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  • Writer's pictureBurhan

What is Turkish Breakfast? Discover the Traditions & Foods

Are you tired of the same old breakfast routine? Look no further than Turkish breakfast, a flavorful and satisfying meal that is sure to shake up your morning routine. But what exactly is Turkish breakfast? The Turks have a special breakfast dish called "kahvaltı tabağı" or "serpme kahvalti" which includes a variety of delicious foods.

turkish breakfast

Turkish breakfast, or kahvaltı in Turkish language, is a traditional meal that is enjoyed by many Turks. It's an important meal in Turkish culture and often enjoyed with family and friends. The word "kahvaltı" itself means "before coffee," reflecting the importance of starting the day off right with a nutritious serpme kahvalti spread of foods. One popular dish in this spread is kavut, a delicious grain-based porridge.

One popular way for Turks to enjoy their kahvalti (breakfast) is on a kahvaltı tabağı, or breakfast plate, which typically includes a mix of savory and sweet dishes such as cheese, olives, honey, and pastries. For those looking for a heartier meal, a brunch spread featuring pastırma (Turkish cured beef) and other meat dishes can be added to the kahvalti. Another type of Turkish breakfast is serpme kahvaltı, which features a variety of small dishes served on shared plates.

But what makes Turkish breakfast so special for Turks? For starters, it's packed full of nutritious foods and flavors that will keep you energized all day long. And with its emphasis on sharing kahvaltı tabağı (breakfast platters) with loved ones, it's also a great way to connect over a delicious brunch.

If you're a fan of Turkish foods, trying out a new restaurant for brunch is a great idea! Turkish breakfast is a delightful morning spread that offers something for everyone, from savory cheeses to sweet pastries and delicious eggs. So why not give it a try and explore the many different flavors that turks have to offer?

Essential Turkish Breakfast Elements: What You Need for a Traditional Spread

If you're looking to have a taste of Turkey, then trying out their traditional breakfast spread is a great way to start. A typical Turkish breakfast spread consists of several foods and spices that turks love, and eggs are also an essential element that come together to create an unforgettable meal. In this article, we'll be discussing the essential elements of a Turkish breakfast spread and what makes them so unique.

Variety of Ingredients

One thing that sets Turkish breakfast apart from other cuisines is the variety of ingredients used in the spread. From cheese to olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bread, there's something for everyone. The cheese used in Turkish breakfast comes in different varieties such as feta and kaşar. Olives are also an integral part of the spread and can be served with or without pits. Turks enjoy adding eggs to their breakfast spread, and there are various foods that complement the meal such as simit and börek. Additionally, spices like sumac and red pepper flakes can be sprinkled on top of the cheese and eggs for added flavor.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggs are often sliced into wedges or diced and served alongside the other foods. They provide a refreshing crunch that balances out the richness of the cheese, olives, and spices. Bread is also an important component of Turkish breakfast but not just any bread will do. Simit, a circular bread covered in sesame seeds, is a staple of Turkish breakfast and can be enjoyed plain or with toppings like cheese or jam. Turks enjoy a variety of spices in their breakfast dishes to add extra flavor.

Seeds as Toppings

Seeds such as sesame and poppy seeds are often used as toppings for bread or mixed into spreads like tahini which is made from ground sesame seeds. These spices add a unique flavor to Turkish recipes and make them more delicious. Turkish food is known for its rich flavors and textures, and these seeds are a staple ingredient in many Turkish breakfast ideas.

Menemen: A Popular Dish

Menemen is one popular Turkish food dish that you'll find on every traditional Turkish breakfast table. It's made with eggs, tomatoes, peppers, onions cooked together until they form a thick scramble-like paste mixture that's perfect for dipping your bread into. If you're looking for more Turkish food options, try the börek pastry dish.

Menemen: A Popular Dish

Sucuk: A Spicy Addition

Another common addition to a Turkish breakfast spread enjoyed by Turks is sucuk which is a type of spicy sausage. It's made with beef or lamb and seasoned with garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Sucuk is usually sliced thinly and served alongside eggs, börek, and other food ingredients.

Regional Turkish Breakfasts: Exploring the Diversity of Turkish Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is known for its regional differences, with each region having its own unique breakfast dishes that include eggs and börek. If you're a foodie looking to explore the variety of Turkish breakfasts, you're in for a treat! From savory pastries like börek to sweet jams and spreads, there are countless varieties of dishes to discover that include eggs in different styles.

Savory Pastries

Turkish food is a must-try, especially for those looking for new and exciting recipes. Börek is one such pastry that's popular all over Turkey and can make for a delicious addition to your turkish breakfast ideas. It's made by layering thin sheets of phyllo dough with cheese, spinach, or meat filling and then baked until golden brown. Another famous pastry is simit; it's similar to a bagel but coated in sesame seeds and can be found on street corners throughout Turkey, making it a perfect turkish breakfast recipe to try out.

