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Classic American Goulash

By Emma :

Everyday Culinary Delights👩‍🍳

Classic American Goulash

Oh, how grateful I am to have such wonderful readers like you who share my love for comforting, hearty meals that bring back fond memories and create new ones. Today, I’m excited to share a recipe that’s as heartwarming as it is delicious: Classic American Goulash. It’s a simple, one-pot wonder that has been a family favorite in many households for generations, including mine!

This dish is not only easy to prepare but also incredibly versatile, making it perfect for those busy weeknights or a cozy weekend dinner. Let’s dive into the goodness of this beloved American classic!


To get started with our classic American Goulash, you’ll need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

How to Make Classic American Goulash

Follow these steps to bring this comforting dish to your table:

  1. Brown the Meat: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Add Aromatics: Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the beef, cooking until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Mix in the Goodies: Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with their juice, soy sauce, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  4. Pasta Time: Add the uncooked elbow macaroni and water, ensuring the pasta is submerged. Return to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
  5. Cheese It Up: If using, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the goulash just before serving and let it melt into the hot mixture.

Helpful Tips

  • Stir Frequently: To prevent the pasta from sticking, make sure to stir the goulash every few minutes while it simmers.
  • Adjust Consistency: If the goulash seems too dry before the pasta is done, add a little more water. If it’s too watery, let it simmer uncovered for a few extra minutes.


  • Meat Variations: Feel free to use ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version.
  • Vegetarian Adaptation: Omit the meat and add more beans like kidney beans or lentils for a vegetarian twist.
  • Spice It Up: Add a dash of chili powder or some red pepper flakes if you like a bit of a kick.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make goulash in a slow cooker? Absolutely! Just brown your meat and onions beforehand, then add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Is goulash gluten-free? As long as you use gluten-free pasta, this dish can easily be adapted to be gluten-free.

Storage Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave, adding a splash of water if needed to loosen it up.

More Relevant Recipes

If you enjoyed this classic American Goulash, you might also love these hearty dishes:

Goulash is truly a dish that promises simplicity, comfort, and flavor all in one pot. It’s perfect for any day of the week, and I can’t wait for you to try it out. Dive in, enjoy, and as always, happy cooking!

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Classic American Goulash

Classic American Goulash

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  • Author: Emma
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


Step into the cozy world of Classic American Goulash, where each spoonful is like a warm hug on a chilly evening. This one-pot marvel combines the heartiness of ground beef, the comforting bite of elbow macaroni, and a richly seasoned tomato base. It’s the perfect dish for any night that calls for a bit of nostalgia and a lot of flavor!


  • 1 lb ground beef – the star that adds richness
  • 1 medium onion, chopped – for that essential savory background
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – because what’s a hearty meal without garlic?
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked – for a satisfying chew
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce – the smooth, tangy base
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained – for a touch of rustic texture
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce – a secret umami boost
  • 1 teaspoon paprika – for a hint of smoky sweetness
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano – an herb that sings of comfort
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – to enhance all the flavors
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper – for a gentle kick
  • 2 cups water – to bring everything together
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional) – for creamy, melty luxury


  1. Begin the Magic: Heat your Utopia Kitchen Saute Fry Pan, then add the ground beef. Cook until it’s beautifully browned and crumbly.
  2. Layer the Flavors: Toss in the onion and garlic, and let them mingle until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Build the Base: Pour in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, then stir in the soy sauce, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pasta Time: Add the macaroni and water. Let everything bubble gently under a cover for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta is perfectly tender.
  5. Final Flourish: Sprinkle over the cheddar cheese for a luxurious finish, if you’re using it.


  • Keep It Stirring: Give your goulash a good stir now and then to keep it from sticking and to ensure even cooking.
  • Consistency is Key: If your goulash is too thick, splash in a bit more water. Too thin? Let it simmer a few minutes more, uncovered.
  • Spice It Your Way: Add a pinch of chili powder or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to tailor the heat to your taste.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: Per serving
  • Calories: 450
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg

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