Tender morsels of beef, chunky potatoes, and carrots, and sweet bell peppers are simmered together with paprika in this hearty and flavorful Hungarian Goulash. This stew is on the soupier side so be sure to serve with lots of crusty bread to mop up the delicious broth!

Overhead shot of Hungarian goulash in white bowl.


I’ve been on a stew-making kick lately, and Hungarian Beef Goulash is right up there with other favorites like Beef Bourguignon and Peposo.

This hearty stew is on the brothier side and is loaded with chunks of tender braised beef, potatoes, carrots, and peppers.

But the real star of the show and what makes this stew Hungarian, is the Hungarian paprika.

The combination of these simple ingredients yields massive flavor and is pure comfort in a bowl.

And if you enjoy the flavor of paprika, you’ll love Chicken Paprikash, another Hungarian dish that’s creamy, comforting, and so delicious.

Be sure to bookmark this page because Hungarian goulash is a dish you’ll want to make over and over again!

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: carrots, potatoes, garlic, bay leaves, Hungarian paprika, caraway seeds, plum tomatoes, bacon, onion, peppers, parsley, beef stock, and chuck roast.
  • Paprika. This goulash recipe calls for 5 tablespoons of Hungarian paprika. It’s the dominant flavor and is what really sets Hungarian goulash apart from other beef stews.
  • Caraway seeds. These add additional flavor but can be omitted if you don’t like them.
  • Chuck roast. I used a 2-pound chuck roast that I cut into cubes but you could use pre-cut stew meat if that’s what’s available to you.
  • Flour. For dredging the beef. If you prefer a gluten-free goulash, omit the flour.
  • Bacon. This is the fat I use to start the dish. Traditional Hungarian goulash uses lard, but bacon works great. Opt for a neutral-flavored bacon for goulash.
  • Bell peppers. I used red, yellow, and green but use any colors you’d like.
  • Carrots. For added texture and sweetness.
  • Stock. Use homemade beef stock if you can, but you can also use Better Than Bullion beef base or boxed stock.

See the recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Cut a 2-2.5 pound chuck roast into 2-inch cubes, pat dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper (Photo #1).
  2. Dredge the cubes in 1/4 cup of flour and pat well to remove the excess. Slice 1/4 pound of bacon into strips, dice 2 large yellow onions, chop 3 large bell peppers, dice 2 large carrots, mince 5 cloves of garlic, and chop 3 plum tomatoes. Slice 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes into 1-inch cubes and mince 3 tablespoons of parsley (Photo #2).
Hungarian goulash process shot collage group one showing seasoning of beef and dredging in flour along with cooking bacon and beef in Dutch oven.
  1. Heat a large heavy pot to medium heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp (7-10 minutes). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate (Photo #3).
  2. Add the beef to the pot and sear in the bacon fat for 5-7 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove the beef and set aside on a plate. Work in batches to not overcrowd the pot. (Photo #4).
  3. Add the onions to the pot along with a pinch of salt and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes (Photo #5).
  4. Add the peppers and carrots to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes (Photo #6).
Recipe collage group two showing sauteing of onions, then adding peppers, carrots, and garlic, and finally adding in caraway seeds and plum tomatoes.
  1. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or until fragrant (Photo #7).
  2. Add the plum tomatoes along with 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds and stir to combine (Photo #8).
  3. Add the cooked bacon, the beef, 2 bay leaves, 5 tablespoons of Hungarian sweet paprika, and 5 cups of low-sodium beef stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer (Photo #9).
  4. Place the lid on the pot leaving it partially cracked and simmer for 90 minutes then uncover for another 30 minutes. (Photo #10).
Recipe collage group three showing simmering pot of goulash along with adding potatoes in and using wooden spoon to mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot.
  1. Once the beef is almost tender, remove the lid and add the potatoes and continue to simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender (20-30 minutes) (Photo #11).
  2. Taste test the goulash and adjust salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. For a thicker soup, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon and stir to combine. Add the parsley and serve (Photo #12). Enjoy!
Large wooden ladle scooping out goulash over Dutch oven.

