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Turkish breakfast

Turkish breakfast isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience. Designed to besocial, shared, and savored, Turkish breakfast consists of many small platesboth sweet and savory, accompanied with bread and endless cups of tea. Usuallya Turkish breakfast includes eggs, either fried or scrambled with tomatoes (sahandayumurta or menemen). Cucumbers and tomatoes areconsistently part of breakfast, as are olives, a plate of local cheeses, honey,and kaymak, a dairy product similar to clotted cream. Often therewill also be jam, butter, a red pepper paste called acılı ezme,sausages, and börek, a flaky pastry that can be filled with cheese,spinach, or meat. 

Serpme kahvaltı is ahighly traditional way to enjoy the breakfast for long hours. Turkish people goout on weekends to have breakfast around the Bosphorus with a breathtakingview, to the countryside, to popular cafés and restaurants, etc. The concept ofserpme kahvaltı consists of small plates with different products and tastessuch as a cheese platter, a tomato and cucumber platter, herbs, jams, tahiniand grape molasses, butter, kaymak and honey, different typesof olives, olive oil with spices, spicy tomato paste, eggs, omelet, bread andsimit, peppers, and Turkish pastries.

The importance of serpme kahvaltı is to share the foodwhich is literally spread across the entire table and altogether enjoy theexperience with family, friends, neighbors, loved ones, or whoever is hungry!The breakfast usually starts with drinking a cup of Turkish tea and at the end,Turkish coffee is served to aid digestion. Turkish coffee is usually servedwith a lokum (Turkish delight) in the traditional way.

As the breakfast takes long hours and is enough tofill you up, the other meals of the day could be skipped or a light dinner woulddo. 

Aegean Turkey’s Regional Breakfast

Breakfasts of the Aegean region areabundant in lush greens. Herbs and olives of the region paired with fresh fetacheese and the doughy treat boyoz, make for an incredible meal. You can findall kind of jams which are mostly homemade with fresh ingredients such asapricots, all kinds of berries, roses, citrus fruits, figs, quince, eggplants,pomegranates, herbs, walnuts, mastic, and even mandarin peels!

Turkish cuisine has an extraordinary jam culture thathas come down to the present day from the time of the Ottoman Empire.

Jam was a luxurious and indispensable food of theOttoman era. A part of the kitchen was reserved for jam-making and there thecooks made jams full-time.

Jam was also considered a healing food in Ottomancuisine. Sugar was first used by pharmacists in Ottoman times. At that time,the health benefits of fruit tree flowers were identified by Ottomanphysicians.

In Ottoman cuisine, jam is produced from many plants:melons, watermelons, eggplants, green lemons, almonds, hazelnuts, Erguvan(Judas tree) flowers, lotus flowers, etc. Special gardens were designed for thecultivation of products that were used for jams. For rose jam, known as the“Sultan of jams,” special roses were grown in the garden of the Edirne Palace.

The way the jam was presented was very important.There were special jam jars, and guests were given jam before being servedTurkish coffee.

After a big dinner banquet at the palace, jam wasserved. The stylish and sparkling jam jars imported from Europe stood outduring these presentations. 

Gaziantep’s Regional Breakfast 

Gaziantep, which has a worldwide reputation for itscuisine, has a very special breakfast. Beyran soup, one of the most popular andpreferred breakfast products in the region, is accompanied by katmer dessert,chickpea wrap, liver wrap, sahan cream, muhammara, egg piyaz, etc.

Van’s Regional Breakfast 

Van’s breakfast spread is the richest in Turkey. Vanand breakfast are, in fact, synonymous in Turkey, and Van-style breakfastrestaurants have opened to fanfare in İstanbul and Ankara. At theserestaurants, they serve regional delicacies such as the famous otlupeynir, a slightly crumbly, potent cheese spiked with an herbcalled sirmo, locally referred to as “wild garlic.”Traditional Van çöreği (a special kind of pastry), murtuğa (eggswith flour and butter), and kavut (a very oldrecipe of halva) are also served for breakfast.

And while some of these establishments may berepresenting the city well, to truly experience the famous breakfast, you needto travel to the source!

Black Sea Regional Breakfast 

It’s difficult to describe Black Sea breakfast from aprovince to another.  Black Sea breakfasts offer different delicious andnatural products in each province: mıhlama, turşu tavalı (pickle pan), mısırekmeği (corn bread) and a variety of pide’s. The breakfast you will have incompany with the unique air and lush nature of the Black Sea will probably beone of the best breakfasts of your life.

