Soft-boiled eggs swim in a rich tomato sauce, egg in purgatory (also known as “Italian shakshuka”) is a healthy one-plate meal that you’ll happily devour for a lazy weekend brunch or a great, unexpected weeknight dinner.

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The first time I ate eggs in Purgatory was at a brunch restaurant in New York City.

The idea of ​​baking eggs in tomato sauce strikes me as a bit odd, but since our server recommended it (and it’s reassuring homemade naan dipping), I decided to give it a try.


The rich sauce mixes with the creamy egg yolks to make this healthy meal feel rich and indulgent.

Eggs in Purgatory is rustic and speaks to me every time I love it.

And since it only takes 30 minutes to piece together, we eat it for dinner as often as we eat it Brunch.

Infernal Eggs in a Skillet with Easy Tomato Sauce and Fresh Basil

5 star review

“Breakfast for my family and they love it!”

— Teresa —

What are eggs in purgatory?

Eggs in Purgatory goes by many names and has many adaptations (unlike this Oven Pancakes), whose closest relative is the shakshuka.

  • Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern and North African dish that, like eggs in purgatory, features poached eggs in a thick tomato sauce.
  • Like eggs in purgatory, shakshuka is traditionally served at breakfast, but is suitable for any meal of the day.
  • Both dishes are served straight from the skillet, slathered with tomatoes and eggs or dipped in shredded pita, toast, or baguette.

The main difference between shakshuka and eggs in purgatory is the spice and herbs.

  • Skakshuka features Middle Eastern spices like cumin and sweet paprika.
  • Eggs in Purgatory do not include these spices, but instead use Italian herbs such as oregano and basil. It is often called “Italian shakshuka”.

I’ve seen countless versions of eggs on Purgatory’s brunch menus from New York City to San Francisco, but it’s easy and affordable to make at home (like Sweet Potato Chowder), there’s really no need to eat them in trendy restaurants.

Italian baked eggs in purgatory, like shakshuka, in a pan

How to Make Eggs in Purgatory

This easy purgatory egg recipe uses a good quality store-bought pasta sauce as a tomato base that’s delicious and time-saving.

You’ll also find plenty of garlic, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, and one special addition to round it out: chickpeas.

like this Curried Chickpea Hash with Broccoli and Spinachit’s a nutritious, very satisfying meatless staple that’s also budget-friendly.

these ingredients

  • Tomato Pasta Sauce. A serious shortcut. Since tomato sauce is such a big part of this recipe, it’s important to choose a high-quality option (I like DeLallo or Rao’s).
  • chickpeas. While chickpeas aren’t 100% traditional eggs in purgatory, I can’t imagine a recipe without them right now (they’re my favorite addition too) Italian Chopped Salad). They add a pleasing texture, pair perfectly with Italian flavors, and make them an extra filling at a very low price.

Substitute Tips!

For extra creaminess with eggs and purgatory beans, swap the chickpeas for cannellini or great northern beans.

  • Egg. Although I love a good Egg White Frittata, I also can’t say no to the perfect poached eggs and nice runny yolks. So delicious!
  • baby spinach. I’m always looking for ways to add some greens to every dish. I love the added nutrition and color to this dish, a little spinach. It is rich in iron, vitamin K, folic acid and calcium.

market swap

Kale or beets are a great substitute for baby spinach in this recipe, if you like it or have it on hand.

  • garlic and onion. I’m always amazed how a little sautéed fresh garlic and onions can liven up a jar of store-bought tomato pasta sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese. Add just the right amount of salty, cheesy and richness.

Substitute Tips!

A little crumbled feta or goat cheese would be a lovely addition to this easy egg in a purgatory recipe. Or, try eggs in purgatory, adding ricotta to the sauce before baking.

  • Red pepper flakes. Are eggs in purgatory spicy? up to you! Feel free to adjust the amount to suit your personal taste preferences.
  • French bread. Make sure you have a few slices of your favorite crusty bread on hand to soak up every last drop of the delicious sauce. (this Rosemary Olive Oil Bread or No-knead focaccia will be delicious! )
Toppings for an Italian version of shakshuka with chickpeas, basil, parmesan and garlic tomato sauce.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Sauté the onions, then add the remaining sauce.
  2. Make four indentations in the sauce, then crack an egg into each indentation.
  3. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until eggs are set and sauce is bubbly. Garnish with basil and serve. enjoy your meal!