Top tips

  • The paprika. Pictured in the ingredient shot is Hungarian sweet paprika. Paprika is a defining characteristic of Hungarian cuisine and I suggest using Hungarian paprika if you can find it. Consider serving some spicy Hungarian paprika on the side for those who like a little heat.
  • Homemade stock. Anytime a recipe calls for stock, it’s an opportunity for you to elevate the flavor by using homemade stock. Homemade beef stock not only tastes better than anything store-bought, it also contains no salt which gives you full control over the sodium level in whichever dish you’re making.
  • Serving. Since this beef goulash is more of a soup, it is great with a chunk of rustic bread. It would also be good with egg noodles or even roasted garlic mashed potatoes, though there are already potatoes in the dish.
Bowl of Hungarian goulash with large piece of beef in center of bowl.

More hearty soup and stew recipes

If you love hearty soups and stews, you’ve come to the right place. Here are just a few of our favorites, but feel free to browse our entire soup and stew recipe category!

  • Guinness Beef Stew – Irish-style stew with chunks of carrots, potatoes, beef, and Guinness.
  • Classic Chili – with ground beef, beans, and loads of flavor thanks to ancho and chipotle chiles.
  • Beef Barley Soup – with pearl barley, chunks of beef, carrots, celery, and onion.
  • Italian Beef Stew – with mushrooms, carrots, and beef braised in red wine.

If you’ve enjoyed this Hungarian Goulash recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

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Hungarian Goulash

5 from 10 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total: 3 hours
Servings: 6
Hungarian goulash combines tender chunks of beef, carrots, potatoes, and peppers braised in a broth spiced with paprika and caraway. This hearty stew is ultra comforting and always a huge hit!

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 pound bacon
  • 2 pounds chuck roast 2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour for dredging only, discard remainder
  • 2 large yellow onions diced
  • 3 large bell peppers assorted, chopped
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 plum tomatoes chopped
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 5 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 5 cups low sodium beef stock or broth
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Heat a large heavy pot to medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  • Meanwhile, pat the beef cubes very dry and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Dredge the cubes in the flour then shake off all of the excess. Sear the beef cubes in the bacon fat until browned on all sides (5-7 minutes) then remove the beef to a plate.
  • Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are translucent (about 8 minutes) then add the peppers and carrots and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the caraway seeds and plum tomatoes and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the cooked bacon, beef, beef stock, bay leaves, and paprika to the pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the lid on top of the bottom leaving it partially cracked. Simmer for 90 minutes then remove the lid and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • When the beef is almost tender remove the lid and add the potatoes. Continue to simmer until they are fork-tender (about 20-30 minutes).
  • Taste test the soup and adjust salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. For a thicker soup, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon and stir to combine. Add the parsley and serve.

Notes

  • Makes 6 large bowls or 8 cups.
  • Hungarian sweet paprika is typically used for this soup.  Since 5 tablespoons of it are called for, make sure to use sweet and not spicy.  Spicy can be served on the side for anyone who would like some heat.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.  Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. 

Nutrition

Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 21.9g | Protein: 58.7g | Fat: 17.6g | Saturated Fat: 6.2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 959mg | Potassium: 1093mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6.9g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 30mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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16 Comments

  1. I am Hungarian by descent, and my grandmother made her version all the time when I was a kid. I can remember her making a spaetzle with it. I was wondering if you had tried it that way. Maybe post a recipe for spaetzle . I have tried many of your recipes, please keep them coming.

    1. Hi Marty, thanks for the comment! We’ve had spaetzle before but don’t have a recipe for it yet. That’s a good suggestion though, so thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    This is so good!!! I have made it several times already. Sometimes I have it for breakfast with some added egg whites. Thanks for bringing this into my food rotation.

  3. 5 stars
    Jim, absolutely loved this recipe and the video! I started with 4 but went up to 6 tablespoons of Hungarian sweet paprika and a teaspoon of smoked. I wish you would make the vids longer, maybe more with the family or taste testing, since I like to watch them at night on my TV.

  4. 5 stars
    This is the absolute best goulash I have ever had. Second only to your ragu and pappardelle. The “gravy” is a taste treat all on its own. A must for your greatest recipes list. I thank you and my family thanks you. My husband is your biggest fan.

  5. 5 stars
    I love your videos on you tube. This recipe sounds delicious and I use paprika in much of my cooking! So, I ‘ll be making it this weekend!

    1. Hi Beverly, we’re so happy you’re enjoying the videos and hope you enjoy this one when you make it this weekend!