American Goulash


American goulash is a one pot stove top wonder that has been around for many years. Its comfort food to the core and simple to make. It is traditionally made with beef, tomatoes or tomato sauce and pasta. The version I make is with macaroni and ground beef. It ends up tasting similar to lasagna without all of the fuzz. It is a crowd pleaser and a family favorite.

Although this goulash is warm and hearty, don’t limit yourself to making it just in the winter months. My family enjoys this all year long and I love the fact that it’s quick, easy and takes only one pan….easy clean up. The leftovers (if there are any) reheat well and can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator.

This comforting one pot wonder will please even the pickiest of eaters, trust me I have one! It can also be made for the more adventurous palates by adding extra veggies, or red pepper flakes for some heat. I serve the red pepper flakes on the side if I am feeding young ones, so the adults can kick it up a notch, should the want to. You really can’t go wrong. Serve a nice green salad and some garlic or fresh bread along side and you have a hearty and balanced dinner for the family.

This is not the goulash that some of you might know, especially those of Eastern European descent. That goulash is made with chunks of beef and a sauce heavy in Paprika and usually served over noodles. While that goulash is delicious in it’s own right, this American Goulash is not the same, but equally tasty.

Cooked in a deep skillet from start to finish this American goulash makdes clean up a breeze since you only have one pot! If you have a crown to feed you can add extra macaroni noodles to “extend” the dish. Just make sure to add equal parts liquid to however much extra pasta you add. Extra veggies can also be added, as long as there are no fussy eaters. Two of my kids don’t like mushrooms…(so I have to sneak them in if I do use them), but peppers are always a welcome addition if you have the time, energy or desire. With grocery prices the way they are right now, the basic version with a salad is more than sufficient to feed a growing family.

If you like one pot meals then you might want to try my \Cheeseburger Rice.

American Goulash Ingredients

Olive oil (or any oil)

Lean ground beef (or any other lean ground meat you prefer)

Fresh garlic

Diced onion

Salt and pepper

Italian seasoning

Water or beef broth

Canned whole tomatoes (diced can be used)

pasta sauce

Elbow macaroni

Mozzarella cheese


If you have leftovers they can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days and reheated in the microwave.

American Goulash

This one pot stove top skillet supper is budget friendly and a real crowd pleaser. Made with ground beef and macaroni noodles in a rich and cheesy tomato sauce.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course, pasta, skillet meal, weekday dinner
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 8


  • 1 deep skillet


  • 500 grams lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 600 grams pasta sauce
  • 3 cups beef broth, or water
  • 3-5 Tbsp Italian seasoning *depending on taste
  • 750 gram canned whole tomatoes, with sauce *you can used diced, i prefer chunks
  • 3 cups dried elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil for garnish (optional) dried can be used


  • In a large deep skillet over med-high heat, add oil and onion and cook for 3 minutes until translucent
  • Add ground beef, minced garlic and season with Salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Crumble the beef as it cooks.
  • Add pasta sauce, water or beef broth, tomatoes, and seasonings let simmer 5 minutes then add the dried pasta, stir to combine
  • Cover the skillet, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is tender which will vary depending on the size of your macaroni). Check the pasta and make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan, stir and replace lid. You may have to do this every 5 minutes or so, until the pasta is cooked el dente. Do Not overcook the pasta.
  • Add the mozzarella and stir it in to melt, cover for about 5 minutes
  • Serve and garnish with fresh or dried basil (optional)


This is a family friendly quick supper that will be a fan for anyone who loves pastas.  It is not as heavy as a lasagna but has similar flavors and will satisfy everyone.  Serve it with a nice green salad and maybe a garlic bread or french loaf.    
If you want to stretch this further, just add more pasta, and increase the water/broth to equal the amount of pasta used.  
Add vegetables to make it more hearty, I would suggest mushrooms, diced red and yellow peppers, zucchini, 
You can make this with any ground meat, such as turkey or chicken if you prefer.
If you use larger pasta noodles (not elbow macaroni) you will likely need to add additional liquid to ensure the pasta cooks through.  Test Test Taste!
Keyword ground beef, one pan, pasta, skillet, skillet meal
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