This easy homemade goulash is made in one pot (including the noodles) in just 30 minutes. It’s a classic, family-favorite dish packed with tons of flavor!
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American Goulash Recipe
The best thing about this dish is that it’s an easy 30-minute meal made in just one pot. I love that you don’t have to cook the noodles in a separate pan. It’s perfect for those busy week nights. Another one pot favorite is my one pot burrito bowls, you’ll have to give that recipe a try as well!
This easy goulash recipe tastes just like the one my mom made for me when I was a child. I always loved when my mom made this or salisbury steak for dinner.
What is Goulash?
There are two types: Hungarian goulash and American goulash. Goulash originated in Hungary and is traditionally a hearty stew that consisted of cubes of meat, vegetables and spices (usually including paprika). The Hungarian version is definitely still loved by many, however this is an Americanized version.
American goulash has more of a tomato base and typically includes ground beef and macaroni noodles as well. My version of this recipe is considered an American goulash, which is similar to hamburger helper but more of a thick soup.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Ground beef: This meat is the base of the recipe and adds great flavor to the dish. I like to use 80/20. You can substitute ground turkey if desired.
- Elbow macaroni noodles: If you don’t have these on hand you can use another small noodle like small shells or ditalini.
- Beef broth: You can also use a vegetable or chicken broth if that’s all you have on hand.
- Tomatoes: This recipes uses tomato sauce along with petite diced tomatoes.
- Vegetables: I like to add in onion, bell pepper and corn.
- Seasonings: Lots of great seasonings to add great flavor to this goulash recipe.
How to Make Goulash
- SAUTE. In a skillet cook the beef, onion and peppers in large pot or dutch oven until brown (about 3-5 minutes) over medium-high heat. Drain the grease, then add in garlic, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- SIMMER. Stir in diced tomatoes, corn, broth and tomato sauce and bring to light simmer. Then add in noodles, stir and cover with lid.
- COOK. Continue to cook for 10-12 minutes, or until noodles are tender.
- TOP. Salt and pepper to taste. If desired, sprinkle with cheese and cover for about 1 minute, until cheese has melted. Then top with fresh basil or parsley.
TIP: Stir goulash every couple of minutes so that the noodles don’t stick!
You can easily make this recipe in the slow cooker if you prefer. I recommend cooking the ground beef ahead of time, then add all the ingredients to your crockpot and stir. Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours or low for 3 to 4.
Add the noodles the last 30 minutes of cooking and cook until noodles are tender. Remove lid and sprinkle on cheese. Cover with lid for about 1 minute, until cheese has melted. Then add fresh basil if desired and serve!
Tips and Variations
- Leaner: Use ground turkey in place of the ground beef to make this a leaner meal.
- Extra veggies: Peas, green beans, shredded carrots, or chopped celery or mushrooms can be added.
- Creamier: Add up to a cup of sour cream at the end.
- Soupy: If you would like it a little more of a soup consistency add an extra cup of broth, water, or tomato sauce.
- Heat: Add a sprinkle of chili flakes.
Storing + Freezing
- To store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. To reheat, simply microwave or heat on stove until warmed throughout.
- To freeze: Place in an 8×8″ metal tin and wrap with foil. Then place tin inside a ziptop bag and add a freezer label with the date. When ready to eat, place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight and then cook at 350°F for 30-45 minutes, or until hot. You could also top with more cheese before baking.
5 star review
“This is a recipe I’ve gone to several times. It is everything it promises, fast, easy, and delicious. Finally, if you don’t have something this recipe is forgiving and adapts easily to anything you have on hand. My picky family always gobbles it right up.”-Leigh
Frequently Asked Questions
Classic American goulash is a main dish made of ground beef, onion, bell pepper, macaroni noodles, tomato sauce and seasonings.
I prefer to make it with ground beef, but you could also use ground turkey, ground chicken or ground sausage.
American goulash is made with ground beef where Hungarian goulash is made with beef cubes and simmered in a broth seasoned with paprika.
Yes, this dish is great made ahead of time. It also makes great leftovers. I love to place the leftovers in a small baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Then bake at 350°F until hot and bubbly.
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Easy Goulash Recipe
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 bell pepper , chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt , such as Lawry’s
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning , plus more to taste
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce , plus more to taste
- 1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 (15-ounce) can beef or chicken broth , add an extra cup if desired (see note)
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cups dry elbow noodles
- Salt , plus more to taste
- Ground black pepper , plus more to taste
- Bay leaf , optional
For serving (optional): Shredded cheddar cheese and Fresh basil or parsley
- In a large pot, cook beef, onion, and pepper over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, or until brown. Drain any grease, if needed. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Let cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Add bay leaf, if desired. Bring to a light simmer and add noodles. Stir and cover with a lid. Let cook 10 minutes, or until the noodles are tender, stirring halfway to prevent noodles from sticking.
- Season to taste. Sprinkle cheese over top, if desired, and cover 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted. Add fresh basil or parsley, if desired. Serve while hot!
- If you prefer more liquid, add an extra cup of broth, water, or tomato sauce.
- Also, this recipe is easy to add in extra veggies when cooking the onions. Sometimes I’ll add in chopped celery or mushrooms.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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