Shakshuka is a Tunisian (or more broadly, North African) dish, with poached eggs in a bed of spicy tomato sauce. This Moroccan Shakshuka is iInherited from my Moroccan host mother, and perfect for lazy Sunday brunch! Nothing better than breaking into the yolk of the shakshuka eggs and have it mix into the rich tomato base. Yum.
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
💭Why you'll love this recipe
This recipe is authentic, delicious, and comes together in almost no time.
- Basic ingredients, less than 45 minutes: This recipe requires simple pantry staples like onions and tomatoes, and comes together in under an hour
- Great for make-ahead: You can make a large batch of the sauce and just cook the eggs in it whenever you need a 15 minute breakfast!
- Easily customizable: You can adjust the spiciness, the consistency of the base and how many eggs or garnishes you use, quite easily!
📋 Ingredients & Tips
This recipe uses a base made with tomatoes, onions, habanero peppers, and some spices. Then, you crack the eggs into that base as it's cooking.
- Spice notes: You can adjust the spiciness in two ways - through the habanero and/or the red chili powder. For the habanero, you can take out the seeds or swap it with a less potent pepper (e.g. jalapeno) and for the red chili powder, you can use red pepper flakes
- Canned vs. fresh tomatoes: I prefer canned tomatoes for shakshuka (diced and unseasoned). Canned tomatoes have been stewing those juices for a while, and I find that they cut across the richness of the eggs much better. From Summer to Fall, when tomatoes are in season, you can use fresh ones too
- Buying the right eggs: Eggs are the centerpiece of this dish. If you're wondering what type of eggs you should buy at the grocery store, read my post on everything you need to know about buying eggs
- Garnishes: I typically use fresh herbs (e.g. cilantro or parsley), crumbly cheese (e.g. feta, gorgonzola or goat cheese) as well as avocados for creaminess. But these are all optional!
🥘 Difference between Moroccan shakshuka and other variations
There’s a raging debate about where shakshuka really originates from. Though it is mostly associated with Israeli cooking these days, most people believe that it was actually brought to Israel by North African immigrants. The thing is, shakshuka is SO versatile and it’s spirit really just revolves around eggs poached in a delicious sauce, that I might argue that it’s one of the most universal dishes ever. My Moroccan shakshuka has habanero peppers or harissa for a kick, and almost always has cheese.
I’ve made shakshuka with other bases – spinach, tomatillos, chickpeas and eggplants are all great (um, green shakshuka!). In terms of the spices, I have used harissa instead of habanero peppers. I’ve added za’atar or even served some zhug on it (Yemeni pesto made with parsley and cilantro). You can leave out the cheese and avocado if you want something simpler, but they’re both excellent (or shall I say, eggcellent) additions too.
♨️How to make shakshuka
You can make this recipe on stovetop or in an oven!
First, start by sautéing chopped onions, habanero peppers and garlic over medium heat
Prepare the base of the shakshuka
Then, add cumin and red chili powder, followed by diced tomatoes as well as salt and pepper. Let this simmer for a few minutes so the tomatoes can cook through.
Finally, crack the eggs and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes until whites set
Make indents with the back of a spoon and crack the eggs into the indents. I don't like covering my skillet since it produces a thin film over the yolks, but you can do that to make the eggs cook faster. Spoon some of the sauce onto the whites to help it cook. I like cooking my eggs to be runny, so that takes about 10 minutes. You can adjust this to your desired consistency!
Note: For shakshuka in an oven, pre-heat to 375F. Then, using an oven safe pan, follow the steps in the recipe until you break the eggs. Once the eggs are broken, just throw the pan in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the egg whites set. 8 minutes gets you closer to runny yolk for the shakshuka eggs, while 10 is more set. Garnish as desired, and serve!
👩🏽🍳 Shakshuka for one person
The recipe I have here is typically for 2-3 people (~2 eggs per person). If you want to make this shakshuka for just one person, I have a few tips:
- Pick the smallest pan you can use - this will help make sure that you have a good base and things don't burn! I love using mini cocottes to make single-serve shakshuka!
- Use half the recipe (i.e. half an onion and half a can of diced tomatoes, etc.) The recipe scales easily - just make sure you have enough sauce for the base!
- Make a large batch of the sauce, cook eggs to order: The sauce stays well for a while, so make a larger portion, and then use a smaller skillet to crack as many eggs as you would like to make in a given serving!
🍞 Serving and storage suggestions
I have added my own little twists to it from time to time. You can eat the shakshuka by itself, or if you want something a bit more starchy, consider scooping it up with some fresh, lightly toasted bread. As Ottolenghi would recommend, consider having a spoonful with some yogurt or labneh.
I’ve found that shakshuka doesn’t store well once the eggs are cooked. So I recommend making the sauce in a big batch if you must, and then you can heat it up whenever you want to eat it, and crack the egg fresh. The sauce can be stored in a fridge, in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Plus, this way you get the perfect runny yolk every time!
For other fun breakfast and brunch recipes, start with the following:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion or shallots, thinly diced
- 1 habanero pepper, thinly diced (substitute with jalapeno as needed)
- 2 garlic cloves, or 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 can diced tomatoes, preferably unsalted, use 14 oz for a thicker shakshuka or 28 oz if you want more base
Seasoning and eggs
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp red chili powder, cayenne and/or paprika both work
- 6 eggs, prefer large, organic & free-range
- 1-2 tsp salt, as required
- 1 tsp black pepper, as required
- 1 avocado, medium size
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp feta or gorgonzola , can also use goat cheese
- Heat skillet over medium heat and add olive oil (see notes for making for one person)
- Once oil is hot, add onions and habanero peppers - cook until soft (~5-7 mins)
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (~ 30 seconds)
- Then add the can of diced tomatoes, followed by cumin, red chili powder, salt & pepper - mix well and cook until it starts to simmer (5 minutes)
- Make six little dips in the sauce using the back of a spoon or spatula - crack an egg into each dip, taking care not to break the yolk
- Simmer for ~8-10 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are runny (you can cover while you do this step, but that typically cooks the eggs faster). If you prefer your eggs done a different way, cook them to your desired consistency!
- Take off heat, garnish with avocado, herbs and/or cheese and serve while still hot!
- Adjusting for spice: Habaneros are quite potent! So, if you don't want it to be too spicy, consider substituting the habanero pepper with jalapenos, or even just red or green pepper. Just remember to cook the peppers for another minute or two if you decide to do this
- The shakshuka is also an extremely versatile dish. You want to take out the onions? Go ahead. Substitute red chili powder with a milder variety? Works too!
- A lot of people use cast iron skillets, but I recommend using a stainless steel pan. The acid from tomatoes can ruin cast iron skillets and the residual heat might cook eggs more than you'd want.
Note: This recipe was originally published on March 15, 2020. It was updated on Jan 1, 2021 to include video and helpful process photos.