American Goulash


This has been a family favorite for decades. It was one of my all time favorite meals that my mom made when I was a kid. She got the recipe from her mom. I make it for my family. It’s totally a family thang!  And, it’s one of my all time best, “go to recipes for comfort food “. It’s easy and delicious cooking!

American Goulash is truly an American classic and goes by many names in every region of this country   It’s known as American Chop Suey, Traveling Man’s Hash, Beef and Mac, Slum Gumption, and Kentucky Burgoo. Some people add a can of corn, celery, green bell pepper , a different type of cheese, or even, no cheese at all. Hhhmmmm…..


For my family, the following recipe is almost sacred. If I added corn, bell pepper or frankly, anything other than what’s listed below, my family would absolutely FREAK!!! So, I, obviously, respect my grandma’s wisdom and recipe with grace, and never, I mean ever, stray from the recipe she so lovingly made and handed down! Thanks Grammy:)


If you’re looking for a pasta recipe or beef recipe this is it! Or, if you’re like me, and buy your ground beef at Costco, you need lots of good hamburger recipes! This Goulash just may become your go-to recipe. You can always substitute the beef with ground turkey if you want to add to your healthy dinner repertoire.


277 Responses to American Goulash

  1. rachel

    Great recipe, I am sick and my 12 yr. old daughter made this for me tonight!!!! Love it

    • Cindy

      I am making this at the moment. It smells so awesome in my house! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My Mom used to make this for us when I was a child and I loved it. Before she passed away, I asked her for the recipe but she couldn’t remember because she had demitia. I really think that this recipe is just like hers, or at least very close. Thank you again! 🙂

    • James

      I just made this for lunch… and it is amazing!! I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    • Mary

      OMG! I thought my mother invented this dish!! Too funny! We didn’t have alot of money and this was always a welcomed dish!

      • Tammy Carr

        Yeah , Me to. I thought my Dad invented this and made the name up. Lol

    • Maire

      You are SO lucky to have such a wonderful
      tween! And I bet she was proud to serve you her American Goulash! Nurture her interest in cooking; she may one day have a blog of her own. 🙂

      Of the many I have tried this one with longer cooking is sure to create a more refined flavor.

      A similar dish my kids make is called Cheeseburger Mac. It is quick to make with what you have on hand and great for young people in first apartments or college I always give it to college kids with a note saying skip Hamburger Helper; this is much better and less expensive!

  2. Sue

    My mom always put some bacon in. Yummy!

    • Leggere

      My grandma used a bit of bacon, as well. Yummers!

    • Nancy

      My mom did too
      Bacon and cheddar cheese
      She cooked the macaroni too.
      No bay leaves or soy sauce.

      I’m gonna try your way though. Mom didn’t spice or use a lot of herbs.

      But hers is good too.

      • Nancy

        I forgot she would also chop a green pepper!

        • Renee

          My grandma always added Green bell Pepper as well along with corn & peas. AWESOME>

    • Ricky Sessions

      Instead of using the tomato sauce I use spicy V-8. Just gives it a sight kick because my wife can’t do anything to spicy.

      • Kathleen

        Hi Ricky, the V-8 sounds like an interesting version!

        • Diane

          Hi Kathleen,
          I’m making your goulash for the first time for Christmas Eve tomorrow night. Got a question for you. The recipe calls for two cans of tomato sauce. Is that 15 ounces total or 15 ounces per can?

          • Kathleen

            Hi Diane. It’s 15 ounces each, total 30 ounces total 🙂

  3. Sara

    I was wondering if you drain the grease from the meat before adding the tomato sauce and other ingredients?

    • Kathleen

      Hi Sara, No I don’t. Feel free to customize the recipe to suit you. It would still be delicious as a lower fat version. You just have to be watchful because you add the veggies and they either need some fat or liquid so they don’t stick, or worse yet, burn. If I was going lower fat I’d cook the meat with a bit of nonstick spray then remove them it a plate when cooked. Then I’d cook the veggies in a little more cooking spray then add a bit of beef broth to prevent sticking as they cook. This is also great with ground turkey!

    • MaryB.

      I always do.

  4. Ally

    This recipe turned out amazing!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Kathleen

      So glad you liked it!

  5. Lora

    Can you make this in crockpot, letting cook on low for the afternoon? Looking to serve w/garlic bread & tossed salad for a group, but doesn’t say how many servings?

    • Kathleen

      I haven’t done it that way but I bet it could work out well. I’d first brown the meat and then the onion and garlic then add them to the crock pot. Then add the rest of the ingredients except for the pasta for a few hours so all the flavors mingle then add the pasta to cook. This recipe easily feeds 8. I’m assuming there will be other food so i’d guess 10-12 would be more acurrate, obviously depending on the bowl size. Hope it works out well for you. Let me know!

    • DPGirl

      I would be afraid that the macaroni would get soggy and split if it cooked that long!

      • Kathleen

        Hey Dp Girl, ironically my pasta doesn’t split but it does indeed become very soft. Please skip this step if you prefer a more al dente style pasta. I’m just sharing how my family enjoys this 🙂 And yes potatoes sound great!!!

        • Maureen H.

          I have made this since college. I always cook the macaroni a couple minutes short of being ‘fully cooked’. Then add it to the finished goulash.

          • Kathleen

            Great idea Maureen!

  6. Julie

    I made this thinking I could freeze some since it makes such a large batch. Oh no, my ‘non-leftover eating’ family ate it all in 2 sittings! Good stuff!!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Julie! Thanks so much for sharing that with me. I’m so happy you liked it! I would freeze the casserole unbaked. I would try and put the casserole in the refrigerator the day before I wanted to serve it the let it sit on the counter at least an hour and bake it. Honestly, not sure how long it will take in the oven. It really will depend on how thawed it is when you put it in the oven. Hope that helps. Sorry I don’t know exactly. I’ll try it soon and let you know 🙂

      • Kathleen

        Thanks for sharing Patti. We have it often too 🙂

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  8. Carrie Lynd

    My mother used to add a little sugar as her secret ingredient! She was a very good cook and her Banana Bread recipe made it into a cook book!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Carrie! That makes a ton of sense. I often add a pinch or more of sugar to recipes that call for canned tomatoes to cut their acidity. Funny it never occurred to me in this recipe!

