Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs in Purgatory

Breakfast Savoury

Eggs in Purgatory is a spicy and delicious meatless meal that would be awesome any time of day. Eggs are poached in a tomato sauce spiked with plenty of chillies and served with stacks of crunchy toast. I’m so into it.

Eggs in Purgatory

2020 just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Who knows where we’ll be by the time you actually read this in five days. Part of me wants to take a news hiatus and just go inward and focus on my own little world. But there’s also a part of me that worries that if I look away for even a few hours, I’ll miss the start of the zombie apocalypse and will end up having my brains eaten in the streets of Glasgow. Have you taken a break from the news? How did it go?

In my own little world, though, things may not be much prettier, at least from the outside. It’s rainy and grey outside, and I’m still in my pajamas, sitting on the couch listening to Marvin Gaye and thinking about what to say about eggs. Lots of people will think that’s boring and sad, but I’m exactly where I want to be and couldn’t be happier. Unless I had a cup of tea. Hold that thought, kids. I’m gonna go put the kettle on.

Eggs in Purgatory

What makes this recipe so awesome?

Right, now everything’s perfect. Let’s talk about eggs. Specifically Eggs in Purgatory. This is similar to shakshuka or huevos rancheros. It’s a spicy tomato sauce made from red chillies and canned tomatoes with eggs poached in the sauce. It’s a little bit sweet and as spicy as you like. Make some toast with a loaf of good bakery bread and dip away.

I’ve adapted this from a Nigella Lawson recipe in her Italian book Nigellissima. I’ve added a few extra eggs though, using the same amount of sauce. It worked absolutely fine, so you could easily scale this recipe down with fewer eggs if you like. I also upped the heat factor by adding diced red chillies because my husband is a heat fiend.

Eggs in Purgatory with toast

How to make Eggs in Purgatory

We start with a hot skillet and some olive oil. Infuse your oil with a grated clove of garlic and a fat pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Then add in your chopped chili and let it cook for a few minutes to soften up. Once we’ve got everything nice and spicy, we can add in a can of diced tomatoes and some salt. Let this all come to a nice bubble.

Then all that’s left to do is crack in up to four eggs and let them cook. If you partially cover your pan, they’ll cook faster. I don’t have a proper lid for my cast-iron skillet, so I just used a cookie sheet. As soon as your whites are set, take the pan off the heat. Sprinkle over some grated Parmesan, and get ready to dig in.

Oh, I forgot to mention, if you can get someone to help you out on toast duty, that’d be great. Slice up a loaf of good sourdough or whatever bread you can get your hands on and toast them under the broiler or even in the regular toaster. You want to have a good size stack of bread. The contrast in texture is what makes this so awesome.

Eggs in Purgatory with toast

The world is unpredictable right now. Take solace in your kitchen and the comfort of really great, simple food. Eggs in Purgatory will definitely make you feel better. Stay awesome, friends.

Looking for more awesome spicy egg recipes? Check out these Turkish Eggs.


Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs in Purgatory with toast

Eggs in Purgatory is a spicy and delicious meatless meal that would be awesome any time of day. Eggs are poached in a tomato sauce spiked with plenty of chillies and served with stacks of crunchy toast.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 red jalapeno, chopped fine
  • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • Toasted bread, to serve


  1. Add your oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Grate in the garlic clove using a microplane or fine grater, then add the crushed red pepper flakes and the chopped jalapeno. Let this cook for a minute or two or until it becomes fragrant and the jalapeno starts to soften a bit.
  2. Add in the tomatoes and salt, and give it a good stir. Let this cook until it comes to a bubble.
  3. Crack your eggs into four corners of the pan and sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese. Partialy cover the pan, allowing space for steam to escape, and let it gently bubble away for about five minutes or until the egg whites are set. Remove from heat. 
  4. Serve immediately with lots of toast and some chilli oil if you want a bit of extra heat.

Keywords: Breakfast, Eggs, Tomatoes

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