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Hungarian Beef Goulash

This quick, one dish meal is an easy way to experience those traditional Hungarian flavors while using leftover slow roasted beef. | Share

Updated 11/15/2023

This is not your grandma’s ground beef, tomato and noodle goulash, often referred to as American goulash. In fact, this Hungarian goulash recipe is much different. Its ingredients include tender slow roasted beef, onions, bell peppers, beef gravy, sour cream and lots of sweet paprika.

Gulyás – cowboy stew

The goulash story can be traced back centuries to the hearty stews made by Hungarian cowboys known as gulyás. Over time, gulyáshús (meaning meat prepared by herdsmen) became the name of the dish. Its German version became gulasch and in English, goulash.

Traditionaly, tougher stew cuts, like shank or shoulder, are slow cooked with vegetables and paprika to make goulash. While, normally made from beef, goulash can also be made with veal, lamb or pork.

As the gulyás drove their cattle from their native Puszta grasslands to markets across central and eastern Europe, their recipe followed them. By the mid-nineteenth century, variations of the dish appeared across the former Austro-Hungarian empire. These include Wiener Saftgulasch (Vienese beef goulash with dumplings), and Fiakergulasch (beef goulash served with sausage, eggs and gherkin pickles).

A gulyás (Hungarian cowboy) and team of horses in Kalocsa, Hungary. Photo: K.R. Lamoureux

Making goulash with leftover beef

Using pre-cooked roast beef makes this recipe simple and quick. Leftovers from a pot roast made from the beef shoulder, also know as a blade roast are ideal. Since the beef has already been slow cooked, all that’s needed is to heat it up. Compared to two hours for recipes using uncooked beef, this version gets plated in under 30 minutes.

It’s a bonus if you’ve saved that yummy gravy from your roast beef. If not, you’ll need to whip up 2 cups of beef gravy. This can be done in different ways with either boullion cubes, beef gravy mixes or beef broth thickened with flour.

The seasonings used in this dish give it a typical Hungarian flavour profile. Don’t be shy with the paprika. And if you don’t have hot Hungarian paprika, just substitute cayenne pepper. While some may find the caraway a bit strong, I love the exotic flavour that it gives to the dish. It brings me back to my time in eastern Europe.

To accompany the goulash, my preference is egg noodles. Potatoes, dumplings or rice are all good options as well.


Hungarian Beef Goulash

Kevin Lamoureux
This quick, one dish meal is an easy way to experience those traditional Hungarian flavors while using leftover slow roasted beef.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Eastern European
Servings 4
Calories 494 kcal


  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb cooked roast beef (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 2 cups beef gravy
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups egg noodles uncooked
  • 1 green onion chopped


  • Cook the egg noodles according to package instructions, drain, set aside.
  • In a large, deep frying pan, stir fry the peppers and onions in oil until tender.
  • Toss in the caraway, paprikas, salt, pepper, mushrooms and beef. Heat for about a minute, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in the gravy and heat until the mixture bubbles. Simmer for about five minutes.
  • Stir in the sour cream.
  • Serve the noodles in a pasta bowl and pour the Goulash mixture over them. Garnish with green onions.


May also be served over mashed potatoes, or with pasta such as linguini or fettuccini.
Per serving
Calories: 494kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Iron: 23mg
Keyword beef, goulash, gulyas, Hungarian, Hungarian goulash, noodles, roast beef

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8 replies on “Hungarian Beef Goulash”

Thus was excellent. I didn’t have hot paprika, so I substituted cayenne for just enough heat.
Served over rice. Both my picky eaters loved it! I will make again.

Thank you for those wonderful comments and your 5-star review, Sonja.

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