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Rustic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas)

Rustic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas) – Our robust recipe for classic Hungarian Goulash includes chunks of beef, potatoes, and lots of paprika to create a perfectly delicious and hearty stew.

best Hungarian goulash

Warm, savory, and satisfying… There is just nothing more comforting than cuddling up with a large bowl of beef stew. As the weather gets colder, my craving for stew grows stronger!

But even as a lover of classic beef stew, I must admit that this deliciously simple beef, carrots, and potatoes dish can get a bit boring after too many servings. So, I figured it was time to branch out and try different versions of the same basic beloved stewed beef concept. This Rustic Hungarian Goulash is at the top of my list – it has all your favorite comfort food flavors with a great punch of paprika!

A bit of backstory: Dan’s grandparents are Hungarian, and so this dish is a nod to his Grandmother’s beef and potato gulyas. Her original version was a thinner “peasant fare” recipe, meant to feed a family on a small budget. My kicked-up goulash recipe is a bit more robust, with lots of veggies and smoky paprika. It is still quite inexpensive and simple to make, but is a heartier dinner for a large family and excellent as a make-ahead meal.

authentic beef goulash gulyas

What’s the Difference Between Hungarian Goulash and American Goulash?

While both stews include beef cooked with a paprika and tomato-based broth, these two goulashes are very different. American-style goulash typically is made with ground beef and macaroni noodles, and is cooked quickly in a skillet.

Hungarian Goulash, however, features chunks of meat and potatoes slowly cooked in a large pot. The result is a comforting, rich stew with terrific depth of flavor.

The Best Rustic Hungarian Goulash Recipe

Hungarian Goulash is also known as Gulyas, which is a Hungarian word for “cowboy.” This dish was originally made by herdsmen as they were out on the range, using whatever veggies they had on hand. It could be a thin soup or hearty stew, depending on what was available. The flexibility of goulash is still one of its best traits, and recipes today greatly differ in preferences of ingredients and consistency.

We personally love a thick Hungarian Goulash Stew. It’s the perfect meal to feed the family on a cold fall or winter night! Our recipe uses potatoes and seasonal vegetables, and is great to make in a big batch for lots of guaranteed leftovers.

hungarian goulash recipe

What Ingredients You Need

The heartiness of Hungarian Goulash is created by combining several simple, wholesome ingredients. We use fresh veggies and, of course, a generous amount of paprika to create intense earthy and smoky flavors in every bite.

Here is everything needed to make an authentic and nourishing beef goulash:

  • Oilfor sautéing
  • Sweet onionpeeled and diced
  • Garlic finely minced
  • Hungarian paprika sweet Hungarian paprika is traditional, but you can also use smoked paprika if you like
  • Beef stew meatuse inexpensive chuck meat, cubed
  • Red peppers seeded and chopped
  • Carrotspeeled and chopped
  • Bay leaveskept whole
  • Caraway seedsfor a wonderful bittersweet flavor
  • Canned diced tomatoes you’ll want to use the juices, too
  • Beef broth or beef base and water
  • Russet potatoesscrubbed and cubed
  • Parsleyfresh, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Other ingredients sometimes included in gulyas are celery, green peppers, or whatever veggies are on hand.


How to Make Hungarian Goulash

This rustic Hungarian Goulash recipe does take a good bit of time to properly cook, but only requires a few simple steps to prepare.

First, set a large 6-8 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Add the oil, chopped onions, and garlic, and sauté for just a couple of minutes to soften. Then stir in the paprika and beef chunks. Brown the meat, stirring constantly to make sure not to burn the paprika.

beef, paprika, and onions

Next add in the chopped bell peppers, carrots, bay leaves, caraway seeds, can of diced tomatoes with the juices, beef broth, and a bit of salt.

carrots and peppers

Stir well, cover, and simmer for an hour while stirring occasionally.

Once the meat has stewed and the carrots and peppers have cooked down, mix in the chopped potatoes. Cover and simmer again for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

Stir in the parsley, taste, and salt and pepper as needed.

Get the Complete Printable Rustic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas) Recipe Below. Enjoy!

rustic classic beef Hungarian goulash

Serve Hungarian Goulash warm, with some homemade rolls and a fresh salad on the side.

This dish tastes even more delicious the next day after the ingredients have continued melding. It is a great recipe for make-ahead meal prepping! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I hope you give this recipe a try and add Hungarian-style beef stew to your favorite cold weather comfort foods!

gulyas recipe

Can Hungarian Gulyas Be Made In A Slow Cooker?

Sure! You will still need to sauté the veggies and brown the meat on the stovetop.

Then add all the ingredients to a large 6-8 quart crock pot and cook on LOW for 9-12 hours, or on HIGH for 6-7 hours.

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Rustic Hungarian Goulash Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Rustic Hungarian Goulash – Our robust recipe for classic Hungarian Goulash includes beef, potatoes, and lots of paprika to create a perfectly hearty and smoky stew.
Servings: 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 extra-large sweet onion peeled and chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup Hungarian paprika or 3 tb Hungarian paprika + 1 tb smoked paprika
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 2 large red bell peppers seeded and chopped
  • 2 large carrots sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef broth or water + 4 teaspoon beef base
  • 2 large russet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper


  • Set a large 6-8 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Add the oil, chopped onions, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes to soften. Stir in the paprika and beef chunks. Brown the meat for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure not to burn the paprika.
  • Add in the bell peppers, carrots, bay leaves, caraway seeds, tomatoes, broth, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir well. Cover. Then simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in the chopped potatoes. Cover and simmer again for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Then stir in the parsley. Taste, and salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.



If you don’t have Hungarian paprika, feel free to substitute for another smoky or sweet paprika that’s available. Just be sure not to use spicy hot paprika!


Serving: 1.25cup, Calories: 299kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 673mg, Potassium: 1114mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 5416IU, Vitamin C: 56mg, Calcium: 97mg, Iron: 5mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Hungarian
Author: Sommer Collier

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7 comments on “Rustic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas)”

  1. If you make this 2-4 days ahead of serving would you add potatoes then?
    Looks delish…my mother would throw in a tablespoon of sour cream right before serving. 😁

  2. This looks so good! Can I omit the caraway seeds – do I need to substitute something else for them? Thank you!

  3. I love this! Such a filling meal for weeknights!

  4. Perfect recipe for fall! 

  5. Pingback: Rustic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas) ⁠ - paprikaspice.page

  6. These rustic flavors make this dish unbelievably good!