    • Melinda

      My Grandma made this and she would add a ill bit of sugar as well. I have never heard of anyone else doing that until now. I think it’s great! 🙂

    • Roxanna W

      I always add sugar to mine as well!

  9. Angelica

    This is the best American Chop Suey I have ever had. So amazing. I halved the recipe but I will be doing the full recipe next time. Oh my god thank you so much for doing this

    • Kathleen

      Hey Angelica! Thanks for such wonderful feedback. You made my day!!! 🙂

  10. Kelli

    wow! My mom used to make a goulash for us when I was little. She passed away when I was 18 and I never learned how she made it, but I remember how it tasted. Over the years I tried to replicate it but always fell short. I believe this recipe could be it! I cannot wait to try it! I will be making it this weekend. Thanks!

    • Kathleen

      I hope it comes close! Let me know 🙂

    • cathy

      my grandmother made this, and of course she never wrote down a recipe. It was one of my favorite things that she made. I do remember that hers also had kidney beans in it. I can’t wait to try it!!!

  11. MiMi

    In the blog before the recipe you talk about cheese. I see nothing about cheese in the ingredient list or the instructions. Am I missing something?

    • Kathleen

      Hey Mimi. Some people add grated cheese to the top of their hot goulash. You can use any you like. My son likes it with cheddar. I like just plain. 🙂

  12. allie holt

    what if i dont have a dutch oven?

    • Kathleen

      You really just need a large, heavy bottom pan that will accommodate all the ingredients together while they simmer. 🙂

  13. Amy

    Hi I’m actually making this for dinner but after I read your comment about it being better overnight I think I’m going to do that. Do you have a particular time frame as far as leaving in the fridge overnight. I know I will have to let it cool before I put it in the fridge. Or do you think it’s possible that I could make it this morning and Stick it in the fridge and have it for dinner tonight. Either way I can’t wait to see how this turns out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Amy. Ultimately, I think it’s better overnight when you have the time. It’s totally possible to make it the morning of, but the overnight in the fridge really does something extra for it. When you make it the day before it also becomes a little thicker because the pasta absorbs some of the sauce. If you want you can always add a little water or low sodium beef broth to loosen it up a bit. Low sodium is a must in this case. You really can’t go wrong with this dish! I hope you enjoy it!!!

  14. Stef

    So glad I saw this (Pinterest!)! My mom always made “Goulash” for us growing up. It was a recipe she learned from her mom and we never knew anyone else who made it like this instead of the traditional Hungarian way. Our version is slightly different, though: ground beef, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomato PASTE, water, basil, oregano and shells instead of elbows. And it’s a sacred recipe in our family, too. So simple and so good! Nice to know we’re not alone anymore. 🙂

  15. cheri jacobsen

    I love that your recipes come from your granma and your mom. We make a version of goulash at the deli I work at. In addition to bell pepper, we used Spicey V-8 for the tomato sauce. People love it, but I prefer the old standard. Thanks.

  16. Jenn

    So excited to taste this tomorrow as I drool watching it simmer right now! I used paste converted to sauce and diced tomatoes in Italian Seasoning, both bought on accident, but it smells soooo yummy! Comfort food for chilly January MN weather!

    • Kathleen

      I wish I had a big pot of this waiting for me!!! Hope you enjoy 🙂

  17. Sherry

    This was great (American Goulash)

  18. Mary

    This is my favorite comfort food of ALL time. My Mom would boil the onions in the water until soft, them crumble in the hamburger meat into the boiling water. Then she would “skim” off the foam (like you do with chicken stock). Then she would add all the tomatoes and sauces. She also added a teaspoon or two of bacon grease. If you are from the South, this makes perfect sense! Add the elbow macaroni and enjoy with saltine crackers. Ahh! The taste of home!

  19. April

    I’m making this as I type, it’s almost finished minus the letting it sit overnight. I kept messing up, but let’s hope it turns out anyway. However it tastes, my kitchen smells delicious!

  20. Amber

    Made this quite a few times now after finding the recipe on Pinterest. Delicious! Thnk you for sharing.

  21. Ashley

    My father in law use to make this all the time and of course he loved to cook and never shared his recipe. After he passed we searched through all of his books and could never find this recipe. We had many failed attempts until I saw this one Pinterest and decided to try it! It smelt so good I couldn’t wait until the next day to try it!!! And I must say this is the it! I’m so happy to have found this recipe thanks so much for sharing!

    • Kathleen

      Ashley thank you so much for sharing that with me! I’m so happy this recipe connects with your father in laws 🙂

  22. Karrina

    Made this for the fam tonight. (I read the part of letting it sit overnoght too late) It was still very good! Everyone liked it, including my picky boys I can’t wait ti see if the leftovers taste better after being refrigerated overnight. The only thing I did different was use ground venison instead of ground beef. Thanks so much for the recipe. It’s a keeper!! 🙂

    • Kathleen

      Karrina, sooo happy it was a hit with the fam! Nothing better than a happy, well fed family 🙂

  23. Maria

    You have a winner here. My husband who also loves to cook was very skeptical that this recipe was going to taste good. He asked that I not put the bay leaf in so I didn’t but only to appease him. Guess what? Winner!!!! With or without the bay leaf! Delicious!!!
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Kathleen

      Yay! So happy you guys liked it and made it your own 🙂

  24. Shannon

    I have eaten this my whole life, when you grow up poor and in a big family you eat a lot of stew type stuff. I dont have a recipe, i cook my onions and garlic then add in my ground beef, i boil the noodles till theyre al dente while i do the meat. I drain the noodles, put them back in the pot then add the meat, then i put in a huge can of stewed tomatoes that i crush up w a masher, and a can of crushed tomatoes thats like a thick sauce, then add in a couple cans of tomato sauce, some sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder and fresh ground pepper and a bay leaf. I let it simmer until the noodles soak up the sauce some. We then eat it with some buttered bread. No bacon, no soy sauce and the only cheese we use and is a must is shaker parmesan cheese. Its simple, yummy and takes no thinking lol

  25. Cindy

    I made this the other day. It was yummy. One pot meal. Love that.
    I used a dutch oven.

