Old Fashioned Goulash is a deliciously simple recipe with ground beef, tomatoes, and macaroni. You may have eaten this retro Goulash recipe as a kid. It is an easy weeknight dinner to make, and very kid friendly!
Old Fashioned Goulash
When it comes to retro comfort food recipes, Goulash is one of my top 5 favorites!
This simple one-pot, stove top soup/casserole made of essentially meat, tomatoes and noodles just manages to hit the spot.
As a kid I looked forward to when mom made this goulash recipe.
What It Goulash?
Goulash is essentially a soup made with meat and vegetables, and is usually seasoned with paprika as well as other spices.
It originated in Hungary hundreds of years ago. Goulash is one of the official national dishes of Hungary and is even a symbol of that country.
So that is the official definition, but here in America, this iconic recipe took a turn...
Moms in the USA used what they had on hand, that is why Goulash is very economical. Ground beef, pasta, and tomatoes became the 3 main ingredients.
You can stretch this recipe to feed a large family just by adding a bit more of certain ingredients like meat, pasta, and water/broth.
Old Fashioned Goulash is easy to make. Here are the steps:
Even though goulash is considered a soup by most people, I prefer it thicker, more like a pasta dish.
If you like yours more like a soup, you can simply increase the beef broth by 1 cup or so.
What does Goulash Taste Like?
To me it tastes a lot like spaghetti. There is paprika in it, which does change the taste a little.
Also, I like the texture of goulash more than spaghetti because of the noodle to meat ratio and shape of the macaroni.
Its consistency is more like a casserole, but you can add extra liquid to make it the soup it is known to be..
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If you make this wonderful retro goulash recipe, please leave a comment with a star rating below. I'd love to know how you liked it!
Old Fashioned Goulash
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 lbs Lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
- 1 large Yellow Onion, diced
- 3 large cloves Garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 2 large Bay Leaves
- 1 cup Low Sodium Beef Broth* (chicken broth if using ground turkey)
- 2 - 14.5-ounce cans Diced Tomatoes with juice, or stewed tomatoes
- 2 - 15-ounce cans Tomato Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
- 2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt (such as Johnny's®)
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- 2 cups Uncooked Small Elbow Macaroni
- Heat a dutch oven or soup pot on med-high heat. When it is hot, add the oil, then add the ground beef or turkey. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. About 10 minutes. Spoon off some of the excess fat.
- Add the diced onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, soy sauce, seasoned salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Stir well.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the macaroni noodles (uncooked), cover and cook for 15-25 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
- Remove and discard bay leaves, then serve.
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Made this for dinner. Very good. Cut the recipe in half, but added more beef broth when the noodles we cooking to ensure they cooked properly. Pretty easy to make.
Cindy B says
One of our favorites. It’s quick easy and oh so good!
My mom always made this for us kids. As I grew older I would make it for my family. It is one of my husbands favorites. I like it because it is a simple dish and you can basically add anything as long as the main ingredients are ground beef tomatoes and noodles.
Does anyone remember goulash having whole cloves in it?
I remember my mom serving it this way. If so and if you have a recipe could you share it ?
I have not heard of that. Could be good!
My Mom made this for us kids. I started making it again, after finding this recipe, at my husband's request. Perfect comfort food on a rainy, cold day.
Pretty good recipe. My husband loves goulash so I wanted to try making it for him. He liked it but I thought it was too spicy. A whole tablespoon of paprica is WAY too much. If I make it again I'll use a teaspoon of paprica or leave it out. I'll also put the macaroni in sooner since it didn't seem cooked enough. And I want to add bell pepper too.
Don't use hot paprika, use sweet.
Jeff d says
Maybe your husband should make it next time,lol.
Lisa B says
Fantastic!!! My family loved it!
Loved it. Didn’t change anything.
Loved this! I made it with a table spoon of condensed bone broth, without adding the liquid and then I used pizza sauce instead of tomato sauce because that’s all I had, so I didn’t add the Italian seasoning and it was PERFECT!
Adding this to our easy favorite recipes to make in a hunch!
First time making goulash, I did add diced carrots & celery just because I needed to get rid of them. I also increased my beef broth because I’m using corkscrew noodles instead of elbow. I added a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce & smoked paprika, So far smells & tastes delicious. I like all the other ideas, seems like a very versatile dish. Thanks!
Well done …Wonderful quick recipe I will keep this in biweekly rotation
Thank you for sharing
Lynette Jacobi says
Best goulash ever! Sorry, mom...
