Cheesy Beef Goulash

When you need an easy dinner recipe that will please the whole family, try whipping up some old fashioned goulash! Everyone loves this hodgepodge of macaroni noodles, ground beef, tomatoes, cheese, and seasonings!

A classic dinner recipe that is loved by all. Filled with meat, cheese, seasonings and macaroni, this recipe is sure to become as loved as Beef Stroganoff and Pot Roast.

Beef Goulash in Pan

What is Goulash?

American Beef Goulash – have you tried it before? And what is goulash?

Goulash is a soup or stew of meat, usually seasoned with paprika and other spices. Originating from the medieval Hungary, goulash is a popular meal predominantly eaten in Central Europe but also in other parts of Europe.

We make goulash for dinner all the time, and although I’m sure we have a very American version of the recipe, we wanted to make sure we shared our Cheesy Beef Goulash recipe with you today – because it’s delicious! 🙂

It is filled with noodles, hamburger, tomatoes and cheese!! Although we really don’t consider our “American Goulash” (or “Old Fashioned Goulash”) a stew, we love this cheesy dish that can be easily modified based on the ingredients you love most.

This recipe has a number of different seasonings, but it is simple enough to please all ages. The whole family loves it, and I love it because it’s simple and tasty.

How to Make Goulash Process Pictures

How to Make Goulash

I’m all about simple these days and this recipe is just that! It doesn’t take long to throw this easy cheesy goulash together, but plan ahead because it does have to simmer for about 45-50 minutes total.

The hardest part of this recipe is honestly waiting patiently for it to finish simmering! See for yourself how simple this recipe is…

MEAT + SAUCE. Begin by sautéing beef/hamburger in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked, and then drain. Add the garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, and seasoned salt.

SIMMER. Stir this well; cover and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add the uncooked elbow macaroni to skillet, stir well, then return the lid and simmer for about 30 minutes.

CHEESE. Once 30 minutes is up and the noodles are all cooked, turn off the heat, and remove the bay leaves. Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese right before serving, which will make it even more irresistible.

Can goulash be made in the crock pot? Making this American Goulash in the crockpot is super easy. Just follow these steps to make it:

  • Saute the ground beef beef in a skillet until cooked.
  • Drain excess fat and add garlic. Saute for another 5 minutes.
  • Put the sauteed meat in the crock pot along with the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on High heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 7-8 hours.

Cheesy Hamburger Goulash in pan

Goulash recipe tips

Can you make goulash ahead of time? Yes, you can make this easy goulash recipe ahead of time. Simply follow the recipe directions, cover, and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

If you plan to store the dish for more than a day the best place to keep it is in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat this delicious dish take it out of the fridge or freezer. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, cover dish with foil, and heat until it is the desired temperature.

How do you store goulash? Goulash can reheat well, but it needs to be stored properly. Be sure to place in an air-tight container and put in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat by using the microwave.

Can you freeze goulash>?Goulash can be made ahead time and frozen for up to 3 months. Place leftover goulash in a freezer safe dish and cover tightly with foil.

We also recommend placing this in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and placing in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it remove from the freezer, thaw, and heat in a microwave, covered in an oven, or on the stove top in a skillet until it reaches your desired temperature.

How to make Hungarian goulash? It’s a bit different than this recipe and includes more vegetables like carrots and peppers. For that recipe, CLICK HERE.

What to serve with goulash? What do you serve with goulash? There are so many great sides that go with this recipe, but some of our favorites include:

Beef Goulash Recipe spooned out of pan

Such a cheesy, delicious dinner idea that everyone will enjoy!! This recipe does make a whole pot full, so if you end up with extra, know that the leftovers are just as delicious! We hope you enjoy this beef goulash as much as we do. 🙂

For more easy ground beef recipes, try:

Goulash Recipe

4.79 from 192 votes
When you need an easy dinner recipe that will please the whole family, try whipping up some old fashioned goulash! Everyone loves this hodgepodge of macaroni noodles, ground beef, tomatoes, cheese, and seasonings! This easy goulash recipe is the perfect go-to for any night of the week.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Calories 542 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 c water
  • 2 cans tomato sauce 15 oz cans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes 15 oz cans
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 2 TB Italian seasoning
  • 2 c elbow macaroni uncooked
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese


  • Saute ground beef in skillet over medium-high heat until cooked. Drain. Add garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Cover and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the uncooked elbow macaroni to skillet, stir well, return the lid and simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat, remove the bay leaves, and add 1 cup of cheddar cheese right before serving.


