Hungarian goulash is rich, comforting, and so easy to make from scratch! Loaded with melt-in-your-mouth tender beef and flavorful vegetables this slow-cooked stew is perfect for cold winter days and also known as German Goulash.
This comforting Beef Goulash recipe is the perfect meal for cold weather that the whole family will love! A delicious beef stew made with a rich broth flavored with paprika and red wine. We love comforting recipes during the colder months like Cheese Spaetzle, Kaiserschmarrn, and Easy Potato Bacon Soup, and this rich and filling stew is a favorite in our house all season long!
Goulash is a very popular dish in Europe and like other European recipes Gulasch, even though it is best known as Hungarian Goulash in the US, is a dish that is cooked in many European countries with slight differences – for example, German Goulash, Beef Bourguignon, and Viennese Goulash. The difference between authentic Hungarian goulash and German Goulash is the consistency. Traditional Hungarian Goulash is thinner like a soup and German Goulash is thicker like a stew but the base is the same.
Serve it with rustic bread, over egg noodles, with German Spaetzle or add chopped potatoes and red bell peppers. My favorite way to eat it is with potatoes and peppers because it is the easiest way to transform this simple paprika beef stew into a full meal and it is perfect for feeding a crowd!
How to make Hungarian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash is very different from American Goulash which is made with ground beef and macaroni. To make traditional Goulash you want to start with lots of chopped onions. This stew is made with equal parts of beef and onions and lots of Hungarian paprika. I prefer to use sweet Hungarian paprika but you could also use the spicy variety if you like it hot.
Saute the onions, carrot, and celery in butter and oil. You could also use lard which is the traditional way but hard to get your hands on. When everything is soft and nicely browned add the tomato paste. The paste will get super flavorful when you saute it for a minute. Then add the paprika but be careful to not let it get burned. Next step is to add wine and broth, scrape the bottom of the pot so all the browned bits get loosed, this adds extra flavor.
Add the beef and spices, then bring it to a low simmer and let cook until the meat is tender. Some recipes recommend browning the beef as an extra step, in my experience, it isn’t worth the extra effort (and kitchen renovation) for this type of stew because it already has enough depth of flavor thanks to the paprika, wine, and sauteed veggies.
You can keep this recipe as simple as you like, it tastes incredibly delicious without any added extras. But adding a few chopped bell peppers and cubed potatoes is a great way to make this simple dish even more delicious and filling without much effort.
Add-ins for German Goulash
- Add 3 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces 1/2 hour before the cook time is over
- Add 2 cups cubed potatoes 1/2 hour before the cook time is over
- Add 1/4 cup heavy cream at the end of the cooking time for a creamy sauce
- Other veggies cut into small pieces
- Crispy bacon bits
Tips and Tricks for making the BEST Hungarian Goulash Recipe
- Use Hungarian Sweet Paprika for this recipe. It is an essential ingredient and gives the Goulash its taste
- Many Goulash recipes use celery root instead of celery stalks. I have a hard time finding celery root at the supermarket so I usually use celery stalks
- A 6-quart dutch oven works best for this recipe
- Be careful not to burn the paprika! It burns really quickly if you are not careful
- If you can’t use red wine, you can use more beef broth. I like to add wine because it adds flavor and the alcohol will burn off during the cooking process
- Any red wine works for this recipe. I recommend using a wine that you would also drink (and not some really cheap wine that you wouldn’t even want to take a sip of)
- Let the stew simmer for two hours at a low temperature so the meat gets tender. Some tougher cuts might need longer to get tender. I buy stewing meat from Costco and always have melt-in-your-mouth tender meat after 2 hours
- I prefer my Goulash to be slightly thick like a stew, that’s why I add a cornstarch slurry at the end. If you prefer a thinner consistency you can leave this step out
What to serve with Beef Goulash
- Potato Dumplings
- Boiled Potatoes
- (Egg) Noodles
- Nokeldi (Hungarian mini egg dumplings)
- Sour cream as a topping
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped about 3 cups
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 cup beef broth
- 2 pounds stewing beef
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- In a dutch oven or large stew pot heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, carrot, and celery and saute for about 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add tomato paste and saute for one more minute, stirring constantly. Then add paprika powder and saute for a few more seconds, be careful not to burn the paprika.
- Add red wine and beef broth. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula to loosen any brown bits. Bring to a simmer.
- When it is simmering add the stewing beef, bay leaf, and pepper. Bring back to a simmer over low heat. Let simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally. If you want to add potatoes and bell peppers add them 30 minutes before the time is up.
- The goulash is done when the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. If the meat is not tender after two hours let cook for 30 more minutes.
- Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl and add it to the goulash. Bring to a simmer while stirring constantly until thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, take out the bay leaves, and serve.
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