Cooking Classic Goulash the Right Way

Delve into the rustic charm of Old Fashioned Goulash, a hearty and comforting dish that embodies the essence of home-cooked goodness. This traditional meal, with its roots in Eastern Europe, has been embraced by many cultures and kitchens for its simplicity, versatility, and the deep, satisfying flavors it delivers. Made with a combination of ground meat, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and elbow macaroni, all simmered in a rich and flavorful sauce, this goulash is a perfect one-pot wonder. Ideal for a cozy family dinner, a casual get-together with friends, or any time you crave a filling and nutritious meal, Old Fashioned Goulash promises to warm your heart and fill your stomach.




My introduction to Old Fashioned Goulash came from my grandmother, whose kitchen was a treasure trove of family recipes and culinary secrets. She would often recount stories of her youth, of meals prepared over open fires and the simple joys of gathering around the table with loved ones. Her goulash was legendary, a dish that seemed to capture the warmth and spirit of those times.

Cooking goulash alongside her, I learned that it was more than just a recipe; it was a labor of love, a testament to the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories. Each spoonful was a blend of flavors that spoke of history, tradition, and the comforting embrace of home. As I carry on the tradition of making this beloved dish, I’m reminded of the lessons learned at her side, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this piece of my heritage with others.


Why You’ll Love Old Fashioned Goulash

  • Hearty and Satisfying: A robust meal that’s guaranteed to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites.
  • Simple Ingredients: Made with pantry staples and easily found ingredients.
  • One-Pot Meal: Minimal cleanup required, making it ideal for busy evenings.
  • Customizable: Easily adaptable to suit dietary preferences or to use what you have on hand.

Ingredients Notes For Old Fashioned Goulash

  • Ground Meat: While beef is traditional, ground turkey or pork can also be used.
  • Elbow Macaroni: The classic choice for pasta, but feel free to use any small pasta.
  • Tomatoes: A combination of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes adds depth and richness to the sauce.
  • Bell Peppers and Onions: Adds sweetness and texture to the dish.
  • Seasonings: Paprika, garlic, and herbs infuse the goulash with its signature flavors.

Recipe Steps

  1. Brown the Meat: Start by cooking the ground meat with onions and garlic until no pink remains.
  2. Add Vegetables: Stir in the bell peppers, continuing to cook until they start to soften.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasonings, and enough water to cover, bringing everything to a simmer.
  4. Incorporate Pasta: Mix in the elbow macaroni, cooking until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Serve: Adjust seasoning to taste, then serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley or a sprinkle of grated cheese if desired.

Storage Options

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze portions for later enjoyment. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.



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Author: Maria


  • Ground beef: 1 lb about 450g
  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon if needed
  • Onion: 1 large diced
  • Garlic: 3 cloves minced
  • Canned diced tomatoes: 14.5 oz about 410g, undrained
  • Tomato sauce: 15 oz about 425g
  • Water: 2 cups or beef broth for more flavor
  • Elbow macaroni: 2 cups uncooked
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Paprika: 1 teaspoon
  • Italian seasoning: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Pepper: to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce: 1 tablespoon optional
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: for serving optional
  • Fresh parsley: chopped for garnish (optional)


Brown the Beef:

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it apart with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. Drain excess fat if necessary.

Sauté the Vegetables:

  • Add the diced onion to the pot with the beef. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.

Add Tomatoes and Seasonings:

  • Stir in the diced tomatoes (with their juice), tomato sauce, water or beef broth, bay leaves, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce (if using). Mix well to combine.

Simmer the Goulash:

  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the Macaroni:

  • Add the uncooked elbow macaroni to the pot. Stir well and return the lid. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the macaroni is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more water or broth if the mixture seems too dry.

Final Adjustments:

  • Once the macaroni is tender, remove the bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste. If the goulash is too thick, you can add a little more water or broth to reach your desired consistency.


  • Serve the goulash hot, garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped fresh parsley if desired.

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