Make eggs in purgatory in under 10 minutes when you're just too tired to cook dinner. Easily scaled from one portion to enough to feed the family, you'll turn to this easy egg recipe time and time again.
We love spicy tomato sauce. We love runny eggs. We really love crusty bread.
Then what on earth could be better than this quick and easy eggs in purgatory for a meatless dinner in under 10 minutes??
If you've never heard of this funny-sounding dish, "eggs in purgatory" refers to soft cooked eggs poached in a fiery tomato sauce. It can also be called "shakshuka" in parts of the Middle East where it is very popular.
And for very good reason. You probably have most of what you need hiding in your fridge and pantry right now!
Why This is the Best Recipe
As much as I love cooking from scratch and big family dinners, some nights you just need something totally easy yet totally satisfying. I think this is the best eggs in purgatory recipe because:
- Simple Pantry Ingredients: As long as you've got fresh eggs and some tomato sauce, you can make this meal work.
- Budget-Friendly: Trying to stretch the fridge until your next grocery order? You can scale this to feed the whole family so easily.
- Full of Flavor: We like it spicy but you can make it more mild for your family. Either way, it has soooo much flavor.
This super easy skillet recipe only requires a few ingredients:
- Jarred Tomato Sauce: Save so much time by using your favorite spicy tomato sauce. I used Rao's arrabbiata sauce which is one of our very favorites. Arrabbiata simply means "angry" in Italian and refers to a spicy tomato sauce.
- Dried Rosemary
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: This makes the jarred sauce just a little bit hotter.
- Sandwich Hero Seasoning: I keep this near my stovetop and have found so many ways to use this versatile blend. You can buy a packet of it and get free shipping if you're curious. Otherwise, check out the recipe card at the bottom for an easy substitution.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Crusty Bread for Serving
The Best Skillet
Many shakshuka recipes call for using a cast-iron skillet. However, with my electric glass-topped stove, I just have not had great luck with that particular pan.
I tested this recipe in my favorite stainless steel All-Clad skillet but the eggs stuck to the bottom of the pan and ripped when I tried to spoon them out to serve.
In the end, I strongly recommend making this recipe in your favorite non-stick skillet. The sauce will bubble nicely and the eggs will not stick. You can easily slide them out of the pan without breaking the delicate soft yolks.
I used the larger skillet from this set for cooking 4 eggs, but the smaller one is perfect for making a single serving of eggs in purgatory with just 2 eggs which I love to do for a yummy lunch during Lent.
Prep the Tomato Sauce
Set your skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the tomato sauce, dried rosemary, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Once you've stirred the seasoning in, decide how thick you want your tomato sauce.
Rao's is a lovely, thick tomato sauce with nice chunks of tomato throughout. I wanted our serving to just be a little thinner so I added 1/2 cup water to make it more saucy.
Cook the Eggs
Once the tomato sauce has bubbled up, turn the heat down to medium.
Now it is time to add the eggs.
You'll want to work quickly for this next step so that your eggs cook evenly.
Get a small cup or bowl to crack an egg into.
As you tip the egg into the sauce, use the edge of the cup to press a small well into the tomato sauce.
You're not trying to scoop to the bottom of the pan, you're only trying to keep the white of the eggs in a neat little "cup" inside the sauce.
Repeat quickly with the remaining eggs.
Once all eggs are in the pan, quickly cover the pan with a lid and cook the eggs for just 4 - 5 minutes.
A glass lid is extra handy for this step. You want to cook the eggs until the whites have actually turned white and cooked through but you want to pull the lid off as soon as that happens so that the yolks stay nice and soft and runny.
If you don't have a glass lid, resist peeking until the 4 minute mark. If the whites have not turned opaque, quickly put the lid back on and give it one more minute.
NOTE: My favorite non-stick skillets do not come with lids. I used a lid from another pan in my cupboard that was a close-enough fit. You could also use some aluminum foil wrapped over the top in a pinch.
How to Serve Eggs in Purgatory
Once the eggs have finished cooking, sprinkle them with the sandwich hero seasoning (or the substitute) and the grated parmesan cheese.
To transfer the eggs from the skillet to serving bowls, use a large cooking spoon to gently scoop the eggs from the tomato sauce and lay them gently into the individual serving bowl.
Then spoon some of the hot tomato sauce neatly around the egg.
While most traditional Shakshuka recipes include sautéed onions and garlic, I love how easy this recipe is to make for my family.
That said, you can easily make these simple variations:
Eggs in Purgatory with Onions and/or Peppers: Thinly slice an onion and/or some bell peppers. Saute them in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until softened before adding the tomato sauce.
Mild Eggs in Purgatory for Kids: My husband and I like it spicy but the kids are more sensitive to the heat. You could easily use whatever flavor of jarred tomato sauce you love. Skip the crushed red pepper flakes or just add a shake to your own serving at the table.
Eggs in Purgatory with Fresh Herbs: If you like to grow fresh herbs on your patio like I do, you could always use fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh chives, or fresh basil in this recipe. They'd all add so much flavor.
Hard Cooked Shakshuka: I love the runny egg yolks for dunking my toast points into but if you prefer your eggs hard-cooked, simply cook the eggs for a few more minutes until the yolks are done through. It will still be delicious!
What to Serve with Shakshuka
To make eggs in purgatory a complete meal, consider adding a plate of crusty bread for dunking into the tomato sauce and soft egg yolks.
If you plan to serve the shaksuka as a breakfast for dinner option, you could also add a big bowl of garden salad or spoon the spicy tomato sauce and soft eggs over a bowl of pasta or rice.
Eggs in Purgatory
- 1/2 (24 oz) jar of arrabbiata tomato sauce any brand you love will work, we enjoyed Rao's
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon sandwich hero seasoning see notes for substitute
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 4 large slices of crusty bread toasted, optional
- Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour half of the jar of tomato sauce into the skillet. If using Rao's tomato sauce, stir in 1/2 cup water to thin the sauce out just slightly. Other brands may have a thinner consistency so add the water at your own discretion. It should be smooth but not soupy.
- Add the dried rosemary and crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce and stir them in. Bring the sauce to a bubble and then reduce the heat to medium.
- Crack one egg into a small cup or bowl. Gently turn the egg into the tomato sauce while slightly pressing down with the lip of the cup to form a well in the sauce for the egg to land. Repeat quickly with the remaining eggs.
- Place a lid over the skillet and cook the eggs for 4 - 5 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are just cooked through. Do not overcook the eggs, you want the yolks to be soft and runny.
- Remove the lid and sprinkle the sandwich hero seasoning over the top (or the substitution seasonings from the notes. Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top and serve immediately with toasted crusty bread for dunking. You'll find it easiest to use a large cooking spoon to transfer one egg at a time to a serving bowl. Then spoon the warm sauce around the egg before serving.
Substitution for Sandwich Hero:I love using pre-mixed seasoning blends to save time but if you don't have a jar of sandwich hero on hand, you can simply add a quick shake (less than 1/4 teaspoon) of each of the following seasonings on top of the eggs:
- Dried Fennel
- Dried Thyme
- Garlic Salt
- Dried Oregano
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