I love these Poached Eggs in Italian Tomato Sauce because they are full of flavor and take just minutes to put together in the morning. A sweet and slightly spicy mixture of diced tomatoes flavored with basil, oregano, garlic, parsley, rosemary and red pepper flakes are the base for poaching eggs. Starting with canned Italian tomatoes makes this a quick and easy breakfast that’s also impressive!

Eggs in Purgatory Recipe

Poached Eggs in Italian Tomato Sauce is a quick and easy breakfast recipe created by my mom years ago. I’m sure she was inspired by a meal she enjoyed while in Italy with my dad, as her recipe is actually an Italian dish called “Uova in Purgatorio” – or in English “Eggs in Purgatory.” Eggs are poached in a quick sauce of diced tomatoes, garlic and Italian herbs, then spiced up with red pepper flakes and topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. What could be easier?

What is Eggs in Purgatory and Where Does It Come From?

Eggs in Purgatory refers to a traditional Italian dish where eggs are poached in a tomato sauce – often flavored with garlic, basil and other herbs – and finished with Parmesan cheese. The recipe comes from southern Italy, reportedly Naples.

Close up, verhead of cast iron skillet holding Poached Eggs in Italian Tomato Sauce

Eggs in Purgatory vs Shakshuka

These two egg dishes are actually very similar, but come from two different parts of the world. As mentioned above, Eggs in Purgatory originated in Italy, whereas Shakshuka hails from North Africa. Both involve poaching eggs in a flavored tomato sauce. The difference is in the seasonings. For the Italian version, the sauce is seasoned with garlic and Italian herbs, including basil, oregano and parsley. Nothing else is added. And, for Shakshuka the tomato sauce is flavored with onions, peppers and North African spices, including turmeric, cumin and/or paprika.

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce Ingredients

Our version of this Italian egg dish includes the following ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canned organic diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Chopped fresh rosemary
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Extra large eggs
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

How to Make Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce

All you have to do to make these super easy poached eggs is follow these 3 steps:

  1. Cook tomatoes.
    Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes with their juice, garlic, parsley and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, softening the tomatoes and reducing the sauce a bit. Stir in red pepper flakes.
  2. Add eggs and poach.
    Make four hollowed-out spaces and put one egg in each space. Cover and cook until eggs are done they way you like them.
  3. Plate, season and serve.
    Place eggs and sauce on plates, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt, fresh ground pepper, and chopped parsley and serve.
Overhead of cast iron skillet holding Poached Eggs in Italian Tomato Sauce

Variations for Eggs Cooked in Tomato Sauce

There are many, many ways to make this dish your own with just a few changes to the ingredients:

  • Make it Southwestern – Use canned diced tomatoes with green chiles instead of Italian, flavored with cilantro, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder. Maybe add a bit of hot sauce, too. Sprinkle the top with grated Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese.
  • Make it into Shakshuka – Before cooking the tomatoes, cook chopped onion and peppers until soft, then add in the tomatoes. Switch out the herbs to turmeric, cumin and paprika.
  • Add a few more ingredients – toss some fresh baby spinach in with the tomatoes, or maybe a chopped jalapeño pepper.

Storing and Reheating Eggs in Tomato Sauce

These poached eggs are best eaten right after cooking. If you do any leftover, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Reheat in a covered skillet over medium-low heat, keeping in mind the eggs will continue cooking when you reheat them.

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Other Egg Breakfast Recipes To Try

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Overhead of cast iron skillet holding Poached Eggs in Italian Tomato Sauce

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Poached Eggs in Italian Tomato Sauce is a quick and easy breakfast recipe created by my mom years ago. Eggs are poached in a quick sauce of diced tomatoes, garlic and herbs, then topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 7 mins
  • Total Time: 12 mins
  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (14 ounce) organic diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 4 large or extra large eggs
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes with their juice, garlic, parsley and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, softening the tomatoes and reducing the sauce a bit. Stir in red pepper flakes.
  2. Make four hollowed-out spaces and put one egg in each space. Cover and cook until eggs are done they way you like them.
  3. Place eggs and sauce on plates, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt, fresh ground pepper, and chopped parsley and serve.
  • Author: (From “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®” by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: Breakfast and brunch, gluten free, camping

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 egg with sauce
  • Calories: 145
  • Sugar: 1.4 g
  • Sodium: 147.4 mg
  • Fat: 12.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.2 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 186.9 mg
Overhead of cast iron skillet holding Poached Eggs in Italian Tomato Sauce

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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