  26. Christi

    Hi Kathleen! This recipe looks amazing! I was considering making this tonight. But, I was wondering..Is the Soy Sauce an absolutely necessary element to the recipe? I don’t seem to have any more on hand and no time to pick any up. Is this something I can substitute or leave out altogether without compromising the flavor of the original recipe? If so, what would be an acceptable substitute for this item? Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

    • Kathleen

      Hey Christi,
      This is one of those recipes that I wouldn’t dream of substituting anything. I have a very specific taste memory for this dish and think any change would ruin it for me. That being said, since you haven’t eaten this specific recipe many times it may be fine if you sub the soy sauce for Worcestershire sauce. I’d add 1 tablespoon of the Worcestershire. Btw-I too often need to make substitues but this one kills me a little. I want it to be perfect for you!

      • Christi

        Hey Kathleen,

        Thank you so much for your suggestions! You’ll be happy and relieved to know that I, in fact did not have to substitute anything in the recipe last night! Haha 🙂

        My other half brought me a bottle of Soy Sauce yesterday evening on the way home from work. Needless to say, it came out perfect and tasted amazing! It was a huge hit with the fam! Thank you! 😉

  27. Kathy Durbin

    My grandmother always added a couple ribs of chopped celery with the onion and garlic. It’s a secret ingredient that you wouldn’t think adds much, but it really does! 🙂

  28. patty riley

    My mom added just a touch of sugar and we called it slop.

  29. Kris Anderson

    Thank you!
    I grew up in Iowa and my mother made this every week. She used home canned tomatoes, and never wrote the recipe down. I got homesick just reading your recipe. I have everything in house, so guess what is for dinner tomorrow?

  30. Samantha Otto

    This may be a silly question, but how to you heat it up after it spends the night in the fridge?

    • Kathleen

      Hi Samantha! What a great question!!! You can microwave it or add a little water to a pan and slowly, over low heat, stirring often, heat it until it’s warm through.

      • Samantha Otto

        Thanks a million Kathleen! My whole family watched me make this yesterday and we are all looking forward to chowing down on it for dinner tonight 🙂

  31. Sara

    Do you drain the diced tomatoes?

    • Kathleen

      No, I add everything in the can.

  32. A.Walthall

    My Family and I really enjoyed this recipe. i have one question my noodles ended up being mushy, is that normal? Did I do something wrong? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you

    • Kathleen

      Hmmm. I don’t know why but I don’t seem to have that problem when I make it as directed and I HATE mushy pasta!!! I have had that problem happen when I’ve cooked it the nite before and tried to “keep” it heated for an extended period in a crock pot the next day. Making it the way directed above does definitely make the pasta soft but I haven’t had it turn mushy.
      I’m wondering if possibly you let it sit an extended period after cooling? Or maybe the next day? Not sure… You could always cook it for less time or not at all after you add the pasta. You could just keep the pasta out and add it the next day and eat as soon as it’s al dente. Hopefully, this helps a bit and doesn’t just muddy the waters. Let me know if you figure out how to make it work better for you!! Good luck 🙂

    • Lynn

      I just made this for the second time tonight, and the weirdest thing is that my noodles this time are completely mushy the same day I cooked it. (they held their shape but have the consistency of mush) The only thing I changed between the first time and this was my pasta shape — from medium-sized (De Cecco) to tiny elbows (Panzani). Such a bummer, I’ll defnitely go back to a bigger shape and back to De Cecco.

  33. Kim

    I did not see how long to cook it after it has been in refrigerator.
    I am thinking that I should take it out for about 1hr to bring to room temp. Then what??

    • Kathleen

      I’ve never timed it but I think it takes about 15-20 minutes on a low gentle heat. If it seems a bit dry add a little water so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

  34. Kim

    Well for me…..I separated it into 2-baking dishes and froze 1 and put the other in the refrigerator. I took it out of the refrigerator about 1hr before my cooking time and the put it in a 350 Oven for about 45-min. I was surprised it took so long to heat through but it did and my guys loved it so it was worth the wait

    • Kathleen

      I think it’s much quicker to heat it on the stove top gently.

  35. Carlyn

    I am making this right as I type and my apartment smells divine. The only thing I am concerned with, is if the pasta will absorb too much of the liquid and become mushy. I have had this problem when I make soups and add pasta or rice. I’m thinking of making the pasta on the side and add it as I eat it.

    Thank you!

    • Kathleen

      I just responded to another reader regarding the mushy issue so check that out. If you are going to reheating it multiple times it could totally get mushy. Making the pasta on the side is a fail safe alternative. I just have to say that when the pasta does sit overnight, it does get softer, but it also increases the pastas flavor. I may just be used to the softer texture of the pasta in this dish because that’s how my family made it! Hope that helps….let me know how it works out. 🙂

  36. Beth

    2 thumbs up for all versions of Goulash! Mom fed 7 kids on a blue collar budget with 75% of our groceries home grown, traded or hunted. Our version would have to start with home canned tomatoes & elbow Mac, but whatever we had in freezer or was on sale went in the pot. Even venison burger or ground pork browned with onions & celery works if hamburg isn’t on hand. Had to laugh about letting it ‘age’ overnight. We didn’t ever have leftovers& no one who smelled it who didn’t reach for a bowlfull. Thanks for enlightening the rest of humanity what is probably rural white soul food. 🙂

    • Carole

      Same with our family, too, Beth. Mama fed seven kids delicious food, and there was always plenty, and almost never any leftovers.

  37. fay

    This was sooo good! I halved the recipe and had plenty of yummy leftovers. Added half of green pepper. Will be making this again.

