American Goulash (Just Like Grandma’s)

finished american goulash in white bowl

This Easy Goulash Recipe is full of flavor and the perfect way to feed a crowd as it makes a huge batch! A simple skillet dinner with tomatoes, beef and macaroni noodles in a zesty tomato sauce creates the perfect comfort food on a budget!

Serve it alongside some cornbread, and add more or less liquid to make it the perfect consistency!

Cheesy Goulash in a white bowl

American Goulash – Easy and Delicious

Call it American Goulash, call it American Chop Suey…  it doesn’t matter what you call it, you’ll just want to call it tonight’s dinner! This is a delicious and easy meal that the whole family loves!

Beefy Macaroni with a savory yet simple seasoned tomato sauce!  I’ve been making this amazing goulash recipe for years, not only does it taste great but it’s a really quick and inexpensive way to feed a crowd (and so much easier to put together than lasagna!)

What is Goulash?

American Goulash is not the same thing as goulash in other parts of the world are not the same thing! This is NOT the same dish as a traditional Hungarian GoulashHungarian Goulash is which is made with chunks of meat, peppers, paprika and other spices to create a traditional soup.

This particular version is often called Goulash or even American Chop Suey.  It’s similar to a Chili Mac but is more of a tomato sauce flavor (and I skip the chili powder).

close up of American Goulash in a bowl.

When to Add the Macaroni

  • Thicken the sauce: I personally prefer a nice thick goulash so I usually let the meat sauce boil down for a little bit before adding the macaroni.
  • Add Your Favorites: This american goulash recipe is versatile and you can easily add whatever you like. Extra veggies like mushrooms or shredded zucchini, swap out ground beef for other ground meats add extra Italian Seasoning or Chili Powder.
  • Add the Macaroni: If you’re short on time (or prefer your goulash a little bit of a soupier texture) you can certainly just add the macaroni in right away.
  • Top With Cheese: I top this with sharp cheddar to make a cheesy goulash that my kids can’t get enough of! Any kind of cheese will work. If you’d prefer, put it under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbly.

Goulash in bowls at the table

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What To Serve With Goulash

We serve it up with some 30 Minute Dinner Rolls and a fresh Italian salad for a complete meal!  To make it extra yummy, serve it topped with a little bit of sour cream!

The great thing about this goulash recipe is that it’s one of those dishes that tastes just as good the next day (or even better). It keeps well in the fridge for a few days but it also freezes perfectly for lunches or meals later in the week!

Can You Freeze Goulash

You can! Goulash will generally freeze pretty well, apart from the pasta. Once reheated, pasta will often become mushy and overcooked.

If you plan to make a big batch of American goulash to freeze some, cook the pasta separately and add it in as you serve the portions.

Grandma's Goulash

This easy American goulash recipe is full of flavor and the perfect way to feed a crowd as it makes a huge batch! A simple skillet dinner with tomatoes, beef and macaroni noodles in a zesty tomato sauce creates the perfect comfort food on a budget!

  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 jar tomato based pasta sauce (approx. 26 oz.)
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (6 oz tomato paste)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 green bell pepper (optional)
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups macaroni noodles (uncooked)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  1. Cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  2. Add pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, seasonings, bay leaves and green pepper. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  3. Add in the in the macaroni and continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender (about 20 minutes).
  4. Remove & discard bay leaves. Top with cheese and replace the lid. Let sit about 5 minutes or until melted.

This EASY Goulash recipe is a family favorite and quick to prepare.Lean beef is simmered in a deliciously fast tomato sauce & topped with cheese for a comforting dish everyone will love! This makes a huge batch and is perfect to feed a crowd.