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Egyptian Koshari Recipe (The Best I’ve Had)

by Lily

Koshari (also spelled kushari and koshary) is one of the national dishes of Egypt, and it’s what I call “real deal comfort food”. You can find koshari in almost every home in Egypt, kind of like mac and cheese. This Egyptian koshari recipe is a family recipe and the best I’ve ever had. If you are ever visiting Egypt, I recommend trying ful medames, mulukhiyah with roz, and koshari (of course)!

Also, this recipe is perfect for batch cooking and meal prepping for the week because it makes a large amount. It reheats extremely well, so it’s one of my favorite meals to preapre ahead of time.

What Is Koshari?

Koshari is a bowl of lentil rice, pasta, chickpeas, vinegar tomato sauce, topped with fried onions. It’s

Many kushari recipes only have a cooked red vinegar sauce. However, this recipe has two types of red sauce: a fresh red sauce and a koshari cooked vinegar red sauce. My mother in law has perfected this recipe over a lifetime, and the fresh red sauce is the secret sauce.

koshari vinegar sauce recipe

What To Serve With Koshari?

Normally, koshari is served as a standalone dish. However, you can add some boiled eggs on the side. Also, a chopped salad goes well with this dish.

egyptian koshary recipe

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Tomatoes: I like to use tomatoes on the vine, however, Roma tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes work just fine. I don’t recommend using canned tomatoes in this recipe.
  • Chickpeas: I recommend using dried chickpeas, however, canned chickpeas can be substituted to save some time.
  • Pasta: Traditional koshari uses white pasta, but a healthier alternative is whole wheat pasta. In fact, I prefer whole wheat pasta for this recipe when I can find whole wheat spaghetti and whole wheat elbow pasta.
  • Brown Lentils: I recommend using brown lentils for the right koshari experience.
  • Onions: You can use white onions, brown onions, white onions, sweet onions, or red onions.
  • Tomato Paste: Any type of tomato paste will do for this recipe. The tomato paste is used for the koshari vinegar red sauce.
  • Garlic: I recommend using fresh garlic.
  • Bell Peppers: I use green bell peppers, but yellow, red, or orange bell peppers can be used.
  • Spicy Pepper: If you like spicy food, you can use any type of spicy pepper. Be careful not to overdo it though!
  • White Vinegar: I use distilled white vinegar. I don’t recommend using any other type of vinegar, because it will change the flavor of the koshari vinegar red sauce.
  • Lime: I use fresh limes, and prefer limes over lemons for this dish.
  • Oil: Any type of oil can be used in this recipe. One tip my mother-in-law gave me was to use the same oil that was used to fry the onions (after frying the onions) because it’s infused with an onion flavor.
  • Spices: This authentic Egyptian koshari recipe needs ground cumin, ground coriander, and ground chili powder.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
egyptian koshari ingredients

Tips for Making Egyptian Koshari

  1. I recommend following the steps just as I lay them out in the recipe instructions to save the most time. Prepare the chickpeas with cumin first while frying the onions first.
  2. If you want to lighten this recipe up, use whole wheat pasta and reduce the amount of oil used for the koshari rice.
  3. Chop the onions into thin circles. Allow the onions tossed in flour rest for 30 minutes prior to frying. Sunflower oil yields the most crispy fried onions.
  4. Use the oil from the fried onions in other parts of this recipe. This is a tip I’ve heard from 2 sources to make the most flavorful koshari.

The Famous Koshari Vinegar Sauce Recipe

When you think of koshari, you think of the vinegar red sauce that’s poured over the pasta and lentil rice. The red sauce is cooked with garlic and vinegar, and sometimes it’s spicy. This red sauce is the key to some great koshari.

In this family recipe, there is a second fresh red salsa that’s absolutely amazing, and it compliments this vinegar red sauce really well.

how to make koshari

How to Assemble the Perfect Koshari Bowl

On the downside, this recipe is quite involved as it has several parts to it. I made the list in order of how you assemble the bowl starting with adding the lentil rice first.

  • Lentil rice
  • Pasta
  • Chickpeas in cumin
  • Cooked red sauce
  • Fresh red sauce
  • Fried onions

The secret to an amazing bowl of koshari is the right portions of each layer. Personally, I go overboard with the fresh red sauce and fried onions. But, experiment for yourself what you prefer.

How Long Does It Take To Make Koshari?