  38. Jamie

    I haven’t had this in forever and can’t wait to try it out now that I am married to see how it comes out. But being from Kentucky, I can tell you that goulosh and burgoo are totally different things. However, if you have never had burgoo, you may also want to give it whirl. Check out Old Hickory BBQ or Moonlite BBQ, both in Owensboro, KY. Thanks!

    • Denise

      Jamie you are so right about goulash and burgoo being two totally different things! And burgoo takes a long time to fix. 🙂 But boy is it good!

  39. Haley Holden

    Do you have an approximate serving size for this dish?


  40. lueann

    I do almost as the recipe says, but I do add chilli powder to give it the extra zing…we like it hot.

  41. Mary

    I just made this. Hope it’s “good” by tonight.

  42. Jen

    This was great!! I actually thought it tasted great the same day, but the leftovers were good too.

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  44. Billie Jo Alexander

    My mom made this when I was growing up because it was cheap, she passed away and I never thought to get the recipe. This is as close as it gets, on my way to the store now to make for dinner tonight. Cannot wait!

  45. Andrea

    Do you drain the fat from the hamberger?

    • Kathleen

      No I don’t 🙂

      • Terry

        Hi, I want to make goulosh tonight for dinner so I went to Pinterest and somehow I found yours it sounds really good cant wait to try it but what I wanted to know was do you have to cook your macaroni in the sauce ….if so do the noodles get to over cooked or not please let me know…thank you

  46. michelle lisica

    Had this for dinner tonight it’s yummy. My 2 year had three small helping 🙂

  47. Amy

    We have a similar recipe in my family that my grandmother always made. Mostly because it made enough to feed her large family (8) and it was cheap. Ours is tomato soup, elbow macaroni, corned beef, corn, potatoes and rumor has it, cabbage. I never add the cabbage and I prefer to skip the potatoes, We like to crumble up sweet cornbread in it. And it always tasted better as leftovers.

    • dick

      thats gooooooolash on a budget for sure. add alittle rice and youd have my entire kitchen!! god bless america!!

    • DPGirl

      That actually sounds really good with the potatoes for me!

  48. Kris

    My Grandma made this when I was young…instead of soy sauce she added a little brown sugar… it was YUMMY!

  49. Lydia

    Love this recipe! It has been a monthly staple for the past 6 months. Only changes that I made is to cook the beef, onions and garlic at the same time and I always drain the fat after the meat is cooked. We also eat it the same day I make it. Thank you for this yummy recipe 🙂

  50. Linda Frost

    My mom used to make chili and put macaroni in it. It’s sort of similar but I’m trying this because it looks so good. Funny, how our childhood memories take us back to food we love <3

  51. Angel

    Looks wonderful. I really love beef stews that are hearty. I have to say I never eat it with noodles nor pasta. Sometimes I make them with vegetables and potatoes, and sometimes meant to be served with rice. I just made a goulash that’s just 400 calories per generous serving and it was just amazingly good. You can check my blog if you are interested.

  52. April

    This was one of my favorite recipes of my grandmas. Have this simmering now and cannot wait to have some tonight. Sorry no waiting

  53. Alyssa

    Can’t wait to try your version of Goulash! Ours is similar to yours but we put about a half cup of halved small green olives which is so amazingly delish! I love facing skeptic’s with this and winning them over LOL!

  54. pzazzin

    I add peppers, corn and kidney beans. The way my grandpa used to make it 🙂

  55. Jen

    Making this right now…it seems like there is too much liquid and it will have a soup like texture to it. Does the liquid thicken during cooking?

  56. rachel

    This is the same recipe as Bobby’s Goulash on the Paula Deen site other than she makes a “House” seasoning that is used and uses italian seasoning in place of oregano & basil. Very good recipe but I always cut back on the salt & let the diners add more if wanted.

  57. Jenny Leger

    I’ve got it on the stove now and it smells amazing! When you reheat the next day, do you just out it back in Dutch oven or other pot and heat on the stove? Do you have to add any water to liquid a bit?

    Can’t wait to eat!

  58. Tommie Vaughn

    Very very similar recipe to my grandmother’s. She too added green (Bell) peppers. We always ate it over cornbread. I am drooling just thinking about it. Thanks for sharing.

  59. dick

    god bless America!!!

  60. Janet

    Just made it for dinner, and boy was it good.
    Sure glad this was on pin. Might try with the green
    peppers and mexi-corn. Thank you for sharing a
    great meal.

  61. Mandi

    What if I don’t have bay leaves? Will it still be ok without?

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  63. Blue

    My mom would add a can of red beans to it.
    very good

  64. Debbie Thomsen

    My sister used to make goulash but never had a recipe and try as I might I could never duplicate hers. I’m cooking at this moment and hope this will be as good as hers, so far it smells and looks delicious. I let you know how it is later. Thanks.

  65. Lori

    I used this recipe once before and I am getting ready to make it again. It was delicious! I wouldn’t add or substitute anything. Thanks for sharing. P.S. I am the youngest of 9, and we ate a lot of goulash growing up. Half of us kids consider goulash to be comfort food, and love it…..and the other half never want to eat it again!

  66. Sandy

    Thanks for the recipe.. Made it once and now again tonight. It was great, but question – when you said 2 cups of macaroni – do you measure out two cups, or use the whole package of 16 oz (2 cups)… There is a big difference – so just wanted your input.
    Thanks Again!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Sandy! Great question. I measured out 2 cups. 🙂

  67. Don Bowersox

    My mother made this with green pepper also–she was from a big family–but it was just her and i–when she made it there was left overs for days–it was great reheated–seems like there was always goulash in the ice box–I was raised on goulash and bread and butter

  68. Emily

    This recipe was delicious. I also added a bit of shredded cheese to the top when I served it!

  69. Shawn

    This stuff is amazing. On my second batch I replaced one cup of water with an additional can of tomato sauce. It made it more ‘creamy’. Very delicious.

  70. Kyndra

    Ugh! Been wanting this dish for ages and was super excited to try but the pasta was super soft/mushy. I wouldn’t recommend cooking the pasta for 25 minutes. If I make again I’ll probably cook the pasta separate. I added green bell pepper, one fresh bay leaf and fresh basil to taste.

