This quick and easy American Goulash is a family favorite and is bit different than traditional Hungarian Goulash, also known as “gulyás.” You’ll love the ease and simplicity of this savory meat stew served with elbow noodles and a slice of cornbread Southern Cornbread or Irish soda bread!
American Goulash is a hearty derivative of the traditionally slow-cooked Hungarian Goulash, which incorporates tender bites of beef into a thick and savory stew, usually accompanied with smoky Hungarian paprika and waxy potatoes.
Don’t confuse this goulash recipe with “chili mac” recipes; the meat seasoning is not the same as it is for chili; it’s quite different in that it’s tomato based, with a beefy onion and smoky paprika flavor to it. This version is a little less expensive and less time consuming than Hungarian dishes, but equally delicious. In fact, the entire bowl of goulash and noodles is ready in under 30 minutes!
Ingredients for American goulash include: ground beef, onion, bell pepper, tomato paste, smoky paprika, a dash of Worcestershire, beefy onion dried soup mix, salt, pepper, bay leaves and cooked elbow noodles. If you use a fatty ground beef (80/20), you will want to drain the off the oil. If you use a leaner ground beef (90/10) you may or may not have to drain the oil. It’s up to you.
How to Make Goulash
I usually saute the onion and bell pepper with the ground beef while bringing a stockpot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- Saute chopped onion and bell pepper in a tablespoon of oil; add beef and brown; drain and return all ingredients to stockpot
- Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for 20 minutes
- Prepare elbow noodles; add semi-cooked noodles to beef mixture and serve
The elbow noodles take about 6 minutes to get to a tender stage. I like to cook the noodles about 4 minutes, then add them to the beef goulash mixture and let them finish cooking in the savory broth.
Make American Goulash in Advance
If you make this goulash recipe in advance, I recommend you do not add the noodles until ready to serve. When you add the noodles to the hot broth, then refrigerate it, the noodles dissolve, break down, and the dish becomes mushy.
Store the beef goulash broth and cooked elbow noodles separately, then combine them when ready to reheat the dish. The noodles come out better and the whole dish looks better.
Serve this easy American goulash recipe on any given cool or chilly evening!
Craving More? Try True Texas Chili
Easy American Goulash
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 pkg. beefy onion soup mix (I use Lipton's Beefy flavor dry soup mix)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoky paprika (See Recipe Notes: Paprika)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups water (See Recipe Notes: Water) (liquid for goulash; you'll need more water for the pasta)
- 12 oz. elbow noodles prepared
- Chop onion and bell pepper
- Bring large stockpot of water to boil; cook pasta 4 minutes; drain; set aside
Make the Goulash
- In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat; add onion, bell pepper and ground beef; cook till beef is no longer pink; drain; return to stockpot
- Add everything else but the noodles: bring heat to medium until tomato paste is dissolved
- Once tomato paste is dissolved, turn heat to simmer; cover stockpot with lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, add prepared elbow noodles to meat mixture; allow to cook a few minutes more
- Remove bay leaves; serve and enjoy!