Hungarian Beef Goulash recipe

Hungarian Beef Goulash recipe

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

Heat up a cold evening with this hearty stew!

photos: krista for we heart this

Let me begin this post by saying I am not in any way Hungarian, but I do love a good goulash (Who doesn’t?) For those of you not in the know, goulash is essentially a stew-like concoction and I haven’t seen two goulash recipes that are the same.

This particular recipe comes thanks to my mom, who actually was not particularly fond of cooking. When she passed a couple years ago, I went through her old recipe box, mining for recipes. The old wooden box (gifted to a newlywed in 1971 who didn’t know how to cook and never really learned beyond the basics) was stuffed with over 30 years of hand-written recipe cards from friends and family, folded magazine pages, and newspaper clippings of recipes that she thought sounded good, but that she never made. Out of this big box of recipes, she may have made 10 things in there in my lifetime.

I decided to photocopy some of the recipes she’d never made and make them for her. The following recipe for Beef Goulash was on a piece of newspaper. I’m not sure what paper, but I do know that the year was 1985 – a grocery store ad on the back clued me into that. In any case, in the months following my mother’s passing, I made this gem of a recipe and it’s since become a favorite of mine. I hope it becomes one of yours as well.


Brown Sauce Base (make prior to other steps and set aside)
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
2 c. beef broth
½ tsp. Tabasco Sauce

Brown Sauce Base
¼ c. butter
4 cups sliced onions (about 4 large onions)
2 cloves minced garlic (about 1 heaping tsp. of the jar variety)
3 lbs. boned round or chuck cut into 1 inch cubes
8 oz. diced tomatoes, drained (I end up getting the 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes and only put in ½–I can never find a smaller can)
4 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. dried marjoram leaves
½ tsp. salt
1 bay leaf


Brown Sauce Base
1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and cook until golden brown, keeping a close watch and stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in flour, continue stirring constantly, until brown.

3. Stir in broth and Tabasco.

4. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and comes to a boil, set aside. (Huff the pot a little because this sauce smells divine.)


1. In large saucepan or Dutch oven melt butter, add onions and garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

2. Add beef, browning on all sides.

3. Stir in tomatoes, the brown sauce base, paprika, marjoram, salt and bay leaf.

4. Cover and simmer at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender (I prefer about 5 hours of simmering – you could even transfer this to a crockpot and forget about it for several hours).

5. Serve over buttered noodles, spaetzle, mashed potatoes or rice. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

A special thanks to the folks at Spice Station for providing Hungarian Paprika and Marjoram – this last time I made this meal was probably the best yet. I hope y’all check them out. Their spices really elevate a recipe!

we heartsters – how many types of goulash have you had? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Krista currently lives in a semi-haunted house in New England with her hubby/best friend and obscenely big-eared dog. She thinks the world would be a better place if people smiled more and ate more dark chocolate. She is a firm believer that humor can be found in everything and that Tom Selleck’s moustache has healing properties…

15 thoughts on “Hungarian Beef Goulash recipe”

  1. Ooo, yummy. Coming home to that simmering in a crockpot would be amazing. That definitely looks like a perfect cold weather meal; I beet the leftovers are even better than the first meal, huh? :-)

    1. Alyssa, you have NO idea. The leftovers on this are heavenly. The meat gets even more tender by the next day & is delightful on some brown rice. Now I’m hungry…arg…

  2. That sauce would be GREAT for my sauce loving family members, but I’m more hungry for the noodles! (Random factoid: I hate pasta sauce, unless it’s alfredo sauce or the macaroni sauce for macaroni and cheese!) I’ll definitely have to pin this for when I’m feeling extra bored and in the mood for making a sauce for my family!

    Now I have to go make me some birthday buttered noodles! You’ve made me hungry!

    1. Happy birthday! Enjoy the buttered noodles!
      You should definitely try the brown sauce base in this…I’m tempted to just make that–it really could stand alone with some rice or some sturdy noodles or some buttered spaetzle. It smells like heaven, minus the rainbows and puppies. :)

  3. I’m making this this week! I make Beef Bourgogne, generally, mostly because I never knew how to make this . I usually stick with what I know…can’t wait to branch out!

    1. The key is to cook this forever…it is so good when the meat falls apart in your mouth…I really wish I wasn’t eating a steam bag of pasta tonight for dinner *whines* lol

  4. Oh boy that looks so yummy Krista! It’s been a looooong time since I made something like that! I love the story behind this too! Thanks for sharing this Hungarian Goulash dish!

  5. You know, I’m 3rd generation Hungarian and I’ve never had Hungarian Goulash – the shame! I could eat a bucket of this, it looks so, so good. And I am such a stew fan. Thanks for sharing @krista

    And how good is the Spice Station’s Paprika? LOVE.

  6. Mmmm, I love goulash! And the great thing is that the roux is easily made with a general gluten free flour (not straight up rice flour, that doesn’t really brown evenly, but I’ve had luck with others) so it can be completely safe for people with Celiac Disease. I wonder if this recipe could be make in a crock pot…

    1. I’ve made it in the crock pot and it turns out perfectly. You just have to combine everything in a big pot and follow the directions above, but transfer everything into a crock pot instead of simmering for 2 hours. This is fantastic if you can cook it on low for 8-10 hours :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *