Hungarian Goulash

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Hungarian Goulash is a delicious beef stew (or soup) with a rich paprika seasoned broth. This delicious dish is warm and comforting, perfect for a cold weather 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.

A pot of Hungarian goulash filled with beef and potatoes.

Now that it’s autumn, the only real way to stay warm is this delicious Hungarian Goulash (gulyás). Homemade goulash is a staple in our family, and could not be more comforting as the sun turns to snow!

In this easy Hungarian Goulash recipe, tender chunks of beef, onions and tomatoes are simmered to tender perfection in a savory beef broth. YUM!  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!

A white bowl of Hungarian goulash sprinkled with fresh parsley served with white bread.

What Is Goulash?

Well for starters, it is one of the most delicious comfort food that exists (it’s up there with my oldest daughter’s favorite appetizer, jalapeno popper dip). A traditional Hungarian Goulash is a soup or stew that is usually filled with tender beef and onions spiced with paprika.

Many versions add other vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, peppers, and tomatoes.

It dates back centuries and was originally made by shepherds drying out meat to be able to store and then adding water to create a soup or stew.  Everyone seems to have their own way of making this dish and adds different veggies. Regardless, Hungarian Goulash is very different from an American Goulash Recipe which is more of a tomato, beef and macaroni dish (and also sometimes known as American Chop Suey).

Goulash is seasoned with paprika and other fragrant spices like caraway seeds and sometimes even cajun! 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 use a cheaper cut of meat and save some money!

A scoop full of Hungarian goulash with carrots, potatoes, and tender beef.

How To Make Goulash

To make the perfect Hungarian goulash you’ll want to start with onions and beef as the base and plenty of Hungarian PaprikaFry the onions in butter until they are translucent.

Add the 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 like heaven throughout your house).  Serve the goulash on its own or over spaetzle or spooned over Mashed Potatoes! We always serve it with bread or 30 Minute Dinner Rolls to sop up any leftover gravy.

What is Hungarian Paprika

Paprika is made from grinding up dried peppers. Peppers can range from hot to mild, so paprika will vary from region to region. In a lot of American cooking like as 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.

A close up of a delicious bowl of Hungarian goulash with bread.

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!

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4.8 from 24 votes
Review Recipe

Hungarian Goulash

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Hungary
Tender beef and potatoes in a beefy broth seasoned with paprika.


  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 pound stewing beef trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes canned
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots optional
  • 3 cups potatoes optional

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  1. In a large pot, melt butter and add onion. Cook till translucent. Stir in caraway seeds and paprika and mix well.

  2. In a bowl, dredge the stew beef with flour. Add beef to the onion mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes. 

  3. Slowly add about 1/4 cup of the beef broth to lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add remaining broth, diced tomatoes (potatoes and carrots if using), salt and pepper. 

  4. Stir and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer for about 1 1/2 -2 hours or until tender.

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

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

Keyword beef goulash, goulash

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Hungarian Goulash being served with a soup ladle

Hungarian goulash is the best comfort food you will make all winter. My house has never smelled better! #spendwithpennies #goulash #soup #stew #hungariangoulash #comfortfood

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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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  1. Thank you for the Hungarian Goulash recipe! What I am searching for is Hungarian Chicken and Dumplings like my mom used to make. Chicken Paprikash, I believe.

    1. Hi Jean, if your local grocery store doesn’t carry it you can always order it online. If you would like you can also substitute it for smoked paprika or regular paprika. It will change the flavor slightly but is still delicious.

  2. My Oma used to make this and this recipe brought me right back, thank you!! The second time I made it I used about 1/2 regular paprika and 1/2 HOT Hungarian paprika for a spicy goulash that my boyfriend loved.

  3. I made this today as a special meal for my Special Lady. She said this was the best thing I have ever cooked for her. Wow – thanks so much for the great recipe and for sharing!

