Hungarian Goulash Recipe

5 from 3 votes

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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.

Goulash

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.

  1. Cook onions in olive oil over medium heat until they start to become tender and brown.
  2. Add in garlic and stew meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook to brown the meat thoroughly.
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and spices.
  4. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 1-2 hours or until meat is very tender.
  5. Serve with homemade dumplings.

How to Make Goulash

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.

Nokedli

Crockpot Goulash

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!

Side Dishes

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 SyrupGrandma’s Cucumber Salad Recipe or Perfect Asparagus.

Goulash

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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!

5 from 3 votes

Hungarian Goulash Recipe

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). 
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins

Ingredients

for the Goulash-

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lbs stew meat
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 14.25 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • lots of salt & pepper
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

for the Nokedli-

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of wheat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Instructions

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).

Crockpot Goulash-

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 528kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 899mg | Potassium: 994mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 745IU | Vitamin C: 14.8mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 8mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Hungarian
Keyword: Goulash, Goulash Recipe, how to make goulash, Nokedli
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18 Responses
  1. Grandma’s Cucumber Salad | Lauren's Latest

    […] you have cucumber salad. Absolutely delicious on its own, but particularly divine as a side dish to Goulash. […]

  2. Grandma's Cucumber Salad | Lauren's Latest

    […] you have cucumber salad. Absolutely delicious on its own, but particularly divine as a side dish to Goulash. […]

  3. Hungarian Chicken Paprikash Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] It’s a tangy tomato sauce with onions, peppers, mushrooms and chicken overtop rice, pasta or nokedli–small homemade […]

  4. Alysha

    5 stars
    I’ve never commented before but have followed you for forever and had to tell you this: you have to try your Swedish meatballs over spaetzle!!!! I had no idea you were a spaetzel eater but trust me it is so good with the Swedish meatballs. It is a go to recipe for me. Love everything you do!!

  5. Julie

    Love spaetzle and look forward to making your goulash recipe! I’ve seen a few grocery stores sell dried spaetzle in the international section if you’re looking for a shortcut. Not as good as fresh of course, but still tasty and less mess!

  6. Jenna

    Ha.. got a kick out of you calling your grandparents Opa and Oma… that’s what us Dutchies call our grandparents too!

  7. Gayle Gnipp

    First time I made this was in 1980. Was a reprint from some Miss America from the 50’s. Awesome! Although a little vinegar & brown sugar was added. On my third dumpling maker, but they can b made without one if you have patience. I add a lot more best paprika also. Our family is Ukrainian, but we adopted this great recipe anyway. Try adding fresh cracked black pepper to the dumplings. Glad you posted.

  8. Jennifer

    I’ve made several of your recipes (mug cake MULTIPLE times). Hungarian goulash is delicious and I’m definitely going to give your recipe a try! Congratulations on ten years, that’s awesome!

  9. Noemi

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren, I am Hungarian and your “nokedli” looks really good, like mine 🙂 My Goulash (gulyás in Hungarian) is a bit different, it is more like a soup. Your Goulash is similar to Pörkölt, which is another Hungarian dish. But it is ok, because cooking habits are different for every household. So, your recipe is really great! 🙂
    Regards, Noemi

  10. American Vegetable Goulash Recipe in The Instant Pot, Delicious! -

    […] I have never had the traditional Hungarian Goulash but I found this incredible looking recipe from laurenslatest.com that I cannot wait to […]

  11. Leigh A Schooley

    I can’t wait to try this authentic dish!! It looks and sounds scrumptious. I have never actually had the real deal. lol

  12. Michael Kibler

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe, both my wife and loved it. I added 1/2 tsp of both crushed caraway seeds and marjoram. Thanks for the tip on the Spaetzel maker. Now my wife wants me to make Spaetzel more often. Definitely worth the time to make, again thanks for such a great recipe.

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