Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe


This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See my disclosure policy for details.

This best ever Old Fashioned Goulash is a quintessential comfort food recipe – it’s quick and easy, kid friendly, and it’s perfect for busy cold winter nights.

Old Fashioned Goulash

If you’ve tried a few different American goulash recipes and are looking for the best one, this is the recipe you need to try.

The flavors blend together so well, and the perfectly cooked noodles coated in the gooey melted cheddar cheese is mouth watering. 

The secret to this recipe is adding a little sugar. It’s an important step because it mellows the acidity of the tomatoes.

It’s a super simple recipe to pull together, and it basically just cooks itself. If you like sloppy joes and minestrone soup, I know you’ll love this effortless pasta recipe.

This is a great easy, affordable, and delicious recipe for busy nights. Plus, it’s just warm and comforting, which is perfect for the cold days that are coming.

A bowl of American goulash topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Why Is American Goulash Different?

Hungarian goulash is totally different than American goulash. The recipes are only similar in the sense that they both have a tomato base, beef, and some kind of starch.

They’re also both highly customized from kitchen to kitchen, and it’s common for each family to have their own unique spin on the base recipe.

Hungarian goulash is a tomato-based cubed beef and potato stew that’s flavored with lots of paprika.

American goulash is also tomato-based, but it’s made with ground beef and macaroni. It’s also common for it to have lots of shredded cheese stirred into it.

Is Goulash The Same As Beefaroni?

Yes! American goulash is essentially the same thing as Beefaroni. You can often find the names used interchangeably, depending on where in the United States you are.

Did you know that American goulash is known as American chop suey and Johnny Marzetti? No matter what you call it, it’s a truly delicious and comforting dish.


This recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients, so I’ll bet you have most of them on hand already.

For this recipe you’ll need lean ground beef, yellow onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, onion powder, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, elbow macaroni, sugar, and cheddar cheese.

Old fashioned American goulash ingredients labeled.

How To Make American Goulash

Start by browning the ground beef in a large Dutch oven, then adding in the onions are sautéing them until they’re translucent. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)

Browning ground beef and onions in a Dutch oven.

Add in the spices and the garlic, and sauté until the garlic is aromatic. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer to let the flavors combine.

Adding canned tomatoes and dried herbs to browned ground beef.

Add the sugar and elbow macaroni, and cook until the pasta is cooked to al dente. Make sure to stir it occasionally so that the noodles don’t stick to the bottom.

Cooking elbow macaroni in tomato sauce.

Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and serve. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

Stirring shredded cheddar cheese into goulash.

Optional Adaptations

Since this is one of those recipes that really takes on a new life in every kitchen, feel free to play around with it! Some popular additions and adaptations are:

Use tomato soup in lieu of tomato sauce.

If you want to keep it a little healthier, try using ground chicken instead of hamburger meat.

Add some chopped green pepper for some additional flavor.

A dash of Worcestershire sauce adds a delicious flavor dimension.

Adding kidney beans or corn are both great ways to affordably bulk up this recipe.

Serving it with a sprinkling of seasoning salt really brings the flavor to the next level.

If you want to really emphasize the beef flavor, try using beef broth instead of chicken broth.

Shredded mozzarella cheese can be used instead of cheddar cheese if that’s what you have on hand (or if that’s the cheese you prefer).

A close up image of a bowl of goulash.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image of old fashioned goulash with title text at the top.

Easy Pasta Recipes

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out our entire pasta recipes section! It’s full of easy recipes that can help you get dinner on the table quickly. Some reader favorites are:

Yield: 6 servings

Grandma's BEST Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe

The best old fashioned goulash recipe.

This best ever Old Fashioned Goulash is a quintessential comfort food recipe - it’s quick and easy, kid friendly, and perfect for busy cold winter nights.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced, about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 200 grams uncooked elbow macaroni pasta (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for garnish)*
  • Freshly chopped parsley (for garnish)


  1. Heat a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground beef and cook until half cooked (about 4 minutes). Drain off any excess fat, then add in the onions and cook until they’re translucent (about 4 more minutes). 
  2. Add the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, onion powder, sea salt, and black pepper to the beef. Mix to combine, and saute until aromatic (about 2 minutes). 
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the sugar, then add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.Once the pasta is finished cooking, remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Add in the shredded cheese and gently stir until it’s melted and combined.
  5. Serve with chopped parsley and extra shredded cheese.


*It’s important to use freshly shredded cheese because the pre-shredded kinds available at the store are coated in a starch that stops it from melting well.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 460Total Fat: 18.8gCarbohydrates: 38.1gFiber: 3.6gSugar: 8.7gProtein: 33.4g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


Tag @KeyToMyLime on Instagram so we can see your delicious meal!

Old fashioned American goulash with ground beef is the perfect easy dinner recipe when you’re looking for a hearty meal that’s pretty hands off. Be sure to give it a try!

The best old fashioned goulash recipe.

2 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe”

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe