American Goulash Recipe


American Goulash, also known as American Chop Suey or American Beefaroni, is a beloved comfort food that has been enjoyed by families across the United States for generations. This hearty and flavorful dish features tender macaroni pasta, savory ground beef, and a rich tomato-based sauce infused with herbs and spices. Whether you’re craving a nostalgic meal from childhood or looking for a satisfying dinner option, this classic American Goulash recipe is sure to hit the spot. Let’s dive into how to make this timeless comfort food that’s perfect for any occasion.

Why Choose American Goulash?

  1. Comforting and Satisfying: American Goulash is the epitome of comfort food, offering a hearty and filling meal that warms the soul. Its combination of tender pasta, savory beef, and flavorful sauce is guaranteed to satisfy even the heartiest appetites.
  2. Budget-Friendly Ingredients: Made with simple and affordable ingredients such as ground beef, pasta, canned tomatoes, and pantry staples, American Goulash is a budget-friendly option for feeding the whole family or a crowd.
  3. Customizable and Versatile: This recipe is highly customizable, allowing you to adjust the ingredients and seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Add extra vegetables, swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or sausage, or experiment with different herbs and spices to create your own signature version of American Goulash.
  4. One-Pot Wonder: American Goulash is typically made in one pot, making it a convenient option for busy weeknights or lazy Sundays. With minimal prep and cleanup, you can have a delicious and satisfying meal on the table in no time.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Brown the Ground Beef: In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat from the pot.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics: Add the diced onion to the pot with the ground beef and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add the Tomatoes and Sauce: Stir in the diced tomatoes (with their juices) and tomato sauce, along with the dried oregano, dried basil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  4. Simmer the Sauce: Add the elbow macaroni and beef broth (or water) to the pot, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Serve and Enjoy: Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve the American Goulash hot, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Serving and Storage Tips for American Goulash:


  1. Garnish Creatively: Before serving, garnish each portion of American Goulash with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley for added flavor and visual appeal. This enhances the presentation of the dish and adds a touch of freshness.
  2. Pair with Bread or Salad: Serve American Goulash with slices of crusty bread or a side salad to round out the meal. The bread is perfect for soaking up the flavorful sauce, while the salad provides a refreshing contrast to the hearty pasta and beef.
  3. Serve Family-Style: Consider serving American Goulash family-style by placing the pot on the table and letting everyone help themselves. This creates a casual and communal dining experience that’s perfect for relaxed gatherings with loved ones.
  4. Leftovers for Lunch: American Goulash makes delicious leftovers and is ideal for packing in lunchboxes or reheating for a quick and satisfying meal the next day. Simply store any leftover portions in the refrigerator and reheat gently before serving.


  1. Cool Completely Before Storing: Allow any leftover American Goulash to cool completely at room temperature before storing it. Placing hot food directly in the refrigerator can raise its internal temperature and promote bacterial growth.
  2. Use Airtight Containers: Transfer the cooled American Goulash to airtight containers or resealable plastic bags for storage. Make sure the containers are sealed tightly to prevent air from entering, which can cause the food to spoil faster.
  3. Refrigerate Promptly: Place the sealed containers of American Goulash in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Store them on the refrigerator shelves rather than the door, as the temperature is more consistent there.
  4. Consume Within 3-4 Days: American Goulash can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to consume it within this timeframe to enjoy it at its best quality and flavor.
  5. Reheat Gently: When reheating leftover American Goulash, do so gently over low to medium heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Avoid microwaving at high power, as this can cause the pasta to become mushy and the sauce to splatter.
Variations of Recipe:

1. Cheesy American Goulash:

  • Add a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese to the cooked goulash just before serving. Stir until the cheese is melted and creamy, creating a rich and indulgent variation of this classic dish.

2. Veggie-Packed American Goulash:

  • Increase the nutritional value of your goulash by adding an assortment of vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach. Sauté the vegetables along with the onions and garlic for a colorful and wholesome twist.

3. Spicy American Goulash:

  • Infuse your goulash with a kick of heat by adding diced jalapeños, crushed red pepper flakes, or a splash of hot sauce to the sauce mixture. Adjust the amount according to your preferred level of spiciness for a fiery variation of this comforting dish.

4. Mediterranean-Inspired American Goulash:

  • Give your goulash a Mediterranean flair by incorporating ingredients like diced tomatoes with roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, capers, and feta cheese. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil or parsley for a burst of freshness.

5. Creamy Mushroom American Goulash:

  • Elevate your goulash by adding sautéed mushrooms to the dish along with the ground beef. Stir in a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt at the end of cooking to create a creamy and luscious variation that’s sure to please the whole family.


1. Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef in American Goulash?

  • Yes, you can easily substitute ground turkey for ground beef in American Goulash. Ground turkey is a leaner option and will impart a slightly different flavor to the dish, but it will still be delicious and satisfying.

2. Can I make American Goulash ahead of time?

  • Absolutely! American Goulash is a great make-ahead dish. You can prepare it in advance, refrigerate it, and then reheat it when you’re ready to serve. The flavors often deepen and meld together even more when the dish is reheated.

3. Can I freeze American Goulash?

  • Yes, American Goulash freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

4. Can I use different types of pasta for American Goulash?

  • While elbow macaroni is traditional, you can use other types of pasta such as rotini, penne, or shells. Just be mindful that different shapes may affect the texture of the dish slightly.

5. Can I make American Goulash in a slow cooker?

  • Yes, you can adapt American Goulash for the slow cooker. Brown the ground beef and sauté the onions and garlic before transferring everything to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

6. Is American Goulash gluten-free?

  • American Goulash is typically made with pasta, which contains gluten. However, you can make it gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta or a substitute such as rice or quinoa.

7. Can I add more vegetables to American Goulash?

  • Absolutely! Feel free to add extra vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, celery, or spinach to increase the nutritional value and add texture and flavor to the dish.

8. What can I serve with American Goulash?

  • American Goulash pairs well with a variety of side dishes such as garlic bread, dinner rolls, green salad, steamed vegetables, or a simple fruit salad.

9. Can I adjust the seasoning in American Goulash?

  • Yes, feel free to adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. Add more herbs and spices such as basil, oregano, thyme, or smoked paprika for extra flavor.

10. Can I make American Goulash without onions and garlic?

  • While onions and garlic add flavor to American Goulash, you can omit them if you have dietary restrictions or preferences. Consider adding extra herbs or spices to enhance the flavor profile of the dish.


American Goulash is a timeless comfort food that never goes out of style. With its simple yet satisfying combination of pasta, beef, and tomato sauce, it’s the perfect meal for cozy nights in or family gatherings. Whether you follow this classic recipe or put your own spin on it, American Goulash is sure to become a favorite in your household. So gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and get ready to enjoy a delicious taste of Americana with this classic comfort food.

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