Best Shakshuka Recipe (Easy & Traditional) | Downshiftology (2024)

Home Recipes Courses Breakfast Shakshuka

by Lisa Bryan


Dec 21, 2023

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Shakshuka is an easy, healthy meal in Israel and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. It’s a simple combination of simmering tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices and gently poached eggs. It’s nourishing, filling and one recipe I guarantee you’ll make time and again.

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The first time I had shakshuka was years ago on a trip to Egypt with my mom. I remember instantly loving the meal and the simple yet bold flavors and spices. So when I recently visited Israel and Jordan, where shakshuka is almost a national dish, it was the meal I was most eager to dive into, once again.

I spent two weeks traveling throughout Israel and Jordan (on the most glorious trip) and was able to enjoy shakshuka many times over. To be honest, I considered it “research” so that I could bring you the most authentic rendition.

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is a classic North African and Middle Easterndish and one that’s eaten for breakfast or any meal of the day. It’s made from simple, healthy ingredients and is vegetarian. Shakshuka literally means “a mixture” and the traditional version uses tomatoes, onions and spices as the base with eggs poached on top.

Today, you can find many variations of shakshuka, like my Green Shakshuka with Brussels Sprouts and Spinach and Orange Shakshuka with Butternut Squash. You can also add feta or goat cheese and adapt it to your taste. The options are endless – which is what makes this dish such a national favorite (of so many countries!).

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Shakshuka Ingredients

  • Vegetables: The base of shakshuka is a mix of sauteed onion, bell pepper, and garlic, along with tomatoes (I use a can of whole peeled tomatoes).
  • Spices: The simple combination of paprika, cumin, and chili powder imparts incredible flavor. And the aroma instantly takes me back to meandering the spice souks in Cairo and Amman.
  • Eggs: The eggs gently poach in the spiced tomato mixture. You can cook them as long as you’d like for your perfect yolk texture. I personally prefer my yolks a bit runny.
  • Fresh Herbs: A sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro not only adds a pop of green, but also adds yet another layer of flavor.
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How to Make Shakshuka

It’s really easy to make shakshuka, especially if you use canned tomatoes (though you can always use fresh tomatoes as well – see my tip below).

Saute the veggies. Dice an onion and red bell pepper and add that to a sauté pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Stir the veggies for about 5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Then add the garlic and spices and stir for another minute, until the mixture is nice and fragrant.

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Simmer the eggs on top. Pour in a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes and use your spatula to break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Once this entire mixture is lightly simmering, you can crack your eggs on top. Use your spatula to make little holes for the eggs, then crack an egg into each hole. I use six eggs, though depending on the size of your pan you may use more or less. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking.

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Garnish with fresh herbs. Before serving, season the eggs with salt and a generous amount of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro. Enjoy!

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Common Questions

Is shakshuka spicy?

Shakshuka spices may vary, but you’ll commonly find paprika, cumin and chili powder, along with fresh garlic. I’d consider it flavorful spicy, not hot spicy. Though you can always add cayenne pepper if you’d like to heat it up.

How do I prevent runny egg whites?

The eggs should cook fully after simmering for 5 to 8 minutes in the pan. But if you’d like to speed up the process, go ahead and add a lid. They’ll cook in about half the time.

Can I swap in fresh tomatoes for the canned tomatoes?

Yes, you sure can. I’m using whole peeled tomatoes which break down easily into a soft texture (as there’s no skin). But you can use diced fresh tomatoes as well. If using fresh, you’ll need about 10 to 12 tomatoes.

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Shakshuka is abundant in tel aviv

Tel Aviv is a bustling, vibrant, hip, outdoor cafe-vibe kind of city. I didn’t know what to expect with Tel Aviv, but I can tell you this, it blew me away. There’s a youthful energy to the city and I encountered some of the friendliest, most hospitable people.

There’s gorgeous Mediterranean weather year round in Tel Aviv, but let me tell you, the food scene is definitely something to write home about. I ate. And ate. And ate. Everything is fresh, veggie-heavy, loaded with herbs and layered with flavor. It’s a dream city for vegetarians and those who just like phenomenal food.

