Dutch Oven Eggs in Purgatory

Photos by Melanie Hutti

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Cooking breakfast outside over an open fire is our favorite method of gathering friends and family together. If the fire itself isn’t enough to bring everyone closer, the aromas from this easy Dutch oven eggs in purgatory recipe will do the trick. The hearty protein from the eggs and the heat from the cayenne pepper in this breakfast recipe will keep you warm all morning. We recommend using the Barebones 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven or any Dutch oven you have in your camp kit. However you like to spend your morning, this is one of the best Dutch oven camping recipes to fuel you through the day.

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What’s the Difference Between Eggs in Purgatory and Shakshuka?

Shakshuka and Eggs in Purgatory are very similar. The main difference between the two is that Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish that includes additional ingredients (cumin, peppers, and sweet paprika) in the tomato sauce. First originating in the Naples region of Italy, Eggs in Purgatory is often referred to as the “Italian Shakshuka” because they are so alike.

‘How to Make Eggs in Purgatory’

Servings: 4 | Prep Time: 5 minutes + time to build your fire | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes



  • 4 eggs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + additional olive oil to brush onto toast
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread (about 1-inch thick)
  • Fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Dutch Oven
  • Cowboy Tongs
  • Open Fire Gloves
  • Charcoal Starter


  1. Make a fire and create hot coals.
  2. In a 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven over a bed of 8-10 coals, add olive oil and allow to heat for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add diced yellow onion and red bell pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until slightly tender.
  4. Add tomato sauce and fire-roasted tomatoes and bring to a low simmer, adding fresh coals as needed to increase or maintain your temperature.
  5. Once you reach a low simmer, add your cayenne pepper and oregano as well as salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Adjust the coals beneath your dutch oven to 6 evenly-spaced pieces of charcoal.
  7. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, create four wells or craters in your sauce and crack each egg into its own well, trying not to break the yolk or have the eggs run into each other.
  8. Cover your dutch oven and add 8-10 pieces of charcoal to the lid.
  9. Check your eggs every two minutes until the white is opaque and the yolk is slightly firm.

To Serve Eggs in Purgatory

Add a light coat of olive oil to each slice of sourdough and toast over coals or a fire. Put the toast on a plate and spoon the sauce and one egg onto each slice. Add salt and pepper as needed, then top with the sliced basil.

Even the best dutch oven recipes can be improved with a few additions: for a special touch, make a tomato sauce from scratch using fresh tomatoes, or add a spicy sausage to boost the heat.

Breakfast Cast Iron dutch oven open fire cooking Recipes Savory Vegetarian

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