Hungarian Goulash is a hearty beef stew.
Imagine melt-in-your-mouth tender beef, perfectly tender sautéed onions, and a blend of delicious spices.
Traditionally you would serve this dish over egg noodles, Spätzle, or boiled potatoes ('Salzkartoffeln'). You can also serve Goulash with red cabbage and a cucumber salad. And then round it out with some German Cherry Crumble for dessert!
This Goulash is what my entire family grew up on.
In Germany, we'd refer to it as 'Gulasch'; in the United States, you'll hear the term 'Hungarian Goulash'. We'll refer to it as 'Hungarian Goulash' to keep it easy.
In the United States, people associate 'Goulash' (also known as 'American Goulash') with tomato-based ground beef and elbow macaroni stew. And American Goulash is delicious.
This recipe is one I learned from my Oma. And I am blessed because she is still around and loves discussing recipes.
Although often her answer will say 'Oh, Kind' (oh, child), just add a bit of this and a dash of that. Me: 'Oma, can you please be more specific? Oma: 'No. You learn by cooking.'
LOL. She's a great cook. And she had many years to perfect this and other recipes. I have converted her notes and turned them into a time-tested recipe.
This is a recipe to have fun with. Add a dash of 'this' and 'that.' You can make it spicier by adding 1 teaspoon of hot paprika or chili powder and sweeter by adding sweet paprika.
But I like the subtle smokiness of smoked paprika.
Hungarian Goulash is also a great party dish because it's a real crowd-pleaser, and it keeps very well on a hot buffet.
Please check the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.
OLIVE OIL – Adds richness and helps in searing the meat to perfection.
STEW MEAT – Becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender as it simmers.
ONIONS – Provide a natural sweetness and are essential for any good stew.
TOMATO PASTE – Gives it that deep, rich color and thickens the goulash.
SMOKED PAPRIKA – The key ingredient that delivers the traditional smoky flavor.
GARLIC LEMON BUTTER – It’s the plot twist that makes this dish stand out.
How To Make Hungarian Goulash
Please check the printable recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- Heat oil in a large pot, brown the meat, and then add the onions to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, paprika, sugar, and water, mixing well.
- Cover the pot and let it simmer for 45 minutes.
- Prepare the garlic lemon butter mixture and stir it into the pot for 3-5 minutes of simmering.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- CARAWAY SEEDS: There are plenty of variations of Hungarian Goulash. One popular addition is caraway seeds. Chop the seeds until they turn into crumbs. For this recipe, you'd be adding 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds. Chop finely and add to the lemon-garlic compound butter.
- WINE: If you enjoy a glass of wine during cooking, add a ½ cup of red wine (remove the same amount of water).
- COMPOUND BUTTER: You can also make the lemon garlic butter by adding the ingredients to a small food processor. It's very similar to our parsley butter.
STORING: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for 4-5 days.
More Easy And Delicious Comfort Food Recipes
KRAUTFLECKERL - the German version of Haluski
CLASSIC BEEF STEW- an old-fashioned beef stew made with root vegetables and roasted garlic.
HAM AND NOODLE CASSEROLE - easy, filling, and an incredibly delicious casserole dish.
CHICKEN SCHNITZEL - Classic Schnitzel made with chicken breast.
LASAGNA ROLL-UPS - Classic lasagna reimagined.
- In a large pot (or Dutch Oven) heat the olive oil and sear the stew meat on medium-high heat until brown on all sides. About 5-7 minutes. Add sliced onions and continue to cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Stir in tomato paste, paprika, sugar, and water and combine well. Cover the dutch oven with a lid and continue to simmer for 45 minutes on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.
- Make garlic lemon butter. On medium cutting board set out softened butter, a finely diced bay leaf, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Use the flat side of a large knife and mash the ingredients until they turn into a thick paste.
- Add in the lemon garlic butter. Stir until the butter has combined well and the goulash begins to thicken. Continue to simmer on low heat for an additional 3-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.