This Goulash Recipe is a family favorite! Beefy macaroni simmered in a cozy tomato sauce. This delicious one-pot wonder is ready in under 30 minutes!
You guys. Trevor and I went absolutely nuts over this goulash recipe. I mean, you just can’t go wrong with a one-pot wonder that’s loaded with ground beef, veggies, spices, and pasta.
We shared this meal with friends and family and everyone loved it. A quick, crazy easy, completely delicious, stick-to-your-ribs, comforting meal that’s ready and on the table in under 30 minutes? Count. Me. In! 😉
What’s the difference between american goulash and hungarian goulash?
Hungarian goulash is a soup or stew typically filled with beef and onions and seasoned with paprika.
American goulash, on the other hand, is an American comfort food dish also known as slumgullion. It’s made with ground beef, macaroni noodles, pepper, and onion, all cooked in a tomato-based sauce.
This humble dish beef and pasta dish is surprisingly flavorful thanks to my combination of spices:
- Ground Beef – I like using lean ground beef to keep the calories and fat down. If you use ground beef with a higher fat content, you’ll likely need to drain the grease before adding in the remaining ingredients.
- Yellow Onion and Green Bell Pepper – add color and texture.
- Garlic – provides a bit of a nutty flavor.
- Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Rosemary – give the sauce an earthy taste to round out the tang of the soy and Worcestershire sauces.
- Bay Leaf – used to flavor the dish, but it’s not edible. Make sure you remove before eating!
- Chicken Broth – soaks into the ground beef and mixes with the tomato sauce to add tons of flavor. I found beef broth to be too salty for this dish.
- Soy Sauce – adds a little bit more saltiness and tang.
- Worcestershire Sauce – gives that vinegary taste for extra tanginess.
- Tomato Sauce – the base for the rest of the sauce and the seasonings.
- Diced Tomatoes – I liked using garlic and olive oil petite diced tomatoes for flavor and texture, but use whatever canned tomatoes you have.
- Elbow Macaroni Noodles – macaroni noodles are the traditional type of noodle to use in this dish.
- Salt – brings out other flavors in the dish.
How to make
Remember, this is a ONE pot dish. Don’t cook your noodles separately – the noodles cook directly in the tomato sauce.
- Cook beef, onion, and pepper together in a large stockpot then stir in garlic, spices, and the rest of your ingredients.
- Let simmer, covered, until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
- Remove bay leaf, taste, re-season if necessary.
- Serve and enjoy!
Can you make classic goulash ahead?
This goulash recipe is best served immediately. The noodles will continue soaking up the sauce as it sits, so they’ll continue to get softer and softer the longer they sit.
If you need to make this a day or two in advance, I recommend slightly undercooking your noodles so they don’t become mushy. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.
To reheat: place the goulash back into a pot and heat until warm. Add more liquid if it seems a little dry. Taste and re-season, if necessary.
Can i add cheese to my goulash?
Adding cheese is a common variation to traditional American goulash. My favorite cheese to add is sharp cheddar, because I think it’s the most flavorful and it melts beautifully.
You can sprinkle little bits on each serving or just dump a bunch into your pot after it’s done cooking! The choice is yours.
Tips for making classic goulash
- Make this in a large stockpot. This recipe makes quite a bit, so you’ll need a big cooking vessel!
- Use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef for a lighter version!
- Use a spice blend to save time. Italian seasoning to replace the spices listed in the recipe would be delicious!
- Replace some of the chicken broth with red wine for a richer flavor.
- Use water instead of broth if you don’t have broth on hand. Keep in mind, you’ll need to add more seasonings to make up for the broth flavor.
- Add cheese and/or sour cream after cooking for a little creaminess or tang!
What to serve with this goulash recipe
I love to serve my goulash with a generous helping of cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
This one-pot meal is everything but if you’re looking to add a little something extra to your meal, I love serving this with some type of bread, a salad, and a few extra veggies:
How to store
Cooked and cooled goulash can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
To reheat, pop it in the microwave until warm! If the pasta has dried out a little bit, try adding just a little more tomato sauce or even water and re-season to taste before devouring a second time.
Can you freeze goulash?
I don’t recommend freezing goulash, because noodles are notoriously bad at freezing and reheating.
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 1/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 (14.5 oz) can garlic and olive oil petite diced tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- salt to taste
- Heat a large stock pot over medium/medium-high heat.
- Once hot, cook beef, onion, and pepper together until beef is no longer pink and onions are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and spices. Cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to a simmer over high heat.
- Once simmering, simmer for about 5 minutes uncovered.
- Cover then simmer another 7-10 minutes or until pasta is cooked to your liking. Stir occasional to prevent sticking. You’ll need to adjust your heat lower to keep the mixture at a simmer.
- Remove bay leaf, taste and re-season if necessary and serve!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published October 10, 2016 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.