    1. This is not an authentic Hungarian Goulash, to get the Goulash thick and saucy you have to do the following:
      1. Cut gravy, chuck or stewing beef into cubes
      2. Put beef into microwave and heat until a its lightly cooked
      3, In a pot, heat vegetable oil (pork lard is preferable) then add onion. Cook till translucent. Stir in paprika (not too much as it will make the Goulash biter) and mix well, avoid burning this mixture.
      4. Add beef to the onion/paprika mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
      3. Slowly add about
       1/4 cup of the beef broth to lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
       Then add remaining broth, diced tomatoes (potatoes and carrots if using), salt and pepper.
      4. Stir and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer for about 1 1/2 -2 hours or until tender.

  4. Is there a way to make the goulash a little more thicker? I like an almost gravy consistency. I haven’t made it yet, but I figured I’d ask before I did. I plan to make it this upcoming Friday.

    1. We have only tried this recipe as written Angelina. But to make a little thicker, you could increase the flour slightly. Or if it isn’t thick enough towards the end of cooking you could add a flour and water mixture then to thicken it.

    2. You can make a slurry of a tablespoon corn flour and a little water, till it’s like a thick paint consistency. Add bit by but, keep stirring and it will thicken. Just double the ingredients of make a larger portion than one etc.

  5. Thank you for sharing.
    My dad always called the American version American Chop Suey. He was in the USN 30 years and I just thought it was a navy nickname for what my mother called baked macaroni.
    Never knew for years it was goulash! LOL

  6. Have this simmering right now, first time trying it but smells amazing! Might sound crazy but has anyone made it and then put the leftovers in the freezer and it still hold the good flavors? 6 1/2 months pregnant looking for freezer meal options outside of pasta.

    1. Kimberly, I have never frozen this dish, but in theory, it should work. I hope you enjoyed the goulash! Congratulations on the new baby!

  7. Simple to construct, and a delicious savoury dish. I made it with smoked paprika (what a gorgeous aroma!) and with gnocchi instead of potatoes. A terrific find.

  8. We have made this twice now and both times it came out delicious. If we are out of beef broth We use vegetable or chicken broth and add beef boullian. We had regular paprika so cut it back to 2 tsp and it was perfect!

  9. Is it possible to do this recipe in a crockpot? If so, how and would the amount of liquid and cooking time change? I’m making it the original way first for my husband’s birthday dinner but the crock pot makes things so easy on busy days.
    Thank you,

    1. Happy Birthday to your husband! I would leave the liquid the same but suggest about 7-8 hours on low or until the meat is tender. Let us know how it goes!

  10. After reading all of the great reviews, I was disappointed with this. For me the paprika was too overwhelming and hid the taste of everything else.

    1. Are you sure you got the right paprika? Hungarian paprika is very mellow and slightly sweet. Unlike other paprikas are smoky and/or spicy.

  11. WOW!!! This is a great recipe, Its simple, easy, quick. My family loved it. The only changes I made, I used ribeye steaks (I would normally use NY Steaks). New family favorite, I’ll be spreading this recipe around.

  12. I made this today – it was my first crack at goulash – and it was a huge success! SO simple and delicious. My husband cannot stop raving about it :) definitely a keeper. Thank you!

  13. Delicious! This is the first dish that I’ve ever cooked that was all gone as soon as I said it’s done. No leftovers, nothing left in the pot, and EVERYONE had seconds. Even my picky daughter LOVED IT!! And it was the perfect day for it; cold and rainy. Only thing i did different was cook in the crock pot. Thanks, I love this site! I’m not the best cook but your recipes make it so easy.


    1. Sure you can! Sweet potatoes can cook a bit quicker so you might like to add them a bit later (they maybe need an hour or so).

  15. Just made this dish today, New Years Day 2019. I wish I didn’t commit to a diet as a resolution! This goulash is fantastic. I used a tablespoon of Penzey Cajun paprika and a tablespoon of regular paprika. Also cut back on the potatoes by one cup. My fussy eater wife absolutely loves this dish (me too!). Next time, I’m going full Cajun!