Turkish Tea Culture

Every breakfast spread in Turkey is graced with çay andthe traditional tulip-shaped cups. Although it was late to become an integralpart of Turkish life, tea has a history of 5,000 years and has now become anindispensable part of Turkish culture. Turkish brewing techniques andpresentation have a significant share in this success. Tea is consumed at allhours of the day and is a must at breakfast. All you need is a nice cupof Turkish tea to complete your incredible morning feast. Makesure to drink tea brewed from tea leaves gathered in the Black Sea region. 


Butter is produced from two different materials inTurkey, cream and yogurt. The butter produced from fresh yogurt or tulumyogurt (a strained yogurt produced from cow, goat, or sheep milk) iscalled yayık tereyağı (yayık butter) and has beentraditionally produced in Turkey for centuries.

The Black Sea region also makes a traditional buttercalled vakfıkebir tereyağı (vakfıkebir butter). It is obtainedby processing pure milk cream of the highest quality using traditional methods.With its unique natural yellow color, unique smell, and completely naturalingredients, it has an unmatchable taste. 

Kaymak is acreamy thick dairy product with a rich taste. The traditional method of makingkaymak is to boil milk slowly, then simmer it for two hours over a very lowheat. After the heat source is turned off, the cream is skimmed and left tocool (and mildly ferment) for several hours or days. Kaymak has a very highpercentage of milk fat - around 60%.


Turkish breakfast is thebest way to get your day started anywhere in the world. It´s filling, givingyou the energy you need, but light, so you´re not weighed down all day likesome other popular breakfasts we could name (*cough* English breakfast*cough*). It´s got tons of variety, so the picky eaters among us can pick andchoose what they like and what they don´t. It´s organic-friendlyvegetarian-friendly (butstill with some lovely meats for the carnivores amongst us), and even vegan-friendly.In short, it´s got something for everyone and is the perfect way to get yourday started. So, what’s in it? Let´s find out!

Note: Regional differencesare broad, with different things served in different spots. This is an averageTurkish breakfast. Different places will add a local flavor to the base listedbelow.

Start Your Day with a Freshly Brewed Turkish Tea

More tea is consumed in Turkey than any other countryin the world, and it starts at breakfast. Black tea is muchmore common than any other kind of tea, and in Turkey it´s made in somethingcalled a çaydanlık, which separates a concentrated form of tea andboiled water. It´s strong but never bitter, and studies have shown that Turkishtea helps regulate blood vessels and the heart, lowering the chance ofa stroke or heart attack. It´s served in beautiful fluted glass cups, adding tothe aesthetics of the breakfast. 

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Peppers are often added, but tomatoes and cucumbersare essential to any Turkish breakfast, particularly Çengelköycucumbers, which are smaller and tastier than normal cucumbers. Obviously,salad is typically served with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt tobring out the flavor. 


White cheese is anabsolute must at any breakfast, and typically there´s a variety of anywherebetween 1-4 different types of cheese. Aged kaşar, çeçil, tulum, lor, and othercheeses are common, though white cheese (similar to feta) is the only cheesethat is more or less required. 


Usually both black and green olives will be served. Beprepared for Turkish olives to be better and more flavorfulthan any you´ve ever had before!?? 


You´ll find eggs cooked in some form at almost everyTurkish breakfast. However, the way might vary. Probably most common is thedish cooked in a traditional pan called menemen, made of eggs,tomato, green peppers, and spices, with salt and oregano sprinkled on top.Cheese or meat can be added to it - it´s sweet and delicious regardless of howyou have it!

If that´s not to your taste, boiled eggs, omelets, andfried eggs with beef sausage (called sujuk) are all also very common at aTurkish breakfast table. 


Bread isanother critical part of Turkish breakfast. Standard Turkish white bread,called ekmek, with a crispy crust and a light fluffy inside is always hot andfreshly baked. A sesame bagel-like bread called simit is alsopresent at just about every Turkish breakfast. From there, açma and poğaça breakfastrolls, often stuffed with anything from cheese to meat to olive paste, arecommonly served. The bread is used to eat with the salad and soak up any juicesfrom a menemen, olive oil, or some of the other delectable dips on thebreakfast menu...

Bal Kaymak - Honey and Clotted Cream

This is a luxury at most breakfasts, but it´s anabsolute must. The clotted cream of kaymak is as good a cream as you´ll findanywhere in the world, and Turkish honey is also famed to be amongst the best,with hundreds of different types on offer. The variety depends on the flowersthey´re pollinated from and all honey is 100% natural. In fact,honey straight off the comb is very common in Turkey, with locals heading tothe store and buying an entire honeycomb rather than a jar. 


