Turkish Eggs

Where has this recipe been all my life?! It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe, featured in At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking, published in 2018. This is truly something unique and I’m so glad I made this.

Ms. Lawson prefaces the recipe with: “If I hadn’t eaten the Turkish eggs at Peter Gordon’s restaurant, The Providores, I most certainly wouldn’t be tempted by the idea of poached eggs on Greek yogurt. I say that only to pre-empt any hesitancy on your part.”

The egg dish is called çilbir, which is pronounced chulburr. Ms. Lawson calls it “a revelation and a complete sensation.”

I concur.

Turkish Eggs

¾ cup Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 x 15ml tablespoons unsalted butter
1 x 15ml tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
2 large eggs (fridge-cold)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
a few fronds fresh dill (chopped)

Fill a wide-ish saucepan (I use one of 22cm diameter) with water to come about 4cm up the sides of the pan. Put it on the heat and cover so that it heats up faster. Line a large plate with some kitchen roll, get out a slotted spoon, and put both near the pan now.

Now fill another pan – on which a heatproof bowl can sit comfortably – again with water to come 3–4cm up the sides, and bring to the boil. Put the yogurt in said bowl, stir in the garlic and salt, and sit it on top of this pan, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir it until it gets to body temperature and has the consistency of lightly whipped double cream. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl as it is, over the pan.

Melt the butter gently in a small pan until it is just beginning to turn a hazelnutty brown (this is why, in classic French cuisine, it’s known as beurre noisette), but make sure it’s not actually burning. Turn the heat off under the pan, then stir in the olive oil, followed by the beautiful red pepper flakes; it will foam up fierily. Leave to one side while you get on with the eggs. And this is when you should be thinking of putting the toast on.

When you are ready to poach the eggs, crack the first egg into a finemesh strainer suspended over a small bowl, then lift it up a little and swirl gently for about 30 seconds, letting the watery part of the white drip into the bowl. Gently tip the egg into a small cup or ramekin and, aiming for the white, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice; I know everyone else says vinegar, but I just don’t like the taste of it on the egg, and the lemon does the trick just the same. Proceed as above with the second egg.

When the poaching water is just starting to simmer, take a cup or ramekin in each hand and gently slide in the eggs, one on each side of the pan. Turn the heat right down so there is no movement in the water whatsoever, and poach the eggs for 3–4 minutes until the whites are set and the yolks still runny.

Transfer the eggs with your slotted spoon to the paper-lined plate to remove any excess water. Do remember to switch off the heat. Sorry to state the obvious, but I have too often left it on this low without noticing.

Divide the warm creamy yogurt between two shallow bowls, top each with a poached egg, pour the peppery butter around and slightly over the yogurt, scatter the chopped dill on top, and eat dreamily, dipping in some thick well-toasted bread as you do so.

Normally I would have made some flatbread for this egg dish, but naan is so easy to find for me these days!

By Published On: March 25th, 202259 Comments on Turkish Eggs

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Bernadette March 25, 2022 at 6:20 AM - Reply

    Thanks Mimi for this recipe. What a wonderful Sunday morning treat.

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 7:44 AM - Reply

      This was so incredible I can barely describe it.

  2. Molly Pisula March 25, 2022 at 8:05 AM - Reply

    This recipe has me totally drooling! Never would have put these ingredients together but it looks fantastic!

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 8:11 AM - Reply

      I know! As soon as I was done with the photos, I ate the whole bowl. It was truly unique and out of this world good!

  3. Karen March 25, 2022 at 8:44 AM - Reply

    We were originally planning to visit Istanbul in May and I had been watching a lot of food videos on the foods of Turkey and saw these eggs served at breakfast

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 8:52 AM - Reply

      Well you must try them. Incredible. We’re going to be in Turkey next month. Fingers crossed that the war will end quickly.

  4. David Scott Allen March 25, 2022 at 9:36 AM - Reply

    I have a friend who lived in Turkey for years and always raved about eggs cooked in yogurt; it didn’t sound appealing at all, so I completely appreciate Nigella‘s preemptive comment. And, with your photographs, I want to make it as soon as possible.

    • Chef Mimi March 25, 2022 at 10:12 AM - Reply

      Oh, you must. I’m glad she added that comment as well. Oh my. You will really miss the warm and garlicky yogurt, but the rest is incredible.

  5. dawnyucuiscooking March 26, 2022 at 8:41 AM - Reply

    This recipe sounds amazing. What a delicious way to have breakfast.