The photo below is one shakshuka I enjoyed in Tel Aviv. How adorable is that single-serving portion served up in a mini sauté pan? Shakshuka with freshly squeezed juice and a side of fruit, yes please!

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What To Serve With Shakshuka

It’s quite common to serve pita or some type of bread with shakshuka. You can dip it in the sauce to soak it all up! I was fortunate in Tel Aviv to find several restaurants that served gluten-free pita, much to my delight! But here are a few other ideas:

  • For breakfast: Make my falafel or falafel flatbread for a delicious bread alternative. I’ve been known to break the falafel in half and then dip them in my serving. Can’t let any of that sauce go to waste! A side a fresh fruit is always a great idea as well.
  • For lunch or any time of day: Serve up a tasty mezze platter with sides of hummus, baba ganoush or white bean dip. And for salads, my Mediterranean chickpea salad, lentil salad, or Israeli salad are always winners.

More Healthy Breakfast Recipes

  • Healthy Breakfast Casserole – This meal prep friendly breakfast casserole is a go-to!
  • Smoked Salmon Frittata – A favorite for brunch and entertaining.
  • Zucchini and Prosciutto Egg Muffins – These grab and go egg muffins are healthy and convenient.
  • Baked Eggs in Avocado – It’s so simple and so tasty.

I hope you enjoy this authentic shakshuka recipe from my travels to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. If you make it, let me know how it turned out.I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Best Shakshuka Recipe (Easy & Traditional) | Downshiftology (10)

Shakshuka Recipe (Easy & Traditional)

4.96 from 405 votes

Prep: 10 minutes mins

Cook: 20 minutes mins

Total: 30 minutes mins

Servings: 6 servings

Author: Lisa Bryan



Shakshuka is a North African and Middle Eastern meal of poached eggs in a simmering tomato sauce with spices. It's easy, healthy and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!




  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (28-ounce can) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 6 large eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped


  • Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped bell pepper and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.

  • Add garlic and spices and cook an additional minute.

  • Pour the can of tomatoes and juice into the pan and break down the tomatoes using a large spoon. Season with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a simmer.

  • Use your large spoon to make small wells in the sauce and crack the eggs into each well. Cook the eggs for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your liking. You can also cover the pan with a lid to expedite the eggs cooking.

  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley before serving.

Lisa’s Tips

  • If you’re not dairy-free, crumbled feta or goat cheese on top is delicious addition. Traditionally it’s also served with pita, but I love to serve it with slices of avocado.
  • Many photos online show shakshukacooked in a cast iron pan. Tomatoes are acidic and may erode the seasoning on your cast iron pan as well as dull the finish. You may also get a slight metallic flavor to the dish. So I recommend not taking any chances and cooking it in a stainless steel pan, like this beauty from All Clad.


Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 256mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1371IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg

Course: Breakfast, Main Meal

Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern

Keyword: shakshuka, Shakshuka recipe

©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted December 2018, but updated to include new photos, video, and information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Read More About Me

Best Shakshuka Recipe (Easy & Traditional) | Downshiftology (2024)


Is shakshuka Israeli or African? ›

According to Joan Nathan, shakshouka originated in Ottoman North Africa in the mid-16th century after tomatoes were introduced to the region by Hernán Cortés as part of the Columbian exchange. Shakshouka is a popular dish throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

What is traditionally served with shakshuka? ›

The best way to serve a shakshuka is to make it the centerpiece of the meal, then create a multitude of small plates to serve along. They usually involve some bread, simple vegetable salads, and spreads.

What is the difference between shakshuka and menemen? ›

Shakshuka typically has a deeper, more intricate flavor from the blend of spices used, with whole, runny eggs that mix into the sauce. Menemen, in contrast, showcases the freshness of its primary ingredients, with less emphasis on spices.

What pan is best for shakshuka? ›

The takeaway? It's safe to cook tomato- and wine-based sauces in cast iron, but you should save the vinegary pan sauces for stainless-steel pans—or dilute the vinegar (or citrus) with water or stock.

