American Goulash

American Goulash is an easy old-fashioned comforting meal that is perfect for the cold winter months. Everything cooks in the same pot, even the pasta!

Hi friends! Melanie here again from Garnish & Glaze to share a comforting easy meal for you to enjoy all fall and winter long. This time of year is all about the hearty meals that keep us warm and leave us feeling full and satisfied. It’s time to start making all the comforting Mac & Cheese, Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, and American Goulash!

What is Goulash?

Goulash is a hearty dish of stewed beef and tomatoes that was first developed in Hungry. It typically doesn’t even have pasta in it but this American version does and cooks right in the sauce making it an easy complete meal. It tastes similar to lasagna but without the ricotta cheese. I love it because it’s basically a 1:1 ratio of meaty red sauce with noodles. The more beefy sauce, the better!

How to make American Goulash:

You’ll start out by browning your ground beef in a large stock pot. Work it into crumbles as it browns. Using a potato masher to crumble the meat works like a charm. Once it’s browned, remove it and drain it but leave a tablespoon or two of grease in the pan to cook the onions.

Cook your onions in the beef grease over medium heat until soft and then add in the garlic and cook for just a minute before adding the meat back in along with everything but the pasta and cheese. I prefer to use one can petite diced tomatoes because they’re smaller (less noticeable to my kids) but if you don’t have that on hand regular diced work too.

You’ll bring the pot to a simmer, cover it, and reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes so the flavors can marry together and the beef to get tender.

Stir in the dry pasta and return the lid and allow it to cook for 15-20 minutes. You’ll want to give it a stir about every 5 minutes especially at the beginning to make sure the noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook just until the noodles are al dente because they will continue to soften in the hot Goulash and you don’t want them getting too soft and falling apart.

After turning off the heat, stir in the cheese and garnish with fresh parsley.

This recipe makes a lot so it’s perfect for feeding a big family, sharing with others, or eating the leftovers for lunch the rest of the week. Enjoy!

Watch a video on how American Goulash is made here:

4.0 from 9 reviews
American Goulash
American Goulash is an easy old-fashioned comforting meal that is perfect for the cold winter months. Everything cooks in the same pot, even the pasta!
Serves: 8
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon beef base (or bouillon)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (one petite diced)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Seasoned salt
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni noodles, uncooked
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  1. Brown ground beef in a large stock pot. Remove from pan and drain. Leave about 1-2 tablespoons grease in pan. Add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  2. Return ground beef to pot along with the water, beef base, cans of tomatoes and sauce, soy sauce, bay leaves, seasoned salt, Italian seasoning, paprika, and black pepper. Stir together, bring to a boil, cover, reduce to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the noodles, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent noodles from sticking to the bottom.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the cheese. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.


Melanie Dueck

Melanie is the cook and photographer behind the blog Garnish & Glaze. When she’s not playing princesses with her two little girls, she’s experimenting in the kitchen. She takes simple ingredients and creates everything from healthy dinners to indulgent desserts.

Read More Posts by Melanie

facebook twitter pinterest instagram



Leave a reply

  1. I used to make Goulash for my family of 12 years ago. i also liked to add red kidney beans in it. Was a favorite of my young ones.

    1. Hi Rose, thats how my ma used to make it too.
      I love dark red kidney beans where called for or not.My mom’s gone now, and I sure miss her delicious meals unfortunately I didn’t get her recipes. I tried to replicate her recipes but it’s not the same. Happy cooking, by the way, my ma’s sisters name is Rosella.
      Winter will soon be here, I’ll be cooking all the hearty dishes that warm the tummy.
      Nice to talk, take care, judy

  2. Loved the American Goulash recipe. I added a couple of T of brown sugar which we thought was a goodimprovement.
    Thanks for your posts…I get lots of good recipes and ideas

  3. I will make this again with some changes. We enjoyed the recipe but it was pretty salty in my opinion. Are you sure a tablespoon of seasoned salt is correct? I also only used 2 tblsp of soy sauce. I added kidney beans which everyone enjoyed. Besides being salty it was yummy. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Some Italian seasoning mixes have salt in them, so that might have added to it. I am on a low salt diet so I mix my own seasoning mixes.

  4. Amazing!! This was one of my favorite dishes as a kid that my grandmother use to make. Unfortunately I was too young to think about getting the recipe. Since then I could never figure out how to make it. Authentic Goulash is a VERY different recipe. I chalked this up to me mis-remembering or her making up a name for her dish. However when I saw your recipe for American Goulash – it hit me! That’s what her dish was – a 50’s translation of an old world dish. Thank you for posting, it really brought me back. And now I am able to share one of my favorite dishes (from when I was young) with my son.

  5. This was very good! I mixed in a small can of tomato paste after I sauteed the garlic and onions and let it toast a little bit. I didn’t have beef bouillon, so I used 3 cups chicken stock instead of the water. I also didn’t have seasoned salt, so I used salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and chile flakes. At the end, I put in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to brighten it up. Very, very good!

  6. This was delicious, but it was SOUP. I followed the recipe exactly. I tried to cook it down to thicken it, but the pasta started to fall apart. Was I supposed to drain the tomatoes? The recipe doesn’t indicate that. Even the melted cheese didn’t help.

  7. Great….My tweeks….1. Drained the diced tomatoes. 2: used beef broth vs water and bullion 3. added a touch of hot sauce. I didn’t think the cheese really added to it. but it tasted like chili – next time I’ll skip the pasta – add beans – and make the ground beef a little chunkier. Oh and for you KETO folks – skip the pasta and at the end put it over zoodles (zoodles taste much better uncooked – and are more like pasta in consistancy)

  8. I used to Love my Dunkirk (NY) High School Cafeteria when “Goulash Americana” was on the menu, back in the 1965-’68 era…When “Goulash Americana” was on the lunch roster…I made sure i was IN School, that day,… makes fond memories…and the “Goulash Americana” sure made fond High School memories for me….I really wish i had that recipe..

  9. My husband usually makes goulash so I was a little panicky when I had to make it. This recipe was so good! My husband loved it and said it was better than his and trust me that is a compliment. He doesn’t usually like to change up his tried and true favorites. Looks like I’ll be making the goulash now! (Hmm what have I done lol!)

  10. I have made this dish multiple times for my picky toddlers. They love it. Generally, I halve the recipe. It works just the same. Its really good with cheddar cheese sprinkled on top!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: