Goulash Recipe: How to Make Hungarian and American Goulash

Easy Hungarian Beef Goulash Soup RecipeGoulash is also called Gulaš or Gulash; it is an easy and simple Hungarian soup or meat stew made with vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, sweet corn, and usually seasoned with paprika and some spices. Meat commonly used for making goulash is beef but others such as chicken can also be used.

Table of Contents

Gulash Ingredients

  • 600 grams of Beef – cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp of Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of Sweet Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of dried Thyme
  • 1 tbsp of Tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp of Black pepper
  • 400 grams of freshly diced Tomatoes
  • 3 minced Garlic cloves
  • 1 large Onion – cut into small pieces
  • 2 freshly diced Carrots. Mostly, root vegetables are used and potatoes are commonly used for goulash recipes.  The potatoes also help to thicken the goulash.
  • 2 tbsp of All-purpose Flour: this helps to thicken the goulash stew; it can be omitted if you are adding potatoes as a root vegetable because the potato can serve as a thickener as well.
  • 1 freshly sliced Red Bell pepper. The green bell pepper can be used also.
  • 1/4 tsp of Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of Ground Caraway seeds (ground cumin seeds)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 cup of Meat stock
  • 3 cups of Beef Broth
  • 1 tbsp of White Wine or vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of Olive oil (or cooking oil)
  • 1 tbsp of Beef Stock Cube
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt
  • 1 tbsp of Sugar. The sugar in goulash helps get rid of the sour taste of the tomatoes in this stew.

How to Make Goulash

Season and Sear the Beef

  1. First, start by seasoning the beef with 1/4 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of beef stock (this makes the goulash tasty – but it is optional). Also, add 1/4 tsp of black pepper powder, 2tbsp of all-purpose flour – this helps to thicken the gulash soup.
  2. Next, mix everything to coat with the flour nicely.
  3. Now, place a pan on high heat, and to it, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and allow it to heat up.
  4. Transfer the beef pieces to the hot pan and sear each side for 2 minutes. Make sure to flip over to the other side to sear as well. Other cuts of meat for goulash include pork, lamb, or veal. Once the beef is lightly brown, transfer to your stew pot.

Preparing the Beef Goulash Recipe

  1. Using the same pan, you can add another 2 tbsp of cooking oil to it and then bring in the chopped onions and stir fry for 2 minutes; then go in with 1 tbsp of smoked paprika (paprika is one of the main ingredients for goulash). Also, add 1/2 tsp of sweet paprika, 1/4 tsp of dried thyme, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1 tsp of ground caraway seed, and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Toss the added spices for 2 minutes until they are fragrant.
  2. Next, transfer the spices to your stew pot containing the seared beef. Use 1 cup of beef stock to deglaze the pan and then pour the liquid into the stew pot.
  3. To the stew pot, add 2 bay leaves, 1 tbsp of tomato paste, 400 grams of freshly diced tomatoes (you can also use canned tomatoes), 1 tbsp of sugar, and 3 minced garlic cloves. Also, add 3 cups of beef broth and 2 freshly diced carrots.
  4. Mix everything together and cover and bring to a simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  5. After 1 hour 30 minutes, add 1 tbsp of white wine – this gives a deeper flavor to the goulash soup. Lastly, add 1 freshly sliced red bell pepper.
  6. Cover and allow to cook for another 20 minutes. After that, you can garnish with some parsley if you like and mostly sour cream; but in this goulash recipe, I am not adding the sour cream. Once you are done, turn off the heat and serve with boiled rice, pasta, or potatoes.

Easy and Simple Goulash Recipe

Old Fashioned Goulash

The old-fashioned goulash recipe does not include paprika, tomatoes, nor flour and it was thickened by the tough muscles of cattle that are rich in collagen. The collagen in the muscles when cooked is converted to gelatin which then thickens the goulash soup.  There weren’t red bell peppers or potatoes in the old fashioned goulash as they were recently added in the post-16th-century era.

Goulash is often eaten with small egg noodles known as Csipetke but can also be eaten with rice or mashed potatoes.

Goulash Variations

Types of Hungarian Goulash Recipes

There are many varieties of goulash recipes in Hungary. Each variety has a peculiar omission or addition to its recipe. Below is a summary of the types of Hungarian goulash.

Székely Gulyás

This goulash recipe uses pork rather than beef and sometimes has a combination of different kinds of meat. Székely gulyás also omits potatoes but adds sauerkraut and sour cream. It is even thicker and more of a stew rather than a soup.

Gulyás Hungarian Plain Style

In this goulash recipe, the csipetke noodles usually added to it are not included, rather, vegetables are added.

Mock Gulyás

This is also known as Hamisgulyás (fake goulash). In this recipe, the beef is usually replaced with bones with the addition of vegetables.

Bean Gulyás

The omitted ingredients in this recipe are potatoes and caraway seeds while kidney beans are added.

Csángó Gulyás

This has sauerkraut added to it just as Székely gulyás but has no pork. it also does not contain pasta and potatoes.

Betyár Gulyás

The unique ingredient in this recipe is just the use of smoked beef or smoked pork as the meat.

Likócsi Pork Gulyás

This goulash recipe uses pork and thin vermicelli noodles to replace the potato and soup pasta. It is then flavored with lemon juice instead o white wine or vinegar.

Mutton Gulyás or Birkagulyás

Just as the name suggests, the meat used is mutton and then flavored with red wine instead of white wine.

Paprikás krumpli and German Goulash 

Paprikás krumpli is a traditional Hungarian stew similar to goulash but prepared with bacon or sliced sausage (that is usually spicy). It also contains diced potatoes, ground paprika, and onions.

In German-speaking countries, Paprikás krumpli is called Kartoffelgulasch which means potato goulash.

German Goulash

The German goulash known as Gulasch is either cooked with beef, pork, wild boar, or venison. Gulasch has red wine added to it and usually served with potatoes in Northern Germany but in canteens, Gulasch is usually served with white rice or spirelli noodles. In Southern Germany, gulasch is eaten with dumplings.

Goulash soup can be made and eaten with white bread in Germany in which case it is called Gulaschsuppe.

American Goulash

In American goulash, cubed steak, or hamburger/ground beef is used. It also contains tomatoes which can either be fresh or canned tomatoes (which can be tomato sauce, tomato paste, or even tomato soup). American goulash is known in some areas as Slumgullion or American Chop Suey. It is usually eaten with elbow macaroni.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between American and Hungarian goulash?

The main difference between American and Hungarian goulash is the use of macaroni and more tomato in the American goulash than the Hungarian goulash which uses less tomato and eaten with noodles.

What do you eat with goulash?

Goulash can be eaten with white rice, mashed potatoes, noodles (or pasta), dumplings, or even brown rice. Think of it as a stew and think of what you can pair with stew.

What is German goulash made of?

German goulash is made of beef, pork, wild boar, or venison and flavored with red wine. It can be served with dumplings, noodles, white rice, or potatoes.

What cut of meat is goulash?

In the old-fashioned goulash, any part of meat or animal was used as in medieval times. But in today’s world, the cuts of meat best used for making goulash are the shin, shoulder, or shank that have well-exercised muscles full of collagen that helps thicken the goulash recipe when cooked.