What are Turkish eggs?
Cilbir, or Turkish eggs, are poached eggs nestled on top of a garlicky yogurt, drizzled with a spiced melted butter. Think creamy, savory, and heat. Those are the 3 words that come to mind!
Ingredients for Turkish eggs
To make the herbed yogurt, you’ll need: whole milk Greek yogurt (the thicker, the better!), 1 garlic clove, fresh dill, and ricotta (optional). In place of dill, you could use mint or parsley.
Additionally, you’ll have to get over your fears and poach some eggs. More on this below!
Finally, the spicy sauce! I switched things up and substituted ‘nduja with melted butter in place of Aleppo pepper. If you don’t know what ‘nduja is, let’s discuss.
What is ‘nduja?
Pretty much my favorite ingredient discovery of 2019! ‘Nduja is an umami flavor bomb of spreadable spicy prosciutto sauce. You can spread it on anything from pizza, to grilled cheese, burgers, but I think melting it with butter is the perfect compliment to these Turkish eggs. One bite, and you will be hooked.
‘Nduja is made up of prosciutto, speck, sea salt, and red chili peppers. While it is a little spicy, it will not burn your mouth off. But the way it works against the creamy herbed yogurt is divine. Trust me!
I can’t find ‘nduja. Now what?
Don’t panic! The traditional sauce for Turkish eggs is made up of melted butter and Aleppo pepper. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, paprika and red chili flakes are a totally acceptable substitute! Basically, you want creamy eggs + yogurt paired with a spicy butter sauce spooned on top. M’kay?
How to prepare your eggs
In general, I’m all for making eggs any which way you like. If you’re a fan of hard boiled eggs, do it. If you like over easy eggs, go crazy. But in this preparation, it’s all about that creamy yolk. So something like scrambled eggs wouldn’t have the same effect as substituting fried eggs. I say poach them. I believe in you. You got this.
How to poach eggs perfectly
- Bring a large pot of water to a simmer – not a boil – then add 1 tsp of distilled white vinegar.
- Crack as many eggs as you plan to poach into small individual ramekins, ensuring that the yolks are not broken.
- Carefully use a wooden spoon to swirl the simmering water into a little whirlpool for your eggs.
- Gently drop one egg into the water, wait until it sets, then add additional eggs. For a runny yolk (recommended), cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate to dry. When ready, serve eggs immediately or store in a sealed container with cold water and use within 3 days.
To assemble Turkish eggs
Make the herbed yogurt sauce, then spoon into bowls or on a serving platter. Top with poached eggs, then spoon melted butter + ‘nduja on top. Garnish with fresh herbs and PLEASE for the love of god serve some sort of carb to sop up all that glorious spicy goodness at the bottom of the bowl! The mix of creamy garlicky yogurt with the ‘nduja is out of this world good and not one single person would judge you for licking your plate clean!
Can I make this ahead of time?
You can make parts of this ahead of time. For instance, you can make the herbed yogurt a day in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Note: the raw garlic will intensify the longer it sits in the yogurt.
Even the poached eggs can be made the day before! Or up to 3 days before! Don’t believe me? Try this: Transfer just poached eggs into an ice bath. Once cooled, store in a sealed container (with cold water) for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, heat a pot with very warm water (not boiling!), then lower eggs and let heat up for 2 minutes. Remove carefully, dry on a paper towel, then serve immediately.
Did that just blow your mind? Hosting Sunday brunch has never been easier!
Serve Turkish eggs with pita bread or crusty baguette!
If you are looking to up your brunch game, this is how to do it. Turkish eggs (cilbir) is a dish I think every single person should try in their lifetime. Move over, pancakes – there’s a new star in town!
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More brunch recipes!
- Smoked salmon breakfast tacos
- How to create an epic bagel board
- Chicken and waffles
- Homemade gravlax
- How to create a bloody mary bar
Turkish Eggs with Herbed Yogurt (Cilbir)
For the herbed yogurt
- 1 ½ cups whole milk Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup ricotta
- 2 Tbsp chopped dill plus more for garnish
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
For the spicy sauce
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp ‘nduja see notes below for substitutions
- 4-8 poached eggs recommended 2 per person — instructions included below
- 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
- crusty baguette or pita
- maldon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- mortar and pestle but not a necessity!
Make herbed yogurt
- In a large bowl, combine yogurt, ricotta, and dill.
- Place garlic clove in mortar, if using, then crush with pestle into a paste. Alternatively, you can place chopped garlic on a cutting board, add a ½ tsp kosher salt, and push down into the garlic + salt with the blade of a knife. Do this repeatedly, smushing it down until the salt breaks the garlic down into a paste-like consistency.
- Add garlic to yogurt, then whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Make spicy sauce:
- Place butter and ‘nduja (or substitute, see note below) in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often to break down ‘nduja, until melted and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer sauce to a serve bowl and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a gentle simmer – not boil! Add 1 tsp distilled white vinegar.
- When hot, use the back of a wooden spoon to swirl the water into a whirlpool. Let settle, then add additional eggs, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. You can do this in batches if cooking more than 4-6 eggs.
- Allow eggs to cook for 3-4 minutes for a runny yolk. Carefully transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to dry, then serve immediately. See note below to make eggs a few days ahead!
- Divide yogurt evenly between bowls. Top each with two poached eggs, then spoon 'nduja sauce on top. Garnish with additional fresh dill, then sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt on top of each egg. Serve immediately with pita or crusty baguette.