    • Chef Mimi March 26, 2022 at 9:44 AM - Reply

      This is truly one of the most magnificent meals I’ve had. I hope you get a chance to make it.

  6. Frank Fariello March 27, 2022 at 6:50 AM - Reply

    I have to say, like Nigella, *idea* of this dish wouldn’t have grabbed me. But then if she and you say it’s delicious, I need to give it a try. I’m intrigued by your method for poaching eggs. Makes perfect sense to remove the watery part of the white before placing the eggs in the water, but I hadn’t thought (or heard) of it before! Nice little detail to add to my bag of tricks.

    • Chef Mimi March 27, 2022 at 9:33 AM - Reply

      I don’t mind poached eggs the other way. Besides mine didn’t come out looking great, but I’m not patient enough for a re-do!!! But you definitely need to try this.

  7. Debra March 27, 2022 at 6:33 PM - Reply

    I have all of these ingredients on hand at the moment, including the pepper, which I rarely use! This sounds delicious and I’m quite excited to give it a try. And I think this might be a cookbook I’d enjoy, as well! :-)

    • Chef Mimi March 27, 2022 at 8:58 PM - Reply

      I think I’ve only used Aleppo pepper once or twice, but I do love having more “exotic” ingredients on hand just for this kind of recipe. This is so unique I can’t truly describe it. Hope you can make it!!!

  8. Tandy | Lavender and Lime March 28, 2022 at 1:58 AM - Reply

    I am so going to try this over the weekend! It sounds delicious :)

    • Chef Mimi March 28, 2022 at 5:21 AM - Reply

      I added a little more garlic and used a little more yogurt, just because I had an inkling that it would be fantastic. I can’t wait for you to try it!

  9. StefanGourmet March 28, 2022 at 2:19 AM - Reply

    Certainly a very unusual dish. I’ll have to ask my Turkish friend about this.

    • Chef Mimi March 28, 2022 at 5:20 AM - Reply

      Unusual indeed! But one of the best meals of my life!

  10. neil@neilshealthymeals.com March 28, 2022 at 7:09 AM - Reply

    Delicious! I haven’t heard of turkish eggs before but I’m always looking for new weekend eggs recipe and I must give these a try!

    • Chef Mimi March 28, 2022 at 8:25 AM - Reply

      I hope you do! You won’t regret that decision!

  11. popsiclesociety March 28, 2022 at 8:03 AM - Reply

    Wow! Luckily Ms. Lawson did that pre-emptive comment, otherwise I would never thought to make such a combination! But now, I’m very curious, because I love yogurt and poached eggs 😋

    • Chef Mimi March 28, 2022 at 8:25 AM - Reply

      It is truly one of the best dishes I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot! I’ve been eating great food for many many years!!!

  12. Eva Taylor March 29, 2022 at 5:07 AM - Reply

    I have never heard of this dish but am intrigued. I love all the flavours (including the vinegar) so it’s definitely going to the top of the list of my must try dishes. Thank you for the introduction.

    • Chef Mimi March 29, 2022 at 6:52 AM - Reply

      You’re so welcome. My life has changed for the better because of this recipe!

      • Éva Taylor April 2, 2022 at 9:32 AM

        I made this dish this morning, but was a little hesitant to use the entire teaspoon of the aleppo pepper so I only used half and it wasn’t that spicy, next time I’ll do the full teaspoon. The warm yogurt with the rich butter sauce was delicious, the Aleppo imparted a beautiful fruity flavour with just mild heat, quite tolerable. Very nice dish, will definitely repeat. Thank you

      • Chef Mimi April 2, 2022 at 10:25 AM

        I’m so glad you made this!!! So incredible and unique.

  13. Ben | Havocinthekitchen March 29, 2022 at 12:10 PM - Reply

    I’ve wanted to make Turkish eggs for many years but without success as of today :) This looks perfect and thank you for all these little details. I think I cannot wait more to try this!

    • Chef Mimi March 29, 2022 at 1:36 PM - Reply

      I wish I’d heard about this years ago!!! Oh my goodness – incredible. Can’t wait for you to try them!

  14. Kim | Give it Some Thyme March 29, 2022 at 3:11 PM - Reply

    I would never think to combine eggs with yogurt. Pure genius! Such great flavors to start the day!

    • Chef Mimi April 2, 2022 at 4:16 PM - Reply

      That’s exactly what I thought. I hope you get a chance to make this!

  15. Greg Henry March 29, 2022 at 5:01 PM - Reply

    I’m so glad you shared this “revelation”. I love it. GREG

    • Chef Mimi March 29, 2022 at 6:04 PM - Reply

      I hope you really make it. There are really no words…

  16. David @ Spiced March 30, 2022 at 7:11 AM - Reply

    I do like how naan is much easier to find these days! As Nigella pointed out, the idea of poached eggs on Greek yogurt would never have called to me! But with both her and you recommending it, I guess I need to give it a try, huh? It certainly looks delicious!!

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2022 at 8:15 AM - Reply

      I just wish I’d heard about this egg dish years ago. It’s just incredible.

  17. kitchenriffs March 30, 2022 at 10:05 AM - Reply

    Wow. I don’t know this dish, and it sounds terrific. Really interesting — thanks for the revelation!

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2022 at 1:24 PM - Reply

      It truly is terrific. Out of this world! It’s probably the fastest I’ve ever eaten something!

  18. For the Love of Cooking March 30, 2022 at 10:57 AM - Reply

    I’ve never had Turkish eggs before but they sure look and sound tasty.

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2022 at 1:23 PM - Reply

      I hope you get a chance to make them!

  19. Thao @ In Good Flavor March 30, 2022 at 12:56 PM - Reply

    I love a runny egg! The yogurts base is so interesting!!

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2022 at 1:23 PM - Reply

      I know. It’s garlicky and salty and warm. Crazy good!

  20. Raymund March 31, 2022 at 6:27 PM - Reply

    I’ve never had Turkish eggs before, that would change soon. Thanks for introducing this to us Mimi

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 7:15 PM - Reply

      I am SO SO glad you caught this post! One of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever had!

  21. Valentina April 4, 2022 at 7:01 PM - Reply

    Oooooh, I’m definitely going to try this! Thank you for the introduction to it. :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi April 4, 2022 at 7:12 PM - Reply

      I’m SO glad you stopped by this recipe post! I loved it so much I want everyone to see it! Amazing.

      • Valentina April 5, 2022 at 9:52 PM

        I made this tonight for my husband on one of my sons (the other doesn’t like eggs – imagine that?!) — It was SO good. I will definitely be making it again. I doubled the recipe and the two of them at all of it. I’d never done the strainer egg “trick” to remove the watery portion of the white. It really made a difference. I don’t have Aleppo pepper so I used a mix of chipotle and smoked paprika. I’m sure the flavor was different, but with that browned butter is was amazing. I’ve found so many unique recipes here that I’m always eager to try. So fun! :-D

      • Chef Mimi April 6, 2022 at 7:44 AM

        I’m so glad you made it! And now you understand why I want the whole world to know about this dish!!

  22. Sherry M April 7, 2022 at 8:24 PM - Reply

    it sounds … odd but i do love me a poached egg and AND Nigella!

    • Chef Mimi April 8, 2022 at 7:20 AM - Reply

      I know. You have to trust Nigella. And me!!!

  23. […] click here for the original […]

  24. […] for baked eggs with ricotta and onions on the Food52 website. It’s a bit similar to the Turkish eggs I made and loved, but then, not really. I think I was just excited to make another unique egg […]

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  28. Menemen – the chef mimi blog November 3, 2023 at 6:00 AM - Reply

    […] of course, there was the food! I was especially excited that our hotel’s breakfast menu offered çilbir, which I’ve made for the blog and dreamt of ever since. (Please make it!) My blog photo is lower […]

  29. Anonymous November 4, 2023 at 12:51 PM - Reply

    I started my day with your outstanding Cilbir recipe this morning. The flavor profile is outstanding, will definitely make it again. Thank you. There was one tiny drawback, lots of pots and pans used, but that won’t keep me from preparing it again because it’s well worth all the dishes it produces.

    • Chef Mimi November 4, 2023 at 1:48 PM - Reply

      Oh fabulous!!!!! It’s incredible, isn’t it?!! So unique, so delicious.

  30. John Rieber February 26, 2024 at 2:08 PM - Reply

    Wow, these look incredible! I am going to make these for sure!

    • Chef Mimi February 27, 2024 at 7:51 AM - Reply

      You will not be disappointed.

  31. […] was overwhelmed with happy yumminess when I made çilbur, a Turkish egg and yogurt dish. But this feta, dumpling and yogurt-tomato sauce dish is tied in […]

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