The kind of beef goulash they serve at open-air restaurants on cobbled squares facing centuries-old buildings in Prague, which I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago, is how I like to recreate the city (without blowing my budget).
Making my beef goulash recipe on the stovetop takes some time, but the simmering is worthwhile because you’ll get the delicious slow cooker beef stew flavor that everyone will enjoy.
If you need to cut the cooking time without sacrificing flavor, I have instant pot goulash that you can use. For another version, try my Hungarian goulash. This dish is as rich in flavor as it is in old-world custom.
Hungarian vs American goulash
Hungarian goulash is more akin to a soup or stew and is made with beef chunks, a variety of vegetables, and seasonings like paprika and onion.
Ground beef, macaroni, and herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary are all common ingredients in American goulash, which is typically tomato-based and frequently contains cheese. American goulash is also called American chop suey or slumgullion.
How to make Hungarian goulash. It’s a bit different than this recipe and includes more vegetables like carrots and peppers. For that recipe, CLICK HERE.
How to Make Goulash
This quick and easy cheesy goulash comes together quickly, but you’ll need to allow it to simmer for a total of about 45 to 50 minutes because I’m all about simplicity these days.
MEAT + SAUCE. Start by cooking the beef/hamburger in a skillet over medium-high heat before draining. Add the garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the following ingredients: soy sauce, water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and seasoned salt.
SIMMER. Stir thoroughly, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir well after adding the elbow macaroni raw to the skillet, then replace the lid and simmer for about 30 minutes.
CHEESE. Turn off the heat and take out the bay leaves once the noodles have all finished cooking after 30 minutes. Just before serving, add 1 cup of cheddar cheese to make it even more delicious.
make in a crock pot
Making this American Goulash in the crockpot is super easy. Just follow these steps to make it:
- Saute the ground beef beef in a skillet until cooked.
- Drain excess fat and add garlic. Saute for another 5 minutes.
- Place the remaining ingredients and the sauteed meat in the crock pot.
- Cook for 3 to 4 hours on high heat or 8 to 10 hours on low heat.
My American goulash recipe is simple to modify, whether you want to add a little extra or need to substitute an ingredient:
- Ground Beef. Use lean ground beef or one with more fat if you prefer. Drain any excess grease that is produced. You can combine some Italian sausage with the ground beef, or use ground turkey or chicken in its place entirely.
- Any pasta with a similar size, such as shell pasta, penne, ditalini, or fusilli, will work in place of the traditional macaroni noodles.
- Cheese. Although I prefer cheddar in our recipe, you can also use shredded mozzarella or Parmesan.
- Water can be substituted with beef broth for greater flavor. In order to make this dish more “soupy,” similar to Hungarian goulash, you can also add more broth.
- Vegetables. Adding vegetables like peas, red bell peppers, spinach, onions, and carrots is another way to make this more resembling the Hungarian version. To prevent them from becoming mushy, add more tender vegetables toward the end.
What to serve with goulash
This recipe pairs well with a variety of sides, but some of our favorites are as follows:
Make ahead of time. Make this easy goulash recipe ahead of time. Just adhere to the recipe’s instructions, cover it, and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
STORE. Goulash requires proper storage and can reheat well. For up to 4 days, place in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Reheat by using the microwave.
FREEZE. You can prepare goulash in advance and freeze it for up to three months. Put any leftover goulash in a container that can be frozen and tightly wrap it in foil.
Reheat. The freezer is the best place to store a dish if you intend to keep it for more than a day. Take this delicious dish out of the fridge or freezer when you’re ready to eat it. Heat the dish until it reaches the desired temperature with the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, we advise freezing this in a Ziploc bag that is freezer-safe. When you’re ready to eat it, take it out of the freezer, defrost it, and then heat it to the right temperature in a microwave, covered in an oven, or on the stovetop in a skillet.
You can make goulash with any ground meat. Although I prefer ground beef, ground turkey, sausage, or even chicken can also be used. Keep in mind the flavors will vary slightly.
You can simply combine the dry pasta with the other ingredients in the skillet and simmer everything until the pasta is cooked.
For more easy ground beef recipes, try:
More Collections: Winter Dinner Ideas
- ▢ 2 lbs ground beef
- ▢ 3 tsp minced garlic
- ▢ 3 c water
- ▢ 2 cans tomato sauce 15 oz cans
- ▢ 2 cans diced tomatoes 15 oz cans
- ▢ 3 bay leaves
- ▢ 3 TB soy sauce
- ▢ 1 tsp seasoned salt
- ▢ 2 TB Italian seasoning
- ▢ 2 c elbow macaroni uncooked
- ▢ 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
- Saute ground beef in skillet over medium-high heat until cooked. Drain. Add garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the following ingredients: soy sauce, water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Cover and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir well after adding the elbow macaroni; cover the skillet and simmer for about 30 minutes. Just before serving, turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves, and stir in 1 cup of cheddar cheese.