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+ servings

American Goulash

American Goulash - simple yet flavorful one-pot meal with elbow macaroni cooked in a rich beefy tomato sauce. A very hearty and comforting pasta dinner that reminds you of home!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 5 - 6 people
Calories 572kcal
Author Imma


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds lean ground beef 
  • 1 medium onion , chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
  • 3-4 medium fresh tomatoes , chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3-4 cups beef broth or more
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon beef  or chicken bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni , uncooked
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley , for garnish 


  • Start by browning  ground beef in a large heavy dutch pot, over medium high heat, until the beef  is no longer pink. While cooking, use a wooden spatula to crumble ground beef into small pieces. Remove and set aside. Leave about 1-2 tablespoons of grease in the pan. 
  • Add diced onions and garlic, cook for about 3-5 minutes until onion is soft, translucent and fragrant.
  • Return ground beef to pot along with the fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, Italian seasoning, paprika, sugar, bouillon and bay leaf. Stir together, bring to a boil, cover, reduce to low heat and let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Stir in the uncooked pasta, season with cayenne if using, salt and pepper to taste, cover and simmer for an additional 15 -18 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent pasta  from sticking at the bottom of the pot.
  • Take out bay leaf. Stir in the cheese to melt just before serving. Serve garnished with fresh parsley if desired.


  1. I used sharp cheddar cheese for this goulash recipe, any kind of cheese will work. If you prefer, top with cheese and put it under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbly.
  2.  Goulash will generally freeze well, apart from the pasta which becomes mushy and overcooked after reheating. If you plan to freeze some, cook the pasta separately and add it in as you serve the portions.
  3. If you do not have macaroni, substitute with penne or rotini pasta. 
  4. Avoid under cooking or over cooking the pasta, it’s best to cook so pasta is still firm when you take a bite. 
  5.  You can make it dairy free by eliminating the added cheese. 
  6. Add more or less liquid to get your desired consistency. 
  7. To make American goulash ahead of time, cook as instructed until you get to the point where you are about to add in the  broth. Do not add pasta , instead boil separately according to its package instructions. Store the sauce and pasta in separate containers and store in the refrigerator or freezer depending on when you want to eat it. Combine both when about to reheat, add broth to get your preferred consistency.
  8. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.


Calories: 572kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 586mg | Potassium: 1146mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1252IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 300mg | Iron: 5mg