Hungarian Goulash is a delicious beef stew (or soup) with a rich paprika broth. It is warm and comforting, perfect for a cold day.

Serve this over homemade noodles (or add potatoes) or with a side of bread or Biscuits to sop up any of the broth left in your bowl.

Overhead shot of Hungarian Goulash

What Is Hungarian Goulash?

Hungarian Goulash is very different from an American Goulash Recipe which is a tomato, beef and macaroni dish (and also sometimes known as American Chop Suey).

Hungarian goulash (gulyás) dates back centuries and was originally made by shepherds drying out meat to store, which they would then add water to create a soup. Goulash is seasoned with paprika and other fragrant spices like caraway seeds. You will almost always find red meat in a Hungarian goulash, and because it is simmered at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, it is the perfect way to turn a cheaper cut of meat into a tender and delicious meal.

White bowl of Hungarian Goulash with two slices of bread in it

A Cozy Cool Weather Soup

Hungarian Goulash is a staple in our family and could not be more comforting as the weather turns chilly! Traditional Hungarian Goulash is a soup or stew filled with tender chunks of meat and onions and heavily spiced with paprika.

Many families have their own variations of this dish, adding different vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Some Hungarian Goulash recipes are made without veggies other than onions, and some serve them on the side. Regardless, it’s pure comfort food.

In this version, tender chunks of beef, onions, and tomatoes are simmered until tender in a savory paprika beef broth. YUM!

Ladle full of Hungarian Goulash

What is Hungarian Paprika

Paprika is made from grinding dried peppers. Peppers can range from hot to mild, so paprika will vary from region to region. In many American cooking, like deviled eggs, paprika is mainly used as a garnish.

In Hungarian cooking, paprika is usually used to flavor the dish instead of a garnish. Some paprika is smoked, some may be sweet, some may be mild, and some may have a stronger flavor. In Hungarian cooking, usually a mild to sweet paprika is used.

Bowl of Hungarian Goulash with bread slices in it

How To Make Goulash

To make Hungarian goulash, you’ll need onions, beef, and plenty of Hungarian Paprika.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, fry the onions in butter until they are translucent. Add beef to the pan and sear it on all sides. Next, deglaze the pan by slowly adding the beef broth to it. Once deglazed, add the tomatoes and broth and season to taste.

Bring the Hungarian goulash to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover it, and simmer it for about an hour and a half (this is where it starts to smell amazing). 

While I most often simmer this on the stove, you can also make this easy Hungarian Goulash in the oven. A house filled with the aromas of this stew is probably the most comforting way to say goodbye to my patio until next summer!

Serving Suggestions

Serve the goulash on its own or over spaetzle, elbow macaroni, egg noodles, or Mashed Potatoes! Top it with a dollop of sour cream. I love a side of bread or 30 Minute Dinner Rolls to sop up any leftover gravy.

Hungarian goulash freezes perfectly, making it ideal to make in batches for the winter. I love quickly warming up a single serving of this goulash recipe for a quick lunch or dinner!

More Soups You’ll Love

Overhead shot of Hungarian Goulash
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Hungarian Goulash

Tender beef and potatoes in a beefy broth seasoned with paprika.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 servings
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  • 2 medium yellow onions diced
  • 2 teaspoons salted butter or lard (preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ pounds stewing beef trimmed and cut into 1" cubes, or chuck
  • 2 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes canned
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • 1 ½ cup carrots optional
  • 3 cups potatoes optional
  • fresh parsley and sour cream for serving, optional


  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter the butter over medium-low heat. Add onion the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in caraway seeds and paprika.
  • In a bowl, dredge the beef with flour and shake off any excess. Add the beef to the onion mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Slowly add ¼ cup of beef broth while scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining broth, diced tomatoes, and potatoes and carrots if using. Season with salt and black pepper. 
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for about 1 ½ -2 hours or until the beef is fork tender.
  • Garnish with parsley if desired and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
4.97 from 786 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 427 | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 662mg | Potassium: 1188mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 6585IU | Vitamin C: 20.5mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 7mg

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

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Hungary

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Hungarian goulash with writing


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. Can you do this recipe in an Instant Pot? If so, How long for the pressure cook and then release?5 stars

  2. I religiously make this in cosy seasons and it is ALWAYS a crowd favourite!

    I recommend 2-2.5 hours in the oven for meat that falls apart.

    I also add dumplings 15-20mins before finishing – think simple scone. So yummy!5 stars