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This Goulash recipe is a fabulous, hearty and filling dinner that is perfect any time of year. Slow cooked beef in a thick and savory sauce served over Hungarian dumplings called Nokedli (or spaetzle in German).
If you’ve never tried Goulash before, you are in for a treat! It is a traditional Hungarian dish that my Oma and Opa used to make. I am part German and part Hungarian, so I am wired to love this kind of comforting food. It never gets old and always hits the spot for me.
The Difference Between Hungarian and American Goulash
This recipe is for the traditional Hungarian Goulash, made with stew meat, onions, tomato sauce, thyme, paprika and served over homemade dumplings called Nokedli (basically the Hungarian equivalent to German spaetzle). Cook it low and slow for that unbeatable savory flavor.
American Goulash is made with ground beef, elbow noodles, peppers and onions in a tomato based sauce, usually ready in 30 minutes or so. It’s a quick dinner but isn’t quite the same as the original.
How to Make Goulash
The only hard part of this recipe is the amount of time it takes to finish cooking this meal. So, not really hard at all, just need to have the time to let the meat cook and tenderize.
- Cook onions in olive oil over medium heat until they start to become tender and brown.
- Add in garlic and stew meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook to brown the meat thoroughly.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and spices.
- Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 1-2 hours or until meat is very tender.
- Serve with homemade dumplings.
Nokedli vs. Spaetzle
There is no real clear definition between the two, other than where they originate; one coming from Hungary and one coming from Germany. Both are made with the same ingredients and the same spaetzle maker. Sometimes, Spaetzle has herbs added to the batter, boiled and then fried in a little butter before serving, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Feel free to call these whatever your heart desires. “Mini dumplings” works too.
Making the dumplings
This recipe is really hard to make without a Spaetzle Maker. This is the one I own and it works great! You add the batter into the top and push the batter through the holes into hot boiling water to create the dumplings. After about one minute, they will float to the top and are done! Toss with a little oil or melted butter to prevent sticking before serving. OR, fry up in a little butter in a large skillet.
One amazing thing about this recipe is that it can be made in the Crockpot for those extra busy days when you still want a sit-down dinner with your family.
Simply place empty crockpot on high heat to preheat it. On the stove top, cook onions, garlic, and meat until fully cooked. Place cooked mixture, tomato sauce, water and spices into the hot crockpot. Cook 3 hours or longer.
The longer it cooks the better the flavor, so plan ahead and don’t forget the Nokedli!
You may or may not want to have a side dish with this hearty dish. But if you do, I got you covered. The perfect side dish for this Goulash Recipe is something a little lighter and a little greener. Try Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Balsamic Syrup, Grandma’s Cucumber Salad Recipe or Perfect Asparagus.
other recipes you will love:
- Irish Beef Stew & Mashed Potatoes
- Chicken Paprikash (Another family recipe with Hungarian roots!)
- Roasted Tomato Bolognese Sauce
- Crockpot Balsamic Beef with Rosemary
- Chicken Cacciatore
While this easy Goulash recipe takes some time to make, that slow-cooked flavor will have you back for seconds. Make sure to save this recipe for a rainy day when you need a comforting hearty meal. Enjoy!
Hungarian Goulash Recipe
for the Goulash-
for the Goulash-
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic, stew meat, salt & pepper and cook until browned. Add in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, and seasonings. Bring to boil and reduce heat to a low or slow simmer. Cook until meat is tender and falls apart (at least 2 hours).
- Place empty crockpot on high heat to preheat it. On the stove top, cook onions, garlic, and meat until fully cooked. Place cooked mixture, tomato sauce, water and spices into the hot crockpot. Cook 3 hours or longer.
for the Hungarian Nokedli-
- Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Carefully mix wet ingredients with dry until combined and batter is wet. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling simmer.
- Create dumplings with Spaetzle maker over hot salted water. Nokedli is done when they float to the top!
- Serve Goulash over nokedli.