Are Turkish eggs the same as shakshuka? ›

Turkish menemen is very similar to shakshuka, but there's a lesser-known Turkish eggs recipe that's incredibly delicious too. This, called cilbir, involves poaching eggs, then laying them on a swirl of garlic-infused yoghurt, topping with a nutty chilli butter and fresh dill fronds.

What's the difference between eggs in purgatory and shakshuka? ›

The main difference between shakshuka and eggs in purgatory is the spices and herbs. Skakshuka features Middle Eastern spices, such as cumin and sweet paprika. Eggs in purgatory does not include these spices and uses Italian herbs, such as oregano and basil.

What meat goes well with shakshuka? ›

Growing up in Egypt, my favorite was from a Cairo restaurant near the Nile called Felfela, where they served shakshuka eggs mild or spicy, with or without meat (often small chunks of beef or lamb), with a stack of warm pita bread.

What drink goes well with shakshuka? ›

And, of course, wine. Despite its overall simplicity, Shakshuka's multifarious flavors and textures makes it a congenial dish to serve with wine, especially full-flavored, complex whites.

Do you eat shakshuka in a bowl or plate? ›

Connoisseurs insist shakshuka should be eaten from the pan. Why is hard to discern, and, obviously, it's impractical if serving a group. Instead, use bowls with curved sides – rather than diagonally sloping – to facilitate an easy circular sweep with the bread.

Is huevos rancheros the same as shakshuka? ›

Mexican Huevos Rancheros and Israeli shakshuka both use the main ingredients of eggs cooked in a tomato-based sauce. Huevos Rancheros uses traditional spice salsa. Israeli shakshuka uses chopped tomatoes flavoured with paprika, cumin, and turmeric.

How do you not overcook eggs in shakshuka? ›

After breaking the eggs into the sauce, gently spoon some of the sauce over just the whites. This helps the whites cook faster so they set before the yolks overcook. Cover and rotate. Covering the skillet allows the eggs to steam-cook, which moves things along.

Do you eat shakshuka with spoon or fork? ›

Serve Shakshuka in the skillet or pan it was cooked in and enjoy it directly from the dish with bread or pita on the side for dipping. What is this? While you certainly can use a fork or spoon, traditional serving uses bread or pita as a serving utensil.

How do you know when shakshuka is done? ›

Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the eggs. Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven (it's heavy) and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, checking often once you reach 8 minutes. They're done when the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a bit but are still soft.

Can i make shakshuka in a cast iron pan? ›

It's really easy! This recipe starts with a tangy, slightly spicy tomato and pepper sauce that bubbles away in a cast iron skillet, reducing down to enhance all that flavor. Then, you crack your eggs right into the simmering sauce, where the eggs poach up perfectly until ready to serve up.

Should shakshuka be runny? ›

One of the most irresistible aspects of shakshuka is the promise of a runny egg yolk dripping and swirling with the tomato sauce, making for a savory, molten bite.

Where is shakshuka originally from? ›

Shakshuka is a simple dish made of gently poached eggs in a delicious chunky tomato and bell pepper sauce. Said to have originated in Tunisia, this breakfast recipe is popular in many parts of North Africa and the Middle East. It is so satisfying, you can serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Is shakshuka Israeli or Palestinian? ›

Even though many people today associate shakshuka with Israel, it actually originated in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire: the only reason shakshuka is eaten in Israel is because North African Jewish immigrants brought it there. This brings us to a contentious topic: food appropriation.

What is traditional Israeli food? ›

In a region renowned for fantastic street food, local vendors and hole-in-the-wall eateries, you'll be served up national favorites like hummus, falafel, shawarma, and shakshuka. Food is at the epicenter of Israeli identity and a force that unites so many nationalities.

What is shakshuka in Israel culture? ›

Israeli Shakshouka is a traditional breakfast in Israel. It's easy to make, packed full of fresh vegetables, tomatoes, and eggs, and best of all, it's incredibly delicious. Prepare your ingredients ahead of time for easy in cooking.


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