Best Classic Hungarian Goulash

August 28, 2021

Use this easy goulash recipe to make authentic Hungarian goulash that is rich, thick, and spicy! The perfect comfort food for those cold winter evenings to be enjoyed with the family!

This classic goulash recipe yields a hearty cross between a soup and stew that is brothy, thick, and packed full of beef and vegetables (but not overly so). It’s simultaneously indulgent, comforting, and an absolute family favorite.

The dish also manages to be spicy without being overpowering and is a great way to dress up stew beef due to yielding excellent results with inexpensive cuts like lean chuck and top round.

Hungarian GoulashPhoto By Canva
Taste Score: %87
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4 people
Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 60 mins
Total 75 mins

Tips

  • This beef goulash recipe is traditionally made with leaner cuts that cook faster. When making it with tougher cuts of beef like chuck or round, cook the meat first for 30 to 45 minutes (instead of 8 to 10) without any additional vegetables. Then add the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers and cook for another 40 minutes until tender.
  • Generous amounts of real Hungarian paprika are essential to achieve an authentic Hungarian goulash flavor. Use double or triple of what you would use for a non-Hungarian recipe, and prefer genuine imported Hungarian paprika from the Kalocsa region of Hungary due to its rich flavor and vibrant color.
  • Be sure to remove the pot from the heat before stirring in the paprika to prevent the paprika from frying and turning bitter.
  • Cook the diced beef for at least 8 to 10 minutes with the minced garlic until the beef is no longer pink and lightly seared for an extra flavorful goulash.
  • Feel free to simmer your goulash for an extra 20 to 30 minutes over low heat to further enhance the flavor and tenderize the beef.
  • Hungarian bell peppers can be very different from the kind of bell peppers available in most other countries. Keep this in mind when buying bell peppers for goulash and only go for red and yellow peppers while avoiding green ones.
  • For this easy goulash recipe, almost any source of fat will do, but pork fat or lard is generally recommended as it's traditional and results in a deeper flavor.
  • Remember that Hungarian goulash has its beef chunks diced quite finely compared to other beef stews (1/2-inch chunks).

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Once you have chopped up your bell peppers and onions and diced your beef, melt the pork lard or butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the chopped onions.
  2. Cook the onions for 7 to 10 minutes till beginning to brown before removing from heat and stirring in at least a quarter cup of good quality sweet imported Hungarian paprika.
  3. Then add diced beef and minced garlic and return the pot to the stove, cooking for about 8 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat until the beef stops looking pink.
  4. Add chopped bell peppers and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes before adding carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and leave alone to simmer for about 40 minutes after reducing the heat to medium.
  5. Once 40 minutes have passed, taste test your Hungarian goulash and adjust salt as desired. Then, remove from the stove and enjoy with sour cream, cucumber salad, or some crusty bread.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Hungarian Goulash
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories181
% Daily Value*
Protein 10 g20%
Total Fat 3 g3.8%
Cholesterol 35 mg11.7%
Sodium 483 mg21%
Potassium 441 mg9.4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

What is Goulash?

Goulash is a Hungarian dish somewhat in between a soup and a stew. Old fashioned goulash was made with lean beef meat and whatever vegetables happened to be on hand, but the recipe has since then been modified to be richer and heartier with variations made with chicken, tofu, and shrimp.

The dish's origins can be traced back to Hungarian herdsmen who traveled for months at a time with their cattle and cooked for themselves using non-perishable supplies. Whenever cattle died or were slaughtered, the herdsmen would make a feast of browned beef with onions, black pepper, and water. And this humble dish evolved into the goulash we know today by the end of the 18th century when ground chili became a core ingredient, gaining worldwide popularity by the early 20th century.

What Cut Of Beef Is Best For Goulash?

Most chefs consider a lean beef chuck the best choice for this hearty Hungarian stew, but top round isn't that far behind. Other inexpensive but flavorful cuts are also ideal, and it is recommended to buy roast instead of cut-up meat and cut it yourself for better, leaner pieces. You can also add beef heart, beef shank, etc., to your goulash for a more unique and rich flavor profile.

What to Serve with Goulash?

Serve this easy goulash with sides like garlic bread, rye bread, French baguette, bread rolls, breadsticks, fruit salad, roasted vegetables, steamed rice, gnocchi, buttered egg noodles, dumplings, savory scones, cucumber salad, etc. You can also pair your goulash with tomato soup, mashed potatoes, cornbread muffins, rice pilaf, and cheddar cheese biscuits.

Here are some our delicious recipes that you can serve with Goulash:

What Is The Difference Between Beef Goulash And Hungarian Goulash?

Hungarian goulash is a traditional Hungarian dish made with tender beef, onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, etc., and seasoned with loads of paprika. It is the national dish of Hungary and looks like a cross between a beef stew and soup. In America, what is often called beef goulash is a tomato, beef, and macaroni dish also known as American Chop Suey.

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