Best Traditional Israeli Shakshuka Recipe

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli dish made with eggs, tomatoes, and a variety of flavorful spices. It’s a popular breakfast recipe in the Middle East and North Africa, often served with crusty bread or warm pita. The dish has gained popularity worldwide, with many variations and twists added to the classic recipe. In this article, we’ll delve into the best traditional Israeli shakshuka recipe, and explore the key ingredients and cooking techniques to make the perfect dish.

History of Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a traditional dish with a rich history and cultural significance. It is believed to have originated in North Africa, specifically in Yemen and the Ottoman Empire. However, it has since migrated to Israel from countries like Tunisia and Libya, and is now considered a national dish.

The origins of Shakshuka are somewhat contested, with different claims regarding its roots. Some argue that the dish’s name comes from the Arabic word “shakshek”, which means “to mix”. Others attribute its origins to the Turkish word “şakşuka”, which refers to a dish consisting of fried vegetables. However, regardless of its exact origins, what is undeniable is the dish’s popularity and enduring appeal.

Over the years, Shakshuka has evolved to incorporate various ingredients and adaptations. Traditionally, the dish consists of a tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and garlic, along with eggs poached on top. However, today, many variations of Shakshuka can be found, including Green Shakshuka with Brussels Sprouts and Spinach or Orange Shakshuka with Butternut Squash.

Despite these different adaptations, the core elements of Shakshuka remain the same. It is a dish that celebrates the simplicity and deliciousness of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Shakshuka is a dish that people from all backgrounds can enjoy, and it continues to be a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and beyond.


  • Fresh Tomatoes: 4-5 large tomatoes or 800g (about 28 ounces)
  • Yellow Onions: 1 medium-sized onion
  • Bell Peppers: 2 medium-sized peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
  • Hot Peppers: 1-2 jalapeno peppers (or adjust to your preferred level of spiciness)
  • Garlic Cloves: 3 cloves
  • Kosher Salt: 1 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
  • Black Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
  • Sweet Paprika: 1 teaspoon
  • Red Pepper Flakes: 1/2 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
  • Feta Cheese (optional): Crumbled on top of the dish as desired
  • Crusty Bread: Serve on the side for dipping and scooping

Directions for Traditional Israeli Shakshuka

  1. Heat a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Add finely chopped yellow onions to the pan and sauté until they soften and achieve a slight char. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  3. Once the onions have caramelized, add thinly sliced bell peppers to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes until they start to soften but still retain some crunch.
  4. Next, add the chopped garlic cloves to the pan and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  5. Add the prepared fresh tomatoes (or canned tomatoes if using) to the pan. If using fresh tomatoes, cook them until they break down and become saucy. If using canned tomatoes, let them simmer for 5-7 minutes to thicken and reduce.
  6. Season the tomato mixture with kosher salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and red pepper flakes according to your taste preferences. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed.
  7. Create small wells in the tomato mixture and carefully crack eggs into each well. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. Cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the eggs reach your desired level of doneness. For runny yolks, cook for a shorter time, and for fully cooked yolks, cook for a longer time.
  9. Optional: Crumble feta cheese over the Shakshuka once the eggs are cooked and let it melt slightly.
  10. Garnish the Shakshuka with fresh herbs such as chopped parsley or cilantro.
  11. Serve the Shakshuka hot in the skillet or transfer it to individual plates. Accompany it with crusty bread for dipping and enjoying the flavorful sauce.

Enjoy the delicious and comforting flavors of traditional Israeli Shakshuka!

Ingredients Description 

To make traditional Israeli Shakshuka, you will need a variety of fresh and flavorful ingredients. From ripe tomatoes to garlic cloves and everything in between, each component plays a crucial role in creating the perfect balance of spices and textures in this beloved dish. Here is a breakdown of the ingredients you will need to make the best Shakshuka recipe.

Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are one of the essential components of traditional Israeli shakshuka. When selecting fresh tomatoes for this dish, it is crucial to ensure that they are ripe, firm, and have a deep red color. This will ensure that the tomatoes have the best possible flavor and texture.

To prepare the fresh tomatoes for the shakshuka recipe, start by washing and patting them dry. Cut off the stem and slice the tomatoes in half. Using a spoon, remove the pulp and seeds and discard them. This step is important as it prevents the tomato sauce from becoming too watery. Cut the remaining tomato into small pieces, ensuring that they are roughly the same size for even cooking.

Once the tomatoes are prepared, add them to the pan with the sautéed onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down and become saucy. Remember to adjust the texture of the tomato sauce to suit your needs. Some people prefer their shakshuka to have a chunky texture, while others prefer a smooth, creamy sauce.

In summary, selecting and preparing fresh tomatoes is an important step in making traditional Israeli shakshuka. By choosing ripe, firm tomatoes with a deep red color, and properly removing the pulp and seeds, you can ensure that your shakshuka has a delicious, flavorful sauce. Don’t forget to adjust the texture to your liking, and enjoy with crusty bread for a satisfying and authentic Middle Eastern meal.

Yellow Onions

Yellow onions are an essential ingredient when preparing traditional Israeli shakshuka. They provide a robust, slightly sweet flavor that is crucial in the dish. To use yellow onions in the shakshuka recipe, you’ll need to start by finely chopping one medium-sized onion.

Once the onion has been chopped, heat a skillet over high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the finely chopped onions, stirring occasionally. Allow the onions to sauté over high heat until they have softened and achieved some charring.

It’s important to avoid stirring the onions too often, as this can prevent them from getting a good char on some pieces, which adds a complexity of flavor to the dish. Instead, only occasionally stir the onions, allowing some pieces to char while others only slightly soften. This will give the shakshuka a unique taste and texture.

In summary, to use yellow onions in shakshuka, chop them finely and sauté them over high heat until they have softened and achieved a little bit of charring. By following this process, you’ll be able to create a rich, robust base for your shakshuka that will make the dish truly delicious.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers play an essential role in traditional Israeli shakshuka. These colorful peppers offer a sweet flavor profile and a textural component that beautifully complements the savory tomato-based sauce.

When it comes to preparing bell peppers for shakshuka, start by removing the seeds and stem. Slice them into thin strips, and saute them in a bit of olive oil until they are just starting to soften but still retain some crunch. This will ensure that the bell peppers are cooked through but still have some texture left.

Red bell peppers are a popular choice in shakshuka thanks to their sweetness and vibrant color. They add a pop of brightness to the dish and are a feast for the eyes and taste buds. However, yellow and orange bell peppers also work well in shakshuka and offer a range of flavors and hues that elevate the dish.

In summary, bell peppers are a crucial ingredient in traditional Israeli shakshuka. Properly preparing them by sauteing them in olive oil until they’re slightly softened, yet still textured, adds sweetness and a pop of color to this national dish.

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers play a crucial role in traditional Israeli shakshuka, giving the dish its signature kick and depth of flavor. Jalapeno peppers, cayenne pepper, and hot paprika are some of the most popular varieties used to add heat to the tomato sauce.

To incorporate hot peppers into the recipe, start by slicing them thinly and removing the seeds to control the level of spiciness. Add the sliced peppers to the tomato mixture during the cooking process to allow their flavors to infuse and intensify in the heat.

It’s important to note that the level of spiciness can vary according to personal preference. Therefore, it’s essential to adjust the amount of hot peppers used in the shakshuka recipe to achieve the desired level of heat. A little goes a long way, so it’s always better to start with a small amount and add more gradually to avoid overpowering the dish.

Hot peppers like jalapeno pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot paprika are not only used in Israeli dishes but are also commonly found in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. By incorporating them into your shakshuka recipe, you can bring a touch of exotic spiciness to your breakfast or brunch.

