Best Gourmet Goulash Recipes

Gourmet Goulash Shopping Tips

As an alternative to sugary, salty, processed foods, try shopping for fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Gourmet Goulash Cooking Tips

For a healthier alternative, substitute honey or molasses for sugar in baking recipes, and use a 3:1 blend of canola oil to olive oil instead of butter when cooking over the flame.

Top 10 Best Goulash Recipes

Goulash is a traditional Hungarian specialty that is usually prepared as a soup or stew of meat, noodles, and various vegetables. But, this delicious dish is loved by all people around the world and they’ve made some variations in the original recipe just to adapt goulash to their cultures.

We’ve made a list of the top 10 best goulash recipes you must try. Here you’ll find everything you need, from American to Hungarian goulash and all sorts of variations in between. Check out our list and let us know which recipe is your favorite!

Hungarian Goulash with Paprika

Paprika is a spice made of ground red peppers with a relatively thinner flesh than some others. It could also be smoked to add a super bbq type of flavor to your dishes. If you like things with a little kick, then you can also get hold of a spicy version. So here it is, 3 types of paprika can be used in this recipe each bringing something a little different. This recipe is rather true to its roots which is a great way to start things off. You will love the simplicity and flavor profile, simply served with warm country bread. A delight!

Sweet and Smoky Goulash

Here comes a fabulous Italian twist to the Hungarian goddess of stews! If you cannot literally have a day off from pasta, then this is for you! Or simply, if you wish to add a little carb to your meal plan. Adding the Italian turkey sausage also adds a tremendous amount of smokiness which tastes divine in this recipe. The same way smoked paprika would do the trick. Any type of smoked sausage would do, even chorizo instead can also be a great twist to this twist!

Chicken and Three Pepper Goulash

One can indulge in a delicious recipe without having a guilt trip going on a rollercoaster. This recipe is a weight watchers recipe good for those seeking more proteins and fewer carbs. The great thing is, you will not give up on flavors. A three-color pepper combo will add looks to the finished product and natural sweetness coming through. For an even healthier result, why not try black rice instead, or at the minimum, multi-grain rice to avoid the “bad carbs”. And, the nuttiness will taste terrific with this dish.

Steak Goulash

This recipe is not a million miles away from the renowned beef stroganoff, but for now, let’s just say it is a million miles away! Whatever the opinion, it is a delightful recipe that bags in flavor like no other. It is ever so satisfying on the palate making you want to come back for more over and over again. A little extra can be added which tastes lovely, is a drop of brandy prior to adding the wine. Adds a little oomph to the final dish.

Beef and Bell Pepper Goulash

You will find quick recipes all over the net that are great if you have a hectic lifestyle and are too busy in your everyday life. This recipe isn’t one. However, on weekends, one ought to spend the extra time to really treat oneself. And Goulash, well, it also likes to be treated with extra care, love and attention! The more you marinate the meat, and the slower you cook it on the stove, the better. There are no other ways. It just isn’t possible. So if you have the time, don’t save time! Enjoy cooking with your family all together. Everyone can participate and that’s the fun right there.

Lamb Goulash

We are unsure what you may think, but we believe lamb is possibly the best choice of meat to make the goulash really come to life. The strong lamb flavor is perfectly suited for the caraway seeds and the paprika. It just simply creates an umami feel. However, pork can be used, beef can be used, or simply done a vegetarian way or by adding nice chunks of fresh salmon. It will work and will be equally as delicious. This is a rather hearty recipe perfect to put in the middle of the table for everyone to dig into it. And enjoy.

Pork and Herby Dumplings Goulash

Dumplings – something so simple yet something most of us adores. We can buy them but we must say, making them does give you immense satisfaction. They are simply delicious. The pork used alongside it gives it a decadent flavor profile that tastes great and rather simple to do. What is great about this dish is you won’t have to do a side dish, as you have all of the goodness in one pot. Less time in the kitchen and less washing up!

Slow-Cooker Beef Goulash

Occasionally you find 45 minutes recipes, then some others have longer marinades and slow cooking processes, then you have this one, 7-8 hours ones like this one! But fear not, it is super easy. Starting it off late morning it’ll be ready for dinner. It’s a lovely way to discover slow cooking if you give yourself the idea that you won’t have to stand in your kitchen for that long, the slow cooker will cook for you. Put your feet up, go shopping, simply keep busy, and it’ll be ready for you. The tenderness of the meat would surprise you.

