Old Fashioned Goulash is the perfect weeknight dinner. It’s easy to make, hearty, and full of comfort food goodness. With ground beef, elbow macaroni, cheese, and a tomato-y sauce, goulash is one of those rare recipes that everyone in the family will love!
A Simple One-Pan Weeknight Dinner
As summer winds down and fall begins, my family’s weeknight dinners start to look different. Instead of grilled chicken with a side of fresh corn salad, I’m more likely to serve casseroles and filling comfort foods like Old Fashioned Goulash. There’s something about fall that just makes me crave these kinds of dishes!
Not only is goulash easy to make, it’s also easy to clean up afterwards because the whole thing is made in just one skillet. We love that, right?!
Easy Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe
Old Fashioned Goulash is also sometimes called American Goulash. Don’t get this version confused with Hungarian goulash, though—it’s not the same! Hungarian goulash is more likely to contain potatoes for carbs instead of pasta; it uses chuck roast instead of ground beef, and is seasoned with a hefty amount of paprika. It’s also more of a soup or stew than Old Fashioned Goulash, which has a thicker, creamier sauce thanks to the addition of cheese.
Ingredients + Variations
Here’s what you’ll need to make Old Fashioned Goulash:
- Ground beef – You can swap in ground turkey, pork, or chicken if you prefer.
- Tomato sauce – If you don’t have tomato sauce on hand, an easy swap is 1 part tomato paste to 1 part water.
- Diced tomatoes – Use petite diced if you prefer smaller pieces.
- Bay leaf
- Worcestershire sauce – Or use balsamic vinegar if you have that on hand instead.
- Seasoned salt
- Italian seasoning – AKA marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage.
- Elbow macaroni – Or mix things up and use another small pasta like ditalini.
- Cheddar cheese – You’ll stir a cup of cheddar right into the goulash, but I also like to sprinkle a little bit on each individual serving and let it melt over the top.
How to Make Old Fashioned Goulash
1. Cook the Beef
Brown the ground beef in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, then drain off the fat. Add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes more.
2. Cook the Goulash
Add the water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt to the skillet. Stir, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add the Pasta
Pour the pasta into the skillet; stir, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the pasta is tender.
4. Stir in the Cheese
Remove the skillet from heat and pull out the bay leaf. Stir in a cup of shredded cheddar, then divide into bowls.
Can you make goulash ahead of time?
Yes, goulash is great for meal prep! Once it’s done cooking, let it cool and then transfer it to an airtight storage container. This Old Fashioned Goulash recipe will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or it can be frozen up to 3 months.
Can you add vegetables to Old Fashioned Goulash?
Of course! Add them after you’ve browned the meat, at the same time as you add the garlic. Diced bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, and green beans are all tasty additions.
More Ground Beef Recipes
Looking for some more easy ground beef dinners? Try one of these:
Old Fashioned Goulash
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 3 c water
- 2 cans tomato sauce 15 oz cans
- 2 cans diced tomatoes 15 oz cans
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 TB Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 2 TB Italian seasoning
- 2 c elbow macaroni uncooked
- 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
- Saute ground beef in skillet over medium-high heat until cooked. Drain. Add garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, worcestershire, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Cover and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Add the uncooked elbow macaroni to skillet, stir well, return the lid and simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat, remove the bay leaves, and add 1 cup of cheddar cheese right before serving.