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Traditional Hungarian Goulash Recipe – Gulyas

24/01/2023

Get this traditional Hungarian goulash recipe (gulyas) prepped in just 15 mins, then let your stove or slow cooker do the rest! It’s the ultimate winter comfort food.

A bowl of simmered beef and vegetables in a rich red broth.

Why We Love This

Hungarian goulash is the ultimate comfort food. You can easily get it prepped in just 15 mins, then let your stove or slow cooker take over. 

Like all good soups and stews this recipe uses simple ingredients simmered to perfection for rich and delicious flavour. You can source everything (or the closest substitutes) at your local supermarket. 

Why not cook up a big batch to keep some in the freezer for cold winter nights or when you just don’t feel like cooking!

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P.S. The optional galuska noodles are so fun and easy to make – no pasta machine required here!  

Related: Dutch Split Pea Soup / Pie Floater

Close up shot of simmered beef and vegetables in a red paprika infused broth.

What is Hungarian Goulash? 

Hungarian goulash (known as gulyás) is a rich and comforting dish of beef and vegetables simmered in a paprika-infused beef stock. 

It’s traditionally served as a brothy soup in Hungary where it first originated, while in other parts of the world (such as Australia and America) it has a thicker consistency, more like a stew. 

Sweet Hungarian paprika is the star ingredient in this traditional Hungarian goulash recipe. (Paprika actually means pepper in Hungarian). It’s what gives the dish its distinctive flavour and deep red colour.

What You’ll Need

  • Beef – We use gravy beef, also known as chuck steak as it will give you that perfect melt-in-your-mouth tenderness goulash is known for. It’s also an affordable cut so it won’t break the budget!.
  • Optional Hungarian Sausage – When we first learned this recipe our host added Hungarian csabai sausage for extra flavour. This is a regional flair – some gulyas recipes don’t include it at all so feel free to leave it out. Sub with kolbasz, Polish kielbasa or even chorizo depending on what’s available in your area. 
  • Veggies – You’ll need potatoes, onion, carrot, parsnip and celeriac. Use our recommended quantities or mix and match depending on what veggies you like or have on hand. If you can’t source celeriac, just add an extra potato, parsnip or even turnip if you like.
  • Spices & Stock – The star of this recipe is sweet Hungarian paprika. Sub with regular paprika or smoky paprika to tweak the flavour. You’ll also need ground cloves, black pepper, chilli powder and beef stock. 
  • Optional Galuska Noodle Dough – A simple mix of plain flour / all purpose flour, egg and water, mixed into a runny batter and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Ingredients laid out for traditional Hungarian gulyas.

How to Make Traditional Hungarian Goulash

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

For the Soup:

  1. Place the diced beef into a large saucepan and cover completely with water (around 3 cups). Bring to the boil then simmer for 2 hours. Keep topping up with boiling water as needed to ensure the meat is covered while cooking (around 3-4 cups). The beef may still be tough at the end of this stage, don’t worry, it will soften by the end. 
  2. While the beef is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan on low-medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent, but don’t allow them to burn as it will change the flavour.
  3. Once the beef has cooked, add in the cooked onion and garlic along with the potatoes, carrot, parsnip, celeriac, dry spices, Hungarian sausage (if using) and beef stock to the pan. Top up with water so all the ingredients are covered (around 2 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for one more hour, topping up with extra water as required to keep everything covered and to maintain a soft, soupy consistency.

For the Optional Galuska Noodles:

  1. Add the plain flour / all purpose flour, egg, water and optional salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Mix until smooth and well combined, then allow to rest.
  2. In the last 10 mins of cooking the soup, pop a dab of dough onto a paddle and flick small slivers at a time into the soup using a knife. Dip the knife into the soup after every flick to stop the dough from sticking to the knife.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Boil Faster – You can use a lid to cover the beef and then the soup to save time while bringing it to the boil. If you do, keep a close eye on it and be sure to leave a gap to stop it boiling over.
  • Galuska Noodles Technique – Place a scoop of dough onto a flat paddle or chopping board, and use the back of a knife to ‘flick’ small slivers of dough into the soup while it’s bubbling away on the stove. Dip the knife into the soup after every flick to stop the dough sticking to the knife. No need to be neat and tidy here – you can make them big, small, thick or thin – it’s up to you! Just have fun with it.  

FAQs

What if I don’t want to make galuska noodles?

You can skip the homemade noodles if you want to keep it simple or save time. Or if you still want some pasta through the soup, you can add a handful or penne or macaroni pasta in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.

What should I serve with it?

Gulyas is traditionally served with galuska noodles, or csipetke noodles which are similar to spaetzle egg noodles. For a simple dinner we love serving it with hot crusty bread and butter to dip in the soup – yum!

It’s also amazing with buttery mashed potatoes, flour dumplings, or over a bed of freshly cooked pasta or rice. We’ll sometimes serve some steamed greens on the side, such as spinach, broccoli or broccolini to round it out. 

Can I cook it in a slow cooker?

Yep you can. Cook the onion and garlic in the slow cooker on sauté mode first, then add the remaining ingredients (except for the galuska noodles). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. In the last 10 minutes before serving you can whip up the galuska noodle batter and start flicking the noodles in!

Can I freeze it?

Yes you can! Pop portions into airtight containers so you’ll have the perfect amount to reheat. It will last around 2-3 months in the freezer. 

To reheat: Transfer frozen goulash into a microwave container and reheat for around 2-3 minutes, stirring part way through to loosen. Or pop it into a saucepan and reheat slowly on the stove. 

Variations

  • Make it a Stew – For a thicker stew-like consistency, make a cornflour / cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornflour / cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water) and stir it through in the last minute of cooking. OR you can continue to cook it down for longer until it reaches the texture you prefer.
A bowl of Hungarian goulash with two slices of bread in the background.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Close up shot of colourful Hungarian goulash in a white bowl.

Traditional Hungarian Goulash Recipe – Gulyas

Get this traditional Hungarian goulash recipe (gulyas) prepped in just 15 mins, then let your stove or slow cooker do the rest! It’s the ultimate winter comfort food.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Hungarian
Servings: 8 serves
Calories: 499kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $20

Ingredients

For the optional galuska noodles:

Instructions

For the Soup:

  • Place the diced beef into a large saucepan and cover completely with water (around 3 cups). Bring to the boil then simmer for 2 hours. Keep topping up with boiling water as needed to ensure the meat is covered while cooking (around 3-4 cups). The beef may still be tough at the end of this stage, don’t worry, it will soften by the end.
    1 kg beef, 9 cups hot water
  • While the beef is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan on low-medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent, but don’t allow them to burn as it will change the flavour.
    2 onion, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 clove garlic
  • Once the beef has cooked, add in the cooked onion and garlic along with the potatoes, carrot, parsnip, celeriac, dry spices, Hungarian sausage (if using) and beef stock to the pan. Top up with water so all the ingredients are covered (around 2 cups).
    1 hungarian sausage, 700 g potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 parsnip, ½ celeriac, 2 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp chilli powder, 1 ½ cups beef stock
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for one more hour, topping up with extra water as required to keep everything covered and to maintain a soft, soupy consistency.

For the Galuska Noodles:

  • Add the plain flour / all purpose flour, egg, water and optional salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Mix until smooth and well combined, then allow to rest.
    ½ cup plain flour / all purpose flour, 1 egg, 1 tbsp water, Salt and pepper
  • In the last 10 mins of cooking the soup, pop a dab of dough onto a paddle and flick small slivers at a time into the soup using a knife. Dip the knife into the soup after every flick to stop the dough from sticking to the knife.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Beef – We use gravy beef, also known as chuck steak as it will give you that perfect melt-in-your-mouth tenderness goulash is known for. It’s also an affordable cut so it won’t break the budget!.
  • Optional Hungarian Sausage – When we first learned this recipe our host added Hungarian csabai sausage for extra flavour. This is a regional flair – some gulyas recipes don’t include it at all so feel free to leave it out. Sub with kolbasz, Polish kielbasa or even chorizo depending on what’s available in your area. 
  • Veggies – You’ll need potatoes, onion, carrot, parsnip and celeriac. Use our recommended quantities or mix and match depending on what veggies you like or have on hand. If you can’t source celeriac, just add an extra potato, parsnip or even turnip if you like.
  • Spices & Stock – The star of this recipe is sweet Hungarian paprika. Sub with regular paprika or smoky paprika to tweak the flavour. You’ll also need ground cloves, black pepper, chilli powder and beef stock. 
  • Optional Galuska Noodle Dough – A simple mix of plain flour / all purpose flour, egg and water, mixed into a runny batter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Place a scoop of dough onto a flat paddle or chopping board, and use the back of a knife to ‘flick’ small slivers of dough into the soup while it’s bubbling away on the stove. Dip the knife into the soup after every flick to stop the dough sticking to the knife. No need to be neat and tidy here – you can make them big, small, thick or thin – it’s up to you! Just have fun with it.  
  • Make it a Stew – For a thicker stew-like consistency, make a cornflour / cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornflour / cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water) and stir it through in the last minute of cooking. OR you can continue to cook it down for longer until it reaches the texture you prefer.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Traditional Hungarian Goulash Recipe – Gulyas
Amount per Serving
Calories
499
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
28
g
43
%
Saturated Fat
 
