One Pot American Goulash

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5 servings

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This American Goulash recipe is a classic dinner that’s ready in just 30 minutes! It’s made up of macaroni noodles, tender ground beef, and veggies simmered in a rich and flavorful tomato-based sauce.

overhead image of goulash with wooden spoon stuck in

I think we can all agree that one-pot meals are every parent’s best friend.

Well, this One Pot American Goulash is no exception! This recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and is loaded up with everything you could want in a meal: pasta, veggies, ground beef, and a whole lot of flavor.

This recipe is simple, inexpensive, super quick to make, and a total crowd pleaser! Just throw everything into a skillet, cook it up, finish it off with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan, and dinner is served!

Looking for an even more hands-off version? Check out my Instant Pot Goulash!

What is Goulash?

There are a couple of types of Goulash: Hungarian goulash and American goulash. The goulash we’re making today is the American version!

American goulash, also known as “slumgullion”, “hamburger goulash”, or “American chop suey”, is a pasta dish that’s made up of macaroni noodles tossed in a rich, spiced tomato sauce with ground beef, onion, and pepper.

close up image of goulash in pan with wooden spoon
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Ingredients needed for Goulash:

  • Oil: you can use whatever oil you have on hand to sauté the veggies and brown the beef.
  • Veggies: I keep it simple with green bell pepper and onion but feel free to use any other veggies you like.
  • Ground Beef: I use lean ground beef. If you use a fattier meat, you may have to drain more of the grease off after cooking before adding the other ingredients.
  • Tomato Paste: adds richness and flavor depth to the tomato sauce.
  • Garlic: use freshly minced garlic for the best flavor.
  • Seasonings: a simple blend of Italian seasoning, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and paprika gives the tomato sauce so much flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce: I use jarred marinara sauce.
  • Diced Tomatoes: I use a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes with no salt added. No need to drain them. The liquid incorporates right into the sauce.
  • Broth: use whatever low sodium broth you like. Beef, chicken, or vegetable.
  • Macaroni Noodles: no need to cook them first. They cook right in the broth. I use high fibre white pasta to add nutritional value but any kind works!
  • Mozzarella Cheese: or another kind of cheese you like. Sharp cheddar would also be delicious.
ingredients needed to make goulash

How to make Goulash

This One-Pot Goulash recipe comes together in a total of 30 minutes!

  1. Cook the beef and veggies: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and pepper, cook until softened, then stir in the ground beef. Cook until browned.
  2. Add the broth ingredients: Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and seasonings. Cook for 1 minute, then add in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta: Mix in the dry pasta, reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the pasta is al dente.
  4. Finish and serve: Stir in the cheese until melted, then serve and enjoy!

Goulash FAQs

What’s the difference between Hungarian goulash and American goulash?

While they do have the same name, there are pretty big differences between the two. Hungarian goulash is a hearty soup made with stew meat, veggies, and paprika. American goulash, which is what we’re making today, is a macaroni pasta dish made with ground beef in a tomato-based sauce.

Is goulash the same as Hamburger Helper?

Almost! This American goulash is made with ground beef and macaroni pasta in a tomato-y sauce which are all characteristics of the Hamburger Helper. However, goulash is more heavily spiced and tomato-focused while Hamburger Helper tends to be creamier, and cheesier. If you’re looking for a Hamburger Helper recipe instead, check out my Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper!

How to store leftovers:

Leftover goulash will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen then microwave or warm on the stove until heated through.

overhead image of american goulash recipe in white bowl with fork

Tips and tricks

  • Use lean ground beef. I prefer to use lean ground beef because it’s less oily than fattier meat. If you do use a fattier variety, you may need to drain the grease after cooking it.
  • Cook the pasta al dente. I recommend slightly undercooking the pasta. It will soften as it sits in the sauce and we don’t want it to be too mushy.

Variations

  • Add more veggies. Feel free to cook any veggies you like right along with the bell pepper and onion. Try corn, peas, diced carrots or celery, or chopped green beans. You could also add chopped spinach at the end.
  • Use another pasta. I keep it classic with macaroni noodles, but really any smaller pasta shape will work. I don’t recommend any long pasta shapes because they don’t incorporate as well into the meat sauce.
  • Use another meat. Swap the ground beef out for ground turkey, pork, or chicken if preferred.
  • Play with texture. If you prefer a soupier goulash, add more broth. If you prefer a thicker texture, simmer it longer to allow moisture to evaporate. Keep in mind it will also thicken as it cools!
  • Make it creamy. Create a richer, creamier sauce by adding a splash of half-and-half or heavy cream. You could also add a scoop of sour cream or melt in some cream cheese.
  • Make it vegetarian. You can easily make vegetarian goulash by swapping the ground beef out for plant based crumbles.

