavor
  • Sliced avocado, for creamy texture

You’ll also want bread for scooping up the tasty sauce. You can’t go wrong with pita bread, but slices of crusty bread are delicious as well.

Shakshuka

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.

More Egg Recipes to Try

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

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Best Shakshuka

rate this recipe:
4.98 from 150 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves 4
Shakshuka is a classic North African and Middle Eastern breakfast dish. This recipe is simple and satisfying, featuring eggs poached in a bell pepper and tomato sauce. Serve it with pita or crusty bread for breakfast or brunch...or dinner! Shakshuka is a delicious option for any meal.

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. Use the back of a spoon to make 3 to 5 wells in the sauce. 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).

 

217 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.