Goulash (One Pot American Style)

April 23, 2020

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Classic homemade Goulash! This delicious, easy goulash recipe is made with hearty beef, tender macaroni pasta, lots of vegetables and a savory tomato based sauce.

Want the same flavors in soup form? Also try my Goulash Soup, another super cozy dinner!

What is Goulash?

There are several types of Goulash. One of the most popular is Hungarian goulash, which is a seasoned stew made up of meat and vegetables.

This however is a different take on beef goulash. It’s a classic American goulash made up of ground beef, tomatoes, broth and pasta.

I grew up eating this dish and always loved it, and right now it’s all about those comfort food classics. It’s jam packed with satisfying flavors that all meld as it simmers and cooks together in one pot.

The other great thing about this recipe is that it’s a cheap dish made with simple, everyday ingredients. Nothing fancy or unusual here.

It’s just that hearty goodness like mom and grandma made. A dinner that never disappoints!

Serving of ground beef and macaroni goulash shown overhead in a white pasta bowl set over a green and white stripped napkin with parsley to the side.

What’s in Goulash?

The ingredients you’ll need for my homemade goulash recipe are:

  • Olive oil: Used for sautéing the beef
  • Ground beef: I like to use 85% lean or higher.
  • Yellow onion: A white or red onion can be substituted if needed.
  • Red bell pepper: Another color would work fine. Red are just a hint riper and sweeter.
  • Carrot: You could also just grate the carrot if that’s easier for you. If grating it doesn’t need to be sautéed as long.
  • Garlic: If possible stick with fresh. Bottled would be the next best thing then dried as a last option (just add with other seasonings and use 3/4 tsp).
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: standard or even unsalted broth will work just adjust amount of salt added accordingly.
  • Tomato paste: This rich tomato concentrate adds a boost of tomato flavor and also helps thicken.
  • Tomato sauce: Tomato puree will work too. Tomato sauce is similar to tomato passata in some countries.
  • Canned diced tomatoes: I like to use the petite cut for more uniform size throughout but the regular cut are fine too.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This rich sauce just adds a faint background flavor.
  • Italian seasoning: If needed make your own blend by using 3/4 tsp oregano, 3/4 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp rosemary and 1/2 tsp marjoram.
  • Paprika: Stick with standard sweet paprika for this recipe not smoked.
  • Salt and pepper: As usual, season to your preferred taste. Start small and add as you go.
  • Macaroni pasta: The size of the macaroni could vary slightly by brand so to measure I’d use a kitchen scale if you have one rather than going by volume.
  • Parsley: You can use dried if that’s what you have on hand. Just use 1 Tbsp.

Scroll down for ingredient amounts, directions and print option.

Image of ingredients used in American beef goulash.

How to Make Goulash

Here are the 7 simple steps to prepare it:

  1. Saute veggies: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and carrot and saute 6 minutes. Scoot to one far side.
  2. Then Brown beef: Add beef in about 5 chunks and let brown on bottom, about 2 – 3 minutes then break up beef and toss with veggies. Cook beef through, tossing occasionally.
  3. Drain fat, saute garlic: Drain off excess fat as needed. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  4. Add canned ingredients and seasonings, simmer: Pour in chicken broth, tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning and paprika. Season with salt if needed and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a simmer.
  5. Stir in pasta and cook to al dente: Add pasta and stir. Reduce to medium-low cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally until pasta is nearly tender, about 10 – 12 minutes. If needed add a little more broth to thin.
  6. Let it rest off heat: Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes until pasta is tender and sauce has thickened.
  7. Garnish: Stir in parsley. Serve warm.

Image showing four steps of preparing homemade goulash in a pot.

Can You Freeze Beef Goulash?

Yes. Goulash can be frozen up to 3 months in airtight containers. Thaw overnight and reheat the next day.

Possible Variations

This is such a versatile recipe and fun to change up. Here are some things you could try:

  • Add frozen corn.
  • Sneak in another vegetable like diced zucchini.
  • Try beef broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Sub small shell pasta for the macaroni if that’s what you have on hand (use equal weight).
  • Use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  • For extra flavor try with canned fire roasted tomatoes.
  • Try with a different seasoning blend. You could even make this with Mexican flavors instead of the herby Italian style flavors here.
  • Finish with cheese. Parmesan or Romano will go well here.

Tips for the Best Goulash

  • Be sure to brown the meat to add that boost of flavor, don’t just stir constantly and steam the beef.
  • Dice veggies small, the texture will be better with a more uniform size throughout.
  • Cook pasta just to al dente to it’s not soggy in the end.
  • Don’t be skimpy with the seasonings, they’ll bring a lot of flavor to the goulash.

