Çilbir (Turkish Poached Eggs with Garlic Yogurt)

5 from 7 votes
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Çilbir (properly written as Çılbır) is a simple Turkish poached eggs dish served with a garlic yogurt base and drizzled with aromatic melted paprika butter and Aleppo topping. A hearty breakfast in 10 minutes, delicious with simit, pita, or crusty bread!

Turkish eggs topped with dill in a plate

If you thought you enjoyed Menemen (a Turkish scrambled eggs dish with tomatoes) and are a fan of poached eggs, then this Çilbir recipe (Turkish poached eggs and yogurt with paprika butter) is a must-try! It’s simple yet flavorful and combines just a few simple ingredients that will make a dish that blows you away with flavor!

Cut open the soft poached eggs to have the yolks oozing out over the yogurt, perfect for serving as breakfast or brunch and mopping up with bread like fluffy Greek pita, Turkish Ramadan pide, or simit, or even just a crusty slice of this no-knead bread! The combination is simple and affordable yet is incredibly satisfying and contains plenty of protein and nutritional value!

What is Çilbir/Çılbır?

Çılbır/cilbir (pronounced chil-burr) is a simple Turkish egg dish that has been around since the 15th century, made with a combination of poached eggs over yogurt (sometimes with garlic) drizzled with an Aleppo or paprika infused butter.

Bread dipped in Turkish eggs topped with dill

In fact, this simple egg with Greek yogurt combination is also known as Panagyurski style eggs in Bulgaria, too. The only difference is the addition of Sirene, a type of brined white cheese often added to the Bulgarian version.

Interested in enjoying more beloved international egg dishes? Check out these French baked eggs, Mexican huevos rancheros, Italian eggs in purgatory, or even a British full English “Fry Up”!

The Recipe Ingredients

This Turkish egg recipe requires under 10 simple ingredients, including:

  • Eggs: to make the poached eggs, you’ll need the eggs and either vinegar or lemon (plus the water to poach them in).
  • Paprika butter: this is simply a combination of unsalted butter and paprika powder. I’ve tried this chili oil eggs recipe with sweet and smoked paprika and enjoyed both versions (usually with just a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat).
  • Yogurt “sauce”: the yogurt/yoghurt base combines a thick, full-fat yogurt (if you can, use Turkish yogurt, though Greek yogurt will also work) with garlic (I used fresh, but you can use roasted garlic or garlic powder too and adjust the amount to taste), fresh dill (save more for garnish – omit if preferred), and salt & black pepper.
  • Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the Turkish eggs. Some people prefer to use olive oil instead of butter, too.
  • Aleppo powder: or chili powder, to sprinkle over the final dish.

It’s also best to serve this Turkish egg breakfast/brunch with bread like simit, Ramadan pide, Greek pita, or just a few pieces of toasted no-knead crusty bread!

Ingredients for Turkish poached eggs

Optional Add-ins and Variations

  • Aleppo butter: instead of paprika, you can use Aleppo pepper flakes/chili powder or chili flakes for a hint of heat (the yogurt helps to tame it!) to make chili oil eggs.
  • Pine nuts: a handful of toasted pine nuts is a simple, delicious garnish for this egg yogurt recipe.
  • Cumin: you can optionally add a pinch of ground cumin to the paprika butter/chili butter.
  • Sesame seeds: lightly toasted and sprinkled over the cilbir.
  • Mint: use dry mint in the yogurt mixture in place of (or alongside) the dill for extra flavor.
  • Boiled eggs: if you struggle to get poached eggs “just right”, then you can fall back on soft-boiled eggs instead.
  • Tomato: serve this dish with a handful of roasted cherry tomatoes for extra flavor (and perfect for spreading over toast!).
  • Spinach: for extra nutrients, serve the paprika butter eggs over a bed of sauteed spinach.
  • Feta: for extra flavor, mix some crumbled feta into the yogurt for a richer base to the Turkish egg and yogurt combination.

How to Make Turkish Eggs Çilbir?

Step 1: Prepare the Garlic Yogurt Base

First, wash and chop the dill and finely mince or grate the garlic.

Then, either in a medium bowl or directly onto your serving dish, combine the yogurt, dill, garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix well and then set aside to “marinate” while preparing the remainder of the dish.

