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Traditional Hungarian goulash recipe

Traditional Hungarian goulash recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Braised beef

Enjoy this authentic Hungarian goulash, made with beef, onions and paprika - no tomatoes in sight. Can also be served with spaetzle.

15 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 tablespoons lard or butter
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 900g diced beef
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 250ml water, or as needed
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:2hr5min ›Ready in:2hr20min

  1. Melt lard in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir onions in hot lard until soft and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Stir beef and paprika into onions. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add water and simmer, adding more water if moisture gets too low, until meat falls apart and onion sauce is thick, about 1 hour more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Steps to make Traditional Hungarian Keto Goulash

Cook the onions

Place a large pot over a medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly, until translucent. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the pan and put to one side.

Make the goulash seasoning

Mix together the paprika, 2 teaspoons of the salt and the pepper in a bowl.

Cook the beef

Toss the chunks of beef in the seasoning mixture. Add to the pot and cook, stirring regularly, until browned all over.

Add the remaining ingredients

Add the tomato paste, cooked onions, water, garlic and remaining salt to the pot and stir well.

Cook the goulash

Lower the heat, place a lid over the pan and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Make sure the heat is in low and stir every now and again. Remove from the heat and serve.

Serving Traditional Hungarian Goulash

Impress your friends with this Traditional Hungarian Goulash! If you try this recipe I’d love to hear how you find it. Give me a shout-out below or tag #cookmerecipes in your photos.

Jeff is a 38-year-old bachelor who prefers not to waste his time on salads and light meals. He’s a true carnivore who knows how to enjoy food to the max! Jeff will tell you how to cook rich and filling meals from scratch, bringing some real meaty decadence to your kitchen. His recipes are sure to satisfy every meat lover!

Hungarian Goulash

Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 3 lbs. Kosher beef stew meat, cut in large chunks
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into medium chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth or 6 oz. tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups water


…The Backstory continues: As you might expect, local ingredients flavor regional cooking. If a particular herb, spice, vegetable or type of meat was readily available in a certain country, city, or neck of the woods, well that’s what you’d find in a regional stew, cassoulet, soup, or one-pot meal. This is how cuisines have been shaped the world over, for as long as people have been cooking (and eating)! Likewise, goulash, with local influences can be found in Hungary, where it originated, neighboring Austria, Germany, Croatia, Italy, the U.S. and many other countries. Sometimes the difference in the dish comes down to that indigenous spice or herb.

As for me, I love easy one-pot dishes that cook low and slow. True, it may take time for everything to cook, but when it’s done, you don’t have to look for anything else to enhance your dinner. Serve this savory dish atop wide noodles for a rich, stick to your ribs meal.

Recipe Summary

  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onions in oil until soft, stirring frequently. Remove onions and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine paprika, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Coat beef cubes in spice mixture, and cook in onion pot until brown on all sides. Return the onions to the pot, and pour in tomato paste, water, garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.


How could Ben and I have gone to the beautiful country of Hungary without learning to cook their national dish: goulash!

A staple Hungarian comfort food, goulash or gulyás, is a stew comprising of beef, a variety of vegetables, and LOTS of paprika! It is a dish eaten across central Europe but is predominantly a symbol of Hungary, its culture, and its history.

Goulash originates from Hungarian shepherds in the 9th century where it was actually stored in ‘bags’ made from the stomachs of sheep. Errr…yeah, we were very happy that we weren’t made to eat the goulash from sheeps’ stomachs during our cooking class and for that, we give our sincerest thanks to our teacher!

There are typical ingredients used in a goulash – beef, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes…but substitutions are welcomed including the addition of different vegetables and even mini dumplings! However, one thing must remain constant: THE PAPRIKA!

This traditional Austrian Beef Goulash is the best Goulash recipe ever!

Today I share with you one of my most beloved recipes! Goulash! My whole family is crazy about this Austro-Hungarian Beef Stew and no matter how much I make, it never lasts as long as it should. Trust me, this is the best goulash recipe ever!

