May 21, 2024

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Eggs In Purgatory (Italian Eggs)

Eggs in Purgatory is a classic Southern Italian dish that is perfect for brunch, lunch or even dinner! It’s quick and easy and uses pantry staples. Eggs are perfectly poached in a hearty tomato sauce and served with crusty bread or even Naan. Delish!

More tasty brunch recipes that we love: Buttermilk Pancakes, Biscuit Recipe and Lemon Blueberry Scones!

top down look at plated eggs in purgatory with two perfectly poached eggs rested in tomato sauce. Crusty, toasted bread on the plate. Garnished with chopped parsley.

Eggs In Purgatory vs Shakshuka

While incredibly similar, Eggs In Purgatory is a popular southern Italian dish whereas Shakshuka is a middle Eastern and North African dish (the origins are somewhat unclear). Both recipes feature eggs simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce and the seasonings are somewhat similar as well. At first glance, they appear almost identical but Shakshuka recipes most often have bell peppers included in the recipe as well as paprika for seasoning.

What Does “Purgatory” Refer To In This Dish?

It kind of has a double meaning in this Eggs In Purgatory recipe. Not only does the tomato sauce have spicy red pepper flakes in it, the bubbling tomato sauce also lends to a “purgatory” feel.

These Italian eggs are a great addition to your breakfast repertoire. Eggs in Purgatory is easy, delicious, and something the whole family will love.

spoon held over skillet with a poached egg and sauce in it.

More Brunch Recipes

I love this recipe for a tasty brunch. It’s hearty, filling and skims the line perfectly between breakfast and lunch. Brunch is where it’s at, especially for holidays and weekends. Here are a few more of our favorite brunch dishes:

  1. Waffle Recipe
  2. Sausage Gravy
  3. Cherry Cheese Danish Recipe
  4. Stuffed French Toast
  5. Air Fryer Bacon or Baked Bacon
wide shot of light colored skillet with six eggs poached in tomato sacue and topped with fresh parsley.

What You’ll Need

This easy Eggs In Purgatory recipe calls for pantry staples and is made in just minutes. You’ll likely have most if not all of these ingredients on hand. You can find the full, printable recipe in the recipe card at the end of this post. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need:

  • extra virgin olive oil – other oil can be used but the olive oil adds great flavor to this Italian inspired recipe.
  • garlic – nicely minced, the garlic with be sautéed in the olive oil and provides a nice flavor foundation for the sauce.
  • tomato sauce – you’ll need 15 ounce and 8 ounce cans for a total of 23 ounces. You can also substitute in pasta or marinara sauce if you prefer.
  • Italian seasoning – adds great flavor to this dish. Use my homemade Italian seasoning or store bought.
  • onion powder – If you don’t have onion power, sauté half of a small onion in the olive oil until translucent, prior to adding the garlic.
  • salt and black pepper – to taste.
  • crushed red pepper flakes – more or less to taste, this is a critical component to the flavor of this dish but if you are adverse to spicy dishes consider omitting or dramatically reducing this ingredient.
  • eggs – the star of the show! You’ll need six for this recipe!

For Serving

  • sliced crusty bread – toasted crusty bread is perfect for dipping into those drippy egg yolks. Naan is also delish.
  • chopped parsley – a lovely garnish for this brunch dish. Consider trying basil as well, it goes great with the Italian flavors.

Shortcut Option: Replace the tomato sauce with a jar of pasta sauce (grab one with garlic and herbs) and reduce the seasonings to 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder plus salt and pepper to taste.

How To Make Eggs In Purgatory

  1. Sauté garlic in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper and crushed red paper flakes.
  3. Simmer together, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  4. Make six divots or wells in the sauce.
  5. Gently crack each egg into each hole.
  6. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny (or to your desired of doneness.)
  7. Sprinkle with fresh minced parsley.
  8. Serve warm with toasted bread or Naan.
eggs in purgatory plated with extra sauce and nicely toasted crusty bread. The dish is topped with chopped parsley.

Storage Information

Eggs In Purgatory don’t store very well because when you reheat the eggs, you will cook them more, which means you won’t get the runny yolk that you want in this recipe. However, if you do want to keep any leftovers they will last in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I do not recommend freezing this meal. 

What To Serve With Eggs In Purgatory

For breakfast, add some Air Fryer Bacon or try Baking Bacon for the perfect addition to this recipe. It really rounds out the meal perfectly.

While this is typically a breakfast meal, you can really eat it with any meal of the day. For example, add it to some white rice for a fantastic, rich meal. You could also serve it with a side of Italian sausage, steak, or even chicken. Or, if you make it for breakfast, you can use your favorite slice of toasted bread to mop up every last delicious bite. If all else fails, just eat it by itself. Make those “sunny side up eggs” a thing of the past. 

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the tomato sauce in the recipe with a jar of pasta sauce (grab one with garlic and herbs) and reduce the seasonings to 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder plus salt and pepper to taste.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and basil for more Italian flavor.
  • Make it extra spicy by increasing the amount of red pepper flakes or add a couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce.
piece of toast with dipped in yolk of egg.

More Egg Recipes

  1. Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole
  2. Sausage and Egg Hash Brown Cups
  3. Spinach Quiche
  4. Eggs Benedict
  5. Slow Cooker Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

How To Make Eggs In Purgatory

eggs in purgatory plated with extra sauce and nicely toasted crusty bread. The dish is topped with chopped parsley.

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Eggs In Purgatory

Eggs In Purgatory is a classic Southern Italian dish that is perfect for brunch, lunch or even dinner! It’s quick and easy and uses pantry staples. Eggs are perfectly poached in a hearty tomato sauce and served with crusty bread or even Naan. Delish!

Course Breakfast, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword eggs in purgatory, eggs in purgatory recipe
Author Trish – Mom On Timeout

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 23 ounces tomato sauce (1) 15 ounce can plus (1) 8 ounce can
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
  • 6 eggs

For Serving

  • sliced crusty bread toasted, or Naan, for serving
  • chopped parsley or basil for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for one minute.

  • Add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper and crushed red paper flakes. Let these ingredients simmer together, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

  • Using the back of a large spoon, make six divots or wells in the sauce. Gently crack each egg into each hole.

  • Turn heat down to medium-low. Cover the skillet and let the eggs cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny (or to your desired of doneness.)

  • Sprinkle with fresh, minced parsley, optional, and serve warm with toasted bread or Naan.

Notes

Storage Information
Eggs In Purgatory don’t store very well because when you reheat the eggs, you will cook them more, which means you won’t get the runny yolk that you want in this recipe. However, if you do want to keep any leftovers they will last in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I do not recommend freezing this meal. 

Nutrition

Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 773mg | Potassium: 398mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 742IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2mg