Triplet Mama says
Delicious! There is so much flavor.
Ran across your recipe probably a year or better ago and decided to try it because my grandmother used to make something similar..needless to say it’s a staple in my household now..the crew loved it
Marilyn Kolar says
Absolutely delicious! Brings back memories and a keeper! Thank you!
We called this American Chop Suey...very good recipe. Made it exactly as written. Same as my mom made it.
Connie Doucette says
Easy to make and delicious.
I love this recipe. Of course I’ve adjusted it to suit our tastes but consistently comes out great
I cut the elbow macaroni portion in half to make the consistency just right
Thank you !
lisa k Menko says
Amazing recipe! The only ingredient i added was shredded cheese and sour cream on the side. My family loved it!
This is probably the best, most flavorful goulash recipe I've had. I did 1 pound beef and 1 lb mild Italian sausage and stirred in shredded cheese at the end, added a few jalapenos on top and omg! Absolutely delish! Thank u!
Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
This recipe is amazing
My husband loves it so much. He asked me to make it again the next day, I add small dice carrots
The way my mother mad it .love it but I remember green peppers in it
I sometimes switch it up and use egg noodles and add ricotta with mozzarella. Stove top Lasagna
So Good taste even better the next day if theirs any leftovers ❤️
I love love love this recipe. I have made it like 5 times, and its so tasty. I am going to make it tonight for dinner, even though it is 100 degrees today because I'm craving it! I really don't leave reviews often, but figured this was worthy of one! Thanks for a great and comforting dish!
Where’s the frozen peas? From Michigan. Always added peas toward the end of cooking.
My mom didn't add them, but you certainly can!
Rose Ann says
I loved this recipe but I didn't have tomato sauce so I used tomato soup and stewed tomatoes. Tasted good loved it
Kristina Rodriguez says
Added chopped green pepper and it tastes just like my dad's. He passed before I was old enough to have to cook for myself and learn the recipe. Great and enough for left overs/lunches the next day.
Sorry about your dad. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
Jessica Shipley says
Comfort food at its finest!
This recipe is on regular rotation in our home as it is requested often. No need to change a thing this recipe is perfect as it is.
What the heck! This is so good. We added a can of 28oz crushed tomatoes (drained) then squished them for some extra umph also subbed smoked paprika and added 1sp of cayenne. Oh! Half and half of ground hot Sausage and beef. We like the spice. It’s perfect and plan on freezing leftovers. Like grandma makes 🙂
Loved this! I halved the recipe because I only had an 8oz box of elbow macaroni. I used 1 can of italian diced tomatoes and added 1 chopped zucchini. I also used the full 1 cup of broth because I knew the liquid would be needed to cook the pasta. I cooked the pasta step for 15 minutes and it was perfectly al dente', not mushy at all. Before serving I stirred in about a cup of sour cream which added a subtle creamy texture that I really like. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
I regret adding the paprika. Ilfor me 1 tbs was too much. I think next time I'll leave it out. My daughter wouldn't eat it. Otherwise it's great.
What kind of paprika did you use? It should not have made this taste strong or hot unless you have a hot paprika.
That's what I was going to say. Paprika really doesn't make a difference
I agree. A tablespoon of paprika is WAY too much. I don't like spicy foods anyway.
If using regular sweet paprika, there shouldn't be a spicy flavor at all. Only with hot paprika. Don't use hot!
What can I make with the left overs? It was delicious.
I'm not sure what you could make with the leftovers... Maybe add some super softened cream cheese?
Add mashed potatoes on top and make shepherds pie
Add chilli to make chille mac
Terry B. says
Absolutely fantastic! My problem is typically finding a recipe I can cut in half. Being empty nesters it’s hard to cook for two. Now that the kids are gone I don’t care to make a full recipe. This one was a game changer! I’ll keep this one handy. Today was cold & windy and a prefect day for goulash.
This was delicious!! I like to use canned stewed tomatoes and also add some Velveeta cheese at the end. Helps my husband forget about the chunks of tomatoes 😉
This is absolutely delicious! I have made a version of goulash for years, but never followed a recipe. I’m so glad I found this. Yum
I have made goulash similar to this recipe. Difference is i do NOT like the taste bay leaf gives food so that is out. I have also added a can of corn to mine, as I saw it done at our favorite dining joint one time. Corn didn't add much flavor just texture and color. I love this kind of meal made to be eaten with a fork.
Tracy Scott says
Awesome recipe. Kids favorite!