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  72. Kassy

    Love it! I add potato chunks and corn

  73. Julie

    Turned out great! I was trying to replicate my Mother’s version, and your recipe confirmed I was on the right track. I cooked the macaroni first, then added it to the tomato concoction. I also added a can of tomato paste. I did drain the grease, but then added maybe 1/3 back in for flavor. Also added a couple other spice blends, and skipped the soy. My Dad said it was really good, just like my Mom’s!!

  74. Jodi

    This was almost exactly my mom’s recipe, minus the soy sauce. I have added corn to it and it didn’t go over well with the family. LOL I just leave it plain ol goulash!

  75. Lesa

    My step dad taught me to make this when I was young. We loved it served on mashed potatoes. It is delish that way! I for one must eat it on the day it’s made. I hate mushy macaroni! My sister & I would also make it with no burger. Yep, just macaroni & tomatoes. Thank you for reminding me of this. I will have to make it real soon.

  76. Michelle

    I’m making this recipe right now and it smells AMAZING! This is perfect for me because I work overnights so I can put it together before work and throw it in the fridge to have when I get home. It reminds me so much of my grandfather’s goulash. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  77. Rachal

    I am making this right now, can’t wait to try your version of it. 🙂

  78. Cheryl

    My Mom called this American Chow Mein. She also made something similar using Italian sausage sliced into pieces and Chef Boyardee with mushroom. Any hints on what else is in this would be helpful.

  79. Danielle

    There is no mention of draining the meat of its grease. Should the onions and garlic be thrown into the grease?

    • Kathleen

      Hi Danielle. Yes, I cook the onions and garlic in the fat rendered from the ground beef. I don’t drain it 🙂

  80. Ken Adams

    I made this goulash a few nights ago and I have to say this was the best goulash I have ever had! I took some of the leftovers and put it in a small baking dish, sprinkled some fresh Mozzarella cheese over the top and baked it until the cheese was bubbly. Served it with some garlic bread and HELLO! Great, great supper. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Kathleen

      Ken Im so so glad you liked it! Thanks for sharing your experience with me!

  81. Jodi


    Don’t the noodles expand overtime and get big and mushy?

    Thank you,

    • Kathleen

      Hi Jodi, yes they do. If you like your pasta al dente skip the overnight step. It will still be delicious 🙂

  82. DPGirl

    Not to upset your “tradition” with your family recipe but this is only version I have ever seen before and only one my family will eat also (it is my “go to” meal that is very quick and makes great leftovers and lunches):

    1 lb. Ground Chuck, browned and drained
    1/2 cup or more to tasted diced onions, browned with meat
    1 large can undrained whole tomatoes
    1 Medium can undrained Ranch Style Beans
    2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (I use small elbows but use whatever size elbows you prefer.
    1 tsp. (or to taste) Chili Powder
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    In separate pan cook macaroni to al dente in boiling salted water, drain, set aside.
    In Dutch oven Brown Ground Chuck and onion, drain.
    Add Ranch Style Beans with juice and tomatoes. With your fingers or knife mash tomatoes.
    Add chili powder, salt and pepper.
    Add drained macaroni to meat mixture in Dutch oven with ~1/2 cup water. Stir well, cover and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Do not overcook. We do not care for the macaroni to be torn!

    Serve with bread of your choice and salad of your choice.

    • Kathleen

      Thank you for sharing your family recipe DP Girl 😉

      • Marta

        Do we not drain off the excess fat?

        • Kathleen

          Hi Marta, No I don’t drain it. I really like the flavor it adds. Please feel free to drain it if you don’t want the extra fat. It will still be delicious and a bit healthier too! 🙂

  83. Synthia

    Do the noodles need to be cooked first when adding it into dish??

    • Kathleen

      Hi Synthia, no I add them uncooked to the dish 🙂

  84. Dawn

    I made the American goulash. Followed the recipe to a T.. I found it had way to much oregano. Next time I will use half the amount recommended

  85. Randy

    Thanks so much for this recipe, it reminds me so much of my Moms that I’m always trying to make but never get it right. Great recipe! and thanks again.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Randy! You’re so welcome. Let me know if you give the recipe a try 🙂

  86. Judy

    I grew up in central Ohio, and everyone called this dish “Johnny Marzetti”. My mom made it with tomato paste instead of sauce, and with no oregano or soy sauce. She also added a bit of sugar. Delicious!

    • Kathleen

      Judy, I’ve never heard it called that! Thanks for telling me 🙂

  87. Donna W

    This is a good recipe,THEN, we added 1 can of tomato soup ( with out the water) now it is wonderful. and with melted cheese, up another notch.

  88. Sherri

    My mom and grandma both made this dish. Mom made it with bacon. In Iowa We called it slumgallion. I’m making it for dinner tonight! Thanks for sharing your recipe.:)

    • Kathleen

      Sherri, You are so welcome! Now I can’t wait to try it with bacon!!!!

  89. gpete

    I grew up in the 50s-60s. My grandmother, who lived with us, made this frequently since it is a great meal to stretch the food budget. She called it “Cowboy Chow” and added stewed tomatoes instead of spices. I now make it for my grandchildren who also LOVE it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathleen

      gpete, thanks for sharing your story. I love hearing them!

  90. Peggy Fenstermacher

    I’m making this right now. It is simmering on the stove as I type. I can’t wait to try it. Don’t really like having to wait until tomorrow but I inderstand the flavor will be much richer and savorful. Thanks for posting. I love comfort food.

    • Kathleen

      Glad to hear it Peggy!

  91. Janel

    EXACTLY a recipe for goulash I’ve been looking years for….simple ingredients but very flavorful! Thank you!!

    • Kathleen

      Janel, you are sooo welcome. Enjoy 😉

  92. Alyssa

    This was fantastic! I used all the ingredients you mentioned, plus I added Cajun seasoning, chili powder, and a little bit of bacon. Also, I cooked the noddles in chicken broth. It was delicious. I have made different versions of this before, but the soy sauce was new to me. It is the KEY to it though. SO GOOD! It’s 90 degrees out so I am just gonna turn my air way down so I can enjoy this all day haha.