11
g
69
%
Cholesterol
 
109
mg
36
%
Sodium
 
547
mg
24
%
Potassium
 
1219
mg
35
%
Carbohydrates
 
34
g
11
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
28
g
56
%
Vitamin A
 
4763
IU
95
%
Vitamin C
 
23
mg
28
%
Calcium
 
105
mg
11
%
Iron
 
7
mg
39
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Traditional Hungarian Goulash Recipe - Gulyas
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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Erika
    08/08/2016 at 9:31 pm

    Hi,

    I liked your recipe,it is not authentic, but close and I liked much more better than other one. I would like to tell you it is a galuska that you made and not csipetke. We use to make csipetke our pulp and the dough is different. Hungarian Goulash made by just beef without sausage,and chili depend on personal taste. I miss bay-leave as well. You don’t need to use beef stock, just water. Unfortunately the cooking techniques is not proper at all. Authentic Hungarian Goulash spices are salt, bay-leave, garlic, sweet peppers, caraway, (black peppers either, but we use in it often.) Good recipe, thank you! Erika

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/08/2016 at 11:32 am

      Hey Erika, thanks for stopping by. Interesting about galuska and csipetke dough. The way we made this goulash and csipetke was taught to us by our Hungarian friends in Budapest. We’d love to experiment with your method as well!

  • Reply
    Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry
    23/06/2016 at 10:23 pm

    What a perfect dish for a cold day. Could you also serve this with a jacket potato or mash as well?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      28/06/2016 at 8:10 am

      Oooh yes why not? You could omit the potatoes from the dish itself and serve alongside as mash or buttery jacket-potatoes instead. Yum!

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    23/06/2016 at 8:40 pm

    It has been a long time since I made a pot of goulash. This sounds wonderful. Perfect comfort food, and makes great leftovers too.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      28/06/2016 at 8:06 am

      Yep! The flavours are even better the next day, or even after frozen. This is a good one to cook up a big batch and treat yourself to a nice easy dinner at another time. 😛

  • Reply
    Florentina
    23/06/2016 at 4:06 pm

    5 stars
    What a hearty comforting meal. It will have to wait until the temperature drops a bit though, but then it has to be made!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      28/06/2016 at 8:05 am

      Yep, it’s a perfect dish on a cold winter’s night, especially with crusty bread and a nice glass of wine. 😉

  • Reply
    Heather
    23/06/2016 at 11:51 am

    5 stars
    What an awesome dish! My step father is from Hungary and my mother would make this for him all the time when I was growing up… let me tell you this … hers never looked anywhere near so delicious (sorry Mom) !!!! I love this recipe and can’t wait to share it with my step dad 🙂 Thanks!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      23/06/2016 at 1:14 pm

      Haha thanks Heather! Have to say though, with recipes like these appearance means nothing… flavour is everything! Hope you guys enjoy. 😀

  • Reply
    Cindy Gordon (Vegetarian Mamma)
    23/06/2016 at 12:44 am

    This looks delicious! Seriously, your pictures make me want to dive in! Love your light hearted humor and grace that shows through each of your posts! Always a pleasure to stop by!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      23/06/2016 at 10:01 am

      Aww thanks Cindy that means so much to hear. It’s so much fun cooking, photographing and sharing our story with our awesome readers, even more than eating our creations haha. We’re really glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    21/06/2016 at 10:13 pm

    5 stars
    When I received your newsletter today and saw that it claimed to feature the recipe for the Authentic Hungarian Goulash I was curious to see whether it truly was authentic (you see I’m Hungarian ;-), and I have to report that except for the sausage (never ate it with sausage -> but I can see how in some parts of Hungary they might add some sausage for extra flavour), it really is the real deal!! You don’t know how happy this makes me, because most of the world calls something completely different (usually a stew -> pörkölt in Hungarian) goulash.

    So kudos to you Ladies and yep, it is delicious and comforting, and now you made me crave a big bowl of goulash even though it’s summer here 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      22/06/2016 at 8:24 am

      Phew! So glad it passed the test!! That is interesting about the sausage, we were surprised we even managed to find it in our little part of town. So glad to have stumbled across this on our travels though, it really is such an awesome dish. Just turn your air-conditioner up to the max and pretend it’s winter 😛 Thanks for getting in touch Stella! 😀

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