This Easy American Goulash recipe is pure comfort food and budget-friendly using ground beef, canned goods, and pantry staples. You only need one pot and 30 minutes of time, making it perfect for busy weeknights!
We like to serve this with homemade garlic bread and a simple side salad for a complete meal.
Easy American Goulash Recipe
Goulash is such an easy recipe to make, super delicious, and fun to say, no? Well, at least my kids think so.
Made with ground beef, macaroni pasta, a rich tomato-based sauce, and cheese, it’s a foolproof, delicious weeknight dinner with easy clean-up. My family loves this dish and yours will, too!
What is American Goulash?
This particular recipe is for American Goulash (also known as American Chop Suey and similar to my popular Chili Mac), made with ground beef, small pasta, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, cheese, and Italian seasonings. It’s not to be confused with traditional Hungarian Goulash, which is more of a stew made with chunks of meat and vegetables.
This one-pot pasta recipe calls for common pantry ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Ground beef – I use lean ground beef 80/20, so there’s not excess fat.
- Onion and Garlic – For wonderful flavor and aromatics.
- Olive oil – Used to sauté the beef and onion.
- Tomato paste – This provides rich tomato taste and depth of flavor.
- Marinara sauce – You can buy a jar or use our homemade marinara sauce recipe.
- Chicken broth – I use low sodium chicken broth so the dish isn’t overly salty.
- Canned diced tomatoes – The tomatoes along with their juice contribute to the sauce.
- Worcestershire sauce – Provides a deep umami flavor.
- Macaroni pasta – Dry small pasta cooks in all the liquid, absorbing great flavor (plus one less pot to clean!)
- Cheddar cheese – Freshly shredded for optimal flavor.
- Seasonings – Dried Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes season the dish.
- Fresh parsley – For garnish and a pop of color.
American Goulash is pretty versatile and hard to mess up. Here are some ways to vary it:
- Use ground turkey. Swap out the ground beef with ground turkey for a slightly healthier version.
- Add in some vegetables. Sauté some diced carrots or green bell pepper, along with the beef and onion.
- Try different cheeses. We love cheddar, but you can use Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or a combination of your favorites.
- Swap in beef stock. I always have chicken stock on hand, so I usually use that, but beef stock can totally be used instead, which also provides richer flavor.
- Make it spicy. Stir in some chopped jalapeños along with the onion, or use a can of ROTEL instead of canned diced tomatoes.
How to Make American Goulash
This 30 minute, one-pot meal is super easy to make!
(Scroll down to the printable recipe card for details and measurements, and don’t miss the video below.)
- Brown the beef and vegetables. In a large dutch oven or pot, brown the beef and sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Break up the meat into small crumbles until cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with the salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Drain excess fat.
- Add in the sauce ingredients. Stir in the tomato paste until combined, then pour in the chicken broth, marinara sauce, diced tomatoes (with their liquid), Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Season with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.
- Simmer. Bring to a boil and add in the dry pasta; cover, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
- Serve. Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and parsley. Serve and enjoy!
Video: American Goulash Recipe
What to Serve with American Goulash
Goulash is a pretty hearty meal on its own, but we usually enjoy it with a side salad and either homemade garlic bread, 7 Up Biscuits, or Dutch oven bread to round out the meal.
- Storing leftovers. Allow to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator . It is best eaten up within 3 days.
- Freeze. The noodles will absorb a lot of the liquid and tend to get mushy once defrosted, so freezing leftovers is not our preference, but you can. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Reheat. Gently reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a bit of chicken broth to loosen, if necessary.
More One Pot Meals:
I hope you love this delicious and easy recipe – be sure to give it a review below! Also don’t forget to follow Belly Full on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!
Easy American Goulash
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes , undrained
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 & 1/2 cups macaroni pasta , uncooked
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, and beef; cook until browned and no pink remains, breaking up into crumbles, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Drain excess fat.
- Stir in the tomato paste until combined.
- Poor in the chicken broth, marinara sauce, diced tomatoes (with their liquid), Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Season with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.
- Bring to a boil and add in pasta; cover, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until pasta is tender, about 14 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese and parsley.
- Serve immediately, garnished with additional cheese and parsley, if desired.
Reader Questions and Reviews
Easy and only takes one pot! I made this last night, a cold stormy night, and the goulash was perfect for the weather. Hot, rich, and yummy! (I added some water, but that was the only change I made from the recipe.)
I just love this, and all other recipes!
this is so easy to make , i did add a bit more chilli and Worcestershire sauce but other than that yum
Love the sauce. I make it and freeze it to use on other pasta recipes. Goulash is good flavor!!!
Here’s the thing! I love every form of a tomato but the actual tomato! Therefore I can’t do chunks of tomato!! I love marinara and crushed tomatoes! How can I make my this without the diced tomato?
Hi Barbara! Hm. I would just leave the 2 cans of diced tomato out. Maybe sub with something else like 1 can of beans (rinsed and drained) or don’t replace at all. The recipe won’t be quite the same without them, but will still be delish!
I realy enjoy the taste
This was so good! Leftovers were great the next day, too.