American Goulash

This recipe is rather fun. If the traditional Hungarian Goulash is a soup or stew that is usually filled with tender beef and onions spiced with paprika, this recipe is very different. An American Goulash is more of a tomato, beef, and macaroni dish. What is also great about the recipe is that everything comes in one pot. Perfect to put in the center of the table or served individually depending on your occasion.

Hungarian Carp Goulash

A superb lake water fish that oozes with flavor, and one that will not make you dig too far down your pockets. Most white flesh fish would work in this recipe and could include salmon too. Just no other oily fish we wouldn’t think. This is rather healthy. You will notice beautiful flavors coming through from all the fresh ingredients used within the dish. Perfect for entertaining as it’ll be something different.

The Best Goulash (Hungarian Beef and Paprika Stew) | The Food Lab

I'm a fan of goulash in all its forms, and there are many. There's the American dish of ground beef, tomato sauce, peppers, and pasta—a dish that I knew as American chop suey while growing up in the Northeast. Then there's the classic Hungarian version, with small cubes of beef or pork in a brothy, soup-like stew flavored with paprika. But in the winter months, the version I'm after is the rich, hearty, rib-sticking Hungarian-American version, made with big chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes in a stew flavored with onions, garlic, peppers, and plenty of great paprika.

Once you realize that, technique-wise, there's not a huge difference between goulash and any of the other beef stews we've been working on for the last couple of months, it's a pretty straightforward preparation. I go deep into the new rules of beef stew in this article, but here's a quick summary of the most important techniques:

  • Sear your meat before cutting it into cubes. Searing beef that's been cut into steaks (we like to use boneless chuck, for its flavor and plentiful connective tissue) allows it to brown more efficiently, giving the stew more flavor while also ensuring that the beef stays very tender.
  • Keep your thickeners to a minimum. Stews loaded down with flour taste muddy and muted. We use only a small amount of flour, and rely instead on powdered gelatin to add body and richness to store-bought stock.
  • If using store-bought stock, go with chicken, not beef. Store-bought beef broth tastes nothing like real beef—its main flavoring agents are yeast extracts and other enhancers. Chicken stock has a more natural flavor that picks up the flavor of the beef well as it braises.
  • Use two sets of vegetables. We add one set of vegetables to the stew at the very beginning to flavor it as it cooks. We then discard those spent vegetables and add a fresh set to the pot toward the end of cooking. This delivers maximum flavor, while ensuring that the vegetables are perfectly cooked (and not turning to mush).
  • Use umami bombs. Adding a few glutamic acid– and inosinic acid–rich ingredients to your stew can beef up its flavor significantly.
  • Cook it in the oven, keep the lid cracked, and don't overcook it! The oven provides a more even temperature, with all-around heat that will help the stew develop more flavor as its surface undergoes the Maillard browning reaction. Keeping the lid cracked will enhance this effect, while also ensuring that the stew stays a little bit cooler during the cooking process (thus preventing the meat from drying out too much). And however you cook it, make sure to stop as soon as the beef is done. Even in a stew pot, beef will dry out and turn stringy or mushy if cooked for too long.

With those basic rules in mind, the rest is merely a matter of adjusting flavoring.

To start, I sear the beef in a Dutch oven with a little oil, then add diced carrots to the pot, cooking them until lightly browned. I set aside both the beef and the carrots for later. Next, I add thinly sliced onions and red peppers to the pot, sautéing them until they've softened. I considered using Hungarian peppers for this, but they can be pretty difficult to find (feel free to use them in place of the bell peppers if you can!). In one Cook's Illustrated recipe, the author suggests using a can of roasted red peppers that have been puréed. It's an interesting idea, and the stew tastes good, but roasted red peppers have a very distinct flavor that comes through even with all the other flavorings I add down the line. Fresh peppers are the way to go.

I also add a couple of celery sticks and carrot sticks (both will get fished out later on).

Next up, the paprika. From my testing for chicken paprikash, that other Hungarian classic, I knew that the quality of the paprika would be of utmost importance to a dish like this, where there are really no other major flavoring elements. Many recipes I've found for goulash call for a meager few tablespoons of paprika. Tasting the dish when it's made with your typical supermarket-grade paprika makes me understand why: It's not a flavor you want a lot of.