Each part is easy to do, but if you are in a hurry, it can get overwhelming. If you are making this for your first time, block off about 1.5 to 2 hours to take your time.

how to make egyptian koshary

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egyptian koshari

Egyptian Koshari Recipe (The Best I’ve Had)

  • Author: Lilian B.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Koshari is a vegan meal of rice, chickpeas, homemade red salsa, and fried onions. This Egyptian koshari recipe is my mother in laws secret recipe!



  • 6 medium onions 
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 bag of spaghetti (1 lb or 500 gram)
  • 1 bag elbow pasta (1 lb or 500 gram)
  • 2 cup brown lentils
  • 4 cups dry rice
  • 16 whole tomatoes
  • 1 small packet of tomato paste or 3 tbsp
  • 18 garlic cloves
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 spicy pepper
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • ground cumin
  • ground coriander
  • ground chili powder (optional)
  • 3 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying 


Soak Dry Lentils and Dry Chickpeas Ahead of Time

  1. Soak the dried lentils and dried chickpeas in water for 3 hours prior to making koshari.

Prepare the Chickpeas

  1. Boil 2 cups of dried chickpeas until semi-cooked (about 45 minutes to an hour). Drain water.
  2. Add fresh water and 1 tbsp of cumin. Boil chickpeas a second time for another 30 minutes.
  3. Once chickpeas are cooked, squeeze 1/2 of a lime over chickpeas.

Fry The Onions

  1. Chop 2 medium onions into circles. Mix with flour.
  2. Fry in oil. Using a frying spatula, remove the onions from the oil. Set onto a paper towel and set aside.

Make the Fresh Red Sauce

  1. Blend 6 tomatoes, 2 bell peppers, 1 medium onion, and 6 garlic cloves in the food processor.
  2. If you would like a spicy sauce, add 2 spicy peppers.
  3. Add 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of ground coriander, 3 tbsp of oil (from the fried onions), salt, and pepper. Add juice from 2 limes.
  4. Blend and set aside.

Make the Koshari Rice

  1. Blend 3 medium onions in a food processor.
  2. In a high rimmed stovetop pot, add 4 tbsp of oil (from the fried onions). Cook the onions on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the brown lentils (these will be about 4.5 cups after being soaked) and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn down heat to medium-low. Add 4 cups of dry rice and 2 more cups of water.
  5. Add salt and pepper. Mix the koshari rice and cover.
  6. Continue to cook on medium-low heat covered until the rice has finished cooking (about 12 minutes).
  7. Turn off the stove and allow the rice to rest covered for 5 minutes.

Cook the Pasta

  1. Boil water and add about 1 tbsp of salt.
  2. Break the spaghetti pasta in half, then break the half again making quarter size sections of spaghetti. Break about 15 spaghetti noodles at the same time.
  3. Add the spaghetti pasta and elbow pasta to the boiling water.
  4. Cook the pasta until desired firmness.
  5. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Koshari Vinegar Red Sauce

  1. Blend 10 medium tomatoes in a blender. Strain tomatoes into a bowl.
  2. Fry 4 tbsp of oil (or ghee) with 1 tsp chili powder and 12 minced garlic cloves.
  3. Add 5 tbsp of tomato paste and 5 tbsp of vinegar for about 30 seconds before adding the blended tomatoes.
  4. Add 2 tsp of cumin, 2 tsp of coriander, 2 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of ground pepper.
  5. Boil for about 10 minutes.


  1. Store koshari rice, pasta, fresh red sauce, koshari vinegar red sauce, fried onions, and chickpeas separately in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  2. Whole wheat pasta is a suitable substitution.
  3. The nutrition facts do not factor in the oil from frying the onions.
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Egyptian


  • Serving Size: 3 cups
  • Calories: 528 calories
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Sodium: 161 mg
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 90 g
  • Fiber: 28 g
  • Protein: 58 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: koshary kushari koshari egyptian lentils and rice

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Judy April 21, 2020 - 7:53 am

I am really interested in making this recipe! While it looks time consuming, I like how you broke down all the steps. Keep the recipes coming; I’m enjoying learning how to make new dishes that I find in this blog.

Lilian B. April 21, 2020 - 11:59 pm

Thanks Judy Batootie!

Mo April 18, 2020 - 6:55 am

Took a lot of time to make but it was worth it in the end.

Lilian B. April 19, 2020 - 12:00 am

Thanks Mo!


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