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Published October 6, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious Hungarian Goulash Recipe is jam-packed with roasted vegetables and beef in an amazing spice-filled broth that is loaded with flavor.
I don’t make beef recipes all that often, but when I do I make sure it’s an experience. If you only occasionally eat beef as well but are looking to try out some incredible recipes then definitely try my steak au poivre or kofta recipe.
Goulash is a traditional Hungarian stew that has origins all the way back to Magyar shepherds in the 9th century. The stew back then was dried out and held in sheep stomachs which were the olden day’s version of a plastic container. When it was time to eat they would rehydrate it with water and feast.
Fast forward several centuries and goulash finally made its way to a big pot or kettle where meat, vegetables, and of course paprika, were stewed for hours over a fire until everything was tender. We take the same approach nowadays, but my guess is it’s on your stovetop.
Some very basic ingredients for goulash include beef, onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, caraway seeds, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper.
What Cut of Beef is Best for Goulash?
There are several different cuts of beef that you could use when making a goulash. The goal, as it was for the Hungarians when this recipe was created, was to use cheaper accessible cuts of meat that would tenderize with long cooking times. Here are some of my favorites:
- Beef Shank
- Top Round
- Bottom Roast
- Top Sirloin
Is It the Same as Beef Stew?
Hungarian goulash is very similar to beef stew, but there are some differences. While a typical stew consists of slow braising chunks of meat with root vegetables in a seasoned broth, goulash uses spices such as caraway, cumin, paprika, and peppers which really enhance and alter the flavor from a classic beef stew.
How to Make Hungarian Goulash
Follow along with these simple instructions for making a classic Hungarian Goulash from scratch:
Start by cooking some bacon in a large pot until it is browned. Set them aside.
Add beef to the pot with rendered bacon fat and cook until they are well browned on all sides and then set them aside.
Next, add the onions to the same pot and cook over low heat until they are browned and caramelized.
Pour in the garlic and peppers and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes while occasionally stirring.
Place in the tomatoes and stew for 6-8 minutes or until a lot of the liquid has been absorbed.
Next, add back in the beef and bacon, along with the cumin, paprika, and optional caraway seeds, and cook for 4-5 minutes. The flavor and color should really intensify.
Deglaze with red wine and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half.
Pour in some beef stock along with bay leaves, salt, and pepper, and place a lid on the pot and cook over low to medium heat for about 90 minutes or until the beef is tender.
Add your desired root vegetables to the stew and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Serve in a bowl with a garnish of chopped parsley.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 4 to 6 hours ahead of time. Keep the goulash warm over low heat until ready to serve.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating. You may also need to add more beef stock and re-season.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount to a small saucepot and heat over low heat until it is warmed. You can also reheat in the microwave until warm.
Chef notes + tips
- Serve the goulash with some homemade bread.
- Caraway seeds are classically used, but I personally am not a fan of using them in this recipe.
- Feel free to adjust the seasonings with more cumin, caraway, or paprika.
- I almost always use cabernet sauvignon when cooking with red wine.
- You can additionally add celeriac root, turnips, and parsnips.
More Beef Recipes
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Authentic Hungarian Goulash Recipe
- 6 strips of chopped bacon
- 2 pounds of beef shanks cut into 1” cubes
- 2 peeled and medium diced yellow onions
- 3 finely minced garlic cloves
- 1 seeded and medium diced red bell pepper
- 1 banana or cubanelle pepper cut into rings or medium diced
- 3 cored and medium diced vine ripe tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 peeled russet potatoes cut into 1” chunks
- 3 peeled and large diced or thickly sliced carrots
- optionally add 1 cup each of large diced peeled celeriac root and turnips
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by cooking some bacon in a large pot over medium heat until it is browned. Set the crisp-cooked bacon lardons aside.
- Add the beef to the pot with rendered bacon fat and cook over high heat until they are well browned on all sides and then set them aside, which takes about 10-12 minutes. The beef drippings will absorb after 5-6 minutes and the beef will be brown much better after that.
- Next, add the onions to the same pot and cook over low heat until they are browned and caramelized, which takes about 20-25 minutes.
- Pour in the garlic and peppers and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes while occasionally stirring.
- Place in the tomatoes and stew for 6-8 minutes or until a lot of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Next, add back in the beef and bacon, along with the cumin, paprika, and optional caraway seeds, and cook for 4-5 minutes. The flavor and color should really intensify.
- Deglaze with the red wine and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half.
- Pour in the beef stock along with bay leaves, salt, and pepper, and place a lid on the pot and cook over low to medium heat for about 90 minutes or until the beef is tender.
- Add your desired root vegetables to the stew and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Serve in a bowl with a garnish of chopped parsley.
I just made this and thought it was really great.
I loved it.
I couldn’t stop eating it.
I didn’t have any red wine but made it without.
I still thought it turned out good.
I will definitely be making this again very soon.
Thank you for sharing such a great recipe
I made this recipe for my Hungarian mother as a surprise dinner. The only difference to the recipe was I added a few homemade basil dumplings. The recipe was a huge success and they not only finished the meal they wiped up the sauce with bread. The flavor was delicious and so easy to follow. Will be making this again in the future.
I lived in Hungry a number of years ago and go back every year. This recipe gives you authentic goulash.
Absolutley delicious! I did a few things differently. I marinated the beef in flour,paprika ,salt and pepper for a 1/2 hour. I used habanero pepper.I sauteed the onions,garlic,tomatoes,and peppers together.followed the recomendation to use celery root and turnip and I chopped up a little watermelon radishand rutabega.Before adding the root vegetables, I pressured cooked everything for 20 minutes. Added root veggies after pressure for 10 minutes. Served it on thick pappardelle egg noodles.Thank you for this recipe. It is spectacular.
Great job on making it work for you.
thank you so kindly!!
The best ! Thank you Chef.
Simply delicious. Great comfort food. Filling, nutritious and so flavourful. Can’t wait to have it again.
Do I chop up the bacon when i return it to stew?
Yes, that’s in the instructions. Procedure 6
Chop the Caraway Seeds with some Fresh Garlic and Lemon Zest with Butter until it is a Paste, add to the Goulash 1 hour before serving.
Suggest to cook the Beef Goulash a Day before and keep it in the Fridge, reheat slowly!!
Made it and it was an absolut hit! My family absolutely loved it! Keep it up chef, I am a fan of your recepies!
I made this for dinner last night it is absolutely delicious! This is definitely a keeper!Thank You Chef Parisi!
This is Ashley John, I really liked this video and looks really delicious. For this recipe, is it okay to leave out the wine and is there any substitutions because I don’t drink?
Just skip it.
Thoughts on substituting chicken thighs for beef?