Turkish eggs are the most garlicky, buttery way possible to start the day

Loads and garlic and butter make Turkish eggs addictively good

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published September 15, 2022 2:30PM (EDT)

Turkish eggs (Mary Elizabeth WIlliams)
Turkish eggs (Mary Elizabeth WIlliams)

In "Quick & Dirty," Salon Food's Mary Elizabeth Williams serves up simplified recipes and shortcuts for exhausted cooks just like you — because quick and dirty should still be delicious.

I can't figure out the oven thing here. I have tried. I have read the instructions, in confusingly translated English. I have pushed random buttons for days. But while staying temporarily in the Netherlands, I have so far had to accept my limitations and stick to stovetop dinners.

If I could never bake again, this would be a problem. But for a few weeks, I can comfortably subside on boiled things and sautéed things. And so it came to pass that one recent evening, scrounging through my tiny refrigerator for dinner ideas, that I decided it was time to face one of my biggest cooking fears — the poached egg.

Poached eggs are fine when you're out for brunch, but at home, the possibility of chaos just always seems too great. The whites can feather off into infinity, leaving you with a pan full of streaky, soggy, deeply unappetizing matter. But a recipe from my local supermarket for "Turkish poached eggs with garlic yogurt" contained all the words that make me say, "I want to eat that," so I reached down deep and started simmering.

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The Turkish eggs dish known as çilbir is one of the most versatile recipes to learn and keep under your belt. Garlicky yogurt gets drizzled in peppery oil and delicate, oozy eggs, a combination that's somehow incredibly bold and incredibly comforting. And poaching eggs, it turns out, isn't really that intimidating. Mine still got a little streaky, but simmering them for exactly 3 minutes made made them perfectly runny and delicious, which is the most important thing.

These egg make an ideal dinner, but of course they're also stunning breakfast. I could happily eat these morning, noon and night never get tired, never even miss turning on the oven.

* * *

Inspired by Albert Heijn and Nigella Lawson

Turkish Eggs (Çilbir)
Prep Time
 10 minutes
Cook Time
 10 minutes


2 large eggs

1/2  cup of full fat plain Greek yogurt, room temperature

2  finely minced garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of  olive oil

1 teaspoon of aleppo pepper or smoked paprika

1/2 lemon

salt and pepper to taste





  1. Make the yogurt base: In a small bowl stir together the garlic, yogurt and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it begins to brown. Stir in the olive oil and pepper. Remove from heat and seat aside.
  3. Fill a deep skillet with at least 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer over low heat.
  4. Crack one egg into a small bowl.
  5. Stir the water to create a small vortex in the middle, then gently slide your egg into the middle. Simmer for 3 minutes. 
  6. With a slotted spoon, gently remove the egg. Put it on a paper towel or clean towel.
  7. Repeat the process for the second egg.
  8. To a shallow bowl, add the yogurt, a big spoonful of the butter sauce, and finally the eggs. Top with more ground pepper, a big squeeze of lemon and more ground pepper, if you like.

Cook's Notes

It's traditional to warm the yogurt, but I think you lose nothing but eating it at room-temperature.

Depending on your desires and appetites, you can of course make this with just one egg, and/or serve with salad or pita bread. 

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By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Eggs çilbir Quick & Dirty Recipe Turkish Eggs