    • Kathleen

      So glad you made this and enjoyed it! Thank heavens for AC!!! LOL

  93. Tina

    Hi, I call this goulosh and I thought I made this up until I came across this recipe! I also add grape jelly and ketchup! Hey, don’t knock it until you try it!

    • Kathleen

      Tina, actually sounds interesting!

  94. Lauren

    My dad used to make something similar to this but he called his “splat” 😛 and if I remember right he added cheese. This looks yummy though I’ll have to try it!

    • Kathleen

      Thank you Lauren. My son always adds cheese to his as well 😉

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  96. Kimbell

    Did the recipe for goulash really mean 2
    Tablespoons of oregano?

    • Kathleen

      I always use 2 Tablespoons of Oregano. It is not a typo. If you prefer you can use 2 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning and skip the 2 teapoons basil.

  97. Lori Keever

    My mom made this for me for the first time when I was six years old. She cut the recipe out of the Houston Chronicle newspaper and made it to tempt my appetite because I was sick.
    It quickly became a family “go to”, and favorite!
    Mom used Worcestershire Sauce instead of Soy Sauce, but otherwise, this sounds just like hers. I will have to try it with the Soy Sauce now to see which one we like best.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Lori. Love to hear that. This recipe is so personal! Worcestershire makes a lot of sense!

  98. Jeanne

    I made this yesterday and ate it the same day and it was very good! Then I had leftovers today and it really did make a difference waiting over night. Definitely a keeper. My mom would mix in mozzarella and bake it and called it, “more” because all six of us kids would ask for seconds!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Jeanne, my son LOVES this with cheese too! So glad you liked this 😉

  99. roxie moreland

    This and Corn Bread and Cheddar Cheese …. to die for! Thanks for posting

    • Kathleen

      Roxie, it’s my pleasure 🙂

  100. Tina

    Hi – mom used to make this when I was a kid and I’ve asked her over and over for the recipe and she doesn’t remember making it! Thanks!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Tina. Well, I hope it taste like your Moms 🙂

  101. Alli

    Have you ever tried freezing this? I’ve been trying to freeze a meal portion of any meal that I think will work so that my hubby and I don’t die if I forget to cook something….???

    • Kathleen

      Hi Alli, well if you freeze it the pasta gets really mushy.

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  103. Melissa

    I made this tonight and it was super delicious! Thank you for sharing.


    • Kathleen

      Thank you Melissa 🙂

  104. Mari

    I love this recipe. I made it last week, and I’m making it again today. If anyone’s worried about too much oregano, don’t be. It’s perfect. The only things I do differently is 1) the addition of some diced bell peppers – can’t resist – tasty and makes it look a bit more appealing. And 2) I cook the pasta separately (do not add salt to the cooking water if you do this way!) because it absorbs too much of the liquid and when you reheat it, you have mushy pasta, which is not very appetizing. I like to add it about 5 minutes before serving. It’s a keeper! Wish I had this recipe when my kids were growing up.

    • Kathleen

      Thank you Mari! Love hearing how you prepare it 😉

  105. annie

    I have made this a few times and we love it… but I wasn’t thinking and I cooked the macaroni today thinking that I would save myself some time later (making supper for a crowd) and now I realized I screwed up. And I am out of macaroni. Should I still add the 3 cups of water? I was thinking if I just added the pasta last and didn’t add any of the extra liquid (drain the tomatoes, don’t add any water, etc.) that I would be ok. Your thoughts? Help!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Annie. Well, hmmm. I would start with 1 1/2 cups water because you want the goulash to have some sauce. You can add more as needed. If you feel it’s too liquidy, simmer it uncovered before adding the pasta so some of the liquid evaporates. Let me know how it works out!

  106. Bren

    My mom also made this for us every halloween eve, and served it to us in individual hollowed out sugar pumpkins before we went trick or treating! It is like a hug from home whenever i make it now. I will try adding the soy sauce this year- the only difference in our recipes! Thanks for sharing the love! Xoxo

    • Kathleen

      Hi Bren. That is so such a great story. I love the idea of serving it in a little pumpkin!

  107. Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I followed it exactly, with the exception of a few fresh green bean, and it was amazing! I was hoping to have leftovers, but as it turned out I ended up sharing with my sister and my son that popped in for a visit. I couldn’t let them miss out! This is the first time I have ever been compelled to share a review. Don’t miss out! It’s so good and easy to make! Thanks again

    • Kathleen

      Thanks so much Elizabeth for sharing your review, I really appreciate it! Hope to see you on the site again soon 🙂

  108. Deege

    Made this tonight, used your recipe as my base, but added corn, mushrooms, diced green peppers, and a couple pinches of salt… So delicious! Rivials that I ate during my childhood. LOL Thanks!

    • Deege

      *SUGAR, D’OH. Typo, sorry.

    • Kathleen

      Deege, so glad you liked it! Great idea to make it your own!!!!

  109. ladyhawthorne

    We make it with the addition of kidney beans. Mom always made this over the campfire on campouts. Great, now I’m hungry!

    • Kathleen

      Bet the campfire added an extra smokiness to the goulash. Yum!

  110. Mary

    This brings me back to H.S. in the 60’s. We had this alot, and they served it with green beans on the side. My mouth just waters thinking of it! I’ve tried making it myself a few times over the past 45 plus years, all efforts bombed! Now reading your recipe, I can see why. In New England, we call it American Chop Suey, and a lot of casual restaurants have this on their menu. Now I’ll be able to have this whenever I want! Thank you for sharing.

    • Kathleen

      You so welcome Mary. Enjoy 😉

  111. Proud Mary

    Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, is my birthday and I’m giving myself a pot of this memory making dish for my present to myself. My mom made a similar version. She would bring the water to a boil and then pinch in the raw hamburger meat and chopped onions. Then as the fat rose to the top, she would skim off the “scum” with a large metal spoon. So we always called it Scum Gullion, or just plain “scum” ! Her secret ingredient was a T. of bacon grease. Happy Birthday to me!

