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Beef / Dinner Ideas / Gluten Free / Lunch / Pasta / Special Diets

Easy American Goulash Recipe

Enjoy this Easy American Goulash Recipe, a 30-minute meal with seasoned ground beef, robust vegetables, elbow macaroni, and tomato sauce, topped off with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

American Goulash Being Mixed in a Pot with a Wooden Spoon

Why We Love This Goulash Recipe

  • Classic Comfort: Ground beef and pasta create a timeless meal the whole family will love.
  • One-Pot Wonder: Easy to make in a single pot, simplifying cooking and cleanup.
  • Versatile: Swap beef with pork or turkey to suit your preference.
  • Perfect Standalone or Pairing: Satisfying on its own, yet pairs well with other side dishes like salads and veggies.

What Is American Goulash?

First, American Goulash and Hungarian Goulash are distinctly different dishes. While both feature beef, onions, and paprika, Hungarian goulash is a soupier recipe, whereas American goulash, with the addition of macaroni and tomatoes, resembles more of a pasta dish. Both varieties are delicious in their own right.

A Gray Pot Full of American Goulash Topped with Chopped Parsley and Grated Parmesan

Recipe Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This can be substituted with any vegetable oil or butter for sautéing.
  • Yellow Onion: White onions can be used.
  • Lean Ground Beef: Ground turkey, chicken, or plant-based meat alternatives are suitable substitutes.
  • Garlic, Minced: Garlic powder or jarred minced garlic can be used if fresh is unavailable.
  • Paprika: Smoked paprika or chili powder can provide a similar flavor profile.
  • Dried Oregano: Dried basil or Italian seasoning can be used as an alternative.
  • Salt: Any table salt or sea salt will do.
  • Ground Black Pepper: Freshly cracked or pre-ground black pepper works.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes, Undrained: Fresh diced tomatoes or tomato puree can be used with slight texture variations.
  • Tomato Sauce: Tomato paste diluted with water, or canned crushed tomatoes can substitute.
  • Beef Broth: Chicken or vegetable broth are good alternatives.
  • Elbow Macaroni: Any small pasta shape works, or use a gluten-free pasta for dietary needs.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: Grated Romano or Asiago cheese can be used for a similar cheesy flavor.

How to Make American Goulash

  1. Heat Oil & Cook the 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Stir in Spices: Add the minced garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to disperse evenly.
  4. 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.
  5. Add Macaroni: Add the elbow macaroni noodles and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes or until the noodles reach your desired tenderness.
  6. 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!
overhead shot of a Gray Pot Full of American Goulash Topped with Chopped Parsley and Grated Parmesan

Tips for Success

  • Simmer Sauce to Thicken: For a thicker beef sauce, simmer it for 4 minutes before adding the macaroni, or reduce simmer time for a more liquid sauce and add macaroni earlier.
  • Season to Taste: Before you add in the noodles, taste your sauce to make sure you’re satisfied with the flavor.
  • Pasta Options: 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 use as much cheese on top of this pasta as you’d like. You could use another kind of cheese, like cheddar, too.

Serving Suggestions

This goulash is a full meal on its own, but it’s also easy to pair with this simple Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Dressing or a big pan of Oven Roasted Vegetables or Romano Beans. One of these soft and fluffy No-Knead Dinner Rolls or Homemade Biscuits would be a delicious and classic accompaniment.

overhead shot of a Gray Pot Full of American Goulash Topped with Chopped Parsley and Grated Parmesan

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Leftover goulash should be stored in an airtight container once it has cooled completely. Keep it refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.
  • 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 for up to 2 months. Make the macaroni before you want to serve it.
  • Reheat individual portions on the stovetop or in the microwave.

More Pasta Dinner Ideas

American Goulash Being Mixed in a Pot with a Wooden Spoon
Print Recipe
4.93 from 13 votes

Easy American Goulash Recipe

Savor the flavors of American Goulash, a quick 30-minute meal packed with spiced ground beef, robust veggies, elbow macaroni, rich tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: american goulash, easy pasta dishes, pasta dinner
Servings: 4
Calories: 467kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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 the 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 1531mg | Potassium: 1019mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 918IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 6mg

25 Comments

  • Allyson Reed Zea
    May 25, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    5 stars
    We make this for dinner all the time and it’s soooo good!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      May 26, 2021 at 9:39 am

      That’s great! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Amanda
    May 25, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    This is my ultiate comfort meal, my whole family loved every bite!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      May 26, 2021 at 9:38 am

      Thank YOU! I am very glad you and your family enjoyed it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Vikki
    May 26, 2021 at 1:49 am

    5 stars
    So hearty and tasty, a fantastic comfort meal!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      May 26, 2021 at 9:37 am

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Amanda Livesay
    May 26, 2021 at 7:30 am

    5 stars
    My kids loved this goulash! So yummy.

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      May 26, 2021 at 9:36 am

      That’s great! I’m very happy everyone loved it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Toni
    May 26, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    5 stars
    This is such a comforting meal! My family enjoyed it for dinner last night!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      May 27, 2021 at 2:57 pm

      Thank YOU! I am very happy everyone enjoyed it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Beth
    May 26, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    5 stars
    Oh wow! This recipe looks amazing and so delicious! My family is going to really enjoy this for dinner tonight! Can’t wait to make this!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      May 27, 2021 at 2:56 pm

      I hope everyone enjoys it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Donna
    Oct 30, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    5 stars
    Hubby was hesitant to try this. Never has Goulash before. He LOVED it. Wants more.

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Nov 3, 2021 at 10:38 am

      That’s great to hear! I’m very happy you and your husband loved it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Nan
    Dec 21, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    4 stars
    For me it could use a little more spice, but it was quick and filling.

    Reply
  • Jill Wright
    Dec 29, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    5 stars
    My husband and I loved it! Will definitely pin it and put it into my rotation. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Sarah
    Jan 4, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    5 stars
    I found this recipe while browsing Pinterest today and decided to give it a try. I’m sure glad I did!!! I followed the recipe to a T and it was so delicious. I’m no chef so I was anticipating it to be more of a tomato sauce and pasta taste. It is definitely not that! It is so flavourful! I’m glad I stumbled upon this website so I can try more of the recipes!!!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Jan 12, 2022 at 5:00 am

      That’s wonderful! I’m very happy you loved it! Thank you for chiming in! 🙂

      Reply
  • Beth
    Jan 30, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    5 stars
    This was so good! I did make 2 minor changes I used the trinity instead of just onion and used a can of fire roasted tomatoes

    Reply
  • Debbie Meinsler
    Mar 8, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    5 stars
    Love the recipe as is will make it again and again no chances.

    Reply
  • Shayna
    Mar 25, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    5 stars
    My husband asks for this all the time! It’s a regular recipe in our home. Thank you for sharing🥰

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Mar 27, 2022 at 10:03 am

      That’s great! I’m very glad you and your husband enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Delano
    Oct 28, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe. We all loved it.

    Reply

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