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This post was originally published on December 12, 2017.
Looking for a hearty weeknight meal to serve your family? Try this one pot American goulash. This kid-friendly dinner recipe is made with pantry staples, and the leftovers taste fantastic!
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What is American goulash?
American goulash is an American comfort food, better known as goulash, that tastes amazing and leaves you satisfied. It’s made with hamburger, elbow macaroni, tomato sauce, and spices. Since it’s quick, inexpensive, and easy to adapt to what you have on hand, it is quite popular with home cooks in the Midwest and the South.
What is Hungarian goulash?
Hungarian goulash was made popular by Hungarian herdsmen and has been around for centuries. It is a beef stew that is slowly simmered with chunks of beef, vegetables, and sweet Hungarian paprika. Unlike American goulash, Hungarian goulash has no hamburger or pasta in it.
How many calories?
For a one cup serving, there is 360 calories. This dish has 50.9 g of carbs and is high in iron and vitamin C. For more nutritional facts, scroll down past the recipe.
How should I cook the noodles?
It depends; there are benefits for either cooking the noodles in the same pot or separately. If you cook the noodles in the same pot, you’ll save dishes and get extra flavor that the pasta soaks up while it’s cooking. If you cook the pasta separately, the pasta can be cooked al dente. This is the preferred method if you choose to freeze the goulash, since cooked pasta doesn’t freeze, thaw, and reheat that well.
What food goes well with this recipe?
Since this meal is quite filling, balance out your meal with a small side salad, tomato wedges, and slice of crusty homemade bread.
How long is goulash good in the fridge?
Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container.
How can I make this for 50 people?
Since goulash is inexpensive to make, it’s a wonderful recipe to make for a covered dish event that has a lot of people. Use a very large stock pot and multiply the ingredients in our recipe below by 8, except for the deglazing liquid. If you want to make it in a slow cooker, use 2 large ones.
Can I freeze this?
It depends on your taste preferences. Cooked pasta doesn’t freeze, thaw, and reheat very well; it tends to break down and be mushy. If this doesn’t bother you, then you can freeze any leftovers, thaw overnight in the fridge, and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
If you prefer your pasta al dente, you would be better off cooking the goulash and the elbow macaroni separately, then adding the pasta just before eating. This way you can freeze leftovers without any pasta. When you’re ready to eat the frozen leftovers, just cook some fresh pasta and add it to the goulash.
How can I make this recipe in the slow cooker?
- Brown the hamburger and drain.
- Sauté onions and garlic.
- Deglaze the pan, and then bloom the spices.
- Put all the ingredients except the elbow macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker.
- Stir, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
- Add the pasta during the last 15 minutes.
- Garnish with grated cheese and parsley.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients. Chop up the onion and mince the garlic, then measure the liquids and the spices.
Heat the oil in a large skillet until it shimmers over medium high heat. Brown the ground beef, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden turner as it cooks.
Drain the fat off the meat by lifting the cooked hamburger out with a metal spider and placing it in a bowl. Pour the fat from the skillet into another bowl.
Heat up 1/2 tablespoon of hamburger fat over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onion until soft, roughly 4 minutes, then cook the garlic until fragrant, about one minute.
Deglaze the skillet with 1/2-1 cup of water by scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden turner over medium high heat. You can also use red wine or beef broth.
Add all the dried spices to the onion mixture.
Cook the spice and onion mixture for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. This will make the spices more fragrant and bring out their flavor.
Add the cooked hamburger back into the skillet and stir.
Add the Worcestershire sauce.
Next add the diced tomatoes with their juice.
Add the dry elbow macaroni and the filtered water.
Stir until well combined.
Cover the skillet and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
Once cooked, taste it to see if the spices need adjusting.
When ready to serve, sprinkle on a generous helping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley.
- Want to make this cheesy? Stir in 2 to 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese at the very end.
- Want to add veggies? Try grated cauliflower, shredded zucchini, mushrooms, or green onion.
- Don’t want to use hamburger? Try ground pork, ground turkey, or hot Italian sausage.
- Want more ideas for spices? Try onion powder, bay leaves, sugar, or soy sauce.
- Want it spicier? Add crushed red pepper flakes and hot sauce.
- Want more of a tomato sauce? Add a can of tomato sauce or tomato paste in addition to the diced tomatoes.
- Don’t want to use water? Use beef broth.
- Want other deglazing options? Use beef broth or red wine.
- Want it creamy? Stir in sour cream at the end instead of grated cheese.
- Don’t have macaroni on hand? Swap it with rotini, ditalini, or small shells.
- Emeril Lagasse Skillet: we’ve loved this heavy-bottomed skillet for years.
- OXO Wooden Turner: this spoon is fantastic for scraping and stirring.
- Bamboo Spoon: this spoon is great for getting into the corners of the pan.
- 4-Cup Measuring Cup: this is our favorite cup for measuring and pouring.
Looking for other pasta dishes? Give these other recipes a try!
- Pear, Gouda, and Chicken Sausage Rigatoni
- Ham and Peas Bow Tie Pasta
- Tortellini with Basil Alfredo Sauce:
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One pot American goulash is an easy recipe made with simple ingredients. Learn how to make this classic comfort food in the slow cooker or stove top. It’s a quick dinner idea for busy weeknights that is kid approved.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (15 ml)
- 1 pound ground beef (80% meat, 20% fat; 453g)
- 1 3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped (233g)
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water (355 ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (15 ml)
- 28 ounces petite diced tomatoes (793g)
- 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked (275g)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (22g)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it’s shimmering. Brown the hamburger until it’s no longer pink, roughly 4 minutes. Use a wooden turner to break up the hamburger into smaller pieces while it cooks. Drain the fat off the meat and pour the fat out of the pan into a small bowl.
- Add 1/2 tablespoon of hamburger fat back into the skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the onion. Saute until soft, roughly 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring 1/2 to 1 cup of water into the pan and scraping off the browned bits on the pan with a wooden turner.
- Add the dried spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, salt, black pepper and sugar). Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to let the spices bloom.
- Return the cooked hamburger back to the skillet. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes with the juice, uncooked macaroni, and the water. Cover the skillet and bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Serve warm with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
Slow Cooker Version
- Follow steps 1 to 4 from the stovetop directions above.
- Put the cooked hamburger, Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes with the juice, the onion mixture, and filtered water into a slow cooker.
- Cook covered on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- During the last 15 minutes, add the uncooked elbow macaroni, stir, and cover.
- Garnish with grated cheese and parsley.
If you don’t have macaroni noddles, substitute with any other small pasta like rotini, ditalini, or small shells.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: goulash crockpot, goulash recipe, easy hamburger recipe