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Sweet Potato Shakshuka with Spicy Butter and Pickled Onions

Cook Time:
1 hr
Prep Time:
2 mins

Chef notes

A far cry from a classic shakshuka, yes, but we've found that sweet potatoes provide just the right amount of moisture and heft to serve as a base for these eggs. Serve this vibrant dish as a weekend brunch; it sure looks the part.

Technique tip: Save time by cooking the sweet taters in the microwave instead.

Swap options: Use any kind of oozy melty cheese and any spice you like for the base. Experiment with other hot sauces, such as Tabasco or harissa.


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, skin on and scrubbed clean
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rounds (3½ ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1⅓ cups coarsely grated mature cheddar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • teaspoons Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, with some stem attached
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper



Preheat the oven to 425 F. Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork (about 8 to 10 times) and place them on a medium, parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cooked through and softened. Set aside to cool and turn the oven temperature down to 400 F.


Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the red onion, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a pinch of salt and set aside to pickle.


Remove the cooked potato skins and tear them into roughly 1½-inch pieces. Transfer the potato flesh to a large bowl and set aside. Place the skins back on the baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until nicely colored and starting to crisp up. Set aside to cool and crisp up further.


Use a fork to mash the potato flesh until smooth, then add the cheddar, garlic, cumin, another 1 tablespoon of oil, the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous grind of pepper, and mix to combine.


Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan, for which you have a lid, and swirl around to coat the bottom. Spoon the mashed potato mixture into the pan, using your spoon to distribute it evenly. Place on medium-high heat and let cook for about 7 minutes, for the bottom to start to color. Turn the heat down to medium and use a spoon to make eight wells in the potato mixture, breaking an egg into each. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, rotating the pan, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.


While the eggs are cooking, put the butter and Sriracha into a small saucepan on medium heat and cook until the butter has melted, whisking constantly to emulsify. Remove the mixture from the heat before it starts to bubble — you don't want it to split.


When ready, spoon the Sriracha butter all over the eggs, then top with a good handful of the crispy potato skins, half the pickled onion and all the cilantro leaves. Serve right away, with the rest of the potato skins and pickled onion to eat alongside.

Reprinted from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love. Copyright© 2021 by Yotam Ottolenghi. Photographs copyright © 2021 Elena Heatherwick. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.