Culinary Arts

What Is Shakshuka? Easy Homemade Shakshuka Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Jun 18, 2019 • 2 min read

Shakshuka combines runny poached eggs and hearty tomato sauce for a one-pot meal that’s as much fun to eat as it is to say.

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What Is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is a North African dish of eggs poached in a flavorful harissa-spiked sauce that has become a popular breakfast and lunch throughout the Middle East. The most famous version of shakshuka is made with red bell peppers and tomatoes, but shakshuka can be made with nearly any vegetable. Try adding potatoes in winter or eggplants in spring, or make a green shakshuka with spinach, tomatillos, or green bell peppers. Shakshuka is almost always served with crusty bread to sop up the combination of tart sauce and rich egg yolk.

What Are the Origins of Shakshuka?

Dishes of tomatoes stewed with meat were popular throughout the Ottoman Empire, but it’s thought that meat was first replaced with eggs by Tunisian Jews, who later brought shakshuka to Israel.

Is Shakshuka Spicy?

Shakshuka can be made spicy or mild, depending on your preferences. Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or fresh hot peppers to up the spiciness, or tone it down by decreasing the amount of harissa and topping it with dairy, such as feta cheese, Middle Eastern labneh, or greek yogurt.

3 Tips for Making the Best Shakshuka

  1. A large stainless steel sauté pan with high sides is a good vehicle for shakshuka. If making shakshuka in a cast-iron skillet, make sure it is well oiled, since the acidity from the tomatoes can damage the seasoning.
  2. There are a few methods for achieving set egg whites and runny yolks: Gently stir the whites so that they combine with the hot sauce and cook more quickly; use a lid to cook the eggs by steaming; or transfer the pan to a moderate (375°F) oven once you’ve added the eggs to the sauce to finish cooking, about 7 to 10 minutes. Whichever method you choose, keep a close eye on your eggs: they can quickly go from perfectly runny to overcooked.
  3. To make shakshuka ahead of time, prepare the sauce, then transfer it to jars or plastic containers and refrigerate or freeze. Reheat the sauce in a large skillet on the stovetop, then add the eggs as usual.

Ways to Use Shakshuka Leftovers

Like most egg dishes, shakshuka is best eaten immediately. If you end up with leftovers, try reheating shakshuka in the microwave and putting it in a tortilla for a quick take on huevos rancheros. Any extra sauce can be refrigerated or frozen for later use.

Easy Shakshuka Recipe

Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 5 large ripe tomatoes, diced (or substitute with canned tomatoes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup labneh or greek yogurt
  • Crusty bread, sliced, to serve
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, harissa, tomato paste, peppers, garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt and stir to combine. Cook until peppers have softened, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and bring to a low simmer. Cook until a thick sauce forms, about 10 minutes. If shakshuka does not form a sauce-like consistency, add a little water. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Use the back of a spoon or ladle to make four divots in the sauce. Crack each egg into its own divot. Simmer until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and cilantro and serve with yogurt and bread.

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