This 30-minute dinner features spiced ground beef, hearty veggies, elbow macaroni and tomato sauce garnished with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. You’ll love this Easy American Goulash Recipe!
Easy Homemade American Goulash
The combination of ground beef and pasta is always a treat. Add some diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices into the mix, and you have a truly crave-worthy family dinner. This classic dish is like Hamburger Helper with a gourmet homemade makeover!
If you’re not a fan of beef, you can make your goulash with ground pork or ground turkey instead. Use what you have on hand! Either way, this is one pasta dinner you’ll make again and again.
What is the Difference Between American Goulash and Hungarian Goulash?
Traditional Hungarian goulash is a more soupy dish than American goulash. They both use beef, onions, and paprika, but American goulash includes macaroni and tomatoes, making it more of a pasta dish. Both are excellent, but I find American goulash to be more kid-friendly.
This simple meal is made up of hearty ingredients and flavorful spices. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin.
- Yellow Onion: Chopped.
- Lean Ground Beef: Or another ground meat of choice.
- Garlic Cloves: Minced.
- Paprika: Sweet or smoked – up to you.
- Dried Oregano: For flavor.
- Salt: You’ll need 1 teaspoon.
- Ground Black Pepper: To taste.
- Diced Tomatoes: Canned; undrained.
- Tomato Sauce: Canned.
- Beef Broth: You’ll need a cup and a half.
- Elbow Macaroni: Or a gluten-free pasta alternative.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: I like to grate it myself for ultimate freshness!
How to Make American Goulash
This wholesome dinner is made in just one pot. You won’t believe how simple it is!
- Heat Oil & Onions: Drizzle the olive oil into a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Coarsely chop the onion and add it to the pan. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Add Beef: Add the ground beef, gently breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook for roughly 5 minutes, or until the beef is browned and no longer pink.
- Stir in Spices: Add the minced garlic, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to disperse evenly.
- Add Tomatoes, Sauce & Broth: Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for 4 minutes.
- Add Macaroni: Add the elbow macaroni noodles and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes, or until the noodles reach your desired tenderness.
- Cover & Let Stand: Remove your saucepan from the heat and sprinkle the goulash with parmesan cheese. Cover it and let it stand for roughly 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Tips for Success
Want some extra advice for making American goulash at home? Just refer to these easy tips and tricks.
- Simmer Sauce to Thicken: Before adding the macaroni, I like to simmer the beef sauce for about 4 minutes to thicken it. If you like a more liquidy sauce, you can reduce the simmer time accordingly and add the macaroni in sooner.
- Season to Taste: Before you add in the noodles, you can always taste your sauce to make sure you’re satisfied with the flavor. This is a great time to check and see!
- Use What You’ve Got: If you don’t have elbow macaroni on hand, you can use another small pasta noodle. Use gluten-free pasta if needed.
- Add More Cheese: Feel free to go crazy with the cheese on top of this pasta if you’d like. You could use another kind of cheese like cheddar, too.
- Broil it Up: If you do choose to add extra cheese, I recommend broiling your goulash in the oven for a minute or two, until the cheese is bubbling. So yummy!
This goulash is definitely a full meal on its own, but it’s also easy to pair with other dishes. Here are some ideas for inspiration!
- Cucumber Salad: This super simple Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Dressing is the perfect cool and creamy dish to compliment American goulash.
- Roasted Vegetables: If you have a big family, you should definitely have a big pan of Oven Roasted Vegetables next to your pot of goulash!
- Dinner Rolls: One of these soft and fluffy No-Knead Dinner Rolls would be a delicious, classic accompaniment to your steaming bowl of beef goulash.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Leftover goulash should be stored in an airtight container once it has cooled completely.
- Keep it refrigerated and enjoy it within 4 days.
- Reheat individual portions in the microwave.
Can I Freeze Extras?
- If you know you want to freeze your goulash, hold off on adding the pasta. Instead, you should remove it from the heat after the sauce has simmered, let the sauce cool completely and then freeze it in a freezer-safe container.
- Frozen goulash sauce lasts for a month or two.
- Before you want to finish and eat the dish, thaw the sauce completely in the refrigerator.
- Cook the macaroni separately, drain it, put it back in the warm pot, add the sauce and mix to warm it all up. Serve and enjoy!
Easy American Goulash Recipe
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 14 ounces can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 8 ounces can tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- 1 ¼ cups elbow macaroni, or gluten-free pasta alternative
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, drizzle olive oil and set it over medium heat.
- Coarsely chop the onion and add to the heated oil; sauté for 1 minute.
- Add ground beef, gently breaking up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook for roughly 5 to 6 minutes, or until beef is browned and no longer pink.
- Add the minced garlic, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to disperse evenly.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for 4 minutes.
- Add the elbow macaroni and cook uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes, or until noodles are tender.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle with parmesan. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
More Pasta Dinner Ideas
Pasta dishes are always a popular dinner option. Here are some other ones that never fail to satisfy!