Hungarian Goulash

Total Time:
2 hr 45 min
45 min
2 hr

4 to 6 servings

  • 1 strip bacon
  • 2 onions, medium dice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons good quality sweet paprika (see cook's note)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 2 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 or 5 potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for plating
  • 1 pound prepared spaetzle, as an accompaniment
  • Cucumber salad, as an accompaniment, recipe follows
  • Cucumber Salad:
  • 2 cucumbers
  • Seasoned salt
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Pinch dill, dried or fresh (optional)
  • Dollop sour cream (optional)
  • Cook's Note: using good quality paprika is important. After about a year, paprika spice tends to lose its intensity. Use the best quality possible!

  • In a cold, heavy 6 to 8-quart stewing pot, fry bacon over low-medium heat until fat is rendered, and then discard bacon slice.

  • Saute onions in the bacon fat for a few minutes, do not allow the onions to brown. If bacon does not provide enough fat, add a little olive oil to prevent the onions from sticking. When onions become glossy, add the beef, sauteing with the onions for about 10 minutes, covered, until the meat is browned.

  • Meanwhile, chop and crush the garlic with the caraway seeds; add to meat and onions. Remove pot from heat. Stir in paprika rapidly with a wooden spoon. Immediately after paprika is absorbed, add the warm water. The water should just cover the meat, leaving room for potatoes.

  • Add beef bouillon cubes. Cover pot and cook over low heat for about 1 hour.

  • While stew is braising, prepare the tomatoes by cutting into 1-inch pieces. Core green peppers and cut into strips. After 1 hour of braising, add the tomatoes and green pepper. Add a little more water, if necessary and a little more salt if you need it. Simmer slowly for another 30 minutes.

  • Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized cubes and set aside in a bowl of water. Add potatoes, and cook another 30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender and the goulash is done.

  • Once goulash is finished, dissolve sour cream and a little of the goulash sauce in a cup. Add to goulash, it should give a creamy consistency. Serve goulash with spaetzle on the side, adding an extra dollop of sour cream to each plate.

  • Peel and slice cucumbers very thinly. The side of a metal grater with the wide slots works best here, or you can use a mandoline. Place cucumbers in a flat dish and sprinkle throughout with salt, making sure that all the slices are salted. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. The salt will draw the moisture out of the cucumbers. Cut the onion into paper-thin slices and place in a container. Once the cucumbers have released water, use your hands to squeeze out the excess water and add to the onions. The cucumbers are supposed to be limp, but still crisp.

  • In a measuring cup mix vinegar, water, sugar and paprika to create a vinaigrette. Pour over the cucumbers and onions and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours.

  • Cook's secret: make the cucumbers before the goulash and it will be perfectly marinated by the time you are done making the stew!

  • Serve with a sprinkle of dill and a little dollop of sour cream if desired.

