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.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
person holding a bowl of American goulash
Pasta

One Pot American Goulash

We handpicked the products and tools linked in this post. If you buy from one of these affiliate links, we may earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting Savor the Flavour!

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!

person holding a spoonful of American goulash

👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.

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 are in American goulash?

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.

bowl of American goulash with a wooden spoon

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 goulash?

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 to Make American Goulash 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.

person holding a bowl of American goulash

Can I freeze goulash?

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 to Make American Goulash 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 American Goulash

Gather all the ingredients.  Chop up the onion and mince the garlic, then measure the liquids and the spices.

ingredients for American goulash

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.

breaking up the cooked hamburger with a wooden turner

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.

removing the cooked hamburger from the skillet

Heat up 1/2 tablespoon of hamburger fat over medium-high heat.

adding hamburger grease into a skillet

Sauté the onion until soft, roughly 4 minutes, then cook the garlic until fragrant, about one minute.

cooking the onions in a skillet

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.

deglazing the pan of cooked onions

Add all the dried spices to the onion mixture. 

person holding a tray of spices

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.

browning spices with cooked onions in a skillet

Add the cooked hamburger back into the skillet and stir.

stirring hamburger meat in a skillet

Add the Worcestershire sauce.

holding a bowl of Worcestershire sauce

Next add the diced tomatoes with their juice.

pouring tomatoes into a pan of hamburger meat

Add the dry elbow macaroni and the filtered water.

pouring water on top of macaroni noodles

Stir until well combined.

stirring American goulash in a skillet

Cover the skillet and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. 

skillet covered with a glass lid

Once cooked, taste it to see if the spices need adjusting.

stirring American goulash

When ready to serve, sprinkle on a generous helping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley.

sprinkling cheese on American goulash

Pro Tips for Making American Goulash

  • Want to make this cheesy?  Stir in 2 to 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese at the very end.
  • Don’t have macaroni on hand?  Swap it with rotini, ditalini, or small shells.
  • 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.

bowl of American goulash with a bowl of grated cheese

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for American Goulash

Looking for other pasta dishes?  Give these other recipes a try!

holding a bowl of sausage, pear, and gouda rigatoni bowl of ham and peas bow tie pasta in a bowl skillet of tortellini

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this American goulash would be greatly appreciated.

Print
person holding a bowl of American goulash

One Pot American Goulash


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

Stovetop Version

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the dried spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, salt, black pepper and sugar).  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to let the spices bloom.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve warm with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Slow Cooker Version

  1. Follow steps 1 to 4 from the stovetop directions above.
  2. Put the cooked hamburger, Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes with the juice, the onion mixture, and filtered water into a slow cooker.
  3. Cook covered on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. During the last 15 minutes, add the uncooked elbow macaroni, stir, and cover.
  5. Garnish with grated cheese and parsley.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for our one pot American goulash would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: goulash crockpot, goulash recipe, easy hamburger recipe

Recipe Card powered by

4 thoughts on “One Pot American Goulash

  1. Hamburger mac is soft and savory deliciousness. Grated cheese 🧀 and parsley are really nice on top. The meat and pasta are perfect together.

  2. The hint of parsley, the softness of the macaroni, the delicious cheese, and the flavor of the tomatoes…the combination goes together in such a lovely way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.