Shakshuka – Poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce

Shakshuka close up

This healthy and nutritious one pan recipe for spicy Shakshuka is adapted from the Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini of the Ottolenghi restaurant group.

It is by far the best poached eggs in tomato sauce recipe that I have eaten, and as good as the Green Shakshuka from Baker & Spice here in Dubai. Incidentally the two chefs became friends when they met and worked for Baker & Spice in London.

In December there was a revival of the Words to Wok cookbook club that I joined a few years ago via a facebook group. I was unable to attend the first meeting in Dubai, but we decided on Jerusalem as the first book to cook from and discuss for the year.

Amongst the recipes that I tried were the Shakshuka poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce and homemade Labneh recipes that I decided to share on the blog as I love them both so much. My homemade Labneh recipe is so easy to make you will never buy it again.

A number of the participants have posted their creations under #fromwordstowok on Instagram and every image is mouthwatering from the spicy shakshuka to the baharat spice and the orange and marmalade cake.

Ottolenghi's Jerusalem book and Shakshuka ingredients

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is a North African dish of tomatoes, eggs, bell peppers, onions and herbs. The eggs are poached in a spicy tomato and bell pepper based sauce and is flavored with garlic, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper.

There are no onions in the Ottolenghi Shakshuka recipe and the hot spices are replaced by harissa, a spicy and fragrant North African chili paste. The recipe includes labneh for serving, but you can replace it and make the Shakshuka with feta crumbled into the sauce before serving.

You can make the shakshuka vegan by substituting tofu for the eggs and adding kale or spinach to the tomato sauce.

Ottolenghi's Shakshuka dinner for two

How to make the perfect Shakshuka

  • Use ripe fresh in season tomatoes or tinned tomatoes for the best flavor.
  • To add depth of flavor I always cook the bell peppers before adding spices or other ingredients.
  • If you don’t like eating chunks of partly cooked tomato or how much liquid it produces after cooking, I would recommend that you grate the fresh tomatoes before adding it to the pan so that it cooks down completely.
  • Cook the sauce until it has amalgamated and very little excess watery liquid remains but it is not dry. If you cover it with a lid after the eggs are added, there will be some additional condensation.
  • As with baking, use room temperature eggs so that the whites and yolks don’t seize up when they come into contact with the hot sauce and turn rubbery.
  • I never add eggs directly into anything and break it into a small bowl first. This will ensure that you won’t have to throw out the sauce on the off-chance that you get a rotten egg.
  • Turn the heat down to very low after you add the eggs because the sauce will be bubbling hot and will cook the eggs rapidly.
  • Watch the pan after you add the eggs to the sauce to prevent overcooking the egg whites and yolks. It is possible to make baked eggs in tomato sauce but the cooking time may differ.
  • This recipe does not include any onions but if you want additional sweetness and depth of flavor you could saute a chopped onion with the peppers before adding the spices and tomatoes.

If you love eggs then give my other Ottolenghi recipe, the Caramelised garlic tart a go. It tastes amazing!

Ottolenghi's Shakshuka


Ottolenghi's Shakshuka


Ottolenghi's Shakshuka

Shakshuka - Poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce

Razena Schroeder
This healthy and nutritious one pan Shakshuka recipe is a popular breakfast, brunch or dinner meal of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 2
Calories 288 kcal


  • 15 ml olive oil approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 150 grams red bell pepper, chopped and deseeded approximately 1 large
  • 15 ml harissa approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 5 ml tomato paste approximately 1 teaspoon
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2.5 ml ground cumin approximately 1/2 teaspoon
  • 400 grams tomatoes, chopped or grated approximately 3 medium
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 60 grams labneh


  • Heat the oil in a medium sized pan over high heat and add the chopped red bell pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it is slightly charred.
  • Reduce the heat to medium then add the harissa, tomato paste, chopped garlic and ground cumin to the peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes until the peppers are soft.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes or grated tomato pulp to the peppers cook on a gentle simmer until most of the watery liquid is evaporated. This will take another 8-10 minutes. 
  • Reduce the heat to low then make indentations in the sauce with the back of a spoon to hold the eggs.
  • Break an egg into a small bowl and pour each egg into it's own hollow. 
  • Simmer the eggs in the sauce until the egg whites are starting to become less opaque or see through but the yolks are still runny. At a low heat this will take 6-8 minutes.
  • The eggs will continue to cook in the sauce so remove it from the heat before the egg whites and yolks are completely set.
  • Leave for 5 minutes to settle and flavors to meld before serving with labneh and bread.


  • I halved the original recipe to make Shakshuka for one or two people.
  • I used 4 whole eggs instead of 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks as I had no need for unused egg whites.


Calories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 17gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 328mgSodium: 271mgPotassium: 871mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 4580IUVitamin C: 125.9mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 3.2mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword easy, healthy, preservative free
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Ottolenghi's Shakshuka pin

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  • Reply
    Jennifer Prince
    March 19, 2019 at 12:44 am

    This looks so good and savory! I think my family would even try this for a dinner sometimes, which seems quick and easy. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 19, 2019 at 12:51 am

      It is definitely a wonderful dinner option for those nights when you need to whip up something simple yet delicious.

  • Reply
    Gill Trotman
    March 15, 2019 at 6:27 am

    Wow, shakshuka sounds incredible. I’ve never heard of it but I’m most definitely going to give the recipe a try! Thank you so much for sharing! Eggs with tomato is right up my alley. Great post!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 19, 2019 at 12:50 am

      I hadn’t heard of it either until I moved to the Gulf. I love eggs for breakfast as they are so filling and keep me satiated much longer than fruits or toast.

  • Reply
    Christopher Mitchell
    March 15, 2019 at 2:18 am

    Oh this is one of my favourite dishes ever! And now I know how to make it! Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2019 at 12:14 am

    I would love to try this recipe. It looks very tasty. I love egg dishes a lot.

  • Reply
    Laura Dove
    March 14, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Ooh this sounds lovely! I love poached eggs and I love a little spice, I can only imagine how good this tastes! One for the recipe book!

  • Reply
    Tescha Chetty
    March 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    WOW Razena….you food pics are tantalizing. I have always being wanted to try this recipe but just never did. The ingredients you use are real easy to find. I will def give it a try now 🙂

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 13, 2019 at 8:44 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Tescha 🙂

      I realized a long time ago that home cooks don’t care for fancy ingredients most of the time when all we want is a meal on the table. That can wait until we’re feeling a bit inspired with time on our hands 🙂

  • Reply
    March 13, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Wow! This doesn’t only look healthy – with all its simple ingredients it looks totally attractive combination to pita or any bread and I will bet it is tasty!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 13, 2019 at 8:42 pm

      Any bread is good to soak up that sauce and I’ve had it with Arabic flatbread, pita as well as crusty baguette. All delicious accompaniments 🙂

  • Reply
    Whitney Kutch
    March 13, 2019 at 3:25 am

    I LOVE shakshuka – one of my favorite unique meals. Eggs make everything better! I’ll have to give this specific recipe a try.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 13, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      There are quite a few variations and this one was intriguing as it was the first time I saw it made without onions. I didn’t even miss the onions 🙂

  • Reply
    March 12, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    i have seen this before and wanted to try it out.. now i will. it looks totally delish

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 13, 2019 at 8:39 pm

      I didn’t realize how easy it was to make until I tried this recipe and wondered why I hadn’t made it sooner.

  • Reply
    Monidipa Dutta
    March 12, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Wow, it really looks so yummy. I would for sure love to give it a try.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    I love shakusha. Probably the best for very filling and ‘huge’ breakfast for me. works miracles if you need to delay your lunch as much as possible

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 13, 2019 at 8:39 pm

      Indeed, the eggs keep me going until late lunch time 🙂

  • Reply
    Geraline Batarra
    March 12, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I was definitely in the look out for this kind of recipes. Simple ingredients, yet looks good and will definitely taste delicious.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 13, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Simple recipes using ingredients that we have in the store cupboard are make weeknight meals so much less stressful 🙂

  • Reply
    Surekha Busa
    March 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Wow.. I really love eating eggs.. It was so healthy and adding some spicy tomato sauce in it will make really delightful.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 13, 2019 at 8:36 pm

      The spiciness depends on the spice level of the harissa paste but an extra chili to add some heat won’t do any harm 🙂

  • Reply
    March 12, 2019 at 5:01 am

    I loooove shakshuka! We tried it in Canada for the first time, and it was so so good during cold winter in Ottawa. Will definitely follow your recipe and learn how to make it at home

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 12, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      This homemade version is so much better than any I have tried at cafes. You can decide how much seasoning to add and exactly how runny you want your eggs to be. I normally prefer my egg yolks soft poached / boiled but in Shakshuka I tend to prefer it a little more cooked so that it doesn’t dissolve into the sauce.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2019 at 4:25 am

    Breakfast here so I AM DROOLING RIGHT NOW. First time I heard of a spicy tomato sauce? Is there really as such?

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      March 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      The harissa that is added is a hot chili paste and although some store bought brands are mild the homemade or authentic North African versions can be super spicy.

    5 from 11 votes

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