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The first time I made my old fashioned goulash recipe, my kids made a face. Until they tried it. Now they request goulash, especially when it’s chilly outside. This meaty, hearty comfort food dish is a one-bowl dish that combines veggies and pasta with meat and seasoning for a warm-you-up homemade taste everyone loves.

Best Goulash Recipe

The best goulash recipe is the one you make yourself. And if you don’t know how to make it, use this simple goulash recipe and it won’t steer you wrong. You’ll have a nutritious and delicious meal that even kids will want to eat.

Goulash Ingredients

  • Ground beef – adds that meaty base for your beef goulash recipe. For healthier options you can substitute lean ground beef or use ground turkey.
  • Elbow macaroni – the pasta component (feel free to sub gluten-free if needed).
  • Tomato sauce and diced tomatoes – both of these lend goulash its classic red hue.
  • Garlic and onions – brings out the depth and adds pungent taste.
  • Shredded cheddar – because we all know cheese makes everything even better.
  • Paprika – a nod to this dish’s Hungarian roots.

Easy Goulash Recipe

It only takes 15 minutes to prep for homemade goulash. That’s so easy! It all goes in one pan too so cleanup is minimal. While it cooks, you can prep some sides or simply put your feet up. You deserve it!

You’d better bet your goulash I’m Hungarian.

How do you Make Goulash from Scratch?

All you need to do is cook the meat first. Then you add onions and garlic followed by the tomato paste and other wet ingredients. The seasonings, pasta, and cheese go in after. And before you know it, dinner is ready!

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Goulash Every Time

  • Don’t cook the pasta beforehand – It will be overcooked. Simply put it in the pot with everything else.
  • Drain your beef -if you want to keep calories on your side.
  • Gluten-free pasta option – It’s easy to make this gluten-free by choosing gluten-free pasta.
  • Paprika – Paprika is a signature ingredient that adds just the right touch of flavor. Don’t skip it!

How to Cook Goulash

Goulash is very easy to cook. You’ll brown the ground beef and then add the ingredients into your skillet accordingly. It only takes one skillet to make so you have less cleanup to do after dinner is done.

What is the best cut of meat for goulash?

Lean ground beef chuck will give you the best results and flavors when you make this goulash recipe.

What’s the difference between Hungarian goulash and American goulash?

Hungarian goulash is more simplistic, but no less delicious. This recipe is an Americanized version that has more tomato, beef, and macaroni in it. It also has cheese, something that is typically not in the Hungarian version but still delicious.

What is the difference between chili and goulash?

Goulash does not have beans while chili does. This goulash recipe also uses pasta and cheese in it while chili is sometimes served atop noodles and topped with cheese.

What’s the difference between goulash and spaghetti?

While both goulash and spaghetti have similar ingredients, the difference is in how they’re cooked. With spaghetti, the noodles and sauce are cooked in separate vessels, then added together for serving. Goulash cooks the noodles and the sauce in one pot together vs spaghetti is typically separate.

What goes good with goulash?

A crisp salad and some sauteed green veggies are a nice addition to a goulash meal. Also serve it with bread to soak up the sauce.

What does goulash taste like?

That depends on which recipe you choose. If you use a Hungarian goulash recipe, expect more rustic flavors brought on by the smokey feel of paprika and a more simplistic hodgepodge of ingredients. For an American goulash recipe like this one, you’ll get a rich, beefy flavor with simmered tomatoes, tender pasta, pungent garlic and onions, and the tang of cheddar cheese.

What to Serve with Goulash (Side Dishes)?

Breads are always good to dunk in your goulash. Garlic bread, breadsticks, or dinner rolls will go very well. You can add a light and refreshing salad or sauté up some green veggies on the side to add more to the meal.

How to Store Goulash?

Ground beef goulash leftovers need to go in the fridge. If you’ve made so much you can’t eat it all within 4 days, you can turn to your freezer for some help.

Can You Freeze Goulash?

Yes! Just let it cool and then pour it into a freezer bag or freezer container. It will last in there for 3 months.

How to Reheat Frozen Goulash

Frozen goulash will need to be thawed in the fridge overnight. You can then reheat it on your stove top over medium heat, making sure to stir occasionally.

Watch How To Make Goulash (Video)

Perfect Goulash recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 685
This super easy American goulash recipe is a family favorite that always has people coming back for seconds! Its packed with flavor and makes delicious leftovers that are easy to reheat and go.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)


  • Using a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Once heated, add in the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and semi translucent. Add the garlic and cook until tender. Then add in the ground beef and cook until brown. Drain out the remaining fat if necessary then season with salt and pepper.
  • Add tomato paste, broth, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes and stir to incorporate together. Evenly sprinkle in Italian seasoning and paprika and carefully add in the macaroni and mixing well. Adjust the temperature to a simmer and cook the pasta for about 12 minutes until soft and tender. Add in the cheese, mix to evenly coat, and remove from heat. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Calories: 685kcal
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American


Calories: 685kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 569mg | Potassium: 584mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 463IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 259mg | Iron: 4mg

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Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

1 Comment

  1. Thanks For Sharing this Amazing Recipe. My Family Loved It! I will be sharing this Recipe with my Friends.

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