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What Is Goulash?

What is Goulash? What is Hungarian Goulash?

Goulash is a stew made of beef or other meat and vegetables, mostly tomatoes and bell peppers, and generously seasoned with paprika powder. The dish originated in Hungary from where it traveled to other Central European countries and beyond. As a result, there are countless goulash variations, such as pork goulash, and even goulash made with chicken or turkey.

Hungarian Goulash

Photo by juefraphoto | Getty Images

What is Goulash Soup?

It’s like goulash but with the consistency of soup instead of stew. You simply add more liquid (meat or chicken broth or water). Goulash soup is especially popular in Czech and German cuisines.

What is Goulash Traditionally Served with?

In Hungary, goulash is served with buttered egg noodles called Csipetke, which is the Hungarian word for spaetzle.

Also good to serve with goulash is any kind of small pasta, mashed potatoes, dumplings, rice or bread to mop up the delicious sauce. Don’t forget a dollop of sour cream on each serving.

What is American Goulash?

The American variation of goulash follows the basic formula for goulash but it’s made with ground beef and elbow macaroni cooked in a tomato sauce; some recipes also add Cheddar cheese. Besides the ingredients, what makes American goulash quite different from the goulash recipes in other countries is that everything is cooked in one pot, including the pasta. American goulash it truly a one-pot dish that lends itself to be prepared in a slow cooker.

What is the Best Beef for Goulash?

The best beef are the tougher but flavorful inexpensive boneless cuts of beef which become fork-tender during the slow cooking process. Lean beef chuck and top round are both top choices for goulash. It’s best to buy the beef as a single piece as a roast, instead of pre-cut stewing beef which often contains much more fat than a lean roast.

VIDEO: How to Make Beef Goulash

Chef John's goulash is Old World comfort food at its finest. See how Chef John makes this rustic Hungarian stew inspired by the recipe of a certain famous Austrian chef. It features tender pieces of succulent beef chuck in a beautiful toasted caraway and paprika-based sauce. Serve over buttered noodles, rice, or potatoes; and garnish with sour cream and fresh marjoram.

 

More Favorite Goulash Recipes

Real Hungarian Goulash (No Tomato Paste Here)

"It's hard to find a real Hungarian recipe for goulash," says mentallo. "This is the real thing. Real goulash has no tomato paste or beans. Eat with a slice of rustic bread. Dip bread in sauce and clean the plate with the bread at the end. Can be eaten with spaetzle."

Real Hungarian Goulash (No Tomato Paste Here)

Photo by Joey Joan

Goulash Supreme

Here's a one-pot American version of goulash. "Ground beef and macaroni," says Cheryle. "I serve with homemade bread."

Goulash Supreme

Photo by Jessica

Mama Long's Goulash Soup

"My mother received this recipe while briefly living in Germany many years ago," says Lara. "A hearty stew that can easily be modified by adding veggies of your choice! I can eat this stew all year long!"

Mama Long's Goulash Soup

Photo by Melissa Goff

Ground Beef Goulash

"Easy and filling meal perfect for freezing," says jdblascyk. "Goes great with salad and brownies."

Ground Beef Goulash

Photo by lutzflcat

Easy Classic Goulash

"This version of classic American beef goulash makes an easy one-pot meal for the whole family," says Dawn Bohler. "We love it."

Easy Classic Goulash

Photo by lutzflcat

Mom Sykes' Hungarian Goulash

"The lemon flavor gives you a pleasant surprise in this tender goulash served over egg noodles," says Gail Laulette.

Mom Sykes' Hungarian Goulash

Photo by lutzflcat

Classic Goulash

"Easy recipe for making a classic goulash," says pathunt. "Can also be done in a slow cooker. Inspired by Paula Deen's Bobby's Goulash."

Classic Goulash

Photo by KGora

Check out our collection of Goulash Recipes.

 

Nadia Hassani

About Nadia Hassani

Passionate locavore cook and gardener who loves to make everything fresh and from scratch. Cookbook author and blogger. Can be found as nch on Allrecipes and on Instagram.