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.


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:
5 from 63 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!


  • 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


  • 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.


*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).



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Elizabeth

    This was so delish!!! Made it for me and my sister and we both loved it! I loved how you can change the amount of servings!

  2. Pam

    I only have a dry harrisa spice instead of a paste. How much would you suggest I use? I’d love to make this for brunch tomorrow.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Pam, maybe 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon depending if it’s spicy or not.

      • Pam

        Thanks so much, Jeannine!🤗

  3. Desi

    5 stars
    I couldn’t wait to finish eating before I posted this review. This was pretty easy to make and quite adaptable to your preferences. I did not have Harissa and had only very little red bell pepper. I added Trader Joe’s red pepper spread and a little za’atar. Also, added a small amount of frozen green peas because I love peas with red sauces. Did not have spinach so used fresh mustard greens from my yard. Be careful how long you leave the egg in. I like my eggs runny and it was firmer than I like because I walked away too long. Regardless, it turned out so delicious!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. Elizabeth

    Is it possible to use a cast iron skillet that’s not enamel coated? (Really want to make this don’t have an enamel coated one)

  5. Irina

    5 stars
    this is a really perfect shakshuka

  6. Tina

    5 stars
    Hi Jeanine,
    I have been making Sunday brunch at home since the beginning of the pandemic. Your shakshuka recipe is a staple. We love it! I purchased a large basket of heirloom tomatoes at my local farmers market and used them and a squeeze of tomato paste and it was delicious. Do you have a Green Shakshuka recipe? With kale, spinach, collards, etc? TIA.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Tina, I’m so glad you’ve been loving it! I haven’t made a green shakshuka that I love yet, but thank you for the request, I’ll keep it in mind!

  7. Scott

    5 stars
    For anyone who can’t find harissa paste but can get harissa salsa, use 2x the amount. You’ll have to simmer it a little longer to get rid of the extra water, but it gets closer to the intended flavor 🙂

    This recipe has become a staple in my home, we make it at least 2-3x a month!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it!

  8. Zoe

    5 stars
    This shakshuka was a big hit at brunch. It will become one of my standby recipes.

  9. sara

    5 stars
    I made this for a quick weeknight supper and it was delicious! I topped it with feta cheese and served toasted pita bread as a side. In the future, I might add a few more eggs to make the dish a little fuller.

  10. Madinah Grill

    5 stars
    Wow great Article!

    This is the first time I Read the whole article.
    Thank you so much it is helpful and clear.

  11. Jordan

    5 stars
    JUST WOW. SO GOOD! I usually make curry shakshuka from the blog “eatingbirdfood.” This was just as amazing in a different way. We licked our plates clean. We used the Tunisian harissa from Trader Joe’s and added cayenne as well, and it wasn’t crazy spicy, just a nice heat.

    I also doubled the paprika and cumin.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  12. Jessica

    5 stars
    We just made this for Easter brunch and we loved it! Even though we used mild harissa sauce, 2tbsp was still too spicy for us so next time we’ll just do 1tbsp but that just for personal taste. The recipe is perfect as is and we garnished it just like your photo. Absolute treat. Thanks!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  13. Erin

    5 stars
    This was a hit with a vegetarian crowd! Not to mention easy preparation. Thank you!

  14. Carmine

    5 stars
    We just made this today for brunch with family. It was fantastic! We did add the spinach and he only modifications we made were to use only about a cup of chopped red pepper (per my son’s request to add less) and only 1 tablespoon of Harissa since the one we have is pretty hot – it’s a red Moroccan harissa from Zamouri Spices. Great advice to not skimp on the time to let it thicken, and the fresh parsley leaves sprinkled on at the end are a great accent. We are definitely adding this to the rotation!

  15. Jordyn

    5 stars
    Obsessed with shakshuka! I make it for dinner at least once a week. So simple and so delicious.

  16. Iliana

    5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe ❤️

  17. Aimi

    HI – what’s the nutritional information for this recipe?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Aimi, I’m sorry, we don’t calculate nutritional info.

  18. Jessie

    4 stars
    Thank you for a great recipe. We challenged our kids to find recipes through a variety of cooking themes and our eldest stumbled upon this. Not only was it delicious, but using crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes (like some recipes) made it more palatable for my other kids. Our 15 year old made this for dinner tonight (with only a bit of chopping and timing guidance from mom)

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jessie, I’m so glad you all enjoyed it!

  19. Kathy

    I have now cooked over 10 of your recipes and have yet to be disappointed. Thank you for your insights and well-managed blog. I’ve passed it on to several friends and have only heard excellent feedback. Per your recommendations, which I now trust implicitly, I’m planning on making the Cinnamon Rolls and Shakshuka for our Christmas morning feast. Happiest of holidays to you and your family!

  20. Hannah

    5 stars
    Made this vegan by subbing two cups chickpeas and a touch of black salt for the eggs, and tangy tofu chevre for feta. I also doubled the smoked paprika because I didn’t have any harissa paste at hand. Everything else remained the same. It was a stunning dish, gorgeous to look at and profoundly flavorful. It earned its place in my family’s regular rotation. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Ooh I love this vegan version, I’m so glad you enjoyed the base 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.