Sweet Jams and Spreads

Turkish breakfast is all about the food, and trying some sweet jams and spreads is a must. Kaymak is a popular creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream that pairs well with honey or jam, while pekmez, made from grape molasses, has a rich flavor perfect for spreading on bread. And let's not forget about börek, a delicious savory pastry that's a staple in Turkish cuisine.

Restaurant Options

Many restaurants offer traditional Turkish breakfast options where you can sample different regional specialties all in one place. In Istanbul, Van Kahvalti Evi is famous for serving up an extensive selection of cheeses, olives, jams, and other traditional dishes from the eastern region of Turkey. For those looking for something more upscale, Çırağan Palace Kempinski offers an opulent breakfast buffet overlooking the Bosphorus Strait. If you're a fan of börek, you'll be pleased to know that many restaurants also offer this savory pastry as part of their breakfast spread.

Regional Varieties

Turkey has seven regions each with its own unique cuisine; exploring these regional differences through their breakfast dishes can be an exciting culinary adventure! Turkish people love to start their day with a hearty breakfast, and one of the most popular turkish recipes is börek. In the Black Sea region (Karadeniz), hamsi pilavı (anchovy pilaf) is a popular breakfast dish, while in the southeastern region of Turkey, menemen (a dish made with eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and onions) is a staple. And in the Aegean region, you'll find locals enjoying kahvalti (breakfast) mezze style with small plates of various dishes, including the famous turkish bagel.

Tours and Experiences

For those who want to dive deeper into Turkish cuisine, there are many tours and experiences available that focus specifically on regional breakfast specialties. Istanbul on Food offers a "Breakfast Walk" tour where you can sample different traditional dishes from local markets and cafes, including börek, a savory pastry filled with meat or cheese. In Antalya, you can take a cooking class focused on preparing traditional Turkish breakfast dishes like gözleme and börek.

Jams and Spreads: Adding Flavor to Your Turkish Breakfast

Jams and fruit preserves are a must-have in Turkish breakfast. They come in various flavors, ranging from apricot to fig. These sweet spreads are usually served with bread or phyllo sheets, adding a fruity flavor to your meal. If you have a sweet tooth, you will definitely enjoy the taste of these jams. Börek lovers can also pair their börek with these delicious jams for an even more satisfying breakfast experience.

Hazelnut spreads like Nutella are also popular choices for adding flavor to bread or phyllo sheets, especially in börek. Hazelnuts are native to Turkey, and they are often used in desserts, pastries, and spreads. Nutella is a well-known hazelnut spread that has gained popularity worldwide. It's creamy texture and chocolatey flavor make it an excellent choice for breakfast.

Olive spread is another flavorful option for your Turkish breakfast. This savory spread is made from olives mashed together with olive oil and other ingredients like garlic or lemon juice. The result is a delicious spread that can be enjoyed on bread or crackers.

Aside from jams and spreads, spices like sesame seeds and paste can also be used to enhance the taste of Turkish breakfast. Sesame seeds add a nutty flavor to your meal while sesame paste (tahini) can be mixed with honey or tomato sauce for different fillings.

Fresh vegetables like green olives, cucumbers, and green peppers are also commonly served during Turkish breakfasts. They add freshness and crunchiness to the meal while providing essential nutrients.

In addition to these staples, butter is also used as a spread for bread during Turkish breakfasts. Fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil can also be served as a side dish.

Eggs, Cheese, and Tea: Traditional Elements of Turkish Breakfast

Eggs: A Versatile Dish for Turkish Breakfast

Eggs are a staple in Turkish breakfast cuisine. They can be prepared in various ways and served with different ingredients to create a balanced and hearty meal. Fried eggs, poached eggs, and egg-filled pastries are some popular dishes that you can find on the breakfast table in Turkey.

Menemen is a popular breakfast food among locals. It is made by sautéing onions, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic in olive oil before adding whisked eggs to the mixture. The dish is then cooked until the eggs are set and served hot with bread or pita.

Another classic egg dish for breakfast is sucuklu yumurta. This dish consists of fried eggs served with slices of spicy Turkish sausage called sucuk. You can also add some tomatoes, cheese, olives or any other vegetables to make it more nutritious.

Cheeses: A Perfect Pairing for Tomatoes and Olives

Cheese is an essential component of traditional Turkish breakfasts. Feta cheese (known as beyaz peynir) is commonly served alongside tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, peppers as well as other veggies for a balanced meal.