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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 3 stars
    Don’t make this in the crockpot! It turns your noodles to mush and ruins the consistency of the dish. I also thought it was bland, but my husband liked the flavor.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband and I love this recipe! I’ve noticed complaints about the pasta turning to mush when it’s cooked in a crockpot but if you wait until the last hour before adding the macaroni it will turn out perfectly.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! I didn’t have tomato sauce on hand but used 1.5 cups of homemade pasta sauce/veg purée instead. Also added spinach & coloured peppers to get some extra veg in the pot. Will make again!

  4. 5 stars
    My go to recipe for goulash! Tastes amazing and one of my favorite comfort foods. I add mushrooms and onions to make it my own but the recipe is easy and great.

    1. Ooh the addition of the mushrooms and onions sounds delicious. So glad to hear you love the goulash!

  5. Hi. I am wanting to know what you can put in, in place of the Seasoned salt because I am from NZ and haven’t seen it. I was wondering if you can make it a day before you eat in.

    1. Hi! Seasoned salt is a combination of salt, herbs, and spices. There are a bunch of different copy cat/substitution recipes. I’d suggest just searching google if you want to create your own version of seasoned salt. Another option is to just use salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.

  6. 5 stars
    I made it last Friday 13th August for a dinner party and they enjoyed. There was enough left over us to have for tea Sunday night. My parents enjoyed it as well. We put in an onion. Didn’t have mushrooms or chilli beans to put in.

    I add more water, seasoned salt and tomato sauce to it. Definitely would make it again. Super quick and easy to make.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad to hear the dish was a success!! Your changes sound delicious and I’m happy you enjoyed it.

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious. I added beef broth instead of water and also added onions and some Maggie Seasoning with my soy sauce. Gave it more flavor and used jumbo macaroni since the only size I had. Even toddler loved

  8. 5 stars
    This has become my go to goulash recipe. The only tweak I suggest is in adding a chopped up bell pepper to the mix. It adds a good bit of color and character to the dish.

    Thank you!

  9. Goulash?
    When I was growing up the very same recipe was called American Chop Suey. In my husband’s household it was called Pizza Junk! I wonder if there’s other names….?

  10. 5 stars
    I loved this dish. Didn’t change anything. Really good. Looking forward to making it again today. I’m going to use the crockpot but just add the cooked noodles when I’m ready to serve.

  11. I found this recipe several years ago and my family loves it. The first time I thought the recipe said 1 tb of seasoned salt instead of 1 tsp so it was a bit salty but once I corrected my mistake it was perfect. I don’t change it up too much but sometimes I dice up mushroom in the food processor and use that in lieu of 1 lb of hamburger. I also add extra cheese to make up for the healthier substitution ☺️

    1. Oh yes! I’m sure that extra salt did make a difference haha. So glad you enjoy the recipe. The mushrooms sound like a yummy twist on it too…. and you can never go wrong with extra cheese, right? 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  12. 4 stars
    Very tastie. I only had to cook my macaroni in for 12 min and it was done perfectly. 30 mins would have been way to long.

  13. 5 stars
    Made this for me and the fam. Delicious easy recipe. I made tweaks as well. And it made it our home comfort feel. I added onion green bell peppers and family seasonings with some butter. Was absolutely delicious……

  14. 5 stars
    I recently tried this recipe and was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful and easy it was. We have had it a few times now and It will remain on our favorites for dinner! If you haven’t tried it….take it for a spin. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Thanks LilLuna for the delicious idea!

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