Mexican-style Shakshuka

Must Try Recipes

These eggs in tomato sauce are quick and easily adaptable dishes that can get us out of trouble every time we don’t have time to cook something more elaborate.

For me, these eggs in tomato sauce – called by some shakshuka, by others eggs in purgatory – are a breakfast that I often make and that I enjoy with my family. The preparation is suitable for any time of the day.

The differences between the recipe variants are mainly related to the way of seasoning. The North African variant, shakshuka, contains harissa paste, bell pepper, and cumin and is usually served with fatty yogurt. The Italian variant, uova in salsa di pomodoro or uova in purgatorio, is more straightforward, containing the ingredients common to the others, and is seasoned only with salt and pepper, possibly with the ingredients a little dried oregano sprinkled. 

Huevos rancheros, the Mexican version, obviously contains chili and is often served with beans. For this recipe I use canned tomatoes to make my eggs in tomato sauce, although you can also use fresh tomatoes and cook them well. It’s just that when we use fresh tomatoes, the cooking time increases significantly because they must be scalded, peeled, and chopped.

Mexican-style Shakshuka

Necessary equipment:

  • a large cast-iron pan
  • a wooden spoon


3 servings

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion, cut the garlic into thin slices or crush.
  2. Heat the pan over medium heat, add the oil, then the onion and garlic. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and stir. Reduce heat and cook the onion and garlic over low heat for 7-8 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Now add canned tomatoes, along with their juice. Cover with a lid and cook the sauce on low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, taste the sauce and season with oregano, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder.
  5. With a spoon, make a small hole in the sauce and immediately break one egg, letting it slide into the formed cavity. Thus, the yolk will remain centered, and the egg will not spread too much.
  6. Quickly repeat the procedure, until all the eggs are in the pan. Cook the eggs in the tomato sauce for 8 minutes over medium-low heat.
  7. After the first 8 minutes, cover the pan with the lid. Cook the eggs for another 5-6 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy warm.

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