5-Ingredient Easy Goulash Recipe for Busy Weeknights

Easy Goulash Recipe

Are you looking for a tasty comfort food that is easy to prepare for your family? Look no further than this easy goulash recipe! Goulash is a hearty dish that is typically made with meat, paprika, and a selection of vegetables. In this article, we will explore the history of goulash, the traditional ingredients used in this dish, and how you can make your own delicious version of goulash at home.

What is Goulash?

Goulash is a Hungarian dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. The traditional version of goulash was made with beef or mutton, but today’s recipes often incorporate pork or chicken. Goulash is typically seasoned with paprika, which gives it a distinct red color and smoky flavor. The vegetables that are used in goulash can vary, but the most common include onions, peppers, and tomatoes.

Ingredients and Preparation

Now that you know what goulash is let’s explore how you can make it at home! Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of elbow macaroni

Now, let’s get started with preparing your easy goulash:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until it is browned and cooked through.
  2. Add in the onion, garlic, and bell peppers, and sauté for about five minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water, and stir to combine.
  4. Add in the paprika, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the goulash for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
  6. In the meantime, cook the elbow macaroni in boiling water according to package instructions. Once done, drain the macaroni and add them into the skillet with the goulash.
  7. Stir everything together and let it cook for another five minutes so the pasta can absorb some of the sauce.
  8. Serve hot and enjoy!

With these easy-to-follow steps, you can enjoy a hearty bowl of goulash in no time. If you want to take your goulash to the next level, try adding in some other ingredients – like mushrooms or carrots. Or if you want to make it a bit spicier, you can add in some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to give it a kick.

Variations and Additions

The best part about goulash is that there are so many ways you can customize it to your liking. Here are some ideas for variations and additions:

  • Use a slow cooker: for an even easier version of goulash, you can use a slow cooker to cook everything together. Just add in all the ingredients, set it on low, and let it cook for four to six hours.
  • Swap out the meat: if you aren’t a fan of beef, you can try using ground pork or chicken instead. Or you can even make a vegetarian version by omitting the meat and adding in some extra veggies.
  • Add in more veggies: if you want to up your veggie game, try adding in some mushrooms, carrots, or celery for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Try different spices: while paprika is the traditional spice used in goulash, you can try experimenting with other spices to give it a unique flavor. Cumin, coriander, and chili powder are all great options.

With these variations and additions, you can make your goulash truly your own. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or try something new, goulash is a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for cooler weather. Enjoy!

What to Serve with Goulash

Goulash is a hearty and comforting meal that is perfect for cold winter nights or any time of year. While it may be filling on its own, serving it with the right sides and beverages can take it to the next level. Here are some suggestions for what to serve with goulash:

Traditional Sides

There are some classic sides that are almost always served with goulash. These sides help balance the flavors of the dish and add some variety to the meal.

Noodles: Egg noodles are a classic choice to serve with goulash. They are hearty enough to hold up to the thick stew, and the simple flavor allows the goulash to be the star of the meal.

Breads: Crusty bread or garlic bread is another good option to serve with goulash. The bread can be used to sop up any remaining sauce or to make a sandwich with the meat and vegetables.

Vegetables: A simple green salad or some steamed vegetables can add a fresh and healthy element to the meal. Broccoli or green beans are both good options.

Alternative Sides

If you want to mix things up a bit, there are some unique and creative sides that can really complement the flavors of goulash.

Colorful Salads: A shredded cabbage or jicama salad with a tangy vinaigrette can be a refreshing side dish that adds some crunch and color to the meal.

Savory Stews: Goulash is a stew, but serving it with another type of stew can be a fun and hearty twist. A rich beef stew or a bean and vegetable stew can be a great side dish that meshes well with the flavors of goulash.

Pierogies: Pierogies are a Polish dumpling that are often served with goulash. They are usually filled with mashed potatoes and cheese, and can be boiled, fried, or baked.

Beverage Pairings

Choosing the right beverage to serve with goulash can be just as important as choosing the right sides. Here are some suggestions:

Wine: A bold red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel can complement the rich flavors of goulash. A dry white wine like a Pinot Grigio or a Chardonnay can also be a good choice.

Beer: A dark beer like a Stout or a Porter can be a great match for goulash. The malty flavor and creamy texture can balance out the spiciness of the stew. A lager or a pilsner can also be a refreshing choice.