  16. I’m Hungarian and make this a lot. It’s a staple here as well as cabbage rolls, macaroni and cabbage and a few other comfort food recipes passed to me from my great grandmother. My fresh from Hungary grandparents served this over boiled potatoes slightly smashed with a fork and sometimes parsnips were added in.

    My three year old loves Hungarian goulash and I think this will be dinner tomorrow night!

  17. Omg I’m so excited to try this! It looks so yummy and simpler than other Gulyás recipes I’ve found online. My fiancé lived in Budapest for many years and I hope my American cooking skills can give him a taste of his home away from home. I’m going to serve it with a dollop of sour cream and some crusty bread. Thank you for posting this recipe! I’ll let you know what he thinks!

      1. Success! He loved it! I topped it with sour cream, served it with sourdough crossed bread and added a few couple garlic cloves, but otherwise followed your recipe to the letter. This is certified Hungarian approved! Many thanks!:)

  18. This recipe looks delicious and I am  going to give it a go. You  mentioned it can be simmered in the oven. I have done my chili this way. What temp and length of time in the oven do you recommend? Thank you 

  19. this is so good, made it today and doubled it up just to have extra’s
    i love it made a mix of spicy and sweet hungarian paprika powder just perfect. thank you so much!!!

    1. Caraway seeds have a strong and earthy anise taste. They are used in many dishes like rye bread, liquors, casseroles, and European cuisine.

  20. My husband found this recipe while going through my Pinterest to find recipes for the weekend. He found this and I’m so happy that he did. It was so good. I made it just like the recipe and we had some toasted crusty bread on the side. Very amazing dinner. Neither one of us wanted to stop eating it . Luckily we were at home and didn’t have to be rolled out of a restaurant anywhere lol. Thank you for sharing your wonderfully amazing recipe with us. 

  21. I’m going to make this tomorrow and i will put in a review on how it came out. I was wondering if adding fresh thyme would be tasty. Have you ever add that to this recipe before? Also I got a couple of sweet red baby tomatoes and instead of can i was going to quarter them and put them in the stew. Hopefully that would be great too.

    1. In this case I would leave them out. Some Hungarian goulash recipes don’t use tomatoes at all. If he can eat tomato paste, you could add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste.

    1. Hi Kimberly I’m making this dish tomorrow. If you have a ShopRite near you in the area they carry the Hungarian paprika. I just bought on today. It comes in a little tin like bottle rectangle shape

    1. Yes you can triple this recipe. As long as your pot is large enough, the cook time should remain close to the same once it begins to simmer. You want to make sure the beef is fork tender.

  22. I was craving some real comfort food, so we cooked this in our Nesco today! One pot, so it was super easy to cook and clean up. There was almost none left! The kids even liked it! It’s definitely going to be a go-to recipe for winter pot-lucks!

  23. I have this cooking on the stove now. I will post an update once we’ve tasted it. It looks like a very yummy cool weather food – too bad it’s 85 here today. 

    1. I have not tried this in the Crock Pot but I do think it would be delicious. Please let us know how it goes if you try it!

    1. I haven’t tried this recipe in the slow cooker but I would suggest 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 on high. Let us know how it goes.

      1. I have cooked Hungarian Goulash in the crock pot many many times.. Need to cook the onions and the meat first and than transfer into the crockpot and add all the other ingredients.. Cook on low for 8 hours.. The meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth..

  24. Hungarian goulash is absolutely perfect for this time of year – this looks so delicious too! Definitely going to pop it on the meal plan for this week.

  25. Your goulash looks wonderful. I’ve wanted to make Hungarian goulash ever since I had it in Hungary whilst staying with friend there! Somehow I’ve not gotten round to making it yet! Have to try your recipe!