In summary, hot peppers are an essential component of traditional Israeli shakshuka, adding a tantalizing heat and depth of flavor to the tomato sauce. Whether you prefer jalapeno pepper, cayenne pepper, or hot paprika, remember to use a small amount and adjust to your taste to get the perfect level of spiciness in your shakshuka.

Garlic Cloves

Garlic cloves play an important role in the traditional Israeli shakshuka recipe, adding a rich and robust flavor to the dish. They are commonly used in Middle Eastern and African cuisine to enhance the taste profile of various dishes.

To prepare the garlic cloves for the shakshuka recipe, start by peeling and roughly chopping 3 cloves of garlic. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the outer layer of skin from the garlic cloves and cut them into small, rough pieces.

Once prepared, the garlic can be added to the tomato mixture during the cooking process. When sautéed over medium-low heat with onions and bell peppers, the garlic will release its aromatic oils and infuse the dish with a fragrant and savory flavor.

Adding garlic to the shakshuka recipe is an easy way to elevate the overall taste of the dish. By incorporating this essential ingredient, you can create an authentic Middle Eastern and African flavor profile that’s sure to impress. So don’t skip the garlic in your next batch of shakshuka!

Crusty Bread

Crusty bread is an essential part of any traditional Israeli Shakshuka recipe. In fact, it is one of the most popular accompaniments to this beloved dish. Shakshuka is a hearty and flavorful meal that features a rich and savory tomato sauce, runny egg yolks, and a blend of Middle Eastern spices. The crusty bread is used to mop up every last drop of the delicious sauce, creating a perfect balance of flavors and textures.

When serving Shakshuka with crusty bread, it is important to choose the right type of bread. A sturdy loaf with a crispy exterior and a soft, chewy interior is ideal. Look for bread that is able to withstand the moisture of the tomato mixture without becoming soggy.

One of the best ways to enjoy crusty bread with Shakshuka is to serve it on the side. Simply slice the bread into thick pieces and place it on a plate next to your Shakshuka. As you enjoy the dish, dip the bread into the tomato sauce, use it to scoop up the runny egg yolks, and savor the delicious flavors.

Another popular way to enjoy crusty bread with Shakshuka is to use it as a utensil. Simply tear off a piece of bread, and use it to scoop up a generous serving of the tomato mixture and eggs. This creates a rustic and authentic dining experience that is common in Middle Eastern cultures.

In conclusion, crusty bread is a key ingredient in traditional Israeli Shakshuka recipes. It is the perfect accompaniment to this delicious and hearty dish. When served correctly, the bread adds a new dimension of flavor and texture to the meal, making it a favorite with food lovers around the world.

Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

In the classic Israeli Shakshuka recipe, two staple ingredients are crucial for optimizing the dish’s flavor: Kosher salt and black pepper.

Kosher salt is the preferred type of salt for koshering meat, as it has larger, flakier crystals that are better at adhering to the surface of the meat. But it’s also a valuable ingredient in other recipes. In Shakshuka, it is used to enhance the overall flavor of the dish. Compared to table salt, Kosher salt has a softer flavor and creates a lighter, crispier texture in foods. It’s also versatile and dissolves quickly, making it an ideal seasoning for a dish like Shakshuka, which relies on a balance of flavors.

Black pepper is another key ingredient that complements the sweetness of the tomatoes and onions in the Shakshuka. This versatile spice adds heat and depth to savory dishes, balancing the flavors of a recipe and adding a mild spiciness. In traditional Shakshuka, black pepper is used to create a flavor base, which uniquely combines the sweetness of the tomatoes and onions with a touch of heat. It also provides a specific aroma that blends well with other ingredients.

Together, Kosher salt and black pepper create a well-rounded flavor profile that lays the foundation of the Shakshuka dish. Their importance lies in their ability to enhance the taste and aroma of the other ingredients while balancing the overall flavor. Using a combination of quality Kosher salt and black pepper ensures that your Shakshuka will have that authentic, traditional Israeli taste.