Simit - sesame-covered bread rings - make a delicious breakfast food and go perfectly with cheese plates too! You can enjoy them together while sipping on tea or coffee.

If you are looking for something more filling than just cheese plates and fresh veggies at breakfast time then try gözleme which has become increasingly popular recently both inside Turkey and abroad. Gözleme is a savory pastry similar to crepes filled with spinach & feta cheese or potatoes & minced meat depending on your preference.


Tea: The Go-To Beverage for Breakfast

Turkish tea (also known as black tea) is an integral part of Turkish culture and it's no surprise that it's the go-to beverage for breakfast. In fact, Turkey is one of the largest tea-consuming countries in the world.

Turkish tea is a popular breakfast beverage brewed using a double teapot called a çaydanlık. The bottom pot is filled with water and placed on the stove while the top pot contains loose tea leaves, making it a perfect accompaniment to your breakfast food. As the water boils, steam rises to brew the tea in the upper pot.

Coffee and milk are also popular options for breakfast beverages in Turkey. Turkish coffee is a strong, thick, and dark drink served in small cups with or without sugar depending on your preference.

Kuymak/Mıhlama: Melted Cheese and Cornmeal Delight from Turkey's Black Sea Region

Kuymak/Mıhlama is a traditional dish that originates from Turkey's Black Sea region. This delicious breakfast dish is made with melted cheese and cornmeal, making it a perfect comfort food for cold winter mornings. In this article, we will discuss the ingredients used in Kuymak/Mıhlama, how to make it, and some of the best ways to enjoy this delicious dish.

Ingredients Used in Kuymak/Mıhlama

The main ingredients used in Kuymak/Mıhlama are cheese and cornmeal. The cheese used in this dish can vary depending on personal preference and regional traditions. However, the most common types of cheese used are beyaz peynir (white cheese), feta cheese, or other hard cheeses made from sheep milk.

In addition to cheese and cornmeal, some variations of Kuymak/Mıhlama include sucuklu yumurta (scrambled eggs with sausage), pastırma (Turkish cured beef), tahini (sesame paste), bal kaymak (honeycomb cream), kavut (roasted wheat flour), açma (Turkish bread rolls), katmer (layered pastry) and more.

How to Make Kuymak/Mıhlama

Making Kuymak/Mıhlama is relatively easy. Here is a simple recipe you can try at home:


  • 2 cups grated white cheese or feta

  • 1 cup cornmeal

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup butter


  1. In a pot over medium heat, mix water and cornmeal until well combined.

  2. Add grated white cheese or feta into the pot.

  3. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens.

  4. Add butter and continue stirring until the butter is melted and well combined with the mixture.

  5. Serve hot with bread, açma, or katmer.

Best Ways to Enjoy Kuymak/Mıhlama

Kuymak/Mıhlama is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy this delicious breakfast dish:

  • Dip bread into the melted cheese and cornmeal mixture for a simple yet satisfying breakfast.

  • Top it off with sucuklu yumurta (scrambled eggs with sausage) for a heartier meal.

  • Add pastırma (Turkish cured beef) for a savory flavor.

  • Drizzle tahini (sesame paste) or bal kaymak (honeycomb cream) on top for a sweet taste.

  • Mix kavut (roasted wheat flour) into the mixture for added texture.

How to Make Homemade Simit: The Iconic Turkish Bagel

Now that you have a good understanding of what Turkish breakfast is and the essential elements needed for a traditional spread, let's dive into one of the most iconic elements - simit. This delicious sesame-covered bagel is a staple in Turkish cuisine and can be found on almost every street corner in Istanbul.

Making homemade simit may seem daunting, but it's actually quite simple. All you need is flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and sesame seeds. Mix all the ingredients together, knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic, then let it rise. Once the dough has risen, shape it into rings and dip them in molasses or grape molasses before coating them with sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown and enjoy warm with a cup of tea.

But why stop at just simit? As we've discussed earlier in this article, Turkish breakfast offers a wide variety of regional dishes and flavors. From savory menemen to sweet kaymaklı kayısı (apricots with clotted cream), there's something for everyone to enjoy.

So why not try making your own homemade kuymak/mıhlama from Turkey's Black Sea region or experiment with different jams and spreads? With these simple recipes and tips, you can bring the flavors of Turkey right into your own home.

Remember to always prioritize quality ingredients when making Turkish breakfast dishes. Fresh produce and high-quality cheeses will make all the difference in taste. And don't forget about presentation - arranging your spread on a beautiful platter will make it even more enjoyable.

In conclusion, whether you're looking to spice up your morning routine or impress guests at brunch, Turkish breakfast offers endless possibilities for delicious meals. So grab some simit or try making your own at home - you won't regret it!

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