Just like what my mom would make.
Sharon Seiber says
I was craving goulash and had not made it in long time due to one of my sons having a tomato allergy. So I made it and made him something different. I am looking forward to eating goulash for Supper! This recipe is like mine so am going to really enjoy it! I have already been snacking on it and it's delicious!
Gary B. says
This turned out pretty good. I cut the recipe in half but it made enough for a couple of meals.
Goulash was awesome. Great flavor. Thank you for the recipe.
Jackie Kevin Gaines says
Marlena Wyatt says
I have made this for many years. Back when my kids were young, 40+ years they wouldn't go for 'goulash' so I called it cowboy food. They fell for it and are still eating it. I add garlic bread with it.
Halved the recipe and used ground turkey, otherwise followed the recipe with no changes, my husband and I loved it!
CAROL G NYE says
This the way I have made goulash, for years!!
Michelle G says
I made it for a bunch of men after their meeting at local VFW. I made it just like yours and it was really good. I was told that next time I need a double batch. They wiped me out. Recommend using a crockpot bag for easy cleaning... Thanks
Carolyn Haak says
Very good. Reminds me of home. We add zucchini to it.
I own a bakery/homemade meals kitchen and my customers LOVE this recipe! Thank you!!
SARAH'NDIPITY Eats & Treats
This was so good! I made it with sweet sausage because the store didn’t have hamburg (I went shopping in the late afternoon, that might be why or they restocked after I left?!) . I didn’t add any of the seasonings or the soy sauce. I am going to keep this recipe for when I have to take someone a meal and for church potlucks. Thank you for this recipe! 😊😊
Is had been craving goulash since I saw it in a store. Set out to find a recipe and and chose this one and made this for the first time today. All I did different was add 1 large green pepper and followed the recipe! It was delicious and rich in flavor and just what I imagined it would taste like. Thanks for sharing. Will be making again.
Awesome recipe! So simple but sooo good! A family favorite
Shari Olson says
Very good recipe!
Crystal Adkins says
I made this tonight I added corn tho. It was very good, next time I think I will add some kidney beans or pinto.
Definitely a keeper.
Made this for a church potluck and it was a huge hit. Everyone said it brought many memories of their mother’s cooking a version of this while growing up. Thank you so much for a trip down memory lane.
Glyna M Burton says
I love to find recipes that " take me back to childhood days and Grandma". This definitely does that!
Karen Johnson says
It reminded me of my childhood days. Husband loved it. Having biscuits with it. Yum!!!
Teresa Fontenot says
This goulash was so good ! It was easy to make and everyone loved it !
Kimberly Nelson says
I liked the ingredients in your recipe i just added some vegetables to it my mother used to add them...I loved the beef broth though hadn't ever used that or soy sauce, but it was delicious 😋 thank you.
Delicious! I used fire roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, & a touch of cayenne. I cut the recipe in 1/2 because there is only 2 of us. There was plenty for us to eat 2 meals with the recipe cut in 1/2.
I made this last night!!!! I followed the recipe exactly….except for the bay leafs only because I didn’t have any. And it was absolutely wonderful. I will definitely be making again
Kathleen M says
Very good reminds me of mama's...only difference she added corn!
We really liked it! Left out the tomatoes simply because I didn't have any and added a bit of broth at the end to give the noodles a little more liquid to cook. Very flavorful and easy to make. Even my picky girls liked it!
Forgot to rate it in my original post!
Annie Lee Pearce says
I made this recipe for my family today.It was delicious. We had 5 daughters and I made it a lot when they were young. My one daughter said she didn’t remember it being so good. I will be making it again soon. We all loved it.
Ellen Puckett says
I ate at home.i can not wait to have it again.
Glen Turton says
This is always a treat to make. Never ceases to please one and all
I add a little spice for heat and only one cup of elbow macaroni instead of 2 and 2 cups of broth not one
Patty King says
I made this last night and every one in my house loved it. The only changed I made was using smoked paprika which gave it a smokey flavor.
Toni Schmitz says
This is an excellent dish that my family ate for years while I was growing up. Make sure to remove the bay leaves before eating. You can use regular paprika if you don’t have smoked. It doesn’t make that much of a difference. My mother always added a can of kidneys beans. I use the light red kidney beans but dark or light is fine. If kidney beans bother your stomach just use navy bean or pinto bean. Those are easier on the stomach. This is definitely a 5 star dish and a awesome comfort food dish.
