Eggs in Purgatory

Pin RecipeJump to RecipeComments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Eggs in Purgatory, a traditional Italian dish, involves eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, to make a quick breakfast or dinner. Add spinach and mozzarella, and enjoy it on crispy toasted bread slices.

Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and we’ll send the recipe straight to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Cooked eggs in purgatory in a skillet are garnished with parsley and toasted bread with a silver spoon resting on its edge.

This Eggs in Purgatory recipe stands out with its spicy homemade sauce, abundant fresh spinach, salty Parmesan, and gently poached eggs, making it a versatile dish enjoyable at any time of day, not just for breakfast.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick: Ten minutes of prep and 20 minutes or less of cooking time make this an ideal dinner on nights when you don’t have time to cook a complicated dinner.
  • Different: I love making eggs in purgatory because you won’t see it everywhere. It definitely elevates the humble egg into something special.
  • Makes a meal: This recipe serves two, but if you’re very hungry you can make a meal out of it just for yourself! Just add toasted bread and you’ll have a complete meal.

What is Eggs in Purgatory?

Eggs in purgatory is a Southern Italian dish of eggs poached in spicy, red pepper-spiked tomato sauce. My version involves creating an easy homemade sauce that perfectly coats the eggs in savory flavor. I finish the dish with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and it’s perfectly served over buttery, pan-toasted slices of bread. This is a wonderful brunch dish that’s equally good served at dinner time.

The ingredients for eggs in purgatory are shown on a white background: eggs, bread, fresh mozzarella cheese, spinach, diced tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, spices, dill.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Onion: Use yellow, white, or red onion.
  • Garlic
  • Red pepper flakes: You can adjust the amount of red pepper to your taste.
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Canned tomatoes: I used a can of plain, diced tomatoes. For extra flavor, choose fire-roasted tomatoes.
  • Spinach: Use baby spinach.
  • Mozzarella cheese: You’ll need to use fresh mozzarella rather than packaged, shredded mozzarella.
  • Eggs: Choose large, fresh eggs.
  • Fresh herbs: Dill, cilantro, parsley, or basil, for garnish.
  • Parmesan cheese: This is an optional but recommended garnish.
  • Bread: You’ll serve the finished eggs on toasted bread.

How to Make Eggs in Purgatory

  • Cook onions. In a large skillet, cook the onions and garlic.
  • Add aromatics and tomatoes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, then pour in the tomatoes and simmer.
  • Add spinach. Stir in the baby spinach.
  • Assemble. Scatter the mozzarella cheese randomly in the sauce, then make four divots using a spoon.
  • Add eggs. Place an egg into each hole in the sauce, season, cover, and cook until set.
  • Serve! Serve the eggs with toasted bread and topped with fresh dill and parmesan on top.
Overhead up close image of a skillet with cooked eggs in purgatory and garnished with parsley and toasted bread.

Tips for Success

  • Use fresh eggs. The freshest eggs not only will taste the best, but they also have a better texture.
  • Swap store-bought sauce. The homemade tomato sauce you’ll make with this recipe is divine! However, to save yourself some time you can grab a jar of marinara sauce and use it in place of the onion, garlic, and canned tomatoes.
  • Adjust the heat. You can add or subtract the amount of red pepper flakes depending on how spicy you like your sauce.
  • Try different cheeses. Substitute the mozzarella cheese for shredded cheddar cheese, or change up the flavor a bit by trying briny feta cheese.

Serving Suggestions

The best way to serve eggs in purgatory is with toasted bread slices. Make a crusty homemade No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread, cut and toast thick slices, butter them generously, and top them with servings of eggs in purgatory. Make a juicy and fresh Avocado Tomato Salad to go with the eggs, or try a heartier salad like Jennifer Aniston Salad alongside. For a goodies-filled brunch, make Crispy Oven Baked Bacon as well as these Air Fryer French Toast Sticks, Cinnamon Roll Casserole, Baked Apple Cider Donuts, or Sheet Pan Pancakes recipes.

Up close image of two slices of bread resting in the sauce of eggs in purgatory.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

This is a dish that’s best served fresh. But, if you have some leftovers, you can save them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute or until hot.

More Egg Recipes To Try

Eggs in Purgatory

This spicy Eggs in Purgatory, a traditional Italian dish, involves eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, making for an easy, anytime meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 servings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion,, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese slices,, broken into pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • fresh dill,, for garnish (or other herbs such as cilantro, parsley, and basil)
  • parmesan cheese,, optional, for garnish
  • toasted bread slices,, for serving
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and we’ll send the recipe straight to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add minced garlic to the skillet and continue to sauté for an additional 20 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Add in red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes thicken into a sauce, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the fresh baby spinach and mix to combine.
  • Arrange the mozzarella cheese randomly in the tomato mixture, then with the help of the back of a spoon, create 4 divots in the sauce mixture.
  • Crack the egg and place it in a small bowl, taking care not to break the yolks. Gently add 1 egg into each hole. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. If you desire soft, runny egg yolks, cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes; alternatively, for firmer eggs, continue cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • While the eggs are cooking, toast some bread with butter on a hot pan or griddle. Set aside.
  • When the eggs are done, top them with fresh dill and parmesan and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired. Serve with toasted bread.


  • Fresh Eggs: Opt for the freshest eggs you can find, as they offer better taste and a more desirable texture.
  • Homemade vs. Store-Bought Sauce: While the homemade tomato sauce in this recipe is exceptional, you can save time by using a jar of marinara sauce instead.
  • Control the Spice Level: Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to tailor the spiciness of the sauce to your liking.
  • Cheese Variations: Feel free to experiment with different cheeses, like shredded cheddar or feta, instead of mozzarella.
  • Cooking Eggs to Preference: For soft, runny yolks, cook the eggs covered for 3 to 5 minutes; for firmer yolks, extend the cooking time by an additional 2 to 3 minutes.


Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 406mg | Sodium: 1592mg | Potassium: 1181mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 4503IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 445mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Did you make a recipe? Leave a rating

Explore More

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Rating