This classic, old fashioned goulash features tender noodles tossed with ground beef, veggies, and a savory tomato sauce. An easy and satisfying weeknight meal!
We partnered with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner., on behalf of the Beef Checkoff to show you how to make this Goulash.
Goulash is a classic American comfort food. It is typically made from Beef, macaroni noodles and tomatoes. It’s simple to make from easy pantry ingredients, comforting and filling.
This easy goulash recipe makes a large enough batch to leave leftovers! It reheats well, making it great for work lunches throughout the week. The leftover goulash will last in the fridge for up to 5 days, but it’s so delicious that you’ll likely finish it by then.
Best Beef to Use in Goulash
Ground Beef is the key ingredient in a classic goulash recipe! Ground Beef is such a versatile meat. You can turn it into patties for hamburgers, form it into meatballs or meatloaf, or cook and crumble it for this goulash recipe!
When making goulash you want to use leaner Ground Beef. I recommend using Ground Beef that is 93% lean or leaner. If you use higher fat Ground Beef, then you will just need to drain and remove some of the excess fat after cooking.
The ingredients for this recipe are easy to find and I bet you have most, if not all, already in your pantry! Here is what you need:
- Ground Beef – I recommend using 93% lean or leaner Beef for this recipe. Ground Beef is such a versatile meat, you should always have it on hand. You can check out the Beef It’s What’s for Dinner website for Beef recipe ideas!
- Onion – you can use yellow or white onion in this recipe.
- Garlic Cloves – I prefer to use fresh garlic for best taste, but you can also use the minced in a jar.
- Canned Tomato Sauce and Canned Diced Tomatoes – I recommend using the “no salt added” versions of both, so you can control the seasoning in the recipe.
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Italian Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper – You can always adjust to taste.
- Uncooked Elbow Macaroni Noodles – Macaroni is the classic choice for goulash!
How to Make Old-Fashioned Goulash
Making an old-fashioned goulash is super simple. The entire dish comes together in about 30 minutes. It’s easy enough for a busy weeknight. Here are the steps you can take to make an old-fashioned goulash:
- Cook Macaroni – Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions recommend. This will prevent the noodles from overcooking and getting too soft in the goulash.
- Brown the Ground Beef – While the macaroni is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat. Brown the ground Beef, diced onion and minced garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and the Beef is fully cooked (160°F) and crumbled.
- Simmer Goulash – Add the tomatoes (diced and sauce) and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
- Add Cooked Macaroni – Stir in the cooked macaroni noodles and cheese. Enjoy!
How to Serve Leftover Goulash
Transform the leftover goulash into another family meal! This is the perfect way to repurpose leftovers into something new and reduce food waste at the same time! Here is how you can make a cheesy goulash casserole:
- Transfer Goulash to Baking Dish – Add the leftover goulash to an oven-safe baking dish. The size of the baking dish will depend on how much goulash you have leftover. You can even divide the goulash among multiple smaller single-serve baking dishes.
- Top Goulash with Cheese – Top the goulash with about ½ cup of shredded cheese. You can use your favorite shredded cheese (we love using shredded mozzarella or parmesan). You can also adjust the amount of cheese you use. We love to make the goulash casserole extra cheesy!
- Bake the Goulash – Bake the goulash casserole in a 350°F preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes. The casserole is done when the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Sides to Serve with Goulash
This Beef goulash is a super filling recipe, but it pairs well with many sides for a complete family meal. For some greens, we love pairing it with a big salad like this garden salad or caesar salad. It’s also great served with a basket of warm garlic knots.
If you are a cheese-loving family, you can serve the goulash with extra grated or shredded parmesan cheese. This is optional, but we love a little extra cheese in our house!
More Beef Recipes that Reheat Well
- Pressure Cooker Pot Roast – Super tender chuck roast that practically falls apart. You’d think it was slow-cooked for hours, but it takes only a fraction of the time in your pressure cooker.
- Carne Asada – Turn a Beef flank into authentic carne asada made with a flavorful citrus marinade. It’s delicious served as tacos or on top of a big taco salad.
- Shish Kabob – Fire up the grill and skewer cubes of Beef with peppers and onions for a delicious summer meal. This popular Middle Eastern dish is colorful AND flavorful.
- Hunan Beef – Thinly sliced Beef, tossed with colorful veggies and a spicy sauce. Hunan Beef is made in one pan for an easy dinner!
- 1 lb Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 15 oz tomato sauce with no salt added
- 14 oz diced tomatoes with no salt added
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions, but shorten the cooking time by 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat a large pan over medium heat until hot. Add in the Ground Beef, onion and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes until reaching 160°F, crumbling the Beef as it cooks.
- Add in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Allow to simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- Add in the cooked macaroni. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
- Stir to combine and enjoy!
I did use a 24 oz. Jar of basil marinara sauce instead of the tomatoes, and only 1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce, and added a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the pan while it was still hot. I was concerned that two tablespoons might be too much Worcestershire sauce for such a small dish. Just our particular taste. I didn't have any diced tomatoes, thus the substitute. The cheese helped to thicken the sauce and added a bit of tang. It was absolutely delicious, and my house smelled yummy. Next time I will make the recipe as written and double it for more leftovers. Thank you for posting your version of a great recipe.
Sue, I love that it still worked so well even with all the changes you made. Thank you for sharing the tips with us. I know others will find them helpful. Leftovers is a great idea for meal prep. 🙂
This is a semi-copycat recipe for Johnny Marzetti. A dish attributable to the Marzetti Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, from the 1920’s or 1930’s..
Hi Sally! Oh that is interesting, thank you for sharing! I googled Johnny Marzetti thinking it would be about person- turns out it's a dish! I haven't tried it before but it sounds tasty 🙂
Old fashioned goulash does NOT contain Italian spices. I grew up on it with a German mother. All the ingredients here are similar but without the Italian seasoning. It's made with thyme, onions, celery, and garlic. A bay leaf is also used. Thank you.
Hi Christine- thanks for the feedback! This recipe is my take on goulash, I loved the addition of italian spices but please leave them out if you prefer! 😊
Basically same as my recipe.
But I ALWAYS add diced green pepper, Worcestershire sauce and some chili sauce.
Yummy! Those sound like great additions, Linda!
Hi natalya.. this is good.. thx for sharing.. love it..
Please share more.. love the southwest style dishes.. thx agan
Use name brand stewed tomatoes instead...they make goulash so much better..just cut them up littkexwith scissors after you add them..add the juice too.
Oh yum! Thanks for the tip, Lin!
Hi Loren- thank you for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed my recipe.
This is so good and really delicious!! Such an amazing comfort food!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Love this recipe! I grew up eating this and this version is WAY better than what mom used to make! So flavorful!
Thank you, Rebecca! I'm so glad you loved it!
Love the simplicity in this comfort food dish! Our whole family enjoyed it and it's so great to have leftovers for lunch!
Yes!! This recipe is easy and great reheated!