How to Serve Eggs in Purgatory

The best way to serve this easy dish is straight from the oven, while it’s still bubbling and warm.

Enjoy eggs and crusty bread in purgatory (or English Muffin Bread) then dip the bread into the sauce, or spread the eggs and sauce liberally all over the bread. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Close-up photo of eggs in purgatory baked in a rich tomato sauce

storage tips

  • storage. Refrigerate the extra tomato and chickpea spread for up to 3 days. Top with a fresh egg before serving.
  • reheat. Heat the remaining sauce in a saucepan on the stove until boiling. Add freshly cracked eggs and bake as directed.
  • freeze. I do not recommend freezing raw or poached eggs. However, the sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months for later use.

Meal Prep Tips

Make the sauce ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. Then when you’re ready to enjoy, bake as directed with fresh eggs and parmesan.

what to serve with eggs in purgatory

A hand dips a crusty bread into a pot of eggs with chickpeas and basil in purgatory

Recommended tools for making this recipe

  • frying pan. This is my favorite for years (this is another excellent and affordable option) when making eggs in purgatory
  • cut board. Always helpful when chopping large quantities of ingredients.
  • sharp knife. One of the most important tools to have in your kitchen arsenal.

cast iron skillet

This one will last a lifetime and look beautiful on your stove and table!

Italian Baked Eggs in Purgatory – Baked eggs in garlic tomato sauce with chickpeas, spinach, Parmesan and fresh basil. Cheap, convenient and healthy! Also known as eggs in purgatory or shakshuka, this is a delightful recipe perfect for brunch and fast food.  Recipes on | @wellplate

did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you think!

Let me know you like this recipe by leaving a rating in the comments below.

Fair warning: I’m not ashamed if you’re not going to finish your eggs in purgatory politely request Sneak a bite from your plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of eggs in purgatory?

Eggs in Purgatory originated in the Naples region of Italy. as. .to be known eggs in purgatory In Italy, it is passed down from generation to generation. (If you like Italian food, be sure to check out my full collection Italian Recipes! )

Why is purgatory called an egg?

It turns out, like many ancient dishes spread across multiple cultures, why it’s called “egg in purgatory” is unknown. The explanation I find most interesting is that the name comes from the Catholic belief that the baked egg represents “soul” and the ketchup around it represents “purgatory,” to the effect that the soul is suspended between heaven and hell.

Are eggs in purgatory the same as Shakshuka?

Eggs in purgatory vary across cultures. Shakshuka is similar but features Middle Eastern spices and ingredients such as cumin and chili.

  • 2 teaspoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallots diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 clove garlic chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 were able low sodium chickpeas (15 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 1 Can Premium Tomato Pasta Sauce (24 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 ounce baby spinach
  • 4 big Egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • fresh basil Chopped
  • baguette slices service for something

  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Heat olive oil in a large, heatproof, nonstick skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  • Add chickpeas, tomato paste, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

  • Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time and let it wilt.

  • Use the back of a spoon to make 4 indentations in the sauce. Crack an egg into each, then sprinkle the entire dish with Parmesan cheese.

  • Carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until egg whites are set but yolks are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve warm with baguette slices.

  • storage: This dish is best eaten right away, but you can refrigerate the extra tomato and chickpea sauce for up to 3 days.
  • reheat: Heat the remaining sauce in a saucepan on the stove until boiling. Add freshly cracked eggs and bake as directed.
  • freeze: The sauce can also be frozen for up to 3 months for later use. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating.

Serve: 1(3 total) without baguettesCalories: 341kcalcarbohydrate: 27Gprotein: twenty threeGfat: 16GSaturated fat: 6GPolyunsaturated Fats: 3GMonounsaturated Fats: 6GTrans fat: 1Gcholesterol: 259mgPotassium: 654mgfiber: 8Gsugar: 2GVitamin A: 5006IUVitamin C: 17mgcalcium: 357mgiron: 5mg

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