Lisa Maraszek says
YES!! always removing the bay leaves!! Very important. Talk about comfort food!!
Lisa E. says
Yes! Finally someone else adds kidney beans! I've always made it that way. because that's how my mama made it 😊
Peter Wojcik says
My family LOVED it😋
Melinda Taylor says
I've made this before and it was great! Making it again now.
A little starchy will cook and drain pasta separately
pasta taste better cooked in same pot absorbs tomato flavor....IMHo better
I use to make it 50 yrs ago and forgot how ty very good
Kimberly Bowen says
Made tonight with ground venison burger. Added small diced celery for a little more texture, and sauteed it down with the onion when added. Also added some chili powder and cayenne powder for a little more tangy depth, but this is a GREAT RECIPE!
Pat Black says
This is thr first I have tried this recipe and it is delicious.
Didn’t have any idea what was for dinner tonight. I saw a box of elbow macaroni in the pantry and thought goulash!! I stumbled upon this recipe, had all the ingredients and WOW, it was easy and delicious!! Thank you so much for sharing, it is now in my meal rotation ♥️♥️♥️
Jacque Peach says
This is the best goulash recipe that I have found. I never really liked it until I found your recipe. I have made this several times already.
I made in my Crockpot multi cooker/steamer.... it was fantastic next time only cook noodles 10 to 15 minutes.
Glen Turton says
I’ve made this a 1/2 dz times already in the last two months. Lol, yes I tweaked it but gosh the simple ease and incredible flavor comes from the core recipe.
Make it and thank yourself later.
Kay Rosd says
Made this tonight and it was wonderful. We are going t have the leftovers tomorrow. Very easy, fast, and no strange ingredients. Thanks, for posting, it's a keeper!
Sara Roberts says
Just made this again and it never disappoints! Everyone in the family loves it! It thickened up nicely and I love that! Added cheese and wallah! Delicious! Great recipe!
Glen Turton says
Love this recipe. I have made a couple of tweaks to my taste as follows :
Fire roasted diced tomatoes (Kroger)
I add one small can of Rotel diced chili’s (mild)
Only one (1) cup of elbow macaroni , I prefer a tad more liquid than the result you get with 2 cups of elbow macaroni
Italian seasonings 1 tbs
A dusting of Slap yo Mama seasoning instead of seasoned salt
It’s so easy to make and incredibly delicious
Oh yeah I use ground turkey instead of beef, far less grease.
Any questions you can email me at email@example.com
I’ll do my best to help or answer questions
Teresa Boyd says
Love this recipe,very filling and yummy, just add got rolls or cornbread muffins for a great cold weather meal
Carol Jeney says
This is a version of my mom’s back in the day! She added green peppers and a little Worcestershire instead of soy sauce.
It’s a great recipe!! Kudos!
I always laugh when I rarely make it because my husband is from Hungary where we’ve obviously had authentic Gulyas Leves soup. Almost more like stew w/o carrots. And of course green peppers and Lesco -onions and Paprika powder stewing in oil.
It tastes like my mom's. We enjoyed it.
My family loved it!
Lauren Freeze says
Love the recipe!
I think next time I will leave out the bay leaf. Otherwise it was pretty good.
So yummy! We stuffed ourselves unconscious.
This is the first recipe of goulosh that looks like what my family makes. I thought maybe it was a regional thing; were from northern Ky. Anyway it was grest to see And I know its great. Only difference is we use a lot of diced green pepper also. Thanks for sharing. I like it thick also.
My husband and I thought this was a bit too salty. I will just adjust it next time..
Used ground venison . Excellent flavor. Great cold weather comfort food.
Vicki Pitts says
It turned out perfect. Tasted just like my granny’s.
Chloe Morgan says
Yummy recipe! I added cheese and ate on it for a week!
RJ Foster says
Best goulash I've ever had! I will be making this happen n a regular basis. Thanks for sharing!!
RJ Foster says
Just made for the first time. Absolutely delish!! Will definitely keep this in the regular rotation 😉😉
TASTY!!! Will make again. Thank you for sharing.
Cynthia Green says
Excellent as written. Appreciated the simple ess of the website. Thank you
Patricia Pierse says
Simmering the sauce now. Can't wait to try the finished recipe but the sauce is awesome.
Karon graf says
Husband love it...thanks!
I did not have 100% of the ingredients but this dish was amazing! Will definitely make again! Thanks for sharing A+++++
Just made this tonight and it tasted awesome
Little bit extra pepper taste. But it was GREAT