These easy Italian baked eggs have a bit of spice from hot Italian sausage. Perfect for a cozy breakfast or brunch!
- 1 pound ground spicy Italian sausage
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4-6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- Toasted bread, for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Heat a wide, oven-safe pot or skillet (we like to use a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage and cook, using a spoon to break it up as you go, for 10-15 minutes until it’s cooked through and begins to brown.
- Add onion and garlic; stir to combine. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent.
- Add salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar to pot and stir to combine. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot as the balsamic sizzles - that’s where a ton of flavor is!
- Stir in crushed tomatoes and another pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until tomato sauce is thick, then turn off the heat. Optional: Let the sauce cool for 10-20 minutes here to encourage the eggs to bake more evenly.
- Crack an egg into a small bowl or ramekin (this makes it easier to tip the egg into the sauce). Use a spoon to make a small well on the surface of the sauce, then carefully tip the egg into the well. Repeat with remaining eggs.
- Transfer pot to a 375° F oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until egg whites are set and yolks are still slightly soft. If you’d like more well-done eggs, add another 4-5 minutes to the cook time!
- When eggs are set, remove pot from the oven. Top each egg with a pinch of salt and a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper, then garnish with a handful of shredded parmesan and fresh chopped basil. Serve immediately with toasted bread.
Equipment notes. A wide pot is the best choice here - you want a large surface area so the eggs have room to cook. We like to use a large Dutch oven (the enameled surface makes for easy cleanup!) but you can also use an oven-safe stainless steel skillet or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
Do I need to drain any fat from the sausage? If your sausage is especially oily, spoon some of the excess fat out of the pot before moving on to the next step (but be sure to leave at least a teaspoon or two of fat in the pot to help cook the onions!) Don't worry about draining or removing the fat from the cooked Italian sausage - this fat will help the onion and garlic cook (just like you might add olive oil to a skillet before cooking something - the leftover sausage fat here serves that same purpose). If your sausage is on the fattier side, and releases too much grease as it cooks, feel free to spoon a bit of that fat out of the pot and discard it - just be sure to leave a teaspoon or two in with the meat to help the onions cook and brown a bit.
How thick should my tomato sauce be? To avoid runny, watery baked eggs, cook the tomato sauce until it is quite thick: When you drag your spoon along the bottom of the pot, the tomato sauce should stay where it is instead of immediately pooling back into the space you just created.
How many eggs should I use? We recommend using 1-2 eggs per person, but this recipe is flexible and easy to customize! As written, if you make 4 eggs, you’ll have a bit of extra sauce; 6 eggs gives you a just about perfect egg-to-sauce ratio. If you’d like smaller or fewer servings, you can use a smaller can (15 ounces or so) of crushed tomatoes instead of the larger 28 ounce can. If you’d like to stretch this sauce further, you can add extra tomato sauce to accommodate additional eggs.
Finish the eggs on the stovetop if you don’t want the extra step of baking them in the oven! Make the sauce as directed, then reduce the heat to its lowest setting, crack the eggs into the sauce, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 10-20 minutes, until egg whites are set and yolks are at your preferred level of doneness. We find the eggs cook a bit more unevenly on the stovetop (since the heat is coming directly from the bottom of the pan, the undersides of the eggs tend to cook more quickly and can reach doneness faster than the tops) but they’ll still taste great!
Additions and Substitutions. Use any style of canned tomatoes you like here: crushed, diced, and plain tomato sauce all work well. Use whole canned tomatoes if you prefer; just use a sturdy spoon to break them up as they cook so the sauce is a bit smoother. You can use fresh diced tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes) if you like - just plan to let the sauce simmer a bit longer so the tomatoes can cook down to a thick consistency. Add extra veggies to the sauce before you add the eggs (fresh kale, spinach, mushrooms, butter beans, or chick peas/garbanzo beans are all tasty here!) Stir in a pinch or two of red pepper flakes when you add the onions if you’d like extra spice.
Nutrition information was calculated for 6 eggs total, averaged between 4 servings.
Keywords: breakfast, brunch, eggs