American Goulash

Goulash originated in Hungary as a soup with meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. However, American goulash is different with elbow noodles added, and the use of ground beef. Many American grew up with this meal present on a weekly bases especially during the colder seasons as a comfort food.

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.
By Jaclyn (Cooking Classy)


  • 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 the 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.


  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.
By Jaclyn (Cooking Classy)

Original Recipe

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