CrockPot Goulash

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Easy Crockpot Goulash is the perfect make ahead meal for busy families! It is hearty, delicious and the perfect comfort food served alongside Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits!

American Goulash (not to be confused with Hungarian Goulash) is made with ground beef, onions, mushrooms and pasta smothered in a tomato based broth. This easy Crockpot Goulash is easy to make ahead of time and everyone absolutely loves it!

Overhead shot of goulash in a crockpotEasy Crockpot Goulash

Old fashioned goulash is a complete meal in one bowl that will keep your family satisfied and their bellies happy. Serve it with fresh rolls and a side salad if you like. Your family will absolutely love the taste and you will love the simplicity!

What is Goulash?

While Hungarian Goulash is a paprika seasoned meat stew/soup, an American Goulash is a completely different dish.

A beef goulash recipe in North America is more commonly a tomato based ground beef and macaroni dish. Other vegetables are added such as onion and green peppers for flavor. This dish goes by many other names as well (like American Chop Suey) but our family has always just called it beef goulash!

Overhead shot of Crockpot Goulash in a white bowl

Can you make Goulash in a Crockpot?

While most Goulash recipes are made on the stovetop, allowing this dish to simmer in the slow cooker is a perfect make ahead meal. Not only can it be made ahead of time, the flavors are so much better when it cooks in the slow cooker all day long! The perfect dish to come home to.

  • Convenient: Just put the ingredients in and let the slow cooker do all of the work.
  • Flavorful: As the meat sauce cooks all day for this goulash recipe, it has tons of flavor.
  • Make Ahead: This can be made ahead of time meaning you come home to a meal ready to enjoy.

Crockpot full of goulash ingredients before being mixed

How to Make Old Fashioned Goulash in the Crockpot

Making Crockpot Goulash is super simple!

  1. Brown ground beef, onions and garlic.
  2. Add all the ingredients (except noodles), stir, cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.
  3. Prepare your noodles (this also can be done ahead of time and placed in a refrigerator), then add to the slow cooker for about 5-10 minutes to heat through.

While you can add raw noodles to the crockpot for the last 30-40 minutes, for the best results, I highly recommend cooking the noodles on the side and stirring them in for serving.  I have found that, depending on the brand, adding raw noodles can become gummy in texture. The best and most consistent results were achieved by cooking the pasta separately.

Ladle full of Crockpot Goulash

As the temperature drops, stews, chilis and soups are a welcome change from summer barbecued dishes. Crockpot Goulash is the perfect comfort food meal that will warm you to your core this fall. So simple to make and equally as delicious, you just have to give it a try!

More Crockpot Recipes You’ll Love!

Ladle full of Crockpot Goulash
4.89 from 70 votes
Review Recipe

Crockpot Goulash

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This Crockpot Goulash recipe has tender pasta noodles mixed in a rich beefy meat sauce.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 ½ medium onions diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 24 ounces pasta sauce jarred or canned
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes canned, do not drain
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 ounces mushrooms canned, do not drain
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon seasoning salt or to taste
  • 3 cups pasta shells uncooked

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  • Brown ground beef, onions and garlic until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Add ground beef mixture to CrockPot. Add all remaining ingredients except the uncooked shells.
  • Cook on High for 2 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
  • Prepare shells al dente according to package directions.  Drain well and stir into meat sauce. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes to heat through.

Recipe Notes

This recipe creates a thick goulash if you prefer your goulash to be thinner, increase the water to  1 ½ or 2 cups.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 373, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 749mg, Potassium: 1352mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 875IU, Vitamin C: 34.8mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 6.3mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword American chop suey, beef goulash, crock pot, goulash, goulash recipe, slow cooker
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine American

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made your goulash today and it’s outstanding..easy to put together..I have leftovers for tomorrow..I love it!! Thanks for sharing! Blessings5 stars

  2. If you don’t want to use crock pot , how else can you cook this? Can’t wait to fix it. Love your recipes!!!!!!!

  3. I have made this before and it was a hit with my picky family! Making it again tonight. I have to say I LOVE your recipes. Whenever I am searching for a new dinner recipe or idea, if I see its from your site, I know it’s a trustworthy one. I have used many of your recipes. Wanted to say thank you for making this SAHM’s life a little easier 5 stars

  4. Can you use elbow macaroni in this recipe? I don’t have shells. If so, how many cups of elbows should I suse? TIA

  5. I grew up eating what I thought was good goulash, I was very wrong! This was amazing! Followed the recipe as written and we loved it.5 stars

    1. I have tried it with several brands/shapes of pasta and find it comes out gummy in texture most of the time. The pasta can be cooked up to 48 hours ahead of time, drained and kept in the fridge until you add to the slow cooker. I hope that helps!

      1. Hi Holly.
        I hope you can help me out! My son would not eat anything I make! He always wanted me to go and get his fast food out there. I am frustrated because he won’t eat anything I make! I have wasted some groceries. Any advice.

