Join us for an adventure in flavor!

    Eggs in Purgatory

    My Eggs in Purgatory are a great way to spruce up your breakfast (or breakfast for dinner) routine. They’re a lot like Shakshuka, but with a bit more kick and an Italian twist, thanks to herbs and hearty sausage.

    My easy Eggs in Purgatory is like a spicy Italian version of Shakshuka, and gets a flavor boost from hearty sausage.

    Eggs are so much more versatile than just basic scrambled, fried or boiled. We’ve tried a lot of unique egg dishes from around the world like Indian Bhurji, Turkish Menemen, and more locally, Tex-Mex Migas.

    As I have a strong leaning towards Italian flavors, these Eggs in Purgatory are one of my favorites.

    What are Eggs in Purgatory?

    Known in Italy as uova in purgatorio, this dish features eggs poached in a well-seasoned tomato sauce flavored with garlic, herbs and crushed red pepper.

    From there, many variations exist, which I will discuss later. Today I am presenting you with a version that includes crumbled Italian sausage. This adds tons of flavor to the sauce, and makes it much heartier.

    Eggs poached in tomato sauce in a bowl along with a chunk of bread.

    Ingredients Needed

    • Olive oil – This is used for sautéing other ingredients. Personally, I prefer a nice bold extra virgin.
    • Aromatics – Onion and garlic.
    • Crushed red chili flakes – These add the heat. Adjust according to how deep in purgatory you want your eggs!
    • Italian sausage – It’s not strictly necessary. Many recipes omit it, but once I tried it I can’t go back.
    • Crushed tomatoes – I like to use San Marzano tomatoes and crush them by hand. Feel free to take a shortcut with other crushed tomatoes, but please do not substitute with tomato sauce or diced tomatoes in this recipe.
    • Herbs – I always like to keep some fresh basil on hand, so that’s what goes in my sauce. For oregano, either fresh or dried will do.
    • Eggs – For best results, let them come to room temperature for 30 minutes or so before adding them to the sauce.

    Eggs in Purgatory Recipe

    First I build the flavor foundation. I sauté the onion in EVOO until it’s translucent, then add in the garlic and crushed red pepper for a minute or so. Then I add the sausage, break it up into little chunks, and cook it until it’s browned.

    Browned Italian sausage in a skillet with onion and garlic.

    Next, I add the tomatoes and herbs and bring everything to a low simmer and let those flavors build for about 15 minutes. Towards the end, I taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Note that depending on the tomatoes you use, you might want a touch of sugar to balance out the tang. I never find this to be the case with San Marzano tomatoes.

    Spicy tomato sauce with sausage in the skillet.

    Now I make six indentations in the sauce with the back of a spoon. Into each one, I crack an egg. I like to give each egg a little pinch more crushed red pepper and a sprinkle of salt and pepper at this point.

    Raw eggs cracked into six wells in the tomato sauce.

    To finish it off, I cover the pan and let it cook until the eggs are done to my liking. The whites should be set, and the yolk a little runny. I cook it for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs. If you prefer a firmer yolk, you can continue cooking for a few more minutes.

    Final product, ready to serve.

    A Few Variations

    As I mentioned earlier, the sausage can be skipped for a vegetarian version.

    This dish is excellent with beans added in, specifically white beans. In keeping with the Italian theme, cannellini are my top choice.

    Add some more veggies in the sauce. Bell peppers and mushrooms both go very well here. Sometimes I will even add some green and/or black olives or capers for a little briny touch.

    Bowl of this Italian version of shakshuka.

    Give your breakfast routine a big flavor upgrade with my Italian-inspired Eggs in Purgatory. Trust me, it’s the best egg recipe yet!

    If you try this recipe, please leave a star rating and comment, we love to hear from you. And be sure to stay in the loop by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Pinterest.

    Eggs in Purgatory, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of eggs in purgatory atop the Gypsy Plate.

    More great breakfast ideas:
    Corned Beef Hash
    Shrimp and Grits
    Hawaiian Loco Moco
    Pesto Eggs
    Dutch Baby
    Welsh Rarebit

    Featured image for eggs in purgatory recipe.

    Egg in Purgatory

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes

    My easy Eggs in Purgatory is like a spicy Italian version of Shakshuka, and gets a flavor boost from hearty sausage.


    • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • ½ medium onion, diced
    • 4 gloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
    • ½ pound bulk Italian sausage
    • 28oz crushed tomatoes
    • ¼ cup fresh basil, torn (or 1 tsp dried basil)
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • salt, to taste
    • pepper, to taste
    • 6 large eggs


    1. In a large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until it becomes translucent.
    2. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, cook for 1 minute.
    3. Add sausage and crumble into small chunks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is browned throughout.
    4. Stir in crushed tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a low simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust sauce for salt and pepper (and possibly sugar).
    5. Use a spoon to make six wells in the tomato mixture. Into each well, crack one egg and sprinkle a pinch more crushed red pepper and some salt and pepper atop each egg.
    6. Cover and cook until the whites have set and the yolks are still a bit runny, about 5-8 minutes.
    7. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 313Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 208mgSodium 696mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 16g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

    Get griddling! Try these Blackstone Recipes!

    Never miss a recipe!

    Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Search by Cuisine

      Travel a word of flavors with GypsyPlate. Sort our recpes by regions:

      GypsyPlate logo.
      Skip to Recipe