Non-Alcoholic Options: If you want a non-alcoholic beverage to serve with goulash, a hot tea or a hot apple cider can be a cozy choice. A glass of cold milk or a cup of lemonade can also be refreshing options.

With these suggestions for sides and beverages, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal centered around goulash. Whether you stick with traditional sides or try some new options, you’re sure to enjoy this classic dish.

Goulash Leftovers: How to Store and Reheat

As with most stews and soups, Goulash tends to taste even better the next day. So it’s always wise to make a bigger batch than needed. However, leftover Goulash must be stored properly to prevent foodborne illnesses and spoilage. Here are some guidelines for storing your leftover Goulash safely:

Storage Tips

The best way to store Goulash is by transferring it into an airtight container. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are ideal since they don’t allow air to penetrate, which can cause the food to spoil. Be sure to let the Goulash cool off before transferring it into the container. This helps prevent condensation from building up and making the food soggy. It’s also recommended to divide the Goulash into smaller portions for faster and even cooling.

The shelf life of leftover Goulash is around 3 to 4 days if stored properly in the refrigerator at a temperature between 35°F and 38°F. If you plan to keep it longer, then it’s best to freeze it instead. If stored in the freezer at 0°F or below, Goulash can last for up to 3 months.

Reheating Instructions

Reheating leftover Goulash is easy and can be done using different methods depending on your preference.

Stovetop Method: Transfer the desired quantity of Goulash into a pot and add a little bit of water or broth to loosen it up. Heat it over medium-low heat until it reaches the desired temperature. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating. If the Goulash is too thick, add more water or broth until it reaches the desired consistency. Serve hot.

Microwave Method: Transfer the desired quantity of Goulash into a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a lid or a microwave-safe plastic wrap. Heat it up for 1-2 minutes and stir. If it’s not hot enough, heat it up for another minute or so, stirring in between. Be sure to check the temperature before serving.

Oven Method: Transfer the desired quantity of Goulash into an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the dish inside. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Check the temperature before serving.

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to reheat the Goulash to an internal temperature of at least 165°F to kill any bacteria that may have grown during storage. Stirring occasionally also helps distribute the heat evenly and prevents hot spots.

Leftover Makeovers

If you’re tired of simply reheating leftover Goulash, why not repurpose it into a new and exciting dish? Here are some creative ideas:

Stuffed Peppers: Cut the tops off of bell peppers and scoop out the seeds. Fill them with leftover Goulash and top with shredded cheese. Bake in the oven at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Potato Topping: Bake some potatoes and slit them open. Scoop out some of the flesh and fill the cavities with leftover Goulash. Top with sour cream and chopped scallions. Bake in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Serve hot.

Shepherd’s Pie: Transfer some leftover Goulash into a baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top and bake in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot.

With these ideas, you can turn leftover Goulash into a whole new meal that your family will love.

Thanks for Reading!

I hope you found this 5-Ingredient Easy Goulash Recipe helpful for your busy weeknights. It’s a great way to have a delicious and filling meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. Plus, with only five ingredients, it’s a budget-friendly option too! Don’t forget to come back to our website for more easy and tasty recipes that you and your family will enjoy.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article. We hope you found it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. We value your feedback and we are always looking for ways to improve. Until next time, happy cooking!


1. Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?

Absolutely! You can use any type of short pasta for this recipe, such as penne or rigatoni.

2. Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?

Yes, you can use ground turkey or any other ground meat of your choice.

3. Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh?

Yes, you can use canned tomatoes if you don’t have fresh ones on hand.

4. Can I add other vegetables to this recipe?

Certainly! You can add any vegetables that you like, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms.

5. Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months.

6. Can I use a different type of cheese?

Sure! You can use any type of cheese that you like, such as cheddar, mozzarella, or feta.

7. Can I make this recipe in advance?

Yes, you can make this recipe in advance and reheat it before serving.

8. Can I use vegetable broth instead of beef broth?

Definitely! You can use any type of broth that you prefer.

9. Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried?

Yes, you can use fresh herbs if you have them on hand. Just remember to adjust the amounts accordingly.

10. Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can make this recipe in a slow cooker. Just follow the same instructions and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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