So when cooking your next batch of Shakshuka, be sure to remember the significance of using these two key ingredients for a well-rounded flavor that will tantalize your taste buds.

Sweet Paprika and Red Pepper Flakes

When it comes to the Best Traditional Israeli Shakshuka Recipe, sweet paprika and red pepper flakes are two key ingredients that cannot be overlooked. These spices are what bring the perfect amount of spice to the dish, making it an authentic Israeli recipe that is loved by people all over the world.

Sweet paprika is a crucial component of the dish, giving it a rich red color that is visually pleasing and helps to make it more appetizing. In addition to its vibrant appearance, it also adds a slightly sweet and smoky flavor to the dish, creating a perfect balance of flavors. Without sweet paprika, Shakshuka would not be the same iconic dish that it is today.

Red pepper flakes, on the other hand, bring the heat to the dish. They can be adjusted to taste for those who prefer a spicier version of the dish. The level of spice can be easily controlled by adding more or less red pepper flakes, making the recipe customizable to the individual’s preference. Between the sweet paprika and red pepper flakes, the perfect balance of flavors and spice can be achieved for an unforgettable dining experience.

Together, the combination of sweet paprika and red pepper flakes is what makes Shakshuka authentically Israeli. The spices are an essential part of the recipe, and they bring a unique flavor and aroma that cannot be replicated in any other dish. Whether it’s the rich red color or the perfect level of spice, there’s no denying that sweet paprika and red pepper flakes are what makes the Best Traditional Israeli Shakshuka Recipe a standout dish.

Feta Cheese (Optional)

If you’re looking to add a tangy and salty flavor to your inside-out cheeseburgers recipe, feta cheese can be a great optional ingredient to consider. While the original recipe relies on cheddar and cream cheese for a classic cheese flavor, feta cheese can provide a delicious alternative that’s sure to impress.

To incorporate feta cheese into the recipe, there are a few different options. One simple way is to crumble it on top of the burgers once they’ve finished cooking. This will allow the cheese to melt slightly and add a flavorful touch to the dish. Simply sprinkle the crumbled feta over the burgers and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Another way to use feta cheese in the recipe is to mix it with the heavy cream in step 5. This will create a creamy and tangy sauce that can be poured on top of the burgers for added flavor. To do this, simply crumble the feta cheese and mix it with the heavy cream before pouring it over the eggs in step 5.

Whether you choose to crumble the feta cheese on top of the burgers or mix it with the heavy cream, it’s sure to add a satisfying and tangy element to the dish. Don’t be afraid to play around with different variations and find the perfect balance of flavors for your taste buds.

Canned Tomatoes (Optional)

If you’re short on time or fresh tomatoes aren’t available, canned tomatoes can be a great option when making Shakshuka. They don’t require any additional prep work and can provide a consistent flavor year-round. When opting for canned tomatoes, whole peeled tomatoes are the way to go as they naturally break down during cooking and allow for easy texture adjustment.

One great advantage to using canned tomatoes is that tomato paste is not necessary. By simmering the canned tomatoes down, their flavor intensifies and the sauce becomes the perfect consistency for Shakshuka. Simply let the tomato mixture simmer on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until it thickens and reduces.

Additionally, canned tomatoes can provide a taste of North Africa where the dish originated. While Shakshuka is now a popular dish in Israel and considered a national staple, it has its roots in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Of course, if you have the time and fresh ripe tomatoes available, they can provide a delicious flavor to your Shakshuka. But if you’re in a pinch or prefer the convenience of canned tomatoes, they are a great option to consider. Serve your Shakshuka with warm, crusty bread and enjoy this traditional and flavorful dish!

Cooking Time: 15 MinutesPreparation Time: 30 MinutesServes: 4 PeopleCalories: 250
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Recipes