Old Fashioned Goulash


In the realm of comfort food, few dishes evoke the same nostalgic warmth as Old-Fashioned Goulash. This hearty and flavorful dish, rooted in Eastern European culinary traditions, has long been a favorite among families seeking a satisfying meal that’s both comforting and delicious. From its rich blend of spices to its tender meat and hearty pasta, Old-Fashioned Goulash is a timeless classic that continues to captivate taste buds and bring people together around the dinner table.

What is Old-Fashioned Goulash?

Old-Fashioned Goulash, also known simply as goulash or American goulash, is a hearty stew-like dish that typically consists of ground beef or pork, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and macaroni or other pasta. It’s seasoned with a blend of spices such as paprika, cumin, and oregano, which infuse the dish with its signature robust flavor. Often cooked low and slow to allow the flavors to meld together, Old-Fashioned Goulash is the epitome of comfort food.


  • 1 pound ground beef (or your preferred meat/vegetarian alternative)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (or your favorite pasta)


  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium heat until fully cooked. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Add the diced onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with their juices), beef broth, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  6. Once the goulash has finished simmering, stir in the cooked macaroni until well combined.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley or basil over each serving for a pop of color and added freshness.
  2. Serve with Bread: Pair your Old-Fashioned Goulash with crusty bread or dinner rolls to soak up the delicious sauce.
  3. Add a Dollop of Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream on top adds creaminess and a tangy flavor that complements the rich goulash perfectly.
  4. Pair with a Side Salad: Balance out the hearty flavors of the goulash with a light and refreshing side salad tossed in vinaigrette dressing.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigerate Promptly: Once cooled to room temperature, transfer any leftover goulash to an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
  2. Consume Within 3-4 Days: Leftover goulash will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
  3. Freeze for Longer Storage: If you have more goulash than you can consume within a few days, consider freezing it for later. Transfer cooled goulash to freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags, leaving some room for expansion. Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  4. Thaw and Reheat: When ready to enjoy, thaw frozen goulash overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Alternatively, thaw in the microwave using the defrost setting, then reheat on high until piping hot.


  • What is the difference between traditional Hungarian goulash and Old-Fashioned Goulash? Traditional Hungarian goulash, known as “gulyás,” typically features chunks of beef simmered with onions, paprika, and other spices, served as a soup or stew. Old-Fashioned Goulash, on the other hand, often includes ground meat, tomatoes, and macaroni, resembling more of a hearty pasta dish. While both dishes share some similarities, they have distinct ingredients and preparation methods.
  • Can I make Old-Fashioned Goulash ahead of time? Absolutely! Old-Fashioned Goulash is a great make-ahead dish. In fact, the flavors tend to deepen and develop even more when allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator. Simply follow the recipe as directed, allow the goulash to cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
  • Can I substitute the ground beef with another type of meat? Yes, you can easily customize Old-Fashioned Goulash to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions. Ground turkey, pork, chicken, or even vegetarian meat alternatives can be used in place of ground beef. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as leaner meats may cook faster than beef.
  • Is Old-Fashioned Goulash gluten-free? While traditional Old-Fashioned Goulash recipes typically call for pasta such as elbow macaroni, you can easily make it gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta alternative, such as rice or quinoa pasta. Additionally, be sure to check the labels of other ingredients like broth and canned tomatoes to ensure they are gluten-free.
  • Can I freeze leftover Old-Fashioned Goulash? Yes, leftover Old-Fashioned Goulash freezes exceptionally well, making it a convenient option for meal prep. Allow the goulash to cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the goulash overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.


Old-Fashioned Goulash is more than just a meal—it’s a comforting reminder of simpler times and cherished family traditions. Whether you’re making it for a cozy dinner at home or sharing it with loved ones at a gathering, this timeless classic is sure to delight. So why not rediscover the joy of comfort food with a steaming bowl of Old-Fashioned Goulash tonight?