    • Kathleen

      Hope you have a glorious birthday Proud Mary 😉

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  113. Kat

    Hey, Kathleen!

    I made this for my monthly “in-laws” & parents dinner. It was a HIT! My husband raved about this goulash (it was better than his moms!) 🙂
    And they were also delicious leftovers.

    I have added it to my “Dinner rotation” Pinterest board. I make a side dish and a main dish once a week from that board. This is a main dish I will be making at least once a month, a staple in our home! Thanks for the great dish, Kathleen.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Kat! So glad you liked the recipe! Happy it made your dinner rotation!!!

  114. Jim

    Will you marry me? This was very good!! My wife is the type that don’t like onions, just has ketchup on her burgers.
    So I made this big ole batch for basically just me to take to work and chow on for a few days.
    I did get her to try a bowl and she did like it but picked out the tomatoes and said she would drain the fat out of the hamburger cuz its kinda greasy, I told her to make a batch for herself cuz I love this stuff.the way it is. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Jim. So glad you liked this recipe! Thanks for your feedback. You’re too funny 🙂

  115. Zsuzstyina

    Sorry, but this isn’t gulyás, what you mean is Pörkölt. Gulyás is a soup.

  116. Jim


    Semantics Simply the set of associations that a word evokes, is the meaning of a word defined by the images that its users connect to it?

    The images on this page evoke goulash to me. And its very good goulash to boot.

  117. rick

    everyone always list how many it will serve.
    I would like to know many pints/quarts of sauce it makes because I’d like to can the sauce. I cook and can by the 18 quart batch how would I ramp this up

    • Kathleen

      Hello Rick. This recipe serves 8-10 people. I’m sorry I don’t know how many pint’s/quarts it makes.

  118. Jim

    Hey Kathleen, this is my 2nd time making this great stuff. My question is.. When I lower the heat to low after coming to a boil and let the goulash simmer for 20 min. it continues to boil the entire time. Is this the way it is supposed to work? I use an electric stove so maybe that is why? Also boils the entire time simmering after adding the elbows. It still tastes great just wondering if this is the norm. Thanks, Jim

    • Kathleen

      Hi Jim. It sounds like your cook top runs a bit hotter than mine. I keep mine at a simmer not a boil. You might need to adjust the length of time simmering and watch for sticking or too much evaporation.

  119. Bradford

    I love my mothers Goulash, But one of the best Things was the Fresh bread with butter that we dunked in the tomato sauce, each one of us kids would eat 3-4 slices of Bread…….Yummy

    • Kathleen

      I love my goulash with bread and butter as well! Doesn’t get better than that!

  120. Sharon

    Family favorite! we do add a few more items, corn, green an red peppers, sliced olives, sometimes we add chili {homemade or canned } tomato soup, worcestershire an cheese, this makes it go farther too if you have to feed a lot. I cook macaroni separate an add last an simmer a few minutes an sometimes we use mac an cheese.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Sharon. Wow! Sounds like some great additions!

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  122. Leanne

    1 tablespoon of seasoned salt sure sounds like A LOT, considering the soy sauce, canned tomatoes, etc. Is that the correct amount of seasoned salt? I plan to try this recipe soon! Thanks.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Leanne. That’s how much I use when I make this recipe. Remember seasoned salt has other ingredients so it’s not the same as 1 tablespoon of salt. A lot of my readers have made the recipe and no one has said they felt it was too salty. All that said, it’s very easy to cut the salt back and add more if you’d like. Everyone likes food seasoned a bit differently. Hope that helps 🙂

  123. Darla

    Hi Kathleen, I’ve made this for years, with very different ingredients than you seem to use. Your’s sure does sound good though, and I’ll have to try it that way.
    I usually use ground beef, chopped onion, garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, stewed tomatoes-chopped up, kidney beans, and elbow macaroni. I drain the fat off the meat and onion before adding other ingredients and boil my macaroni and drain it and add it to the meat mixture about 5-10 minutes before serving. Add some bread and butter and a salad, what a great meal. If you need a little more liquid, add some tomato sauce or water to the mixture. A little sugar to it to cut the acidity.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Darla. Thanks for sharing your version of this goulash! I think a lot of people add kidney beans. Funny my family never did!

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  125. Kathleen

    I never realized goulash was just pasta with meat sauce. I thought it was some exotic dish. I make this all the time without the soy sauce.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Kathleen too funny! Nothing exotic at all 🙂

  126. Laurie

    I am glad you called this American Goulash as this is not a true goulash which comes from Hungry. I grew up on your kind of goulash and my husband grew up calling it slop.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Laurie. I guess whatever you call it this dish is still yummy 🙂

  127. Rachel

    Gorgeous Goulash–looks so hearty and good!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Rachel. Thank you hope you give it a try 🙂

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  129. Pingback: American Goulash this is my family recipe! Honestly, its the BEST! Great dinner!!! AmericanGoulash Dinner - Food Ziya

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  132. Wanda

    I have a concoction just like yours and the kids always loved it! It was one of my soccer night stove top staples. I had another Mexican style one using rice that I threw together. I had never written up a recipe and, as luck would have it, they were the first “recipes” my college age daughter called home for 😉

    • Kathleen

      Hi Wanda. Isn’t that just the way of it! One of the main reasons I started this blog was because I never used to measure anything or write out recipes and when my kids asked me for a recipe I was lost! I hope my recipe is close to what you used to make 🙂

  133. liz

    i love this recipe:)thank you!i didn’t grow up on goulash,but my kids are!they love it and so do i:)thanks so much for such an easy to put together,budget friendly,nutritious meal.also,there must be some kind of ancient wisdom in this recipe because my noodles aalways come out mushy when i make them in the dish,but in this,they are always just right!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Liz! I’m with you! I love a little bit of mushiness in the noodles in this recipe! LOL! So glad this recipe is becoming a new family tradition for you!

