Old Fashioned Goulash

4.47 from 1759 votes
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This old fashioned goulash recipe is pure comfort. It’s rich, hearty, perfectly seasoned, and only takes 45 minutes to make. 

A red dutch oven full of goulash


Old fashioned goulash was a staple in my house growing up. And now that I’m an adult, it’s still a staple in my house! This recipe is so cozy and comforting. Hearty ground beef is cooked in an intense sauce of tomatoes, onions, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and many spices. Melty cheddar cheese is added for richness and texture. And of course, there’s the classic elbow macaroni!

Every time I eat old fashioned goulash, I’m transported back to my childhood. Something about the beef, tomatoes, macaroni, and cheese just works perfectly together. It’s so comforting, but it’s also easy to make! This recipe only takes 45 minutes. It’s a staple in my household when I need a filling weekday meal.

Why You’ll Love This Classic American Goulash

There’s a lot to like about this rich beef goulash. Here are some reasons why you’ll love making it. 

  • Simple. This recipe is super easy to make. It doesn’t have many steps, and it only takes 45 minutes. Plus, it mostly uses ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. 
  • Storable. This recipe stores really well in the fridge or freezer. I love to make a large batch so that I can have old fashioned goulash anytime I want. 
  • Healthy comfort food. Most comfort foods are pretty unhealthy. But this recipe satisfies your cravings without being bad for you. It has a lot of protein, with ground beef and a little cheddar cheese. There’s no extra fat added. And it’s packed with tomatoes. This is a comfort food you can feel great about eating.
Close up of a spoonful of goulash with a pot of goulash in the background

What You’ll Need

Here are all the ingredients that you need to make this rich goulash. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact amounts for each ingredient.

  • Elbow macaroni – You can substitute other types of pasta if you want, but macaroni is the traditional choice.
  • Ground beef
  • Onion – I like to use a yellow onion for this recipe, but red or white onions will also work.
  • Garlic
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Canned diced tomatoes – Use petite diced tomatoes if possible.
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt
  • Black pepper – Make sure to use freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cheddar cheese – Shred your own cheese for best results, but pre-shredded works fine.

What is Italian Seasoning?

Italian seasoning is a common spice blend that you can find at any grocery store. It’s usually made up of dried basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Some spice brands add additional herbs, too. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can add those ingredients individually. 

How to Make Goulash

Here’s how to make this simple, comforting goulash. It only takes about 45 minutes!

  • Prep. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Cook the pasta. Boil a large pot of water, and add the elbow macaroni. Cook for 3 minutes less than what the package suggests.
  • Drain. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it.
  • Cook the beef and onions. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the beef and the onions, and break the meat apart. Cook until the beef is browned, about 6-7 minutes. Drain the fat from the skillet. 
  • Add the garlic. Put the garlic in the skillet and cook until fragrant. This should take about 1 minute. 
  • Mix in the wet ingredients. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. 
  • Add the seasonings. Put the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into the skillet, and stir to combine. 
  • Mix in the pasta and cheese. Stir in the macaroni and the shredded cheddar cheese until everything is mixed together.
  • Bake. If your skillet is oven safe, place it in the oven. If not, transfer the goulash to a casserole dish. Bake until the cheese is fully melted, and the goulash is bubbling. This should take 20-25 minutes. Then serve. 
Overhead view of a dutch oven filled with goulash, next to a spoon

Tips for Success

Here are a few tricks and tips for making this beefy goulash. 

  • Salt the water. For the best-tasting pasta, add a little bit of salt to the boiling water. This will give the macaroni a light seasoning. 
  • Adjust the seasonings. When you add the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the sauce, start small. Then taste the sauce, and adjust the seasonings as needed. Some people like more Italian seasoning or salt than others. Adjust the sauce to your liking. 
  • Get some color on the beef. Don’t be scared of getting some color on the ground meat. Browning the beef is the secret to getting the most flavor out of the meat. Make sure to cook the beef until it’s pretty brown before continuing with the recipe. 

Serving Suggestions

Since this is a traditional comfort dish, I love to serve it alongside classic sides. Here are a few of my favorite side dishes to serve with goulash. In my family it was always buttered saltine crackers that were a must with this dish.

A dutch oven filled with goulash, with a spoon in it

How to Store and Reheat Hearty Old Fashioned Goulash

This recipe is easy to store and reheat. Keep leftover goulash in an airtight container and it will last in the fridge for 4 days. Reheat in the microwave on 80% power in 30-second increments. 

Can You Freeze This Recipe?

Absolutely! Let the goulash cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost or thaw completely before reheating. 

More American Comfort Foods to Make

I hope you loved this traditional goulash. Here are some more American comfort foods to cook. 

Old Fashioned Goulash - The same American goulash recipe that you grew up with. A hearty recipe that the entire family can enjoy any night of the week. 
4.47 from 1759 votes

Old Fashioned Goulash

By Erin
This old fashioned goulash recipe is hearty and comforting. It's full of juicy beef, melty cheese, and a rich tomato sauce.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 14.5 oz cans petit diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook macaroni for 3 minutes less than the box directions, then drain. 
  • Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add ground beef and onions to the pan. Break beef apart, cooking for 6-7 minutes until browned. Drain any fat.  
  • Mix in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  • Add in Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Mix until combined.  
  • Stir in the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  • Mix in cooked macaroni and cheddar cheese. If your skillet is heat-safe, you can place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the goulash is bubbly and the cheese is melted.  If the skillet is not heat-safe, transfer the goulash to a casserole dish and bake.



  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.
  • Reheat in the microwave on 80% power in 30-second increments.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 1397mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 500
Keyword: american goulash, beef goulash, easy goulash recipe, homemade goulash
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe. My family really liked the homemade goulash. My first time ever making goulash. It was really easy. I especially liked the extra comments and tips. The were very helpful and informative.

  2. This recipe looked so good, but next time I make it I will use Italian sausage and no Worcestershire. I will probably use mozz cheese also.

  3. Made this for dinner tonight. It was excellent but it was not goulash. To be called goulash it has to have Hungarian paprika and peppers.
    I sub soy sauce for Worcestershire sauce. I only had one can of tomato sauce so I subbed a 12 oz can of V8. I added 1/2 cup sweet yellow pepper, 4 stalks of celery and some pepper flakes.
    You should say how large a pot you need to hold all of it. I used a large cast iron dutch oven and it would not all fit. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  4. ps from TJ.
    I have friends coming over to watch the Detroit Lions / LA Rams football game. I won’t have to deal with leftovers.
    Go Lions

  5. I have always added green peppers to my goulash as that seems to add a flavor boost and because my mom always did. The rest is the same as yours. ❤️