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17 Common Turkish Breakfasts To Start Your Day

Try a traditional Turkish breakfast with these favorites from Turkey.

Are you heading to Turkey for a vacation? Or maybe you want to try and make some new ethnic food for your friends coming over for breakfast. Whatever the reason, learning about the most popular Turkish breakfast options is always a welcome addition to your cooking repertoire.

As there are many different dishes, I’ve compiled a list of the most popular Turkish breakfast foods to order at a Turkish cafe or make from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Ranging from hearty and meat-centric to vegetarian-friendly dishes, there are tons of options that will curb your hunger pangs and start the day off right! 

Turkish Breakfast Foods

Learn about common breakfast foods in Turkey and try some for yourself to start your day right.

Borek

Borek is a filled pie made with crispy and flaky filo dough. You can make this with a variety of fillings, either with hearty meat, different cheese, creamed spinach, or cooked potatoes.

The most common variations feature ground beef.

This filled filo dough dish is popular in various countries, such as Turkey, Armenia, the Ottoman Empire, the Balkans, Northern Africa, and Central Asia.

For some more detailed variations, you can try making filo dough with sesame or nigella seeds. The easiest ingredients include the following:

  • Puff pastry (already made) 
  • Turkish white cheese or feta cheese
  • Parsley
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk 

Bal Kaymak

Bal Kaymak is a combination of buffalo milk and honey. With the same consistency and texture as clotted cream, you can use this as a spread to have with bread, scones, or any other hearty starch. 

This typical dairy dish is a breakfast staple in Turkey that is typically topped with honey, ground nuts, or chopped walnuts.

The most common types of Bal Kaymak include creamy spread made from water buffalo, goats, cows, or sheep.

The quickest way to make it is to boil the raw milk, let the cheese simmer, and then let the mixture chill for numerous hours. 

The main ingredient for Bal Kaymak include the following:

  • 1 liter of milk 
  • 750 grams of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon salt 

Menemen

Although this dish is basically just scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables, the savory dish is a great way to start the day or make a filling brunch!

Plus, you can easily make this recipe in just 20 minutes for a fast and easy weekday breakfast. We recommend having a slice of crusty or savory bread with this egg-filled dish.

The main ingredients needed for 4 servings of Menemen include the following:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 baguette 

Gozleme

Gozleme is a yummy and savory sandwich and flatbread combination that looks like a burrito, flatbread, or thin crepe-like sandwich.

Made with any type of interior filling, usually with spiced lamb, spinach and feta, or beef, this type of sandwich is a quick and easy lunch for anyone and everyone!

To make Gozleme, you will need the following:

  • 2.5 cups of flour
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 grams spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 300grams of feta cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Filling (beef or lamb) 

Kuymak (or Muhlama)

Kuymak is a traditional Turkish melted cheese and cornmeal recipe that is great for a hearty breakfast. To make this dish, you need the following ingredients: 

  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons of cornmeal
  • 1 cup of water
  • 10 ounces of grated cheese

Once you have the ingredients, it is quite easy to make! Just melt the butter in a frying pan and add the cornmeal over low heat for several minutes.

Once the oil and butter separate, add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiled, add the cheese — stir, and you are done! 


Çilbir

Çilbir is a very popular Turkish breakfast dish that is simple to make yet fulfilling, so it is an ideal brunch on a busy day.

You can easily make this egg-centric dish by using the following ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 ¾ cups yogurt
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pita bread

Boyoz

Boyoz is a typical Turkish puff pastry creation that is great for breakfast with tea or coffee. Plus, it is easy to make! 

All you need to make boyoz is the following:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2.5 cups of hard flour
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • Olive oil

Once you have these ingredients, knead the mixture together to create hard dough balls! 


Mercimek çorbası

Mercimek çorbası is a traditional Turkish lentil soup that is great for cold winter mornings when you need to stay warm and cozy inside your house.

Lentil soup is ideal for winter mornings to pair with crunchy bread or Turkish pita. Plus, it is ready in just 30 minutes, and it is very healthy!

Vegans, vegetarians, and those who are allergic to gluten will love this recipe. 

The only ingredients needed for this recipe include:

  • ¼ to ⅓ cup red lentils
  • Carrot
  • Tomato paste
  • Spices and seasonings

Sucuklu Yumurta

Sucuklu Yumurta is a great Turkish sausage and egg breakfast dish that is filling, savory, and perfect for big brunches.

The best part about this dish is that you can make a huge pan of it and share it with your friends!

You can even make Sucuklu Yumurta with different varieties of eggs, like over-easy, scrambled, poached, and much more! 

Use these ingredients to make tons of servings for you and your closest friends: 

  • 100 grams of baby spinach leaves
  • 120 grams of sucuk
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon of paprika
  • 70 grams of Turkish cheese or feta cheese
  • 4 eggs 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Turkish pita bread

We recommend using sucuk beef sausage compared to other meat options for this dish! 


Katmer

Katmer is a typical Turkish breakfast recipe that is made with pistachios and sugar.

You can eat this as a sweet and savory mixture to start off your morning or enjoy it as a late-night dessert.

If you would rather use another type of nut, you can try using something other than pistachios with this dish. Personally, I love using crushed pistachios for a unique and sweet flavor! 

Use the following ingredients to make 6 servings of this popular Turkish breakfast staple:

  • 300 grams of flour 
  • 2 tablespoon of water
  • Salt and oil
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp crushed pistachios
  • 200 grams of kaymak

Pastirma Yumurta

I love this savory breakfast dish for when I am hungry after a restful night of sleep!

If you’re headed to a Turkish cafe or you want to learn how to make Turkish Breakfast dishes on your own, this is one of the first things you should learn how to make. 

I personally love making this with my family during weekend brunch since it is easy to make, doesn’t take very long, and doesn’t have many ingredients.

You can even make it without the bacon if you are a vegetarian and add spinach and vegetables instead! 

All you need are the following ingredients:

  • 6-7 slices of bacon
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

Zeytin Ezmesi

Zeytin Ezmesi is a yummy black olive paste that works well for spreading on pieces of bread, savory breakfast dishes, eggs, and anything else you can think of!

Olives and cheese for breakfast are popular in Turkish cuisine, so it is no wonder that this black olive paste has found its place on this list.

Plus, you can make a huge batch of this black olive paste and keep it for use with bread, crackers, and other snack foods! 

To make this paste, all you need is the following:

  • 3 cups of black olives
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of basil
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt

Pide

Another popular Turkish breakfast item is Pide, known as the Turkish flatbread pizza.

I love this recipe for when you want a filling and savory brunch option that can be filled with meat or just cheese and vegetables for vegetarians!

As a vegetarian, I love this filling and easy-to-make pizza flatbread that serves as either a breakfast, brunch, or lunch staple in Turkish cuisine

To make this flatbread and pizza combination, you need the following:

  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • ½ tsp white sugar
  • ⅔ cups warm water
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 topping (ex: Turkish sausage, lamb, spinach) 
  • ½ tsp semolina
  • 150 grams kasar cheese
  • Sprinkle finish 

Acma

Acma is a popular Turkish breakfast staple that is similar to an American bagel.

You can put a sweet spread on this type of bagel, whether it is butter, jam, or peanut butter, or you can put on savory times, like meat and cheese.

I personally love having Acma with melted butter, crunchy peanut butter, or strawberry jam as a snack or quick breakfast. 

To make Acma pastries, you need: 

  • 6 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 42 grams of yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 100 grams of butter
  • 1 egg yolk 

Kiymali Yumurta

I love Kiymali Yumurta because it is baked in the morning or a treat for anyone who wants a filling breakfast option!

This egg dish is great for splitting with your friends and sharing as a communal brunch choice. Plus, everybody loves eggs!

I enjoy making Kiymali Yumurta for weekend breakfast and pairing it with a hot latte and orange juice. 

To make this brunch for you and 4-6 people, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • 350 grams of minced meat
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers
  • Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 eggs 
  • Salt to taste 

BazIama

Bazlama is a popular and easy-to-make Turkish breakfast staple that you can use with savory toppings for sweet toppings, like butter, sweet cheeses, and jams.

I love having Bazlama with sweet cream cheese and fruit or a savory topping like spinach, roasted vegetables, and melted Turkish cheese.

It is very easy to make this Turkish flatbread — all you need are the following ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 ¾ cups flour
  • ¼ cup parsley 

Simit

Homemade Turkish simit is so good for a Turkish breakfast item, snack, or quick lunchtime meal!

Known as a delicious sesame bread with a crunchy crust and perfect for pairing with a cup of coffee or espresso, this recipe is easy to follow and requires minimal ingredients: 

  • Flour 
  • Yeast
  • Salt and sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Molasses
  • Sesame seeds

We love simit as a snack at any time of the day!

Since you can make these and then bring them with you on the road, Simit is ideal for a snack with hot tea, strong coffee, or alcoholic drinks like wine or beer. 


Turkish Breakfast Foods

  1. Borek
  2. Bal Kaymak
  3. Menemen
  4. Gozleme
  5. Kuymak (or Muhlama)
  6. Çilbir
  7. Boyoz
  8. Mercimek çorbası
  9. Sucuklu Yumurta
  10. Katmer
  11. Pastirma Yumurta
  12. Zeytin Ezmesi
  13. Pide
  14. Acma
  15. Kiymali Yumurta
  16. BazIama
  17. Simit

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter if you are a vegetarian or a meat lover — you can always find a Turkish dish that is perfect for curbing your hunger pangs and making for a friendly get-together.

I love making all of these Turkish breakfast ideas with my family and friends for filling and savory egg dishes to share! 

If you are hungry for more great dishes from a country with rich and diverse cuisine, have a look at these most popular Greek foods. Similarly to this list, you’ll find that Greece has various mouth-watering dishes for meat lovers but also vegan-friendly gems.

Did we leave out any of your favorite Turkish dishes? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll make sure to check them out.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.