How to Make American Goulash – A Delicious and Easy Recipe



American goulash is a hearty and comforting dish that originated from Hungary but has been adapted to suit the American palate. It is a simple one-pot meal that consists of ground beef, elbow macaroni, tomato sauce, and cheese, seasoned with garlic, onion, paprika, and other spices. It is also known as American chop suey, slumgullion, or Johnny Marzetti in some regions.

If you are looking for a quick and easy dinner idea that will satisfy your whole family, you can’t go wrong with this American goulash recipe. It is budget-friendly, filling, and flavorful, and you can customize it to your liking by adding more vegetables, cheese, or spices. In this article, we will show you how to make American goulash in a few simple steps, and answer some frequently asked questions about this dish.

How to Make American Goulash
How to Make American Goulash


To make American goulash, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of basil
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Parsley, for garnish (optional)


Follow these steps to make American goulash:

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, breaking it up with a spatula, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain the excess fat and transfer the beef to a plate. Set aside.
  2. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, water, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Stir in the elbow macaroni and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cheese and cook until melted about 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired, and serve hot or warm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers about American goulash:

What is the difference between American goulash and Hungarian goulash?

Hungarian goulash is a traditional stew or soup made with beef, onions, paprika, and other spices, cooked slowly until tender. It is usually served with bread, dumplings, or noodles. American goulash is a casserole-like dish that uses ground beef, elbow macaroni, tomato sauce, and cheese, cooked in one pot until done. It is more similar to a pasta dish than a stew.

Can I make American goulash ahead of time?

Yes, you can make American goulash ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then bake it in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. You may need to add some water or broth to thin the sauce if it is too thick.

Can I use a different type of pasta or meat for American goulash?

Yes, you can use a different type of pasta or meat for American goulash, depending on your preference and availability. You can use any short pasta shape, such as penne, rotini, or shells, instead of elbow macaroni. You can also use ground turkey, chicken, pork, or sausage, instead of ground beef. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time and seasonings accordingly.


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