This varies from region to region, but some form oftomato paste and nuts, often walnuts and spices, is part of breakfast all overthe country. It´s often got a bit of a kick to it, so watch out! ?? 

Jams and Marmalades

Finally, Turkish jams are famous, inlarge part because Turkish fruits are so wonderful. Most regions have a varietyof jam that they´re most famous for, so you´ll find different locally madeproducts wherever you happen to be, and they´ll all be equally 100% natural anddelicious. Oftentimes, sugar isn´t even added, allowing the flavor of thefruits to stand by itself!


Back by popular demand, even MORE incrediblyflavorful Turkish cheeses for your tasting pleasure!

Çökelek Cheese along the Mediterranean

Çökelek cheese is anunsalted and light cheese that is made from yogurt and comes from differentparts of Turkey´s Mediterranean region. It´s excellent in pastries and is oftenseasoned to give in an extra bit of flavor. If on its own, it’s often servedwith a drizzle of olive oil and black cumin seeds.

After the cheese is made, it´s usually aged for manymonths to bring out its flavor, making it rich and creamy - so much so that itis also served with meat dishes. After it´s matured, it´s dried out to hardenand is truly one of the best cheeses in Turkey.

Kargı Tulum Cheese from Çorum

Tulum cheese produced in Kargı in the province of Çorum along the BlackSea is slightly more conventional than Bergama tulum. It can be made of cow,sheep, or goat´s milk (or more often than not a mixture thereof) and is notsalted in the way Bergama tulum is, meaning it´s a little crumblier and alittle sharper.

It´s matured and is an excellent accompaniment to abig dinner full of rich flavors. It´s often sold in either a sheepskin orgoatskin, and at times has a buttery consistency to match its sharp flavor.It´s typically matured for around 6 months and goes wonderfully well withwalnuts and freshly baked bread.

Otlu Peynir (Herbed Cheese) from Van

As the name suggests, with Van herbed cheese,the cheese isn´t doing all the work! The cheese itself is typically made fromeither sheep or cow´s milk and is semihard with a salty flavor. However, themajority of the flavor comes from the incredible number of herbs that are putin, many of them local and endemic to the Van region of Turkey.

Twenty to twenty-five herbs are added, most commonlyincluding varieties of the genuses of Allium, Thymus, Silene, and Ferula. Buteach village around Van tends to have its own local herbs that they add (ordon´t), and as the cheese itself has grown in popularity, so have the varietiesit comes in. Herbs added are often wild, such as wild garlic (sirmo in Turkish)which gives the cheese a distinct aroma.

The cheese itselfdeveloped for medicinal purposes when healing herbs needed to be eaten in largequantities, and in specific due to the lack of scientific knowledge regardingwhich herbs in particular were the most beneficial to health. So, the cheesewas produced to create a tasty way to consume many different wild herbs knownonly to local doctors. The herbs are brined before being added to the cheesecontributing to the cheese´s salty flavor. The cheese is typically maturedaround 6 months to bring out the flavor. The final product is a yellowish, semihardcheese with a garlicky aroma and a fair scent of fresh thyme as well.

Otlu peynir is often grated into omelets and also goesincredibly well in sauces, or simply eaten as a meze appetizer with some breadand butter.

Koleti Cheese from Trabzon

Koleti cheese is localto the Black Sea region of Turkey and is particularly famous for its use in thedish of mıhlama. Koleti is made from unpasteurized milk and when the milk turnsto cheese, it is doused with boiling water and left to cool before being slicedand aged at least 3 months.

Mıhlama is madeby mixing cornmeal and either butter or clotted cream with the cheese for anincredibly rich, cheesy dish that´s cooked slowly so the cheese is stringy andmelted, and served piping hot. 

Kaşar Cheese from Kars

Kaşar cheese, or eski kaşar(literally old kaşar) as the matured version is known, is perhaps the cheesethat is most widely used in foods compared with eaten on its own. It has abuttery and tangy flavor that makes it suitable to eat with any meal. When agedover 6 months, as it usually is in the northeastern region of Kars,it develops peppery notes that go incredibly well with just about anything. Itcan be made from cow, sheep, or goat´s milk though cow´s milk is the mostcommon. It often accompanies white cheese at breakfast as a very differentflavor.

Before it´s been aged, kaşar cheese issmoother and lighter. It melts very well and is used as the primary meltingcheese in Turkish dishes, though it´s excellent for slicing or grating as well.It´s used in pizzas, sandwiches, or, most commonly, in grilled cheesesandwiches simply called "tost" (toast) in Turkish.