Really great paprika, on the other hand, you want a lot of. I use a full half cup for my stew. If you have a local spice importer, buy your spices there fresh. If not, you can order them online from Penzeys, the best source I've found for real Hungarian paprika.

After the paprika goes in, I add a quart of chicken stock into which I've dissolved an ounce of gelatin. Next are my umami bombs: in this case, soy sauce and fish sauce (though Marmite or anchovies would also be great). Bay leaves and thyme also hit the pot.

Now back to that beef. Once it's rested a bit, I cut it into cubes for the stew. Meat for goulash is typically cut quite small—as small as half-inch cubes—but I prefer to use larger chunks, as I find it easier to manage their texture as they cook. (Plus, there's something very satisfying about breaking into a spoon-tender chunk of beef in a bowl of stew.) I toss the cubed beef with a little bit of flour, then into the Dutch oven it goes, along with any accumulated juices.

With all my ingredients added, I set the stew in a 275°F oven to cook, with the lid of the pot slightly ajar. An hour and a half in, I fish out the spent carrots and celery stalks and replace them with the sautéed diced carrots I've set aside, along with some cubed Yukon Gold potatoes. Once those vegetables have softened (with a little luck, that happens exactly as the meat achieves ideal tenderness), I remove the pot from the oven.

I prefer my stews to be rich, but not stodgy—I want them to flow on the plate with plenty of brothy liquid—but, if you like your stews a little thicker, you can get there by rapidly reducing the stew on the stovetop right at the end of cooking. In any case, you'll want to skim off any excess fat that's accumulated on the surface.

A splash of cider vinegar helps brighten up the flavor, as does a sprinkle of parsley.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Cook and stir the ground beef in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up as it cooks, until the meat is no longer pink and has started to brown, about 10 minutes. Skim off excess fat, and stir in the onions and garlic. Cook and stir the meat mixture until the onions are translucent, about 10 more minutes.

Stir water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and seasoned salt into the meat mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir macaroni into the mixture, cover, and simmer over low heat until the pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and serve.


American goulash is a traditional mid-west dish to serve for dinner or take to a potluck. It’s made with really easy and available ingredients like pasta, ground beef, tomato sauce, and onion. You can also add some minced garlic or paprika to your American goulash, even though paprika is not traditionally used in this version.

American goulash is different from Hungarian goulash because the Hungarian goulash version is more like a stew made with ground meat, paprika, and sometimes additional vegetables and potatoes. Hungarian goulash is also referred to as Gulyas. Gulyas basically translates to cowboy in Hungarian, which is the perfect candidate to eat goulash soup.

10 Easy Goulash Recipes

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From American Goulash to Hungarian Goulash, and all sorts of variations in between, we've got it all in this collection of recipes. With several options of meaty hamburger goodness, the only trouble you'll have is deciding which one you're going to make first! Effortless to prepare and budget-friendly, goulash is loaded with flavor and makes a satisfying dinner any day of the week. For an easy dinner recipe that the whole gang can chow down on, look no further!

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Our All American Skillet Goulash takes a few tasty liberties with traditional goulash that we think you'll like. Wait 'til you taste our cheesy, budget-friendly, skillet version of this simple goulash recipe that is pure hearty comfort food.

Our updated version of this meaty old world classic takes a few time-saving and tasty shortcuts we think you'll like. This dish is a ground beef goulash recipe that will surely stand the test of time!

We use lots of paprika in our Hungarian Goulash, so that you really get to experience the traditional flavors in our inspired and hearty stew. And when it's served over buttery noodles, you can bet on your whole family gobblin' up every last bite!

Classic dishes never go out of style, and this easy recipe, chuck full of delicious meaty hamburger, will be one of your favorites. With savory seasonings and hearty stick-to-your-ribs appeal, it's a perfect meal to satisfy a hungry gang!

Once your gang tastes this meaty recipe, it's bound to become a regular favorite at your house. This beefy and cheesy goulash is a hit with everyone. Plus, our recipe is made in one dish, which means quick cooking!

Take your mark, get set, cook! With this easy recipe for Beat the Clock Goulash, you'll be at the finish line and have dinner on the table before the family gets there! Say goodbye to hours in the kitchen, and say hello to a serving of meaty hamburger, in out fastest goulash yet!

