Classic One-Pot American Goulash

published Dec 30, 2021
American Goulash Recipe

When you are looking for a dinner that will be a hit with the whole family and can be prepared in just one pot, look no further than American goulash.

Serves4 to 6

Prep5 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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American Goulash (Slumgullion, which is a mixture of ground beef elbow macaroni)
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

When you’re looking for a dinner that will be a hit with the whole family and can be prepared from start to finish all in the same pot, look no further than American goulash. This meal is quite different than the traditional Hungarian dish. It starts with seasoned ground beef and incorporates noodles — typically elbow macaroni or wide egg noodles. It all comes together with the help of beef stock and tomatoes and in under half an hour, dinner is served!

What Is American Goulash?

American goulash, sometimes called slumgullion, American Chop Suey, or even Beef-a-Roni, is an American comfort-food dish popular in the Midwest and South. Besides the name, there is no real connection to Hungarian goulash in terms of the flavor or ingredients.

Key Ingredients in American Goulash

While Hungarian goulash is a soup or stew made with beef, onions, and paprika, American goulash is a beef, tomato, and macaroni dish. American goulash can be seasoned in a wide variety of ways, often with aromatics such as onion and garlic as well as Italian seasoning blend. It often includes paprika as a nod to the Hungarian goulash namesake. American goulash can also be topped with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Slumgullion Versus Goulash

Some use the names slumgullion and American goulash interchangeably to refer to the same beef and noodle dish. However, slumgullion tends to be more of a stew consistency made up with meat and whatever else is on hand. Goulash is sometimes used figuratively to mean a jumble or a hodgepodge, therefore it is also implied that the dish can include a variety of available ingredients.

American Goulash Recipe

When you are looking for a dinner that will be a hit with the whole family and can be prepared in just one pot, look no further than American goulash.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef (90% lean)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    Italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cups

    beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 cups

    dried elbow macaroni (about 9 ounces)

  • 4 ounces

    cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 bunch

    fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Dice 1 medium yellow onion until you have 1 cup.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 pound lean ground beef. Cook, stirring and breaking up the pieces of meat into smaller pieces, until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are starting to soften, about 6 minutes.

  3. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Add 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, 2 cups beef broth, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and stir to combine. Add 2 cups elbow macaroni, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the macaroni is al dente, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, shred 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 cup). Pick the leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh parsley and coarsely chop until you have about 1/4 cup.

  5. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Sprinkle with the cheese and let sit until melted. Garnish with parsley just before serving. (Alternatively, garnish each serving with cheese and parsley instead.)

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerate before reheating.