What is Goulash and where does it come from?

Goulash is a hearty soup or stew with pork or beef, usually seasoned with sweet paprika and other spices like caraway seeds and marjoram. Originating from medieval Hungary, goulash is an extremely popular meal in Central Europe but also in other parts of Europe.

What I show you today is not a Hungarian goulash but a traditional Austrian recipe – Yes, while goulash obviously originated in Hungary, Vienna made its own version and IT IS OUTRAGEOUS.

Indeed, the Hungarian goulash is rather thin compared to its Austrian cousin!

Why this is the best Goulash recipe ever:

What makes this Viennese Beef Goulash Recipe special is the thick, savoury sauce! The interesting thing is that the sauce is actually mostly onions – sounds weird, right? Believe me, it’s crazy good!

The secret to getting this beautiful flavorful onion sauce is to saute the onions and garlic and puree (!!) them before adding paprika and spices.

The meat is not fried but actually added raw to this onion puree. It sounds strange but I promise, you’ll end up with the most tender meat ever!

Tips for making the best beef goulash:

Variations on this traditional goulash recipe:

  • You can use pork instead of beef but make sure to cook it only for about 1,5 hours, or until the pork is tender.
  • This goulash recipe can also be made in a slow cooker. Follow steps 1 to 3, add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours.
  • If you cannot find marjoram, use oregano instead!
  • Add potatoes, red bell pepper, carrots, or mushrooms to add some bulk to this beef goulash!

What to serve with this traditional Goulash?

This succulent beef goulash is traditionally served with bread dumplings called “Semmelknodel” (here’s a great recipe) and a green salad. I prefer to serve it with potatoes and a side salad.

Can leftover goulash be frozen?

You can freeze leftover goulash in an airtight container. Use the frozen goulash up within three months. When you want to eat some, run warm water around the outside of the freezer container, and remove the frozen goulash to either a pot or microwave safe dish for heating.

Did you make and love this goulash recipe? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram !


Season cubed beef with salt and pepper, then sear in heavy bottom pan for 5-7 minutes. Remove and drain.

Reduce heat to medium. Add a small amount of oil, then onion, carrot, and garlic, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add paprika and caraway seeds, cook for an additional minute.

Add vinegar and reduce, then add tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute.

Add flour and cook for 1 minute, then add chicken stock. Bring to simmer.

Return the drained beef to pot. Cover and place in 350°F oven for 2 hours, occasionally stirring. If the liquid starts to evaporate, you can add up to one more cup of stock.

Remove from oven and taste to check seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

Finish with chopped marjoram and parsley. Serve with egg noodles. Optional: Garnish with sour cream or crème fraiche.

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How To Make Traditional Croatian Goulash (Gulaš)

Gulaš, also spelled, Goulash is one of the most popular comfort foods all over the Balkans, and Croatia is no exception. If we are preparing this dish the traditional way, then we need only a few ingredients and few hours of our time, as in the Balkans, we have a rule for how to make goulash: “low and slow!”

It stands for low temperature and slow cooking as that’s the best way to make your goulash delicious.

This recipe only needs meat & vegetables, along with spices that you’ll already have in your pantry. You can enjoy this meal for several days in a row if you make a little more than you need for dinner.

I have used only onions, carrots, garlic, beef meat, mustard, red wine, water, and some spices in this version.

So, what part of beef should you use?

Would it surprise you to learn that the cheaper the cut, the better your gulaš will be? When it comes to beef stew meat, it’s true! If you try using a tender cut of beef, that slow-cooked stew will turn out chewy and tough every time, so I would like to suggest you go with the front shoulder, also known as chuck. steak

With the “low and slow” method, this part of the meat will be melting in your mouth when you’re done.

With this kind of goulash, I mostly like to serve fresh bread and some lovely fresh salad but, you can also serve it with pasta, gnocchi, or even a side of potatoes.