Easy American Goulash (One Pot)
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The best, quick and easy American goulash recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in less than 1 hour. Loaded with tomatoes, ground beef, macaroni and lots of dried herbs.
This is hearty and classic comfort food that your whole family will love, just like this Garlic Chicken Pasta (One Pot) or this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta (One Pot). I also like that it contains most of the food groups in one dish so there isn’t a need for many sides with it. The filling beef, tangy tomatoes, and macaroni come together to make a delicious family meal. Then, the leftovers are great to pack for lunches throughout the week.
What is goulash?
It is a one pot pasta dish that’s typically made with ground beef, lots of tomatoes, peppers, onions, macaroni and seasoned with paprika and dried herbs.
What is the difference between Hungarian goulash and American goulash?
Hungarian version– A hearty stew or soup made with beef, vegetables, tomatoes, and seasoned with paprika.
American version– A completely different dish made with elbow noodles, ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Also known as “hamburger goulash.”
How to make goulash?
- Brown beef- Cook ground beef until no longer pink and drain half the fat.
- Saute ingredients– Add onion, garlic, peppers in the pot with ground beef and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients- This includes water, broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika. Mix and bring to a boil.
- Simmer– Reduce heat to Low. Cover and simmer to make the meat tender.
- Add pasta– Add uncooked macaroni.
- Cook– Cover with lid and cook until pasta is cooked through.
- Enjoy! Discard bay leaves. Turn off heat and mix in cheese (optional). Garnish with fresh parsley and dig in!
What sides to serve with old fashioned beef goulash recipe?
It’s very filling meal on its own and a side isn’t really necessary. However, if you really want a side dish, try a simple green salad or one of these: Italian Chopped Salad (One Bowl) or Three Bean Salad (One Bowl).
A side of bread such as biscuits, dinner rolls, breadsticks, or garlic bread would also pair well with this dish too.
Turn it into a soup– Add beef broth to create a soup.
Make it creamy– Add a little half and half, heavy cream in order to make it extra creamy.
Make it cheesy– Use a combination of other cheeses such as Romano, parmesan, Asiago, goat cheese, mozzarella, or smoked gouda.
Add corn and other vegetables– Such as zucchini, mixed frozen vegetables, green beans, or spinach.
Add chicken– Use boneless chicken instead of beef for a lighter protein option. You can also use shredded rotisserie chicken.
Add bacon– Sprinkle cooked bacon bits at the end to add a salty touch to complement the flavors of the dish.
Make it vegetarian– Use all vegetables instead of beef to make a fully vegetarian meal.
Make it spicy– Add red chili flakes, cayenne pepper or diced jalapenos for spice.
Try different garnishes– Such as a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley or basil.
Tips and Techniques
What is the best meat for goulash? Simple ground beef that’s 70-80% lean is best. The rule of thumb is that higher the percentage of fat, the more flavor there will be in the final dish, plus, the meat won’t dry easily either. Boneless chuck meat works well too.
How to store this dish? Can you freeze pasta? Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Don’t freeze it since pasta does not thaw well and the texture changes.
Use low-sodium ingredients- This prevents the dish from becoming too salty.
Do I need to cook the noodles first? No, you do not need to cook the noodles first. This is a one pot dump meal. By cooking the noodles in the dish, they will absorb the flavor from the liquids, and help develop the flavor better.
Adjust seasonings– Use more or less based on your personal preference.
What kind of pasta to use? I used macaroni for this recipe, but you can use whatever pasta you prefer. Try penne, rotini, rigatoni or shell.
How to make one pot pasta dish thicker? Cook uncovered until excess liquid is absorbed in the pasta or evaporated.
How to make pasta dish thinner? Mix in a little broth or water.
Drain only half the fat- Don’t throw it all out because the small amount does add a lot of flavor and richness.
Use nonstick pot- Because this prevents sticking and burning.
Mix often- Because this allows the flavors to be evenly distributed and also prevents the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
More One Pot Pasta Recipes
- Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta (One Pot)
- Cajun Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
- Creamy Spinach Pasta (One Pot)
- One Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
One Pot American Goulash
- 1.5 pounds Ground beef
- 1 Onion, Large, Finely chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, Finely minced
- 1 cup Peppers, Mixture of green and red peppers, Finely chopped
- 2.5 cups Water
- 1/2 cup Beef broth, Or chicken broth, Low sodium
- 2 cans Tomato sauce, 15 oz. cans
- 2 cans Diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz. cans
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce, Low sodium
- Salt, To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 1-2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 2 cup Elbow macaroni, Uncooked
- 1/2-1 cup Cheddar cheese, Shredded, Optional
- 1 tbsp Fresh parsley, For garnish
- Add ground beef in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat.
- Cook until no longer pink.
- Drain half the fat.
- Add onion, garlic, peppers and cook for about 5 minutes until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant.
- Add water, broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika.
- Mix and bring to a boil.
- Then, reduce heat to Low, cover with lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add uncooked macaroni.
- Cover with lid again and cook until pasta is cooked through and al dente, mixing often. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Turn off heat and mix in cheese (optional).
- Discard bay leaves.
- Garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Happy cooking everyone!