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:

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Goulash Recipe

4.79 from 174 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. 5 stars
    This is the easiest, most flavourful recipe that I’ve ever made. It’s the perfect meal on a busy weeknight, 1 POT!!!! It’s brilliant. The flavours are rich and my while family loves it.

    1. 5 stars
      i added some zucchini to mine to trick my dad into eating some veggies my mom helped me through it we also used chicken sausage and it was very tasty i also chopped u0 some mushrooms too

    2. 5 stars
      Really great recipe!! I omitted the extra seasoning salt because I’m not a big fan of overly salty things. And after I added my macroni mine only took about 20 mins more to complete!! Delish

  2. 4 stars
    It was really easy to make and quite tasty, I just couldn’t get over how salty it was. I wonder if I maybe used too much salt or used the wrong Italian seasoning blend. Maybe I should have added some heavy cream to it?? Not sure what to do.

    1. Hmm..I’m sorry! You can maybe add a little more liquid or you can add rice. The rice absorbs sodium. Hope that helps!

    2. Maybe next time omit the seasoned salt or soy (or both). This is my go-to recipe for goulash and I have made it without those two ingredients and my family still loved it.

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! So tasty – it’s my go to goulash. I make the recipe exactly as it appears and I wouldn’t change a thing. My whole family loves it – thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This is my go to goulash recipe!! Packed with flavor, it is a family favorite…and did I mention it feeds AND satisfies everyone in my big family of ten with leftovers to enjoy!!’

  5. 5 stars
    Other than not using soy sauce and adding an Onion to this recipe, this is what we called spaghetti growing up. Loved it.

  6. 5 stars
    Our family LOVES this recipe! And it makes enough for our family of six, with at least one serving of leftovers.

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe several times and really enjoy it! The sauce had the perfect tang and I love the textures combined in this dish. Just got an instant pot and wondering if the recipe could be converted to work in that? Anyone have tips?

  8. 4 stars
    I made this in the crockpot and the flavour was good but the noodles turned to mush. I recommend that the pasta does not be added until the last few hours.
    I also used Mrs. Dash instead of season salt

  9. 5 stars
    Very tasty! I forgot to add in the cheese. Added it afterwards. I actually liked it without the cheese. Delicious and simple.

  10. I tried it and all we could taste was the Italian seasoning. Next time I’ll probably add maybe teaspoons of the Italian seasoning instead of the tablespoons.

  11. 3 stars
    Cooking time for this recipe is way too long. It doesn’t take 30 minutes for elbow macaroni to cook. My noodles were mush.

    1. Sorry to hear that the noodles overcooked. You could definitely adjust that simmer time after adding the noodles so they are cooked to your liking. 🙂

  12. I would love to try this recipe but there are too many ads and too much content crap… lesson to writer, PLEASE just get to the point and give us the recipe. PLEASE!!!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback. There is an option at the top of the post to jump right to the recipe. That’ll take you straight to the ingredients and instructions. We want to provide a little more information and details for readers who may have more questions, but have that option to jump down for those that want to get cooking! 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    I added a can of kidney beans. This was super good. It is better than my mother’s recipe.
    I added some grated cheese into my bowl and stirred it up before eating it. That seemed to top it off.
    To make what is leftover in the pot easier to reheat, I would wait to add the cheese into everyone’s bowl once it
    Was reheated. It was fast and easy to fix.

    I will definitely make this again this gets 5 stars.

    1. Thank you for sharing!! I’m all about extra cheese to top off any dish, so that sounds like a brilliant idea. 😉 So glad you enjoyed the dish!

  14. A the recipes I have seen for goulash seem to have Italian seasoning in it. Now that makes it more Italian than anything else. I dont remember my mother EVER using Italian seasoning in it. I wish I could find a really good recipe for goulash.

    1. You could certainly try it and just omit the Italian seasoning if you don’t care for the flavor it gives. Hope you find the right recipe! 🙂

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