German Goulash


When the cold winds blow and the days grow shorter, there’s nothing quite like a hearty, warming dish to bring comfort to the table. Enter German Goulash, a classic recipe that’s perfect for those chilly evenings. Rich, flavorful, and brimming with tender beef and vegetables, this traditional dish is a staple in many German households. Here’s everything you need to know to make this delectable dish at home.


To make a delicious German Goulash, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds (900g) beef chuck or stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. Prepare the Meat and Vegetables: Begin by cutting the beef into 1-inch cubes. Finely chop the onions and mince the garlic. Peel and cube the potatoes, peel and slice the carrots, and chop the bell pepper.
  2. Brown the Beef: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes in batches, browning them on all sides. Remove the browned beef from the pot and set it aside.
  3. Sauté the Onions and Garlic: In the same pot, add the chopped onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions become translucent and slightly golden.
  4. Add the Spices: Stir in the tomato paste, paprika powder, caraway seeds, and marjoram. Cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant.
  5. Deglaze the Pot: Pour in the red wine (if using) and beef broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. This will add depth to the flavor of the goulash.
  6. Simmer the Stew: Return the browned beef to the pot. Add the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender.
  7. Add Vegetables: Once the beef is tender, add the potatoes, carrots, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to simmer for another 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and the stew has thickened to your desired consistency.
  8. Serve: Remove the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Ladle the goulash into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot with crusty bread or over a bed of egg noodles for a complete meal.

Serving and Storing Tips for German Goulash:

Serving Tips:

  1. Accompaniments: German Goulash pairs beautifully with a variety of sides. Serve it with crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce, or over a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or spaetzle for a more substantial meal.
  2. Garnishes: Enhance the flavors with fresh garnishes. A sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley adds a burst of color and a touch of freshness to the hearty stew.
  3. Side Dishes: Complement your goulash with traditional German sides such as red cabbage, sauerkraut, or a simple cucumber salad for a balanced meal.
  4. Temperature: Serve the goulash piping hot to fully enjoy its rich flavors. If it has cooled down, gently reheat it on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.
  5. Presentation: For a rustic presentation, serve the goulash directly from the pot at the table. Alternatively, ladle it into bowls or shallow dishes, ensuring each serving has a good mix of meat and vegetables.

Storing Tips:

  1. Cooling: Allow the goulash to cool to room temperature before storing. This helps prevent condensation inside the storage container, which can affect the texture and flavor of the dish.
  2. Refrigeration: Transfer the cooled goulash to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 4 days. The flavors often improve as the dish sits, making leftovers even more delicious.
  3. Freezing: For longer storage, goulash can be frozen. Place the cooled goulash in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags. Be sure to leave some space at the top of the container to allow for expansion as it freezes. Label with the date and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. Thawing: When ready to enjoy, thaw the goulash in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature to prevent bacterial growth.
  5. Reheating: Reheat the goulash gently on the stove over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. If the stew has thickened too much during storage, add a splash of beef broth or water to reach the desired consistency. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating.
  6. Portioning: If you anticipate needing quick meals, consider portioning the goulash into individual servings before freezing. This makes it easy to reheat just the right amount without thawing the entire batch.

Variations for German Goulash:

German Goulash is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit various tastes and dietary preferences. Here are some delightful variations to try:

1. Pork Goulash

  • Ingredients: Substitute beef with pork shoulder or pork stew meat.
  • Flavor Profile: Pork adds a slightly different texture and a unique flavor to the goulash.
  • Cooking Time: Adjust cooking time as pork may cook faster than beef, typically about 1.5 hours for tender pork.

2. Chicken Goulash

  • Ingredients: Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts instead of beef.
  • Flavor Profile: Lighter and quicker to cook, chicken goulash is perfect for a weeknight meal.
  • Cooking Time: Chicken will take about 30-40 minutes to cook through.

3. Vegetarian Goulash

  • Ingredients: Replace meat with a mix of hearty vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers. Add chickpeas or lentils for protein.
  • Flavor Profile: Rich and flavorful, this variation is perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Cooking Time: Cook until vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes.

4. Hungarian-Style Goulash

  • Ingredients: Increase the amount of sweet paprika and add hot paprika for a spicier kick. Include diced tomatoes and red bell peppers.
  • Flavor Profile: Spicier and more robust, with a distinct paprika flavor.
  • Cooking Time: Similar to the original recipe, around 2 hours for beef.

5. Spicy Goulash

  • Ingredients: Add diced chili peppers or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the recipe.
  • Flavor Profile: A fiery twist on the classic, perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
  • Cooking Time: Same as the original, adjust based on meat choice.


German Goulash is more than just a meal; it’s a comforting embrace on a cold day, a dish that brings families together around the table. With its rich flavors and tender meat, this traditional recipe is sure to become a favorite in your home. So, gather your ingredients, take your time, and enjoy the delicious warmth of homemade German Goulash.

FAQ’s About German Goulash:

  1. What is the origin of German Goulash?
    • German Goulash, known as “Gulasch” in German, is a traditional stew that originated in Central Europe. While it shares similarities with Hungarian goulash, the German version has its own unique flavor profile, often featuring a balanced mix of herbs and spices without the heavy use of paprika seen in the Hungarian counterpart.
  2. Can I make German Goulash in a slow cooker?
    • Yes, German Goulash can be made in a slow cooker. After browning the beef and sautéing the onions and garlic, transfer everything to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender.
  3. What type of beef is best for German Goulash?
    • Beef chuck or stew meat is ideal for German Goulash. These cuts become tender and flavorful when slow-cooked, making them perfect for this hearty stew.
  4. Can I make German Goulash ahead of time?
    • Absolutely! German Goulash often tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Store it in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.
  5. Is it necessary to use wine in the recipe?
    • No, wine is optional. While it adds depth of flavor, you can omit it and use additional beef broth instead. If you prefer not to use alcohol, a splash of apple cider vinegar can mimic the acidity of the wine.
  6. Can I freeze German Goulash?
    • Yes, German Goulash freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  7. What vegetables can I add to German Goulash?
    • In addition to potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers, you can add mushrooms, parsnips, or zucchini. Feel free to customize the vegetable mix based on your preferences.
  8. How do I thicken German Goulash if it’s too thin?
    • If your goulash is too thin, you can thicken it by simmering uncovered until the liquid reduces. Alternatively, mix a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch with cold water to form a slurry and stir it into the stew, cooking until it thickens.
  9. What are some good side dishes to serve with German Goulash?
    • German Goulash pairs well with crusty bread, mashed potatoes, egg noodles, spaetzle, or even rice. Traditional German sides like red cabbage, sauerkraut, or a simple cucumber salad also complement the stew nicely.
  10. Can I make a gluten-free version of German Goulash?
    • Yes, German Goulash can easily be made gluten-free. Ensure that the beef broth and any other ingredients (such as tomato paste) are gluten-free. If you need to thicken the stew, use a gluten-free flour or cornstarch slurry.

Leave a Comment