Turkish Poached Egg with Yogurt Recipe

From Milk Street 365 by Christopher Kimball

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

This classic Turkish dish, called çilbir, nestles runny yolked poached eggs in a creamy, garlic-spiked yogurt, then finishes the dish with a spice-infused butter. We also add a handful of herbs for fresh flavor and bright color. Aleppo pepper gives the infused butter a vibrant red hue and subtle heat. If you can’t find it, use 2 teaspoons sweet paprika plus ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. If you’re hesitant to poach eggs, fear not. This method is straightforward. We use 3 quarts of water in a Dutch oven so the temperature doesn’t fall precipitously when the eggs are added. And a little vinegar in the water helps the proteins set quickly, resulting in eggs with less “feathering” of the whites. Serve warmed bread alongside, either a crusty, country-style loaf or soft, tender flatbread.


  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1¼ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper (see headnote)
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh mint, torn if large
  • 1 tablespoon lightly packed fresh dill
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Flaky sea salt, to serve (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir together the garlic and lemon juice; set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in an 8-inch skillet over medium, heat the butter until bubbling. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook, swirling, until bright red and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To the garlic-lemon mixture, stir in the yogurt and ¼ teaspoon salt. Divide among 4 serving bowls, then set aside at room temperature. In a small bowl, toss together the cilantro, mint and dill; set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, combine 3 quarts water and the vinegar; bring to a boil. Break 1 egg into a small bowl, ramekin or teacup. Add the egg to the water by holding the bowl just above the surface, tilting it and letting the egg slide in; the egg will sink. Repeat with the remaining eggs, spacing them evenly and noting the order added. Simmer gently, uncovered and without stirring, until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft, 3 to 4 minutes; do not boil.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs one at a time in the order they were added, allowing excess water to drain off, and place on a plate. Let drain for a few minutes, then place 1 egg in each bowl, setting it on the yogurt. Drizzle each serving with 1 tablespoon of the Aleppo butter and top with the herbs, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle with sea salt (if using).