  6. Updating my previous review…made this in an electric pressure cooker. 6 mins under medium pressure. Let the pressure release on its own. Added the salsa and cheese once all the pressure had released. Turned out perfect!5 stars

  7. My kids loved this dish. Added a little sugar to neutralize the acidity and omitted the Worcestershire sauce as I didn’t have any. Thx for sharing a great recipe. Your recipes are a hit in my household !

  8. I am making this for about the 10th time. My sister gave me the recipe when you first came out with it Holly, almost 2yrs ago Made for our 90yr old parents WHO ARE VERY PICKY!! They loved it too. I also make it for our stamping group that gets together once a month. Not just for winter great when you don’t want to cook in 100° weather I give it six stars5 stars

  9. I made this for dinner it was very good it made so much I feed six people they also loved it .5 stars

    1. Hi Trent, you will want to use a 6 qt crockpot to give you room to stir comfortably, but it can be made in a 4 qt as well.

  10. Why do all recipes say to brown the meat first? The whole point of the crock pot is to use one pot . . . and you don’t have to brown it first unless you buy cheap meat . . .

    1. You can skip it if you’d like. The reason meats are browned is to add flavor (especially with large pieces of meat) and in the case of ground beef it helps keep the texture crumbly (otherwise it will clump) and allows for fat to be drained so the final dish is not oily.

  11. Wonderful taste!! Mine wasn’t as moist as yours. I even bought another 15 oz can of diced tomatoes as I already had one. Added more water and it was great!!4 stars

  12. Please call this recipe something else. It is not Goulash!… I am Hungarian… and it saddens me to see how the recipe has been twisted! Sorry … but I am a purist at heart! Bolognaise is Bolognaise…so Goulash is Goulash!… This is more of a Veg/noodle/mince stew thing!… Which Goulash is not!

    1. Why the anger? Look on pinterest if you’re looking for authentic Hungarian goulash recipes. This recipe is delicious!

  13. I would love to receive your recipes. I am going you try American Goulash Recipe. I love to cook in the Crock pot

  14. Omg just made it tonight and my 3 year old son devoured it! It’s so good. Thank you for the recipe!! So glad I made it!

  15. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Sounds like a great Autumn meal. Any idea how much a serving is? A cup? I ask because I’m following Weight Watchers and need to figure the points to count.

  16. The wife and I made this last night and it turned out really well. Very tasty. We only used half a box of the small shells and glad we did as it was more than enough. Next time we will make half this recipe because this one made a lot, LOL. One question: Can you freeze this for later?

    1. Hi Wallace,
      If you know you are going to freeze, I would suggest under cooking the pasta so it doesn’t get mushy during the reheating process.
      I am so glad you enjoyed the goulash!

    1. Hey Paulette! All of our recipes can be printed by headed down to the recipe section at the bottom of the page (or selecting the jump to recipe button at the top) and selecting the print button.

  17. Stunning dish. I’ve made this a few times and is so popular my daughter invites friends round to sample it. Everyone thinks I’m the best cook ever!

    I’ve experimented with a few twists and can recommend a teaspoon of chipotle paste to give a slightly different, smokier flavour.

    Thanks Holly!5 stars

  18. I made exactly as per recipe and both myself and my wife thought this was very flavorless.
    Will not be making this one again.2 stars

    1. Sorry to hear that Rick, many of our readers have had great success with this recipe. Some readers have added a bouillon cube, used Rotel tomatoes, or even a spicy pasta sauce to enhance the flavor.

  19. Hi Holly, Hey I am looking for your in put for an 82+ man that is trying to cook some dishs for my self. Lost the wife last Nov.and now its just me . I love your recipes but how do you make it for 1 person. If you have the time , get back to me . Thanks Jim Strong

  20. I made this last night exactly like it says to and OMG! This was so delicious! I have tried several other goulash recipes and they never worked but this one is a keeper! My whole family loved it! Super easy to make. This will now be my go to goulash recipe! I wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks for sharing 5 stars

  21. I have also tried this recipe minus the mushroom but have to use turkey due to beef messing up stomach it was delicious, I use the rotel diced tomatoes and tomato sauce instead of the pasta sauce that have garlic in them and then also throw in a package of frozen okra it is delicious with that and cornbread.!5 stars

  22. For this recipe I reduced the liquid. Eliminated the tomato paste and water. Changed to 14oz of diced italian tomatoes added 14oz can on crushed tomatoes. I used 4 cups of pasta. After these changes the pasta and sauce was balanced. The flavor had more spice blend taste. The flavor was kinda bland with more liquid.4 stars

    1. Hi David, I am sorry that the flavor was bland after making your adjustments. Thanks for sharing!

  23. I tried this recipe for the first time back in December, and it was such a hit here that I’ve made it two more times since.

