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Looking for ideas for your next brunch or breakfast? Let’s travel to Turkey and enjoy Çilbir (also called Turkish eggs). This Turkish breakfast recipe is composed of runny poached eggs served with garlic and dill yogurt and drizzled with a warm chili brown butter sauce. I slightly tweaked the traditional recipe by adding a touch of lemon to the yogurt sauce, for a nice zing and freshness. Sprinkle with optional za’atar and enjoyed with toasted sourdough bread and a chilled glass of Pinot Gris!


Greek yogurt, eggs, butter, lemon, za'atar, Aleppo pepper, garlic, salt and dill on a wooden board

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The ingredients you’ll need

  • Free-range eggs – at fridge temperature for the best poaching results.
  • Greek yogurt (or any whole milk thick yogurt) – sheep’s or cow’s milk thick yogurts work well.
  • Garlic – brings a garlicky flavor to the yogurt sauce that pairs well with both poached eggs and chili brown butter.
  • Lemon (preferably organic as this recipe uses the zest) – for freshness and a nice tang.
  • Fresh dill – for its anis-y flavor that elevates the yogurt sauce.
  • Unsalted butter – to create a heavenly hazelnutty brown butter and chili sauce.
  • Aleppo pepper – for its slight smokiness, complex fruity, and savory flavors reminiscent of sun-dried tomatoes. Plus, it has a medium heat.
  • Za’atar (optional) – to sprinkle on top before serving, adds earthiness and depth of flavor.
  • Salt – to season.

What are the substitutes for Aleppo Pepper?

You can substitute Aleppo pepper with any Turkish pepper flakes, such as Marash pepper, Urfa pepper, or Antebi pepper.

If none of these are available where you live, you can prepare a homemade mix of regular paprika powder (look for “mild”, “regular” or “sweet” on the label) and ground cayenne pepper or crushed red chili flakes.

For this recipe of 2 servings, mix ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or crushed red chili flakes and ½ teaspoon of paprika powder.


a small pile of Aleppo pepper on a painted board

How to poach an egg?

Poaching eggs can be intimidating, but there are simple steps to follow to successfully poach eggs every time!
Note: poaching an egg requires simmering water and NOT boiling water. Make sure you keep the water at a nice simmer at all times.

  • Bring a large saucepan of unsalted water to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, crack the egg into a small cup (it helps to pour the egg into the water with more precision).

  • When the water is simmering, using the handle of a wooden spoon, stir the water rapidly to create a vortex.
  • Quickly pour the egg in the middle of the vortex. The circular movement of the water will “wrap” the egg white around the egg yolk (hence preventing the egg whites from spilling all over the pot). This is the most reliable technique to create the perfect poached egg, regardless of the freshness of the egg (we cannot, unfortunately, know for sure the freshness of the eggs when buying them in stores).


  • Let the egg cook for 3 minutes without touching it (it is very important to let the egg sit quietly in simmering water).
  • After 3 minutes, using a skimming ladle, remove the egg from the pot and transfer it to a plate.
  • Your poached egg is ready!


How to make Çilbir?

Start by making the garlic, lemon, and dill yogurt sauce.

Note: for the best result, the yogurt must be at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before starting cooking.

  • In a mixing bowl, add Greek yogurt, grated garlic (I like using a Microplane zester but a garlic crusher works too), lemon zest, thinly chopped dill, and salt. Stir with a spoon until well combined.
  • Set aside at room temperature (we want to keep the texture of the yogurt loose).

garlic, dill, lemon yogurt sauce in a bowl

Poach the eggs in simmering water for 3 minutes.

  • You can find the detailed method for how to poach eggs just above.
two poached eggs on a plate

Make the warm chili brown butter sauce.

Note: I recommend using a light-colored saucepan or pan. It makes it easier to see if the butter has browned.

  • In a small saucepan or pan, melt the butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, until hazelnutty (golden brown with a hazelnut smell).
  • As soon as the specks on the bottom of the saucepan have browned, remove from the stoves and transfer to a bowl.
  • Immediately add the Aleppo pepper, and dynamically stir until well combined. Let it sit while plating the çilbir.

Plate çilbir.

  • Divide the yogurt sauce between two shallow bowls and top each with a poached egg.
  • Pour the warm chili butter sauce around and over top of the egg and yogurt.
  • Sprinkle with optional za’atar and fresh dill and serve immediately with a generous slice of toasted sourdough bread.

  • Enjoy with a chilled glass of your favorite Pinot Gris!
two bowls of cilbir on a light blue table with two slices of sourdough bread, a spoon and a glass of pinot gris

Nim Keys – Useful Tips

  1. The yogurt must be at room temperature. I recommend taking the Greek yogurt out of the fridge 30 minutes before starting to cook. Serving the yogurt sauce at room temperature binds the different elements of this dish well and avoids creating big temperature contrasts between and warm butter chili sauce and a cold yogurt sauce.
  2. Grate the garlic. I like using a Microplane zester to grate the garlic. It helps incorporate the garlic nicely with the other ingredients.
  3. The eggs must be at fridge temperature (and, as far as poaching eggs is concerned, the freshest the eggs the better).
  4. Do not add salt to the poached eggs cooking water, as there is a risk to prevent the coagulation.
  5. Brown butter burns easily. To make sure that the butter stays deliciously hazelnutty, make sure to transfer it to a heatproof bowl as soon as the specks on the bottom of the saucepan have browned.
  6. 🔥This recipe is already quite spicy, but if you like your Turkish eggs extra-spicy, feel free to add more Aleppo pepper to the brown butter sauce! 
  7. Çilbir is best served immediately while the poached eggs and chili brown butter sauce are still warm.

