What is Kahvaltı? A Traditional Turkish Breakfast

When talking about the culture of the people of Türkiye, one of the first things that spring to mind is what they eat for breakfast. Enjoying the weekend after the whole week's work should start with the best breakfast, and the Turks sure know how to serve a fantastic breakfast.

What do Turkish People Traditionally Eat for Breakfast?

Many Turkish people consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day. They love to eat healthy, energy-giving food; and their breakfast is known as Kahvaltı.

A classic Turkish breakfast comprises various delicious things like honey, kaymak (clotted cream), an assortment of jams, and some spreads such as tahini and pekmez (molasses), as well as dishes made with eggs, sucuk (Turkish sausage slices), various types of cheese, olives, parsley, cucumber, and large, juicy tomatoes.

In a traditional Turkish breakfast, you will also find different types of bread, simit (a round bagel type of bread with sesame seeds), poğaça (similar to focaccia), and börek (flaky pastries with fillings such as cheese or minced meat), you will even find some french fries being served and of course Turkish tea.

Kahvaltı means before coffee, and a traditional Turkish breakfast is a family affair, and a key feature of Turkish food culture, as is the coffee drinking which follows suit.

Menu of a Traditional Turkish Breakfast:

There are some differences between the regions of Türkiye and their breakfast menus. But a classic Turkish breakfast usually includes the following:


Ramzan Pide

Bread is the first and most important, or you can say, typical element of a Turkish breakfast. Baked bread, simit, poğaça, and gözleme are all part of a Turkish breakfast table.

Small slices of bread are consumed by dipping them in olive oil or egg dishes. Or they can be covered with jam and cream, which brings even more enjoyment to your breakfast experience. It can be said that without bread, Turkish breakfast is incomplete.


Spreads are the second and another traditional part of Turkish breakfast. They include a selection of fruit and even nut jams and preserves, such as sour cherry jam and fig jam, which are traditionally served at a Turkish breakfast. Similarly, kaymak with honey goes side by side, as does tahini and molasses.

Turkish people like to eat hazelnut spreads, which give an interesting flavour to their breakfast. With Türkiye being one the biggest producers of hazelnuts in the world, it's no surprise that Nutella is included in most Turkish breakfasts and is one of the most popular choices of spreads nowadays.


Turkish Breakfast cheeses

The most interesting thing about Turkish breakfast is the cheese! No Turkish breakfast is complete without a selection of cheeses as it is also another traditional part. The classic ones include beyaz peynir, a white cheese similar to feta, kaşar peynir (yellow cheese), and dil peyniri (string cheese).

There is a huge variety of cheese in Türkiye and every one of them has a different quality and flavour. But the most popular one which many Turks love is beyaz peynir, a white cheese that is normally made from cow's milk. It can be cut into cubes and eaten by itself or used as a filling for gözleme and börek.


Have you ever seen a wholesome breakfast without an egg dish? Eggs are also considered a traditional element of a Turkish breakfast that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Their favourite ones include sucuklu yumurta which is a classic egg and sausage breakfast dish. The reason that eggs are so popular in breakfast is that they are filling and provide the energy that is needed throughout the rest of the day.

There are many ways of preparing eggs for breakfast. They are not only used for breakfast, but we can also eat them for lunch or dinner. But if you are on a vegan diet and don't like to eat eggs in the morning, you can skip the eggs and enjoy the various healthy veggies and fresh herbs that are also served in a classic Turkish breakfast. It will be the perfect substitute for you.


Turkish Tea

The best-ever favourite and most traditional element in a traditional breakfast is Turkish tea, known as çay, which is served in a clear glass without milk. Türkiye has the highest level of tea consumption per capita in the world and it is also one of the biggest exporters of tea to the rest of the world.

While traditionally, black tea is served at breakfast time, some people substitute it with green tea or partake in herbal tea drinking during breakfast. But the caffeine boost of black tea makes it an energy-giving drink and it's well known that a strong cup of tea in the morning can help you work properly.


Lots of Turkish people love to eat menemen in their breakfast. They consider it another traditional element of their breakfast. The ingredients used for its preparation include long green peppers, eggs, and tomato and pepper pastes (known as Salça).

How to make Menemen: In a frying pan, the peppers are fried, and then the salça is added, after some time the eggs are added and thoroughly cooked to give a slightly scrambled appearance. Herbs, salt, sweet red chilli flakes and black pepper are added for a better taste and a fantastic Mediterranean flavour.



Simit is a type of bread usually eaten for breakfast in Türkiye. It's a bread ring that has been dipped in molasses and sesame seeds before baking which helps to give a texture of crispiness. It's normally eaten as a snack. Sometimes it is used in place of bread for breakfast. It can be found anywhere in Türkiye, especially in bakeries (known as firin) and from street vendors, and normally it's paired with Turkish tea which gives some warmth to your breakfast.

Wrapping up:

Turkish Breakfast olives and jams

Breakfast is an important meal of the day for everyone, and for the Turks, it's an essential component to start their day as well as a family tradition. Everyone growing up in Türkiye is accustomed to sitting with their families and having breakfast at a traditional kahvaltı table setting. These are just the little things that help you to start your day with a smile. Turkish flavours include sweet, salty, and slightly spicy foods.

Author Bio of Urooj Arif

Urooj Arif lives in Pakistan. She is an exceptionally perfect writer and a master's-level educated professional and confident in her ability to deliver writing. She has extensive 5 years of experience as a certified content writer. With over a decade of writing obituaries for the local paper, she has a uniquely wry voice that shines through in her newest collection, which explores the importance we place on a legacy.

She has travelled extensively around Eastern Europe, learning about the region's history and walking her characters' paths. She loves cooking, knits very badly, and otherwise spends far too much time on her writing.