Steps for mixing yogurt with dill

Step 2: Poach the Eggs

There are several ways you can poach the eggs, including cracking them gently into a swirling pool of hot water OR using a “spoon” hack method. There are also egg poaching pans and silicone molds. Follow this method for poached eggs for all my top tips and tricks! However, the basic gist is:

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a gentle boil (when fine air bubbles begin to rise), then add the vinegar (this will help stop the eggs from dispersing in the water).

Meanwhile, crack your eggs, one at a time, into a small sieve to remove any of the “watery” whites (for better shaped poached eggs). Then transfer the eggs to separate small bowls (which makes it easier to pour them into the water).

When the water is ready, mix it with a spoon to create a vortex and then pour the first egg into the center of the pan. Allow it to gently move to one side and begin forming before pouring the second egg into the other side of the saucepan (so they don’t “stick”).

Allow each egg to cook for between 2-3 minutes based on how soft you want the yolk to be, then use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water to stop them from overcooking.

Poaching an egg

Feel free to place them in an ice bath or rinse with cold water to eliminate any leftover vinegar flavor and stop the cooking process. Though this isn’t necessary. You could also transfer to paper towels to drain.

Step 3: Prepare the Paprika Butter and Assemble

At the same time as poaching the eggs, prepare the paprika butter by melting the butter in a small skillet, then adding the smoked paprika and stirring well for just a few seconds.

Steps for melting butter with paprika

It’s best to remove it from the heat almost immediately after adding the paprika, to reduce the risk of burning it.

To assemble the Çılbır, place the yogurt base first, drizzle with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil, the paprika butter, and finally, top with the poached eggs. Sprinkle with additional dill and some Aleppo pepper over the top.

You can optionally heat the extra-virgin olive oil before adding it to the dish.

Enjoy immediately with your bread of choice!

Turkish eggs served in a large plate

How to Make Ahead and Store?

Make ahead: the garlicky yogurt base tastes even better after some time “marinating,” so feel free to make it a day or two in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Then, remove it 20-30 minutes before enjoying the cilbir to bring it back to room temperature.

Store: cilbir is best served immediately, while the eggs and melted paprika butter are at the optimal temperatures. So I recommend eating it immediately.

A plate with Turkish eggs topped with dill

Recipe Tips and FAQs

  • To create a thinner yogurt base: You can dilute the yogurt with a small amount of water or milk to make it slightly more mixable and slightly thinner.
  • Use room temperature yogurt: This is best for the overall quality of the dish.
  • Use your favorite egg poaching method: There’s the vortex method, cling film bundle method, spoon hack, silicone molds, poaching pan, etc. Just use whichever method you prefer (the look will vary).
  • To increase the recipe: I recommend you poach the eggs in batches of 2-3; otherwise, it may become a bit of a mess. You can place the eggs back into the simmering water for a few seconds, at the end, to gently reheat them.
  • What is Aleppo pepper? Aleppo pepper (known as ‘pul biber’ or Turkish red pepper) is common in Turkey. It has a slight heat (far milder than regular red pepper flakes) with earthy, lemony, ever-so-slightly sweet undertones. While it is available in the UK/US, it may be harder to find.
  • Could I substitute the yogurt? I’ve never tried. Though you may be able to use ricotta or blended cottage cheese in place of the yogurt.

More Simple Egg Recipes

If you try this easy Turkish Çilbır recipe (Turkish poached eggs in yogurt), I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Çilbir (Turkish Poached Eggs with Garlic Yogurt)

5 from 7 votes
By: Samira
Çilbir (Çılbır) is a simple Turkish poached eggs dish served with a garlic yogurt base and drizzled with aromatic melted paprika butter and Aleppo topping. A hearty breakfast in 10 minutes, delicious with simit, pita, or crusty bread.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients 
 

  • 3 eggs fresh, large; plus vinegar or lemon juice for poaching them
  • 1.5 cups yogurt natural, greek style, full-fat
  • 2 cloves garlic minced/grated OR roasted garlic/ garlic powder
  • 0.3 oz dill fresh (optional). dried mint would also work
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1.1 oz butter unsalted
  • 1/2 Tbsp paprika regular, sweet, or smoked
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/2 tsp aleppo pepper or chili pepper

Check the Recipe Notes below for optional add-ins and recipe variations!

    Instructions 

    Step 1: Prepare the Garlic Yogurt Base

    • Wash and chop the dill and finely mince or grate the garlic.
    • Either in a medium bowl or directly onto your serving dish, combine the yogurt, dill, garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix well and then set aside to "marinate" while preparing the remainder of the dish.

    Step 2: Poach the Eggs

    • There are several ways you can poach the eggs, including cracking them gently into a swirling pool of hot water OR using a "spoon" hack method. There are also egg poaching pans and silicone molds. Follow this method for poached eggs for all my top tips and tricks! However, the basic gist is:
      Bring a medium saucepan of water to a gentle boil (when fine air bubbles begin to rise), then add the vinegar (this will help stop the eggs from dispersing in the water).
    • Meanwhile, crack your eggs, one at a time, into a small sieve to remove any of the "watery" whites (for better shaped poached eggs). Then transfer the eggs to separate small bowls (which makes it easier to pour them into the water).
    • When the water is ready, mix it with a spoon to create a vortex and then pour the first egg into the center of the pan. Allow it to gently move to one side and begin forming before pouring the second egg into the other side of the saucepan (so they don’t "stick"). 
    • Allow each egg to cook for between 2-3 minutes based on how soft you want the yolk to be, then use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water to stop them from overcooking.
      Feel free to place them in an ice bath or rinse with cold water to eliminate any leftover vinegar flavor and stop the cooking process. Though this isn’t necessary. You could also transfer to paper towels to drain.

    Step 3: Prepare the Paprika Butter and Assemble

    • At the same time as poaching the eggs, prepare the paprika butter by melting the butter in a small skillet, then adding the smoked paprika and stirring well for just a few seconds.
      It’s best to remove it from the heat almost immediately after adding the paprika, to reduce the risk of burning it.
    • To assemble the Çılbır, place the yogurt base first, drizzle with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil, the paprika butter, and finally, top with the poached eggs. Sprinkle with additional dill and some Aleppo pepper over the top.

    How to Make Ahead and Store?

    • Make ahead: the garlicky yogurt base tastes even better after some time "marinating," so feel free to make it a day or two in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Then, remove it 20-30 minutes before enjoying the cilbir to bring it back to room temperature.
      Store: cilbir is best served immediately, while the eggs and melted paprika butter are at the optimal temperatures. So I recommend eating it immediately.

    Notes

    • To create a thinner yogurt base: you can dilute the yogurt with a small amount of water or milk to make it slightly more mixable and slightly thinner.
    • Use room temperature yogurt: this is best for the overall quality of the dish.
    • Use your favorite egg poaching method: there’s the vortex method, cling film bundle method, spoon hack, silicone molds, poaching pan, etc. Just use whichever method you prefer (the look will vary).
    • To increase the recipe: I recommend you poach the eggs in batches of 2-3; otherwise, it may become a bit of a mess. You can place the eggs back into the simmering water for a few seconds, in the end, to gently reheat them.
    • What is Aleppo pepper? Aleppo pepper (known as “pul biber” or Turkish red pepper) is common in Turkey. It has a slight heat (far milder than regular red pepper flakes) with earthy, lemony, ever-so-slightly sweet undertones. While it is available in the UK/US, it may be harder to find.
    • Could I substitute the yogurt? I’ve never tried. Though you may be able to use ricotta or blended cottage cheese in place of the yogurt.
    Optional Add-ins and Variations:
    • Aleppo butter: instead of paprika, you can use Aleppo pepper flakes/ chili powder or chili flakes for a hint of heat (the yogurt helps to tame it!) to make chili oil eggs.
    • Pine nuts: a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts is a simple, delicious garnish.
    • Cumin: you can optionally add a pinch of ground cumin.
    • Sesame seeds: lightly toasted and sprinkled over the cilbir.
    • Mint: use dry mint in the yogurt mixture in place of (or alongside) the dill for extra flavor.
    • Boiled eggs: if you struggle to get poached eggs “just right”, then you can fall back on soft-boiled eggs instead.
    • Tomato: serve this dish with a handful of roasted cherry tomatoes for extra flavor (and perfect for spreading over toast!).
    • Spinach: for extra nutrients, serve the paprika butter eggs over a bed of sauteed spinach.
    • Feta: for extra flavor, mix some crumbled feta into the yogurt for a richer base.
     
    Check the blog post for more tips and serving suggestions!
    Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Main
    Cuisine: European, Turkish
    Freezer friendly: No

    Nutrition

    Calories: 262kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 202mg, Sodium: 589mg, Potassium: 317mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1512IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 190mg, Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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