American Goulash Yum (1)
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The hearty ingredients in this simple American goulash dish will warm you from the inside out.

For a quick and filling supper, basic ingredients such as ground beef (hamburger meat), canned tomatoes, elbow macaroni, and onions are cooked together in one pot. ( American Goulash)

It is the ideal method to serve a large group on a tight budget and is bursting with zesty flavor! Serve it with homemade biscuits or cornbread to mop up the sauce at the bottom of the bowl!

Describe Goulash.

Goulash from Hungary and America are entirely different cuisines.

Goulash in other parts of the world is not the same as goulash in America. Similar to many other foods with the same name—like, say, dumplings—the contents and method of preparation vary.

The distinction between American and Hungarian goulash is:

American Goulash (1)
Food: American Goulash (Source: I Wash You Dry)
  • Hungarian Goulash is a hearty beef and onion soup that occasionally has potatoes, carrots, and Hungarian paprika as seasonings (more often made without vegetables though).
  • American goulash is deliciously traditional. The meal is a straightforward combination of elbow macaroni and ground beef in a tomato-based sauce. There are various names for this traditional American comfort meal, including “slumgullion,” “Hamburger Goulash,” and “American chop suey.”

Why We Enjoy This Recipe

  • American goulash is a fantastic method to serve a crowd because it only requires a few basic, inexpensive ingredients.
  • It only needs one pot, so there will be less mess and cleanup!
  • It’s cozy and delicious, incredibly simple to cook, and perfect for novices.
  • A larger group of people can be fed using this dish by doubling the pasta and sauce.
  • Increase the batch size or freeze leftovers for later use.

Ingredients for goulash

GROUND BEEF: The dish’s basic and most flavorful ingredient is ground beef (or hamburger meat), though Italian sausage can be used in place of the beef for even more taste.

ELBOW MACARONI: Make use of the available pasta! Bowties, elbows, tiny shells, and ditalini are all suitable options.

SAUCE: The tomato sauce over goulash is tangy and rich. Use canned tomatoes (and juice!) with your preferred spaghetti or marinara sauce. Although we use water to cook the pasta, beef broth can be substituted.

For an added flavor boost, tomato paste and Italian seasoning are added to the sauce.


  • For a touch of sweetness in the peppery sauce, mix in some finely chopped red bell peppers or carrots. Celery in dice works well in this dish as well.
  • Add some Worcestershire sauce and a light dusting of chili flakes.
  • Add extra pasta (and water) or a can of kidney beans that have been drained to extend the meal (or your favorite kind of beans).
  • If desired, sprinkle cheese on top.

Creating Goulash

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. In a big saucepan or Dutch oven, brown the beef, onion, and garlic.
  2. Pasta is the only ingredient left out. To thicken, cover and boil for 15 minutes.
  3. Add spaghetti and boil until tender.

Serve dinner rolls or bread with the goulash for dipping and dunking.


For up to 4 days, store leftover American goulash in a sealed container in the fridge. Serve after reheating on the stove. For up to 4 weeks, store refrigerated portions in zippered bags with the date written on the exterior. Before reheating, thaw in the refrigerator.

American Goulash

A straightforward skillet meal called goulash includes tomatoes, meat, and macaroni noodles in a tangy tomato sauce. It’s the ideal cheap comfort food!

20 minutes preparation

40 minutes for cooking

overall 1 hour

portions: 8 portions


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups marinara or tomato-based pasta sauce approx. ½ of a 26 oz jar
  • 1 ¾ cups beef broth or water or as needed
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 green bell pepper diced, optional
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaves 2 if they are small
  • 1 ¼ cup elbow macaroni noodles uncooked
  • ½ cup cheddar or mozzarella cheese, shredded, optional

Instructions for American Goulash

American Goulash Easy (1)
Food: American Goulash (Source: I Wash You Dry)
  1. Over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, onion, and garlic until no pink is visible. Remove any fat.
  2. Water, pasta sauce, tomato paste, green peppers (if used), seasonings, and bay leaves should all be added. 15 minutes covered simmering.
  3. When the pasta is tender, add the elbow macaroni and simmer, covered, for a further few minutes (about 20 minutes).
  4. Get rid of the bay leaves. Replace the lid after adding cheese, if desired. 5 minutes should pass for the cheese to melt.


To feed a large group, you may just double this recipe (serving sizes can be adjusted on the print screen).

More pasta (and water/broth), canned beans, or chopped veggies can be added to the meal to satisfy larger appetites. (sliced mushrooms, corn, extra bell peppers, diced zucchini). You can use any ground meat in place of beef.

Start with the broth/water amount specified and add more as necessary (depending on pasta shape). As the goulash cools and settles, it will become thicker.

Your pan’s size and shape will determine if you need to add more liquid. As the dish cooks, keep an eye on it and add more liquid as necessary. As it cools, the mixture will somewhat thicken.

For up to four days, leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Nutrition information

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 217 | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 812mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 587IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 4mg