This American goulash recipe is a hearty mix of ground beef, macaroni, and tomato sauce. It’s all cooked in one pot for a quick and easy dinner the whole family will love. Whip up this dish any night of the week, and prepare for that delicious comfort food coma!
What’s in This Easy Goulash Recipe?
What makes this American goulash recipe so easy? All you have to do is throw these simple ingredients into a pot and let it cook!
- Ground Beef: Ground beef or hamburger meat is the best option for a quick, one pot recipe like this.
- Macaroni: Traditional elbow macaroni is my favorite, but you can use another short or tubular noodle. Penne works great too!
- Marinara: Use your favorite brand, or try this homemade marinara sauce.
- Broth: Beef broth tastes best, but you can substitute chicken broth or vegetable broth if you need to.
- Onion: I recommend using yellow onion for the best flavor. If you like red onions, use them as a topping instead.
- Tomatoes: Grab a can of regular diced tomatoes for convenience.
- Seasonings: This recipe uses paprika (a must for any goulash recipe!), Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and a bay leaf.
- Cheese: This is optional, but I love to make our beef goulash cheesy by adding some on top at the end.
If you want to add some vegetables to this dish, you can mix in carrots, potatoes, and other hearty veggies. But you will need to either par-cook them, then add them in with the rest of the ingredients. Or fully cook them separately, and mix them in for the last couple of minutes.
What is the difference between American goulash and Hungarian goulash?
This American Goulash recipe (a classic comfort food) is made with ground beef, a tomato based sauce, and elbow macaroni. It’s meant to be quick and easy, usually ready in about 30 minutes. Overall, it’s more like a casserole than a stew.
Instead, Hungarian Goulash is more of a traditional stew, made with stew meat (like chuck roast), and lots of vegetables. It’s a much thicker consistency, and served over a bed of noodles or dumplings.
I like to use lean ground beef for this recipe, but you can easily make it with ground turkey, chicken or pork, or even try ground veal or bison.
If it’s watery or runny, just let it continue to simmer for a while longer and stir. This usually does the trick for me, Otherwise, you can mix in just a bit of cornstarch and continue cooking.
Yes, just follow the instructions as listed, store goulash in the fridge, and it will keep for 4 days.
No, the pasta will cook through perfectly in the pot along with the other ingredients.
If you like, add plenty of shredded cheese on top after everything has finished cooking. Then pop it in the oven to broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftovers in an airtight container, and keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
How to Freeze Goulash
This makes for a great freezer meal option. Let it cool before transferring to sealable freezer bags or an airtight container. It will keep well for 3 months.
Thaw your goulash in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stovetop.
What to Serve with American Goulash
This hearty dish makes a great dinner by itself, but also pairs well with cornbread, dinner rolls, or any kind of bread you like for a bit of scooping and dipping. You could also serve it with a side of mashed potatoes or au gratin potatoes.
If you don’t want to use the stovetop, try this Crockpot Goulash or this Instant Pot Goulash instead!
If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy! You can also jump to recipe.
I noticed in the video it showed brown sugar and in the recipe it doesn’t. Is it recommended and if so how much?
You can add a tablespoon if you like your sauce on the sweeter side, but it’s optional!
I just started cooking and I’m wondering why recipes cook the meat but then are instructed to drain the grease but then add beef broth. Why can’t you make a broth out of the drippings?
Too much grease from the meat will make the final product greasy. Using broth instead of just fat drippings makes the meat moist, but not greasy!
Well done! Easy to make…way easier to eat!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Ray!
I loved this recipe! I made it in my Instant Pot on the slow cooker setting. I only had smoked paprika on hand and I really liked it. This will be on my regular recipe rotation now.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lisa!
I have made this about a dozen times now! We love the original recipe. But have tried it with fire roasted tomatoes, added corn, tried bell peppers. No matter how we have played with it, it’s been delicious. It’s definitely one of our favorites!
I love that! Thanks so much for sharing, Valerie!
We always called this Hamburger Mac when I was growing up.
I made this Friday and my family loved it, but I had to make a few modifications out of necessity. I didn’t have marinara sauce, but I had Classico 4 Cheese spaghetti sauce so I used that. I also only had smoked paprika and I was surprised how much I liked that flavor.
I also garnished with Pecorino Romano instead of Cheddar.
I will be making this again for sure!
Thanks so much for sharing what worked for you, Lisa!
We called it hamburger mac too!
Delicious! Permanent part of the regular dinner rotation!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Sooo Yummy! My family loved it! We like our meat so I did a full pound of ground beef. I didn’t think 1 cup of pasta would go far in my family so I doubled the pasta. Next time I think I’ll do 1 pound of beef with just 1.5 cups pasta and then double the entire recipe so we can have leftovers. I did half soy and half worcestershire sauce. I only had tomato sauce but I think the marinara would have made it more flavorfull. Overall easy weeknight dinner that we loved!
So glad you enjoyed it, Ned! Thanks for stopping by!
What is the nutritional information on this dish? As a Type 1 diabetic I need to know the carb count.
Hi Stella, the nutritional information is listed at the bottom of the recipe card.
When whole wheat elbow macaroni is used, how long should everything be cooked longer for the whole wheat macaroni to be tender? Has anybody tried it?
I thought I had asked a similar question before, but I do not see it listed. Thanks.