American Goulash Recipe

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American Goulash Recipe: One of my kids’ favorite recipes is this robust American goulash. A beloved food from our early years, it consists of ground beef and elbow macaroni cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce and topped with cheese. It is comparable to Hamburger Helper. This hearty one-pot dinner is incredibly simple to prepare.

American Goulash Recipe


Chef John's American Goulash



  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef 90/10
  • 1 medium onionfinely chopped
  • 1 carrotgrated
  • 1 celery stickfinely chopped
  • 3 garlic clovesminced
  • 2 tsp fine sea saltor to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepperor to taste
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugaror more to taste
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water plus more as needed for cooking
  • 2 cups macaroni pasta10 oz, or any small pasta you prefer
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheesefreshly grated, plus more to serve




  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a heavy pot or 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven and place it over medium-high heat. Using a spatula, add the ground beef to the hot pot and break it up for one minute.


  • Stir the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic for five minutes, or until the veggies become tender. Stir together the sugar, salt, oregano, and pepper for seasoning.


  • Add water, Worcestershire sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes before lowering the heat.


  • Mix in macaroni until well combined. Lower the heat to a simmer, place a lid on, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring now and then, especially in the early stages to prevent the paste from settling and sticking to the pot’s bottom. 1/4 cup at a time, or more hot water as needed, should be added if the mixture appears dry. It should stay quite saucy and wet.


  • Add the parmesan cheese and taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with more Parmesan.



Chicken and Sausage Penne Jambalaya




  • Make Ahead: Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add water as needed to keep it saucy.




  • Amount per Serving: 377 % Daily Value* Fat; Calories
  • 12 g/18% of fat that is saturated
  • 4 g, or 25% Trans Fat
  • Polyunsaturated Fat, 0.5 g
  • One gram of monounsaturated fat
  • 6 grams of cholesterol
  • 52 mg 17% of Sodium
  • 1182 mg, or 51%, of potassium
  • 930 mg, or 27%, of carbohydrates
  • 42 g/14% Fiber
  • 5 g, or 21% Sugar
  • 10% of 9 g of protein
  • 26 g, 52% of Vitamin A
  • 2109 IU 42 % of vitamin C
  • 19% and 16 mg of calcium
  • 137 milligrams, or 14% iron
  • 5 mg (28%).



How to Make American Goulash

  • This American Goulash recipe is the ultimate comfort food and comes together in one pot. It’s a quick and easy weeknight meal.
  • Cook ground beef in a large Dutch oven or pot with 1 Tbsp of oil for 1 minute.


  • Stir in the celery, carrot, onion and garlic and sautee until the veggies are softened and beef is browned, 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt, oregano, pepper, and sugar.


  • Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire, chicken stock, and water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.


  • Add macaroni, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until the pasta is cooked through, stirring especially towards the beginning to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to the pot. Add water as needed if the mixture seems dry.
  • Add parmesan cheese and serve with more cheese sprinkled over the top.



What’s the difference between Hungarian and American Goulash?

  • Both Goulashes are rustic, hardy dishes designed to feed a hungry crowd. The two dishes are quite different in ingredients and flavor so they are easy to differentiate:
  • American Goulash is a comforting combination of ground beef, macaroni pasta, and tomatoes with a blend of spices that comes together in one pot. It cooks in under an hour.
  • Hungarian Goulash is more of a stew with chunks of beef and vegetables simmered in a paprika broth for hours. It’s typically served over noodles or dumplings.

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