Hungarian Goulash

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Hungarian Beef Stew is a hearty stew with chunks of beef, potatoes and a hearty Hungarian paprika flavored tomato sauce, cooked low and slow until tender.

A great everyday meal that tastes amazing and isn’t hard to make. Like my recipes for Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Ultimate Beef Stew and Beef Chili, this is a savory, hearty dish that you can enjoy on rapidly arriving cold fall and winter nights.

Hungarian Beef Goulash in pot


Goulash is rich, flavorful and it is so tender that it tastes like you cooked your main course all day in a crock pot (did I mention that it’s an awesome comfort food?).

While it’s not a dish you could make every day of the week, especially if you are crazy busy, goulash is a delicious recipe that makes for some great leftovers for later dinners. The whole family will love this thick stew and, once you’ve prepared it, all you have to do is leave it alone and go about your business until it’s done.

The difference between Hungarian Goulash and American Goulash

Classic Goulash is an American version of Goulash made with ground beef and pasta. A completely different recipe than the Hungarian version, even though they may share the name Goulash. While both are delicious, Hungarian Goulash cooks low and slow like a stew with chunks of beef and potatoes while an American Goulash recipe is more like a meaty saucy pasta.


  • Cut your beef into 1-inch pieces to keep them bite-sized.
  • Pour your oil into a Dutch oven and heat it over medium heat to medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is warm, cook the onions in oil until they are soft.
  • Take the onions out once they’re done and put them in a small bowl for later.
  • Take your beef cubes and coat them on all sides in the spices.
  • Add them to the dutch oven and let them cook until they are brown on all sides.
  • Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, tomato paste, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, beef broth, garlic and the rest of the salt.
  • Turn the burner down to low heat and cover the dutch oven.
  • Let everything simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


  • Noodles: If you are tired of eating Hungarian goulash the same old way but love the flavor, cook up some egg noodles and serve the goulash over the top of them, stroganoff-style.
  • Caraway: stir in a dash of caraway seeds to give your goulash a rich, traditional taste.
  • Bay leaves: cook the stew with a whole bay leaf, and then remove it before serving. The bay leaf infuses the stew with flavor but isn’t great to bite down on when you aren’t expecting it.
  • Green pepper: dice up a green pepper and add it to your stew a little later to give it some crunch.
  • Red pepper: if you want some mild spice and a little crunch, sprinkle red pepper flakes on top of the stew when you serve it up.
  • Meat cuts: you aren’t limited to chuck roast for your stew. If you have ground beef or stew meat on hand, feel free to use that instead.


Goulash is old, but do you know how old? The first mentions of it come from Hungary in the 9th century. “Goulash” comes from the Hungarian word “gulyás” which means “herdsman.” In the same way that shepherd’s pie got its name, traditional Hungarian goulash became associated with herdsmen’s dinners and the name just sort of stuck. Hungarian cattlemen would dehydrate the stew and carry it with them so they could just add water and have a quick dinner. Hungarian Goulash in a bowl

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Hungary invented the dish, but it caught on like wildfire and is now popular around the world. Here are some of our favorite varieties, but Wikipedia has a whole page of info on varieties of this delicious dish.

  • AustriaAustrians enjoy wiener saftgulasch, or “soft goulash with sausage.” This version of goulash involves serving up stew on rich, dark bread and is also called  fiakergulasch, or “coachman’s goulash.”
  • The Czech Republic: we definitely have to try this version sometime. “Guláš” is cooked with beer and is almost always served with bread dumplings and, well, more beer. The word for goulash is actually now part of a slang term for being disoriented, which is “mít v tom guláš.” It may be because of the beer.
  • Croatia: Croatian goulash is served on polenta or pasta with wild game, like boar or deer, instead of beef. They also use bacon in their stew, which we will never say no to.
  • North America: goulash showed up North American cookbooks around 1914, and American goulash is usually made out of ingredients that are much more common in our grocery stores like elbow macaroni and canned tomato sauce. Check out my version of this recipe: Classic American Goulash


Beef is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (71.1 degrees C). Since we are cooking this recipe for such a long time until the meat breaks down and becomes tender you should have no concerns about your beef temperatures being too low.


  • Serve: Don’t leave your stew out for longer than 2 hours.
  • Store: Leftovers are good for up to 3 days, just make sure to let them completely cool to room temperature before you put it in the fridge.
  • Freeze: Goulash can be frozen in an airtight freezer-safe container for 3 months and should be defrosted the night before reheating.

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Hungarian Beef Goulash

5 from 10 votes
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Course: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Hungarian Beef Stew is a hearty stew with chunks of beef, potatoes and a hearty Hungarian paprika flavored tomato sauce, cooked low and slow until tender.


  • 4 pounds chuck roast , cut into 1" inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onions , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 4 medium yukon potatoes , cut into 2" cubes
  • 4 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 2" cubes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar , packed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups beef broth


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Add the salt, pepper and paprika to the chunks of beef, coating them well.

