Goulash

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Quick Summary

American Goulash- this easy goulash recipe is made with ground beef, onions, bell pepper, a rich tomato sauce, herbs, and elbow macaroni. This one pot meal is a family favorite and perfect for busy weeknights!

American goulash in bowls with shredded cheddar cheese.

When you are craving comfort food, what do you turn to? A few favorites at our house include chicken pot pie, chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and baked ziti.

This American Goulash is also a popular comfort food dish. It is made with ground beef, veggies, garlic, a rich tomato sauce, beef broth, herbs, and elbow macaroni noodles. It is similar to spaghetti, but goulash combines the meat sauce and pasta in one pot. We also like to top goulash with shredded cheddar cheese for extra deliciousness!

American goulash is different than Hungarian goulash, which is a rich beef stew made with chunks of meat and heavily seasoned with paprika.

American Goulash is the perfect weeknight meal. It only takes about 30 minutes to make and is made with basic ingredients. It is a family favorite, kids especially love this hearty and wholesome dish.

Cozy, comforting, and always a dinner winner!

ingredients in bowls to make American goulash.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil– for sautéing the veggies!
  • Onion– chopped.
  • Red bell pepper– seeds removed and chopped.
  • Ground beef– we prefer lean ground beef. You can use ground turkey or chicken.
  • Garlic cloves– minced.
  • Beef broth– use your favorite brand.
  • Tomato sauce– to give the dish a rich tomato flavor.
  • Diced tomatoes– don’t drain, you want to include all of the tomato juices.
  • Worcestershire sauce– it has a strong unami flavor that gives the dish a nice flavor boost.
  • Spices– bay leaf, Italian seasoning, and paprika
  • Elbow macaroni– look for elbow macaroni in the pasta aisle.
  • Cheddar cheese– we like to top the goulash with shredded cheddar cheese right before serving.
  • Italian parsley– for garnish.
onion and red bell pepper cooking in large pot to make goulash.

How to Make American Goulash

  • n a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
onion, peppers, and ground beef cooking in pot to make goulash.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
onion, ground beef, tomatoes, beef broth, spices, and bay leaf in large pot.
  • Add the beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
goulash with elbow macaroni in large pot.
  • Add the macaroni and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick.
American goulash in large pot with wooden spoon.
  • When the pasta is done, remove the bay leaf and ladle the goulash into bowls.
  • Top with shredded cheese and parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
close up of goulash.

Variations

  • You can use ground turkey or ground chicken instead of ground beef. Italian sausage will also work or a mix of sausage and ground beef.
  • Add additional vegetables. Mushrooms, carrots, and celery are good options.
  • Use chicken broth or vegetable broth instead of beef broth.
  • You can use gluten-free pasta, chickpea pasta, or your favorite pasta. If you can’t find elbows, use another small pasta.
  • Instead of sweet paprika, use smoked paprika to give the dish a slight smoky flavor.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes if you want to the goulash to have a little kick.
  • Use your favorite shredded cheese or omit the cheese if you need the recipe to be dairy-free.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to your bowl for extra creaminess.

Serving Suggestions

How to Store

  • Let the goulash cool. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove top.
  • You can freeze goulash. Let it cool completely. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with desired amount of cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stove top.
American goulash with shredded cheese in bowl with spoon.

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American Goulash

This easy goulash recipe is made with ground beef, onions, bell pepper, a rich tomato sauce, herbs, and elbow macaroni. This one pot meal is a family favorite and perfect for busy weeknights!
4.74 from 15 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef, can use ground turkey or chicken
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz can beef broth
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, for serving, optional
  • Chopped Italian parsley, for garnish, optional

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Add the macaroni and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick.
  • When the pasta is done, remove the bay leaf and ladle the goulash into bowls. Top with shredded cheese, if desired. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 370kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 970mg, Potassium: 588mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1032IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 158mg, Iron: 3mg
Keywords ground beef, pasta

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. 5 stars
    Ive been making this for years but couldn’t wait to see the Maria touches that I knew would improve my recipe! Sure enough I found several. I love not having to cook the macaroni separately, something I hadn’t tried before.

  2. I grew up on goulash but my parents simply used plain tomato juice (not V8) seasoned to taste (seriously, never have been able to get measurements from them) with sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, with butter stirred in at the end. My husband HATES it so it’s something I’ve only ever made when he’s out of town. Definitely going to try this iteration as it sounds much more to his liking.

    1. I hope he likes our version. And interesting about adding butter, my dad adds butter to his chili:)

  3. Wow, I’ve never heard of or tasted this dish! It seems like something I might like, but with hungarian parents in law, I don’t know that I will be able to make this for my family, haha! I might have to call it something else… 😉

  4. 5 stars
    This was sooo good
    I made it exactly as recipe called for I used jovial gf elbows
    It’s going in my menu rotation 100
    Thank you

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve made goulash plenty of times before. My mother’s recipe was always the go-to dinner when our grandkids came to play on the snowmobiles. Just this week I decided to try your recipe for my husband and myself. The only word that comes to mind is WOW! The combination of spices and the other ingredients was spot on. With so much flavor, I had seconds (which I never do). Thanks for a revamp of an old family recipe!

  6. I didn’t have any hamburgers for this but I had some stew meat so I cut the stew meat up and used it. What can I say about this meal we had to force ourselves to leave leftovers for somebody else.