  • The recipes for this program, which were provided by contributors and guests who may not be professional chefs, have not been tested in the Food Network's kitchens. Therefore, the Food Network cannot attest to the accuracy of any of the recipes.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.1 30
I am sure people that have never had goulash =will think its great but for one thing there is no pasta or spatzela of ANY kind in goulash, and another have the bacon for breakfast but keep it OUT of the stew, and use any kind of meat you wish you are not limited to beef, veal, pork, venison or buffalo all work great! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just like my german mother in law would make!! Fantastic!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is great. I have made it many many times, and it is (almost perfect every single time. I say almost because I think the recipe writer forgot to add flour to the sour cream to thicken the broth. (probably why it ended up "soupy" to some. They probably should have said "up to" two cups of water if necessary, not a hard two cups. Every single cut of stewing meat I have ever used puts out different quantities of juice depending on the amount of fat in it. I left the cover off in the last half hour and it rendered a beautiful gravy. Also, I have NEVER EVER heard of kolbasz (or kielbasa to Americans being used in Hungarian Goulash. I have an enormous collection of Hungarian cookbooks and they all use beef. Besides it is an old hunter's stew, and I doubt the herdsmen in Hungary had Kielbasa standing by. Cows, yes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have to say in my family we do make it with beef, I have no clue what kolbasz is and I am Hungarian. I do agree in America It's usually served over egg noodles which is how my father made it for me growing up, but it can be served over rice I believe. However I agree with the last poster on the fact that the bacon should be omitted and I'd double the amount of paprika at least. My family also does not normally use caraway seeds, but to each their own. This is a Hungarian peasant dish so each family has their own way of making it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I don't even have to try this recipe to tell you it's wrong. Trust me I'm Hungarian. first off, YOU DON"T PUT BACON IN GOULASH! second, no where NEAR enough paprika. and you ESPECIALLY don't use sweet paprika. also it's almost never made with spatzel. you also aren't supposed to use BEEF! it's made with kolbasz (If you don't know what kolbasz is you shouldn't even be trying to make hungarian food. this recipe is garbage. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is a certain road to disappointment if you are looking for flavor. I followed it without deviation and ended up with a bland soup. If I were to try it again (which I doubt) I would tripple the amount of any indicated spice. There is significant ambiguity regarding the addition of tomatoes: two tomatoes from a can or two cans of tomatoes??? I opted for four tomatoes from the can and did NOT add any of the liquid. Notwithstanding, the result was a thin tasteless soup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made this recipe several times, and it's wonderful. I tweak it just slightly by adding more caraway seeds (1 teaspoon instead of a pinch); I toast and grind them before adding. I change the Paprika by using 1 tablespoon of hot Hungarian Paprika and 1 tablespoon of sweet Paprika. The Cucumber Salad rocks with the Goulash. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I found this recipe easy to follow, and very amenable to adjustments in quantities. I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned, increased the amount of bacon and onions, and it turned out delicious! I've cooked this about a dozen times, and everyone loves it. Tastes just like the family-made goulash my husband and I had in Europe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried this recipe for my first attempt at goulash. It was pretty good...but not great. First of all, one slice of bacon does not render enough fat to saute the onions and the beef chunks. I knew that before I even started, so I used four slices of extra-thick bacon and cut them into matchstick strips. I removed the bacon to saute the onions and beef, but I cannot understand the direction to discard the bacon. What a waste! I returned the bacon to the stew later on (as you would when making boeuf bourgignon). The beef was extremely tender after braising for two hours and the aroma of the stew was heavenly. But the sauce was watery. I had to put a couple of tablespoons of flour in a small bowl and whisk in some of the hot broth, then return the mixture to the pot and cook a few minutes longer. The thicker sauce was velvety and enrobed the beef and potatoes. Next time I'll try the Tyler Florence version. I think it may be a more dynamic recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm cooking this recipe as I write this comment/question. The recipe calls for: 2 Whole canned tomatoes I read this as, 2 whole tomatoes from a can of Whole Tomatoes, not 2 cans of Whole Tomatoes. Is this correct? The more I read it, the more I'm unsure. I'm at the stage now, where the tomatoes go in, next. It's like the SNL skit, "You can never put too much water into a Nuclear Reactor". Never put too much water, or, you can never put too much water? Oh well, in the meantime, I'll use just two whole tomatoes from one can. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this, while I am in Denmark. I had to make a couple of small adjustments due to circumstances. Such as, I did not find bacon, til after the 1 hour cooking time. I cooked up the bacon cubes (sort of like chopped back bacon). Instead of using the grease, I just put the cooked bacon in with the meat after 1 hour. I left out garlic and caraway and flour. I only used 2 small potatoes diced small. I used 38% creme fraiche in the goulash. And 18% to top when serving. The taste was fantastic. I think I also added just a bit more paprika, because I really liked the flavor it added. I used canned diced tomatoes-drained. Could not find spaetzle, so used tiny macaroni noodles. I cannot wait for the leftovers this evening ! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This golash was very good. I actually started another recipe similar to this for the pressure cooker but the taste wasn"t on the mark. When I found this one I was amazed by the what the bacon could do to the depth of this type of stew. I will add this to my recipe box and save. 5 five star rating from me. Thank you item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is very close to my Great Grandma's recipe. She never learned English so the recipe went with her. The only addition I've made is a bay leaf which gives a little bit of bitterness that I remember my great grandma's having. Thank you for returning this recipe to my rotation. My friends constantly ask when I'm making goulash and it's become a holiday favorites here in Derby City. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I wouldn't rate this recipe unless I've tried it more than once. So, tonight is the third time I'm doing this in the last 6 months and considering how well it turned out last two times, I can safely say that this is a great, authentic recipe. It tastes the same as it did back in Bosnia when my Grandma, Mom and many neighbors would prepare it, years and years ago. As always, there is always room for a little improv with any recipe. The first time I made the goulash, I only had about 1 1/2 pounds of beef so I cut up few lamb chops (no bone) to make up the other pound of meat. The end result was very, very good. Lamb is very common in Balkan and Hungarian dishes and it blended in perfectly with this goulash. I highly recommend it. The second time I prepared the goulash, I added some semi-spicy German sausage (I called it the Austro-Hungarian goulash!!). The reason behind this - I wanted to make more of it. The dish was good again but in the end I concluded that sausage is not the best addition. Tonight I'm following this recipe 100% and I know it will be great, because it was great the first time. As I said above, improvise and play with it. Add more medium diced veggies such as carrots or celery. Use a pound of beef, lamb and pork each. That is again very common in that part of the world. You can add one inch cuts of thick cut country bacon at the same time you add the water and begin braising. Excellent leftover food as well and can really impress people. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this goulash and it tasted fabulous! It's relatively easy to make, it just takes attention & time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If the author would be more specific with cooking instructions, this could have been good. The tomato's probably should've been drained. It smelled fantastic the first hour of cooking, but once I added the tomato's it looked diluted. Then it doesn't tell you to leave the lid on the pot or off for the last hour. It was a huge disappointment, it tasted worse than a canned spaghetti sauce. If you try this recipe, DRAIN the tomato's. The cucumber salad was decent, very vinegary, but I seeded my cucumbers, maybe they would have diluted it a bit. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been making Hungarian Goulash for overe 30 years and truely this is the closest recipe yet to being called Hungarian Goulash. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Superb, like my Grand Mother use to make. item not reviewed by moderator and published
good recipe. a nice change of pace, but won't make the weekly countdown. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was excited to find this recipe for Hungarian goulash. Having spent some time in eastern Europe, I was curious to see how close it would taste to other goulashes I had had. This one wasn't bad. Adding the sour cream didn't turn out right. I thought it would make it thicker and creamier, but it didn't. It needed more vegetables, and I would have preferred to have served it with spaetzle instead of potatoes. Overall it wasn't bad. item not reviewed by moderator and published
reminds me of traveling to prague & budapest. i could see someone not liking it if they do not like paprika or nutmeg though. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I had had this dish made by a hungarian woman before and it was delightful. When i prepared it using this recipe it tasted the exact same as hers, i was amazed. I used veal though, you can use anything you want for the meat it really all tastes the same in the end. My family enjoyed as well; all i konw is they went for seconds. Try this recipe and you will be satisfied. If you don't have the time to make it on a week night make it on the weekend and freeze itfor the following week. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used the fat of 1 lb of bacon instead of 1 slice, used twice the amount of meat, onions and garlic. Added 1 cut up fresh tomato, besides the canned ones. Absolutely loved the flavor of this recipe. I'll add carrots next time and omit the sour cream because it is now my stew recipe also. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for my husband who from Germany. He loved it. The beef is so tender once it's all done, it's wonderful. I made the cucumber dill salad along with the goulash and it matches the dish well. Even my picky 7-year-old loved the goulash, he didn't like the cucumber salad so much. This dish is great for cold days (which we don't have enough of here in Hawaii). This is an easy to make comfort food. Well worth the work item not reviewed by moderator and published
was so easy to prepare and a great meal for a cool weekend day with weekday leftover dinner ready!! Tasted abslolutely incredible with egg noodles!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thankyou for a great authentic recipe that tastes sooo good!! We added twice the sour cream but in the correct way cause we LOVE wour cream. This was a crowd pleaser! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious, kid friendly, easy instuctions to follow. One draw back was the time factor. This is a recipe that takes the afternoon to fix correctly. A plus, there are leftovers for another night. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellent taste. My kids love it and ask for it all the time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe totally took me back to home & reminded me of when my mom cooked it for me. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My granmother is Hungrian and she makes it with spaetzle or egg noodles. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hungarian* darn phone! item not reviewed by moderator and published
<p>well well...why not tell us how you really feel, there "guest" who isn't even brave enough to tell their name or how they make it the "right ' way.</p><p><br /></p> item not reviewed by moderator and published

Not what you're looking for? Try:

Pork Goulash with Apple and Onion

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray