Traditional Goulash Recipe

Goulash is a hearty and delicious dish that originated in Hungary. This classic meal is a staple in many Central and Eastern European countries, and it has evolved over the years to reflect local tastes and ingredients. In this article, we will delve into the history and meaning of goulash, its distinction from stew, the best ingredients to use, and of course, a traditional goulash recipe that you can try at home.

What’s the original meaning of Goulash?

The word “goulash” comes from the Hungarian term “gulyás,” which translates to “herdsman” or “cowboy.” It is believed that the dish was initially prepared by Hungarian shepherds who cooked it over an open fire as a simple, one-pot meal. Over time, it has become a beloved comfort food in Hungary and beyond.

Is Goulash Stew or Soup?

Goulash can be both a stew and a soup, depending on the region and ingredients used. Hungarian goulash is typically a soup, while the variants found in other Central and Eastern European countries, such as Austria and the Czech Republic, are more like a stew. The consistency of goulash can range from a thick, hearty stew to a thinner, more soup-like dish.

What’s some other name for Goulash

Goulash is known by different names in various countries, such as:

    What’s the difference between goulash and stew?

    Originated in HungaryFound in many cuisines worldwide
    Traditionally made with beef and paprikaCan be made with a variety of meats and spices
    Can be a soup or a stew, depending on regionTypically a thicker, heartier dish

    What food goes well with goulash?

    Goulash pairs well with various side dishes, such as:

      What is the best cut of meat for goulash?

      The best cut of meat for goulash is a lean, tough cut like beef chuck or shoulder. These cuts have more connective tissue and collagen, which break down during slow cooking, resulting in tender, flavorful meat.

      What vegetables can you eat with goulash?

      Common vegetables in goulash include:

        Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or use seasonal produce to customize your goulash.

        What thickens goulash?

        Goulash can be thickened using a roux (a mixture of flour and fat) or by reducing the liquid through simmering. Some recipes also call for the addition of starches like potatoes or cornstarch to thicken the dish.

        Why is my goulash meat tough?

        If the meat in your goulash is tough, it may not have been cooked long enough or at a low enough temperature. Goulash is best prepared with a slow, low-heat cooking method to allow the collagen in the meat to break down and become tender.

        Why is my goulash watery?

        If your goulash is watery, it may need to be simmered longer to reduce and thicken the liquid. Alternatively, you can add a roux, cornstarch, or additional potatoes to help thicken the dish.

        Why is my Goulash bitter?

        Bitterness in goulash may result from over-toasting the paprika or using a low-quality paprika. To avoid bitterness, use high-quality, sweet paprika, and be mindful not to overcook it.

        Does goulash taste better the next day?

        Yes, goulash often tastes better the next day. The flavors meld and deepen as the dish sits, making it even more delicious when reheated.

        Does goulash have cholesterol?

        Goulash does contain cholesterol, primarily from the meat used in the dish. To reduce cholesterol, choose lean cuts of meat and consider adding more vegetables.

        Traditional Goulash Recipe

        This traditional goulash recipe is a hearty, flavorful dish that will transport your taste buds to Hungary. Slowly cooked beef, vegetables, and a rich paprika-infused sauce make this meal perfect for a cozy dinner at home.
        Course Main Course
        Cuisine Hungarian


        • Large pot or Dutch oven
        • knife
        • Cutting board
        • wooden spoon
        • Slotted spoon
        • Measuring cups and spoons


        • 2 lbs beef chuck or shoulder cut into 1-inch cubes
        • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
        • 2 large onions chopped
        • 2 cloves garlic minced
        • 2 bell peppers red and yellow, chopped
        • 2 medium carrots chopped
        • 2 medium potatoes chopped
        • 1 14.5- ounce can diced tomatoes
        • 4 cups beef broth
        • 3 tbsp sweet paprika
        • 1 tsp caraway seeds
        • 1 bay leaf
        • Salt and pepper to taste
        • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour optional for thickening
        • 2 tbsp water optional for thickening
        • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


        • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove the beef using a slotted spoon and set aside.
        • In the same pot, add the chopped onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
        • Stir in the paprika, caraway seeds, and bay leaf, and cook for 1 minute, taking care not to burn the spices.
        • Return the browned beef to the pot, along with the chopped bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, diced tomatoes, and beef broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
        • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.
        • If desired, thicken the goulash by combining the all-purpose flour and water in a small bowl to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the goulash and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the desired thickness is reached.
        • Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
        • Serve the goulash hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley, alongside your choice of side dishes.


        • For a spicier goulash, add a pinch of hot paprika or a dash of cayenne pepper.
        • Goulash can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stovetop over low heat, adding more broth if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
        • Goulash can also be made in a slow cooker. Brown the meat and sauté the onions, garlic, and spices in a skillet before transferring to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender.
        Keyword Goulash


        The traditional Goulash recipe is a delicious and hearty dish that has been enjoyed for generations. This Hungarian stew is made with tender beef, onions, peppers, and a blend of spices that create a rich and flavorful sauce.

        The beauty of Goulash is its versatility, as it can be served with a variety of sides such as noodles, potatoes, or bread dumplings. It’s perfect for a cozy dinner at home or for entertaining guests.

        While the cooking process may be time-consuming, the end result is well worth the effort. The aroma alone is enough to make your mouth water, and the taste is nothing short of amazing.

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