  3. Add oil to your large dutch oven on medium high heat and brown the beef cubes well on all sides, about 5-6 minutes then remove them from the pan.

  4. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

  5. Add in the potatoes, carrots, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, beef broth and the seared beef cubes (along with any juices on the plate), stirring well.

  6. Cover and put into the oven for,2 hours, or until meat is fork tender.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: 414 calories, Calories: 414g, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 50g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Sodium: 1090mg, Potassium: 1642mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 6712g, Vitamin C: 18g, Calcium: 73g, Iron: 9g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Beef Goulash

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  1. i halved the recipe and it worked perfectly. cooking this in the oven is so much easier than keeping an eye on the stove top for 2 hours. this turned out delicious, we are bad about eating leftovers but this dish got completely emptied, reheats very well. my only suggestion is to chop your vegetables into sizable pieces, not a small dice or they will cook into mush. i diced the onion and next time will likely just quarter it because it cooked out. i did big chunks of both potatoes and carrots and they were cooked fork tender but not mushy, they were excellent.

  2. Saftgoulasch does not mean soft goulasch but rather gravy (sauce) goulasch. It is never made with sausage nor have it served with dark bread.

  3. Excellent! This turned out very well. I used the original recipe not a variation. It takes longer than the recipe says, however. It takes some time to brown the meat and cook the onions and then it takes another 2 hours in the oven. Also, I cooked the onions and garlic, first and then removed them to brown the meat. I also cut the meat in cubes and tossed them in a plastic bag with the paprika, salt and pepper.

  4. As a Hungarian (born and raised) I have to respectfully disagree with this dish. Although, It looks delicious this is NOT Hungaian Goulash. This is beef stew with potatoes. Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás to be exact) is a beef soup. The base is diced onions, sauteed in lard, and the last second paprika is added and almost immediately water (about a gallon)is added to avoid burning of the spice. Spices are salt, whole black pepper, caraway seeds and parsley tied in a bunch.The meat is added, and slowly cooked in this broth until it is almost completely tender. At that point diced potatoes, sliced carrots and parsnips are added and cooked until tender but not fallling apart. The soup is finished with mini dumplings that are firm and about a size of the nail on your pinky finger. The dumplings are a garnish and do not “fill up” the soup. No self respecting Hungarian would be caught putting tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce or brown sugar in Gulyás…

    1. Hi Boglarka Mahan. Do you not put tomatoes in your Gulyas at all? And if I exclude the other ingredients in this recipe except what you listed as how you’d make it, is the ratio of paprika, black pepper corns and caraway seeds about right?
      Thank you 🙂

  5. *2nd Request:
    Under “How To Make” you say to cut the meat into 1” pieces.

    Then under “Ingredients” you say to cut the meat into 3” cubes.

    Which is correct?

  6. At one place in your directions you say to cut your beef into 1” pieces and then later in the recipe you say to cut the meat into 3” cubes. Which do you recommend?

  7. I just made a half recipe of this in the crockpot, using smoked paprika since it was what we had on hand, and thickened it with some cornstarch. SO GOOD!! thank you for sharing the recipe!

  8. On a trip through Canada, we stopped to spend the night at a resort. Hungry after a long day of road travel, we made our way to the dining room and ordered their special of the day…Hungarian goulash. It was the most amazing thing I had ever tasted. We were still touting its praises five days later, so I called the lodge to get the recipe. The lodge was shut down for the season and the chef had returned to Hungary. Ten years have passed and we have tested countless recipes trying to recreate that amazing flavor. Although this is not an exact match, it is absolutely delicious in its own right. I am so grateful to have found your recipe and look forward to sampling more of them.

  9. Hello, The link to your beef broth in all your recipes seems to be broken. I tried to search for your beef broth recipe on your site, but not finding it. Please could post a link to that recipe.
    Thank you.

    1. Certainly. If you go to the “yield” section on the recipe card. Hover over the servings amount and there is a slider that comes up. Adjust the servings you want and the ingredients will adjust.

    1. I was wondering, in your pictures you have greens sprinkled all over your dishes, however you don’t indicate what you’ve used.
      Could you please let me know what you have used.
      Thank you

      1. I usually just garnish with parsley mainly for presentation and photos. It’s not necessary that’s why I don’t include it in the ingredients.

  10. Oh man, this looks so flavorful! Can’t wait for cooler temps so we can warm up with a bowl of this stew! I am so glad that fall is just around the corner. 🙂

    1. absolutely, after browning the beef add the ingredients to your slow cooker on low heat for 8 hours. I’d lessen the beef broth, probably to 1.5 cups, basically just enough to cover the meat 3/4 of the way in your slow cooker.

    2. I just made a half recipe of this in the crockpot, using smoked paprika since we had that on hand, and thickened with some cornstarch. SO GOOD!!! thank you for sharing!