If you’ve tried a few different American goulash recipes and are looking for the best one, this is the recipe you need to try.
This best ever Old Fashioned Goulash is a quintessential comfort food recipe – it’s quick and easy, kid friendly, and it’s perfect for busy cold winter nights, and in truth it is for the whole year, because it is so practical and easy to prepare!
The flavors blend together so well, and the perfectly cooked noodles coated in the gooey melted cheddar cheese is mouth watering.
The secret to this recipe is adding a pinch of baking soda and you will remove the acidity of the tomato!
Just a pinch, you will see that it makes bubbles, stir and these will disappear in a few minutes. and ready! the acidity of the tomato has disappeared!
It’s a super simple recipe to pull together, and it basically just cooks itself. If you like sloppy joes and minestrone soup, I know you’ll love this effortless pasta recipe.
This is a great easy, affordable, and delicious recipe for busy nights. Plus, it’s just warm and comforting.
A bowl of American goulash topped with shredded cheddar cheese.
Why Is American Goulash Different?
Hungarian goulash is totally different than American goulash. The recipes are only similar in the sense that they both have a tomato base, beef, and some kind of starch.
They’re also both highly customized from kitchen to kitchen, and it’s common for each family to have their own unique spin on the base recipe.
Hungarian goulash is a tomato-based cubed beef and potato stew that’s flavored with lots of paprika.
American goulash is also tomato-based, but it’s made with ground beef and macaroni. It’s also common for it to have lots of shredded cheese stirred into it.
Is Goulash The Same As Beefaroni?
Yes! American goulash is essentially the same thing as Beefaroni. You can often find the names used interchangeably, depending on where in the United States you are.
Did you know that American goulash is known as American chop suey and Johnny Marzetti? No matter what you call it, it’s a truly delicious and comforting dish.
A bowl of the best American goulash recipe.
This recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients, so I’ll bet you have most of them on hand already.
For this recipe you’ll need lean ground beef, yellow onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, onion powder, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, elbow macaroni, sugar, and cheddar cheese.
Old fashioned American goulash ingredients labeled.
How To Make American Goulash
Start by browning the ground beef in a large Dutch oven, then adding in the onions are sautéing them until they’re translucent. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Browning ground beef and onions in a Dutch oven.
Add in the spices and the garlic, and sauté until the garlic is aromatic. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer to let the flavors combine.
Adding canned tomatoes and dried herbs to browned ground beef.
Add the pinch of baking soda and elbow macaroni, and cook until the pasta is cooked to al dente. Make sure to stir it occasionally so that the noodles don’t stick to the bottom.
Cooking elbow macaroni in tomato sauce.
Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and serve. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
Stirring shredded cheddar cheese into goulash.
TIPS: Since this is one of those recipes that really takes on a new life in every kitchen, feel free to play around with it! Some popular additions and adaptations are:
- Use tomato soup in lieu of tomato sauce.
- If you want to keep it a little healthier, try using ground chicken instead of hamburger meat.
- Add some chopped green pepper for some additional flavor.
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce adds a delicious flavor dimension.
- Adding kidney beans or corn are both great ways to affordably bulk up this recipe.
- Serving it with a sprinkling of seasoning salt really brings the flavor to the next level.
- If you want to really emphasize the beef flavor, try using beef broth instead of chicken broth.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese can be used instead of cheddar cheese if that’s what you have on hand (or if that’s the cheese you prefer).
A close up image of a bowl of goulash.
Old Fashioned American Goulash
Old fashioned American goulash with ground beef is the perfect easy dinner recipe when you’re looking for a hearty meal that’s pretty hands off. Be sure to give it a try!
Can I freeze goulash?
Unfortunately, pasta does not reheat well after freezing. It tends to be rather mushy, and no one wants that. If you want to make a large batch to freeze, you could always leave out the pasta. When you’re ready to finish, thaw your frozen goulash in the fridge overnight, and reheat in a large saucepan on the stove over medium heat and add in your pasta. Your goulash is ready when your pasta is cooked through.
Make Ahead Instructions:
Goulash is best made and eaten fresh, but you can always prepare it early. Store your goulash in the fridge and reheat when ready on the stove in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Storage and Reheating Instructions:
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a large saucepan on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.
Old Fashioned American Goulash
- 1 lb ground beef I used 90% lean
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped (whatever color you have on hand)
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- pinch of baking soda
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp Adobo Seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 2/3 cups water
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup elbow macaroni uncooked
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef, break up with a spoon and brown until no longer pink.
- Add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes until onion softens. Stir in salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, Adobo seasoning and bay leaves.
- Add water and broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and soy sauce. Bring to a bubble. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in peas and macaroni. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes, until macaroni is tender.
- Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves
- Add cheddar cheese and mix until combined.
- Just before serving, add the mozzarella.