What to Serve with Goulash

Since this is basically a meal in one some simple sides go nicely here:

  • homemade white bread or no knead bread
  • side salad
  • a fresh cooked vegetable like corn on the cob, green beans or asparagus
  • fruit salad (it’s not such a complimentary pairing but I serve that fruit salad with just about anything, it’s so good!)

Overhead image of beef goulash in a large pot.

More Comfort Food Classics You’ll Love

Goulash

5 from 11 votes

This delicious, easy goulash recipe is made with hearty beef, tender macaroni pasta, lots of vegetables and a savory tomato based sauce. Makes about 7 cups.

Servings: 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 2/3 cups (6.7 oz) macaroni pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Saute veggies: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and carrot and saute 6 minutes. Scoot to one far side.

  2. Brown beef: Add beef in about 5 chunks and let brown on bottom, about 2 - 3 minutes then break up beef and toss with veggies. Cook beef through, tossing occasionally.

  3. Drain fat, saute garlic: Drain off excess fat as needed*. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

  4. Add canned ingredients and seasonings, simmer: Pour in chicken broth, tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning and paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a simmer.

  5. Add pasta and cook to al dente: Add pasta and stir. Reduce to medium-low cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally until pasta is nearly tender, about 10 - 12 minutes. If needed add a little more broth to thin.

  6. Let rest: Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes until pasta is tender and sauce has thickened.

  7. Garnish: Stir in parsley. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

  • *To drain fat easily I use a ball of a couple of paper towels held by tongs to dab up excess fat.

Optional ingredients: try it with 1 cup frozen corn (add along with tomatoes), 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes for spicy kick, or garnish servings with parmesan or cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Facts
Goulash
Amount Per Serving
Calories 495 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 1062mg46%
Potassium 1371mg39%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 5006IU100%
Vitamin C 75mg91%
Calcium 120mg12%
Iron 7mg39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Goulash
Author: Jaclyn

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26 Comments

  • T

    Why chicken broth and not beef broth? Would it change the flavor alot to use beef broth?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I typically favor the flavor of chicken broth and it is more seasoned with chicken than beef broth is with beef. But you can use either.

  • CydD

    I make this regularly, but I use my mum’s recipe. She called it American Chop Suey and instead of canned tomatoes and tomato past, she used a can of concentrated tomato soup. One of my favorite dinners!

  • Tara

    This recipe is amazing! I’m a big fan of Jaclyn’s Vegetable Soup, so when I saw this recipe I knew it would be a good one to try. I made it on a Sunday and could not wait to eat the leftovers every night that week. Dicing the veggies small and fresh garlic are key as she mentions in the recipe. I had the larger diced tomatoes and it was noticeable (still delish!). Next batch I’ll buy the smaller diced tomatoes or take the time to dice the larger ones. I used rice noodles to make this gluten free. Another staple recipe in our rotation, and I can’t wait to make it again this weekend!

  • Amanda

    So delicious and easy to make! Prepping the veggies small took the most time, but the whole family enjoyed this dish. It was a sneaky way to get my son to eat veggies, we will definitely keep this one in rotation :) .

  • Teresa

    Thank you for bringing back childhood memories with this goulash recipe. I I was sure ours was the only family that had this for dinner when I was growing up in Michigan. I had never made it myself before this recipe showed up but it’s time my kids and grandkids get to experience it.

    I’m not much of a cooking blog fan and even less a reviewer but I’m so pleased to have across your site. The recipes are practical and tasty, and use fresh, healthy and easily sourced ingredients. Since I’m a one-person household I especially appreciate the small serving sized options. Thank you

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Love to know this dish brought back good memories for you! And so glad you stumbled across my blog I hope you continue to enjoy what you find!

  • Katie

    This was SO good. Your site has always been my favorite, but this is my first review. Thank you for so many years of consistent, great recipes!

    I wanted to give this a try in the instant pot and it worked beautifully, so I thought I’d share for anyone else interested!

    I followed the recipe through step 3, then hit cancel and added the remaining ingredients – including the macaroni. I gave it a good stir, sealed the instant pot, and cooked on manual/high for 4 minutes. Did a natural release just for a couple of minutes to let it settle then quick released.

    Gave it all a big stir, let it sit a few minutes to thicken up, and served it. My husband and I both loved it!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m excited to hear that Katie, so glad you’ve found success with my recipes!
      Thanks for the tip on the instant pot with this, I’m going to have to try that next!