Hungarian goulash is a delicious and warming dish packed with flavorful ingredients. It features tender beef, fresh vegetables, and an incredibly tasty stew base. Plus, it's super easy to make and requires very little hands-on effort!
If you're in the mood for a hearty and satisfying dish that's both savory and delicious, be sure to give this Hungarian goulash recipe a try!
Hungarian goulash is a delicious beef stew (in Hungary it’s actually more like a soup) made with a flavorful combination of bell peppers, paprika powder, and tomatoes. It pairs well with your favorite side dishes and is perfect for a comforting and satisfying meal!
To make Hungarian goulash, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Stewing beef cubes: You’ll need regular stewing beef cut into cubes for this recipe.
- Aromatics: You’ll also need plenty of yellow onions and some garlic. Yellow onions are very important to bind the stew so it becomes thick and delicious. So make sure to use the amount specified in the recipe box.
- Vegetables: You’ll find bell peppers, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes in this recipe as they are part of classic Hungarian goulash.
- Beef broth: For the stew or soup base you’ll need beef broth. Pick the brand you love most to whip up a delicious beef stew.
- Tomato paste: Tomato paste is another ingredient I recommend using for some extra flavor and depth.
- Caraway seeds: Caraway seeds are an important ingredient as they lend the goulash its distinct flavor. And don’t worry if they taste very strong in the beginning, they’ll blend beautifully with all of the other flavors once the goulash has finished cooking!
- Paprika powder: Paprika powder is another important ingredient. I used a combination of sweet and spicy paprika powder but you can use only sweet paprika powder to keep the dish mild.
How to make Hungarian Goulash
Cook the onions. Preheat some vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Then sauté the diced onion until it starts to turn soft and slightly brown around the edges. Add some salt after a few minutes.
Cook the beef. Next, add the beef and continue to sauté until it has fully browned.
Toast the paprika powder and tomato paste. Take the pot off the heat, add the tomato paste and paprika powder, and sauté to toast everything. If the pot is too hot, you can add a little bit of beef broth or water to prevent the paprika powder from burning so it doesn’t turn bitter.
Add the beef broth, garlic, and caraway seeds. Next, add the beef broth, garlic, and caraway seeds. Stir until combined. Cover the pot, bring the stew to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let everything cook for 2 hours. Give the stew an occasional stir.
Cook the vegetables. Now add the potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, and tomato. Cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Finish and serve. Season the goulash with salt and pepper as desired. If you want to thin it, add some additional beef broth. If you want the goulash thicker, let it simmer without the lid. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Here are a few helpful tips and notes that I recommend reading through before making this Hungarian goulash at home.
- If you prefer to brown the beef first for some extra flavor, feel free to do so! I started with the onions since that’s how Hungarian goulash is made. But searing and removing the beef first before cooking the onions works just as beautifully and may leave you with some extra flavor at the bottom of your pot. Both methods work great to make delicious goulash, so pick the one you are most comfortable with!
- Make sure to take your time to sauté the onion and don’t forget the salt. This ensures that the onion is going to dissolve while it cooks in the stew which thickens it naturally. Otherwise, you may end up with lots of onion cubes and liquid in your final dish.
- Adjust the stew consistency to your liking after the vegetables have finished cooking. Since the vegetables release liquid, you want to wait until the end to thin or thicken it to your preferences. This Hungarian goulash recipe yields a traditional stew with a generous amount of moderately thick sauce. If you prefer a soup-like consistency, you can add more liquid at the beginning of the cooking process.
How to serve Hungarian goulash
- Serve some bread alongside this Hungarian goulash. It’s a great side to make your meal more filling and satisfying. Plus, bread tastes great with either stew-like or soup-like goulash!
- Cook some delicious pasta. Pasta is a great side dish for beef stews and tastes just as delicious with this Hungarian goulash.
- Make your favorite rice for this beef stew. Another delicious side dish is rice. It soaks up the flavorful liquid of your goulash and tastes really great.
- Consider making a quick salad to add more vegetables to your plate. Any salad recipe that pairs well with this goulash will work, so feel free to prepare your favorite.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hungarian goulash is flavored with tomato paste, paprika powder, and caraway seeds. So the final dish will have a taste that’s typical for these ingredients. It doesn’t use any wine or bay leaves, so it definitely tastes different compared to more classic beef stew recipes. This goulash recipe has been a hit with anyone who’s tried it, so I’m sure you’ll love it too!
It’s only spicy if you add spicy paprika powder. I used a combination of sweet and spicy paprika powder. So if you prefer it mild, use sweet paprika powder. If you would like some heat, use some spicy paprika powder.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. When reheating, you may need to add some extra liquid as the goulash tends to thicken when stored.
More simple and delicious soup and stew recipes
If you love to enjoy a comforting and warming bowl of soup or stew on cold days, I recommend taking a look at the following recipes.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound yellow onion about 3 onions, diced
- 1 pound stewing beef cubes
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons paprika powder
- 2 ½ cups beef broth more as needed and desired
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- ½ pound potatoes cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 carrots sliced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- ½ green bell pepper diced
- ½ yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 tomato cut into bite-sized chunks
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat some oil in a pot over medium heat. Then sauté the onion until it starts to brown around the edges. When the onion dices start to turn translucent, add some salt. Then continue to sauté.2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 pound yellow onion
- Next, add the beef cubes and cook until the beef is browned fully. Take the pot off the heat, add tomato paste and paprika powder, and sauté to toast the spices. If needed, add a small amount of beef broth or water to prevent the paprika powder from burning.1 pound stewing beef cubes, 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste, 2 tablespoons paprika powder
- Now add the beef broth, garlic, and caraway seeds. Stir everything. Then cover the pot and let everything simmer for 2 hours over medium to medium-low heat. Give the stew an occasional stir while it cooks.2 ½ cups beef broth, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- Next, add the potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, and tomato. Cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.½ pound potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 red bell pepper, ½ green bell pepper, ½ yellow bell pepper, 1 tomato
- Season with salt and pepper. Add more beef broth to thin the goulash or let it simmer uncovered to thicken it. Serve and enjoy!salt and pepper
- Wait until the end to add more beef broth to thin the goulash as the vegetables release liquid when they are cooked. If you want it thicker, let it simmer uncovered for a few minutes.
- Take your time to sauté the onions and season them with salt so they dissolve and bind the goulash while cooking.