Serving suggestions

Since Goulash contains veggies, carbs, and protein, it can be a pretty darn complete meal all on its own!

However, if you do want to pair it with a side dish or two, try a simple green salad, roasted mixed veggies or green beans, or garlic bread!

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One Pot Goulash

4.86 from 28 votes
This One-Pot Goulash is an American classic that's ready in just 30 minutes! It's made up of macaroni noodles, tender ground beef, and veggies simmered in a rich and flavorful tomato-based sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 5 servings
Calories 440cal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (reduce if using salted broth)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (marinara)
  • 398 ml diced tomatoes (14 oz) – no salt added
  • cups low sodium beef, chicken or vegetable broth
  • cups uncooked macaroni noodles*
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or another kind!)

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes. (If there is excess grease in the pan, you can push some paper towel around the pan to soak it up before continuing).
  • Add tomato paste, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, red pepper flakes, pepper and paprika and cook 1 minute.
  • Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in dry pasta, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until pasta is al dente. Most of the liquid will be absorbed.
  • Stir in cheese and let melt. Serve.

Notes

*I like to use high fibre white pasta to add to the nutritional value of this recipe, but any kind will work. 
**This recipe will thicken as it sits. If it becomes too thick, simple thin with broth, water or milk. To reheat, add a splash of liquid before heating.
*** Sometimes tomato paste can have a bitter taste. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of sugar after tasting and before serving.
Tips:
  • Use lean ground beef. I prefer to use lean ground beef because it’s less oily than fattier meat. If you do use a fattier variety, you may need to drain the grease after cooking it.
  • Cook the pasta al dente. I recommend slightly undercooking the pasta. It will soften as it sits in the sauce and we don’t want it to be too mushy.
 
Storage:
Leftover goulash will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen then microwave or warm on the stove until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 397grams | Calories: 440cal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1138mg | Potassium: 1126mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 899IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 206mg | Iron: 6mg
Keywords goulash

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Kelly says

    I’m planning on making this soon but I will be substituting ground lamb for ground beef. I also want to leave out the noodles and use the goulash as a sort of gravy on top of mashed potatoes. Would I still use broth in the recipe?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Kelly, I have’t tested the recipe in the way you’d like to make it but you probably could reduce the broth. Let me know how it goes if you decide to experiment!

  2. chuck turner says

    love it all -i make a lot of your dishes and like any good cook we have our own add ons and we can get new ones . thank you for bringing back some of the ones my mother made. OR the ones I did and forgot about.

  3. AshleighRay says

    I have made this recipe multiple times in the past 6 months, bc it is so popular with my family. Made it tonight for dinner, but subbed ground lamb for the lean ground beef. Had to drain the excess grease, but the lovely difference in the taste from ground beef, was well worth it. Thnx for the recipe!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi AshleighRay! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback on the ground lamb!

  4. Dianne Johnson says

    Hey, hey, I have used this recipe many times –but am having trouble finding an ingredient for another of yours–am looking where to find” parmesan rind”, I live in a very sm. town and have to order most of what I need . I can NOT find the parm rind-am I just dumb or is this a real thing (LOL LOL) –help please. Thanks girl love all you do.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Dianne! I don’t believe you could find just the rind. The rind is normally attached to a block of Parmesan cheese, we save them when we finishing using the cheese or you could just cut if off. You can also just skip it. Hope this helps!

  5. Beth says

    Your American Goulash recipe sounds like what I grew up with, excited to find it again!

    #4 says add soy sauce.

    I don’t see the amount listed in your ingredients did I miss it?

    Thanks & excited to try out all your tasty sounding recipes! 😋

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Beth! I’m so sorry that is a typo, I actually didn’t include soy sauce in the final recipe.

    • Elaine La Pointe says

      I like it using this recipe. I just leave out the soy sauce. I have never heard of it being made with beef or noodles. I absolutely love the hamburg version. And I’m 71 so I have seen many recipes in my day. LOL

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Frank, I’m so sorry that is a typo, I actually didn’t include soy sauce in the final recipe.

      • Allan says

        This was not at all good. Very bland of taste. Followed to a T! I doubled up on the spices and added even more. I would definitely scroll to another website to find a recipe.

      • The Recipe Rebel says

        I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this recipe, Allan. We all have different taste, so I understand that it can be a hit for some and not others.

4.86 from 28 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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