American Goulash Recipe

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This Easy Goulash Recipe is full of flavor and the perfect way to feed a crowd as it makes a huge batch! A simple skillet dinner with tomatoes, beef and macaroni noodles in a zesty tomato sauce creates the perfect comfort food on a budget!

Serve it alongside some cornbread, and add more or less liquid to make it the perfect consistency!

Grandma's Goulash in a bowl with text

American Goulash – Easy and Delicious

Call it American Goulash, call it American Chop Suey…  it doesn’t matter what you call it, you’ll just want to call it tonight’s dinner! This is a delicious and easy meal that the whole family loves!

Beefy Macaroni with a savory yet simple seasoned tomato sauce!  I’ve been making this amazing goulash recipe for years, not only does it taste great but it’s a really quick and inexpensive way to feed a crowd (and so much easier to put together than lasagna!)

What is Goulash?

American Goulash is not the same thing as goulash in other parts of the world are not the same thing! This is NOT the same dish as a traditional Hungarian GoulashHungarian Goulash is made with chunks of meat, peppers, paprika and other spices to create a traditional soup.

This particular version is often called Goulash or even American Chop Suey.  It’s similar to a Chili Mac but is more of a tomato sauce flavor (and I skip the chili powder).

Overhead shot of American Goulash in a bowl

When to Add the Macaroni

  • Thicken the sauce: I personally prefer a nice thick goulash so I usually let the meat sauce boil down for a little bit before adding the macaroni.
  • Add Your Favorites: This american goulash recipe is versatile and you can easily add whatever you like. Extra veggies like mushrooms or shredded zucchini, swap out ground beef for other ground meats add extra Italian Seasoning or Chili Powder.
  • Add the Macaroni: If you’re short on time (or prefer your goulash a little bit of a soupier texture) you can certainly just add the macaroni in right away.
  • Top With Cheese: I top this with sharp cheddar to make a cheesy goulash that my kids can’t get enough of! Any kind of cheese will work. If you’d prefer, put it under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbly.

finished american goulash in white bowl

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What To Serve With Goulash

We serve it up with some 30 Minute Dinner Rolls and a fresh Italian salad for a complete meal!  To make it extra yummy, serve it topped with a little bit of sour cream!

The great thing about this goulash recipe is that it’s one of those dishes that tastes just as good the next day (or even better). It keeps well in the fridge for a few days but it also freezes perfectly for lunches or meals later in the week!

Can You Freeze Goulash

You can! Goulash will generally freeze pretty well, apart from the pasta. Once reheated, pasta will often become mushy and overcooked.

If you plan to make a big batch of American goulash to freeze some, cook the pasta separately and add it in as you serve the portions.

finished american goulash in white bowl
4.87 from 138 votes
Review Recipe

Grandma's Goulash

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This easy American goulash recipe is full of flavor and the perfect way to feed a crowd as it makes a huge batch! A simple skillet dinner with tomatoes, beef and macaroni noodles in a zesty tomato sauce creates the perfect comfort food on a budget!


  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jar tomato based pasta sauce approx. 26 oz.
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 green bell pepper optional
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups macaroni noodles uncooked
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

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  • Cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Add pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, seasonings, bay leaves and green pepper. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  • Add in the in the macaroni and continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender (about 20 minutes).
  • Remove & discard bay leaves. Top with cheese and replace the lid. Let sit about 5 minutes or until melted.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 3cups, Calories: 361, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Sodium: 486mg, Potassium: 947mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 650IU, Vitamin C: 28.5mg, Calcium: 179mg, Iron: 5.1mg

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

Keyword goulash recipe
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
American Goulash with tomato sauce in a bowl shown with a title
American Goulash with tomato sauce in a bowl
About the author


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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. This recipe is awesome… With a family of 7 it’s so hard to find easy dinners everyone will actually eat, this does the trick every time!!!

    I’ve made it exactly as written… And a bunch of variations simply because I seem to be always missing something for it, lol. So it totally works for family!

    Thank you for sharing!!!5 stars

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe as it is easy to make and delicious! What made me the happiest was that my very very picky son loves this and ate every bit of it for dinner plus ALL the leftovers the next day. It reminds me of the goulash the nuns used to make us for lunch in the cafeteria at school. Yum yum!5 stars

  3. Great easy meal! I used beef broth rather than water, added a couple of small parmesan rinds I had in the fridge and some diced red and green pepper that I had in the freezer and let it simmer for an hour or so before adding the pasta. Once the pasta was cooked, I took it off the heat and let it sit to thicken. It was great! Thanks for posting!5 stars

      1. Please add the serving size of each serving in addition to the number of servings of each recipe. I need this to know how many calories I consume :)

      2. Thanks for the suggestion Marylee, we will do our best to add serving sizes moving forward. However, for accurate calorie information, we recommend using a nutrition calculating app like MyFitnessPal. Hope that helps!

  4. This is a good basic starter recipe for goulash. If you really want to add flavor and thicken it up, try adding 2 Taco Seasoning packets & at least 6 small cans of kidney beans. This will give you a recipe that you will want to make monthly, sooo delicious!

      1. Hi it didnt say but how much dies this make? I need to make for a family if 10. If you could let me know please U would appreciate it. Thank you

    1. Delicious! Of course you’d season to preference, buuutttt adding beans and track seasoning DEFINITELY makes something completely different from angering goulash!5 stars

      1. . *American goulash, lol!
        I’m just saying to the people that say it isn’t tasty, if you cook at all, you know to taste and season any recipe as you’re cooking… Add spices, cheese, but once you start adding cans of corn/ beans it’s no longer the same recipe! I’ve cooked many recipes from this website and besides adjusting spices to my families preferences, we’ve loved every one! Thank you 4 all of the yummy inspiration!

      2. Thank you Rosie! I’m happy to hear that you’re loving the recipes!!

  5. I LOVED this flavorful meal but my picky family did not. I think that is a matter of taste preference, however. Even with beef broth substitute, it had the flavor of red wine, which my family does not enjoy. I subbed rótel (medium) for diced tomatoes and beef broth. Everything else remained the same and it was amazingly flavorful.

  6. Made this tonight after saving this recipe mos ago. It’s hard to find something that everyone likes but all 3 of my guys loved it! Only modifications I made were cutting the pasta a bit and adding hot sauce, because we like spice. Also I wouldn’t skip the pepper, it really adds to the flavor. So delicious!!!5 stars

  7. Viewing this on the phone and almost didn’t see the recipe. Had to scroll pretty far. Almost thought it was just an article about goulash. Finally found it all the way at the bottom.

    1. You can use the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of any page on my site and it will take you directly to the recipe if you don’t want to read the tips/suggestions. Hope that helps!

  8. I did a batch and a half. Added roast beef au jus instead of water, added crushed bay leaves, and 3 cups of corn. Also some red pepper flakes to spice it up. Had to use 2 pots. Lol. I also substituted the noodles. Delicious! Great dish for dinner for the week!5 stars

  9. I finally made this dish tonight! I used a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground turkey breast, then I added 3 cups of beef broth instead of water for extra flavor. I then added a 16oz box of cavatelli pasta (next time will add less only because I want to see what it tastes like saucier) and last but not least I used Parmesan cheese and fresh mozzarella in small slices! Omg! It was delish! Hubby was skeptical at first but ended enjoying it immensely! 18 yo DS is a picky eater who won’t even try it but then again that is another story! Thank you so very much for this enjoyable recipe!5 stars

  10. This is the worst recipe ever! It tastes like macaroni with tomato sause. NOT goulash. The only thing you taste is tomatoes. Save time and money just dump pasta sauce on your beef and onions and add macaroni. At least that has some flavors.1 star

    1. Sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this recipe as much as we do! It’s a popular American Goulash recipe, which differs from Hungarian Goulash. Perhaps you’d prefer Hungarian Goulash?

  11. WOW! Good looking and a great chef. A perfect world! Great recipe. Do you have this same recipe for a crockpot and for a guickpot?