This saucy, meaty one-pot meal earns points for long-cooked flavor without a lot of long prep. Old World Goulash is a hearty all-in-one dish that will warm and satisfy your hungry gang.

We've taken this European classic south of the border and we know you're going to love it. In no time at all, you'll have a fiesta in your mouth with our cheesy Tex-Mex Goulash!

A lot of people think one-pots all taste the same. Not true! Especially with this recipe. Its blend of spices, pork, and cream sure taste special to us. For a quick and tasty recipe that won't break the bank, look no further!

This Easy One-Pot Goulash is a great weeknight dinner dish that your whole family will love! It's ready for eatin' in less than 30 minutes, and it's filled with tons of hearty, beefy, hamburger flavor. This beef goulash will quickly become a family favorite!

So Many Options!: As you may have noticed, there are lots of different ways to prepare goulash, and as with any dish, there's no one right or wrong way to do it. In some countries, paprika is a must-have in goulash recipes (like in Hungarian Goulash), while other countries leave the seasoning out completely (like in our All in One Goulash). One thing everyone can agree on is, this is one comforting dinner favorite!

And if you love hearty ground beef meals the whole family can enjoy, check out our collection of 25 Kid-Friendly Ground Beef Recipes! These are classic, easy dishes that will have even the pickiest of eaters asking for seconds.


The great thing about goulash is that it’s a one-pot meal. You’ve got pasta, meat and veggies all wrapped into one easy meal. If you’re looking for something extra to serve alongside this comfort food favorite, consider any of the following:

  • A delicious chopped salad complements any meal perfectly!
  • You can’t go wrong with garlic bread!
  • Any side of vegetables would go great with this meal. Consider steamed broccoli or cauliflower or sauteed zucchini or mushrooms. Asparagus and Brussels sprouts would be great, too!
  • Add a giant heaping spoonful of goulash over a baked potato.

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How to Make Instant Pot Goulash

Note, this is American goulash. Sometimes it’s also called American chop suey or for Ohioans like me, Johnny Marzetti.

Are you looking for Hungarian-style goulash recipe? Then check out this one.

Certainly, I love easy recipes. I’m not above using a jar of pasta sauce!

However, you just can’t beat the depth of flavor achieved when using my special combination of delicious ingredients.

If you’re saying to yourself, enough talk already, just SHOW ME THE RECIPE, then just scroll down toward the bottom of the page to get our complete Instant Pot goulash recipe! :)

Here’s how to make my easy pressure cooker American goulash!

    Cook the ground beef

Firstly, set the Instant Pot to sauté. When hot, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground beef. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and brown until no pink remains. Spoon off any excess liquid.

Secondly, add the one cup of beef broth and stir to deglaze. Add the 2 cups of water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and the remaining seasonings. Stir well. Stir in the elbow macaroni.

Finally, put on the lid, set to sealing, and set to high pressure for 1 minute, with a quick release. After that, when all the pressure is released carefully remove lid and stir. Make sure to turn off the keep warm function to prevent the pasta from overcooking. Serve your Instant Pot goulash IMMEDIATELY for best results! Top with shredded cheese, optional, but honestly… who wouldn’t? :)

This thick, hearty dish was (and still is) a very popular dish among herdsmen in Hungary. They made it in a cast-iron kettle hung above open fire, out in the fields.

Herdsman is gulyás in Hungarian, so that’s where the dish’s name comes from.

Herdsmen had the best ingredients at hand (most importantly prime quality beef) and the preparation method fitted very well to their work and lifestyle.

They didn’t have to stand by the side of the kettle and stir its content all the time, but still had a tasty and hot meal to fill up their stomach.

This peasant dish got on the noblemen’s and town folk’s table only towards the end of the 19th century, prompted by the raising national awareness throughout the country.

From the Fields to Restaurants

In the second half of the 1800s it became very important to protect treasures of Hungarian culture: the language and the gastronomical delights, as part of the movement to emphasize Hungary’s national identity and independence from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty’s rule.

Restaurants started to put goulash on their menus too.

By the second half of the 20th century, the soup became the number one dish of Hungary that every tourist coming to the country must try.

In English gulyás became goulash, and in some parts of the world stews and casseroles are called goulash too.


  1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium. Add the onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Add the beef, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring only once or twice, until the meat is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in the paprika, marjoram, caraway, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 40–50 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and peppers cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, with rye bread if desired.


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