Serving suggestions


cilbir: Turkish poached eggs on a yogurt, garlic, lemon and dill sauce drizzled with chili brown butter in a bowl

Wine Pairing for Çilbir (Turkish Eggs)🍷


PINOT GRIS

This grape variety produces wines that are bold with flavors. The fuller-bodied versions are often found in France, Germany, and New Zealand and usually display intense floral aromas, balanced acidity, and tropical fruit flavors. The style will be different from Pinot Grigio (which is the same varietal but made in a lighter more acidic and mineral style).

For this recipe, I went with more unctuous Pinot Gris, which will match the creamy texture of the poached eggs while balancing the spiciness of the chili brown butter sauce. It is the perfect wine to bring out the tang of lemon zest and yogurt thanks to its natural acidity.

Pinot Gris wines can be made in a different range of sweetness levels from bone dry to semi-sweet. To pair with this recipe, I recommend a dry Pinot Gris (make sure to ask the sommelier as it is not always written on the label). 

Serve it chilled: take it out of the fridge 10 minutes before serving to let it warm up slightly.

WINE APPELLATION SUGGESTIONS

  • Dry Pinot Gris from Marlborough  (New Zealand)
  • Dry Pinot Gris from Alsace (France)
  • Dry (Trocken) Grauburgunder from Pflaz (Germany)

Turkish poached eggs in a bowl with the yolk running  and a spoon

FAQ

How long does this keep?

The garlic lemon, and dill yogurt sauce will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container. However, the poached eggs and chili butter must be made at the last minute.

Can I make çilbir dairy-free?

Yes. Just replace the Greek yogurt with a plant-based Greek yogurt and the butter with extra-virgin olive oil or vegan butter.

Can I make çilbir ahead of time?

It is not recommended to make this recipe ahead of time. It is best when made just before serving.

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two bowls of cilbir on a light blue table with two slices of sourdough bread, a spoon and a glass of pinot gris

Çilbir: Turkish Eggs with Yogurt and Chili Brown Butter

Looking for ideas for your next brunch or breakfast? Let’s travel to Turkey and enjoy Çilbir (also called Turkish eggs). This Turkish breakfast recipe is composed of runny poached eggs served with garlic and dill yogurt and drizzled with a warm chili brown butter sauce. I slightly tweaked the traditional recipe by adding a lemony touch to the garlic and dill yogurt sauce, for a nice zing and freshness. Sprinkle with optional za'atar and enjoyed with toasted sourdough bread and a chilled glass of Pinot Gris!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Turkish
Diet Vegetarian
Servings 2

EQUIPEMENT

  • Microplane Zester
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Saucepan

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 1 cup (250 g) Greek yogurt (or any plain thick yogurt- sheep's milk yogurt works very well too)
  • 1 medium clove of garlic grated with a zester or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons (4 g) fresh dill thinly chopped
  • the zest of half a lemon about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) unsalted butter
  • ¾ teaspoon (1 g) Aleppo pepper (see substitution tips in this post)
  • za’atar optional, to sprinkle on top before serving

INSTRUCTIONS

Start by making the yogurt sauce:

  • In a mixing bowl, add room-temperature Greek yogurt, grated garlic, lemon zest, thinly chopped dill, and salt. Stir until well combined.
  • Set aside at room temperature.

Poach the eggs:

  • Bring a large saucepan of unsalted water to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, crack the egg into a small cup.
  • When the water is simmering, using the handle of a wooden spoon, stir the water to create a vortex.  Quickly pour the egg in the middle of the vortex.
  • Let the egg cook for 3 minutes without touching it. After 3 minutes, using a skimming ladle, remove the egg from the saucepan and transfer to a plate.
  • Cook the second egg following the same method and set the poached eggs aside.

Make the chili brown butter:

  • In a small saucepan or pan, melt the butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • As soon as the specks on the bottom of the saucepan have browned, remove from the stoves and transfer to a heatproof bowl.
  • Immediately add the Aleppo pepper to the brown butter, and dynamically stir until well combined.

Plate the çilbir:

  • Divide the yogurt sauce between two shallow bowls and top each with a poached egg.
  • Pour the warm chili butter sauce around and over top of the egg and yogurt. Sprinkle with optional za’atar and fresh dill and serve immediately with a generous slice of toasted sourdough bread.
  • Enjoy with a chilled glass of Pinot Gris!

NIM KEYS - USEFUL TIPS

  1. The yogurt must be at room temperature. I recommend taking the Greek yogurt out of the fridge 30 minutes before starting to cook.
  2. Grate the garlic. I like using a Microplane zester to grate the garlic. It helps incorporate the garlic nicely with the other ingredients.
  3. The eggs must be at fridge temperature and as fresh as possible.
  4. Do not add salt to the poached eggs cooking water, as there is a risk to prevent the coagulation.
  5. Brown butter burns easily. To make sure that the butter stays deliciously hazelnutty, make sure to transfer it to a heatproof bowl as soon as the specks on the bottom of the saucepan have browned.
  6. 🔥This recipe is already quite spicy, but if you like your Turkish eggs extra-spicy, feel free to add more Aleppo pepper to the brown butter sauce! 
  7. Çilbir is best served immediately while the poached eggs and chili brown butter sauce are still warm.

NUTRITION

Calories: 280kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 16gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 214mgSodium: 404mgPotassium: 235mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1021IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 151mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cilbir, Turkish breakfast, Turkish breakfast recipe, Turkish eggs, Turkish eggs with chili butter, Turkish eggs with yogurt
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