  134. Linda

    This is known as American Chop Suey in New England, and made the same way basically… I used to make it for my kids all the time. One of their favorite ways was to add in Velveeta cheese chunks that melt into it and give it an amazing flavor. Doesn’t look so pretty, but man, does it taste good! Another thing I do is add a can of Ro-tel tomatoes (the mild ones) in the mix and we really enjoy that too… Kicks it up a notch… Always served with bread and butter here at the house!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Linda! We always ate this with bread and butter at are house growing up as well! I’ve never tried it with Velveeta….Great idea! 🙂

  135. Annie

    So I am 14, and I was looking for simple recipes to make for supper & came across this one! After I read some great comments, I decided to try it out! At the moment it’s cooking, & it smells delicious, I can’t wait to try it!

    • Kathleen

      Hi there Annie! I’m so excited to hear from you. Thanks for connecting. I hope you enjoy the American Goulash. It’s been a family fav for generations 😉

  136. Pingback: Day 310–American Goulash | A Year of Meals

  137. Pam Smith

    This was good! I never would have thought to put soy sauce in a tomato based dish, but it was the perfect blend of seasoning. I only used about a tbsp of oregano because I didn’t realize my jar was almost empty.

    Also, I had to use miniature penne pasta because there was no elbow macaroni at the store. I’m assuming it is because I shopped on July 4th and macaroni salad is popular for holiday BBQs so they were sold out. Nonetheless the miniature penne was very good.

    I will definitely make this again.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Pam. I’m so glad you enjoyed the American Goulash 🙂 The mini penne sounds like a really great solution!

  138. Brian

    My Mom made hers a little different. In a large pot she cooked 4 cups of elbow macaroni.She would fry 2 lbs of hamburger After it started to brown she would add a large onion cut up rather coarsely. Everything would be combined in a large enamel roaster with a qt of whole tomatoes and a qt of tomato sauce. Then bake for about half an hour or so. Some of us would put Parmesan cheese on top but all of us would eat with homemade bread and butter. She called hers American Goulash.

    • Kathleen

      Sounds delicious Brian 🙂

  139. Brian

    Almost forgot we are from rural Wisconsin

  140. Wayne

    The perfect Goulash recipe, delicious! I halved the recipe and it was perfect for 2, with leftovers. Would be enough for 4 people!

    • Kathleen

      Thanks so much Wayne!

  141. Kelly

    i found this recipe via Pinterest and just had to tell you how much my family loves it! It has become a “frequent flyer” on my recipe rotation! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Kathleen

      You’re welcome Kelly! It’s a huge it in our family too!

  142. Jane

    I call it “Boy Scout Special” because my Mother was a Boy Scout Mother. On the nights she held the meeting for the Scouts at our home, we had this for supper. So, henceforth to be always called “Boy Scout Special”. That’s a great memory for me so thanks for ‘stirring’ it up!

    • Kathleen

      Great story Jane. Thanks for sharing it 😉

  143. Jim Q

    I modified the recipe to serve 60 people at our center. I did a taste test (think that is mandatory) right after it was done. We are having it at lunch today so we will see how it turns out. I have two roaster ovens full. I was wondering if anyone had an idea how long and at what temperature I should reheat it?

    • Kathleen

      Hey Jim I hope the American Goulash is a big hit for you!

  144. Stephanie

    Very good! I added some Worcestershire.

    • Kathleen

      Stephanie, sounds like a nice addition!

  145. John

    I don’t know who called this Kentucky But too, but they lied. Has no similarities at all. But this is a good recipe.

    • Kathleen

      Well, good to know. Thanks John 🙂

  146. Jessica

    First time making american goulash and this is amazing! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Jessica. You’re so welcome. Glad you liked it 🙂

  147. Christy

    I love this recipe, I add corn and tomato paste, the little cans 2, that’s how my mom and grandma taught me. Gonna try the bacon idea, sounds yummy.

    • Kathleen

      Christy, both those additions sound really yummy. I’d love to hear back from you if you try it with bacon! 🙂

      • Christy

        I tried with bacon, it is awesome. Quite possibly The Best I have ever made. Yummy!! 😍😍

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  149. Pearl

    I’m planning to make this for my family this week, and I’m wondering if you’ve had any experience with freezing the leftovers?

    • Kathleen

      Hi Pearl 🙂 Yes,I have frozen this in the past. Honestly, it’s not at it’s best after freezing. The pasta gets very mushy.

  150. Geri

    This is delicious! Just finished making it. Thank You

    • Kathleen

      Geri, I’m so glad you enjoyed!

  151. Viki

    This was one of the few dishes that my dad was in charge of cooking. He would make the same thing only substitute kidney beans for the macaroni and call it chili:) He’s 89 years old now and I bet he could still make it. He would put the sugar bowl on the table when serving and we would sprinkle it on top!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Viki. I love that story! I’ve never heard of sprinkling it with sugar!

  152. Fiddi

    We used less tomato sauce, and instead of soy it was worcestershire sauce. A couple cans of pork n beans and a squirt of ketchup. Everything else spot on. It became the kid snack after day 1 dinner. Lots in refer and teens could come home from school and heat up a bowl … Anytime. Mom would make huge pot & freeze some.

    • Kathleen

      Thanks Fiddi 🙂

  153. Jackie

    I am going to work this out to feed eighty people adults and children for Bible school lunch. Wish me luck!!

    • Kathleen

      Wow! I hope you enjoy Jackie 🙂

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  155. Bernadette

    This is by far the best recipe for hamburger and noodles I love it sooooo much that I never want to share. I wouldn’t change a thing on the ingredients everything is flat out amazing! You can never go wrong making this! And everyone In the family LOVES IT

    • Kathleen

      Thank you Bernadette!

  156. Robin Rocha

    This is a weekly staple. Always have on hand in fridge, and is a huge hit with any and everyone. Thank you for a simple delicious recipe.

    • Kathleen

      You’re so welcome, Robin. I’m happy you’re enjoying the recipe 🙂

  157. Tina

    I always do mine in the crockpot leave on low about half a day while im at school turns out amazing! And dinner is ready!!!!

    • Kathleen

      Great idea Tina!

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