    My wife and daughter don’t like mushrooms, so I substituted a can of whole kernel sweet corn, and they loved it! I’m making it again tomorrow, and think I’ll try a jar of spicy marinara sauce. Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

  24. I never new you could cook pasta ahead.
    I thought they would dry out.
    Do you put cook pasta in covered bowl or does it matter.
    Thank you for this tip, so much easier.
    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  25. I’ve made it twice. The second time I replaced the plain pasta sauce with cheese flavored. That added a lot of flavor to the goulash.
    I also tried using some tortellini instead of the pasta. A 19oz bag of tortellini was an excellent replacement for the pasta.
    I like juicier goulash, so I added 8oz of tomato sauce (instead of added water).
    It’s easiest if you have a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. I tried a 3.5 quart slow cooker the first time; everything fit except the pasta. If your slow cooker is a 3.5 quart slow cooker, you could merge the slow cooker results and the pasta in a stockpot at the end.4 stars

  26. Can’t wait to try this minus the mushrooms and need to substitute the Worcestershire sauce. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. I have only made the recipe as written. You can leave out the mushrooms and perhaps you may substitute with soy sauce? Enjoy Judy!

  27. This was really delicious with minimal effort! I added extra water and tossed in a beef buillon cube for flavor. Would make it again.5 stars

  28. cooking over stove in large pot verse crock pot, sure hope this still works, stay tuned… i did cook pasta separate as I agree with you regarding slime mush…. :)

  29. I made this recipe a month ago!!! and my family love it!! very very good… it will be one of our “comfort food” of the week-end. :)5 stars

    1. It’s a mix n chop from pampered chef. I love mine! I was wondering what the chopper is tjeubised for the inions. All onions make me a reset mess no matter how I cut them lol5 stars

  30. Well, I made this last night and just like I said in the first comment. Yumo was so good I had some for lunch today as well, I am going to make it again ty very much my family loved it. Can’t wait to try another recipe5 stars

  31. I will be trying this recipe tonight,however I am going to use the left over Italian meatloaf I made yesterday lol seems I made to much so I am ready to see how this turns out . Ty so much I love all these recipes wonderful inexpensive ideas so ty kindly
    Rating this 5 stars cause I know it will be delish5 stars

      1. Getting ready to make this right now and I had the exact same question – it might be a good idea to update the recipe to specify that for anyone else who takes recipes as gospel (at least the first time through). I imagine cooking this with whole garlic cloves would lead to an entirely different experience.

  32. I made this one night when we were looking for something a little different for dinner and I had most of the ingredients in the recipe on hand. It was a winner and we will be making this again. This next time, I am going to try using ground turkey instead of beef.5 stars

    1. No problem! You can see the number of servings right above the name on the recipe card :). This makes 8 servings. Enjoy Lauren!

  33. So, has anyone tried (or can you) make this by putting everything in the crock-pot un-cooked, and just slow cooking it all day?? I mean, i don’t understand pre-cooking the meat & shells then crocking only for two hours …. could be more of a “set it and forget it” in the morning dish?

    1. The beef is cooked so you can drain grease from it and as for the shells, there are some notes in the recipe. You can add them raw but I have found that some brands become gummy in texture so cooking them separately (even the day before and keeping them in the fridge) and adding at the end produces the best results.

      1. Ah ok gotcha– depending on the % of lean/fat in the burger, i don’t mind a bit of fat , especially if i can emulsify for some texture — see what you mean on the possible gummy shells …. well i think i will give this a go starting uncooked, maybe 8hrs slow! Thanks!

  34. I made this yesterday for my parents, 2 sisters and my husband and me since I knew I had a busy day. Everyone loved it especially my 89 year old dad who is quite picky!

  35. When you say three cups of pasta do you mean 24 oz of pasta or do you mean 3 cups measured out once it’s cooked?? Maybe a silly question but I just don’t want to overdo it and put too much pasta or too little.

    1. Good question. 3 cups dry in a measuring cup. This does not convert to ounces as it is a dry measure. 1 cup of dry shells weighs about 2.8oz on my kitchen scale.

  36. This was fantastic…the only change I made was to leave out the green pepper ,I don’t like them. Will make this again for sure..5 stars

  37. I’d like to make a couple substitutions for weight Watchers like ground turkey snd cabbage. I see it says eight servings. How many cups is that per serving! Like 1 1/3?  Thanks

    1. If you’re adding cabbage as well (or even in place of noodles) this may change the volume. As written it’s approximately 1 1/2 cups.

    1. It’s a 6 1/2 quart slow cooker, but for this recipe, any size bigger than 5 quarts should work!

    1. I haven’t tried this in the instant pot but if you were to follow the directions of a meaty pasta sauce it should work just fine. I’d suggest cooking the pasta separately.

  38. My mom just used tomato juice for the liquid and no other tomato products. I sweat my onion in butter then add the mushrooms, Juice, browned hamburger and cooked pasta. Yummy!

  39. Oh my God, what an appetizing photo! And what a simple recipe! I will definitely cook this delicacy for my family at the weekend! Thank you for your site and your work! Your site is inspired by culinary masterpieces!5 stars