American Goulash


American goulash, also known as old-fashioned goulash, is the perfect economical family meal. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so this satisfying dish can be made in just one pot.

Active Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
4 servings
Nutrition Profile:

Nutrition Notes

Is There a Benefit of Using Lean Ground Beef as Opposed to Regular?

Using 90% or 93% lean ground beef means you'll have 10% to 7% fat in your beef as opposed to regular ground beef, which is upward of 30% fat. Besides being better for your body and health in general, using leaner beef also means your dish won't be swimming in grease.

Is Whole-Wheat Pasta Better than Regular Pasta?

Using whole-wheat pasta will bump up the nutrition—including vitamins and minerals—compared to regular white semolina pasta. Cup for cup, whole-wheat elbow macaroni will also give you more than 2 more grams of fiber compared to regular elbows. And we know that most Americans do not eat enough fiber, so whole-wheat pasta is a great way to increase your fiber intake, too.

Tips from the Test Kitchen

What Is Goulash?

Originating in Hungary, goulash is a soup or stew that features potatoes and/or other root vegetables, stew beef and plenty of paprika. It cooks slowly, allowing the beef to tenderize and rich deep flavors to develop. American goulash draws inspiration from the original dish, but it is less like a stew and more like a one-pot meal. It features ground beef, pasta (usually macaroni) and tomatoes. Unlike Hungarian goulash, American goulash cooks quickly, making it a great family-friendly option for weeknights. Both types of goulash feature the addition of paprika for spice and warmth.

Can I Use a Different Type of Pasta?

We use whole-wheat elbow macaroni for the recipe, but feel free to use ditalini, small shells, orecchiette or any other short pasta. Adjust the cooking time as needed for other types of pasta. You may need to cook with the lid on to ensure the pasta is cooked all the way through.

Pouring pasta into American Goulash cooking in pot.

Photographer: Brie Goldman Food Stylist: Holly Dreesman Prop Stylist: Gabriel Greco

How to Make American Goulash Ahead

You can make the entire recipe from start to finish up to two days ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or microwave before serving.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer, Jan Valdez and Carrie Myers

American Goulash ingredients

Photographer: Brie Goldman Food Stylist: Holly Dreesman Prop Stylist: Gabriel Greco


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 (14 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 1 (8 ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

  • 1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth

  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat elbow macaroni

  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and beef; cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add macaroni and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.

    American Goulash

    Photographer: Brie Goldman Food Stylist: Holly Dreesman Prop Stylist: Gabriel Greco


Large pot

Originally appeared:, March 2018

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

418 Calories
16g Fat
40g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 1 1/2 cups
Calories 418
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 8g
Added Sugars 1g 2%
Protein 31g 62%
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Vitamin A 1225IU 24%
Vitamin C 16mg 18%
Folate 43mcg 11%
Sodium 726mg 32%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 5mg 28%
Magnesium 87mg 21%
Potassium 1023mg 22%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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