American Goulash is a family-friendly, comfort food classic. Popular across the United States, this dish is known regionally by many names but includes the same basic ingredients: ground beef, tomato sauce, and macaroni. It is quick, easy, and affordable. Scratch-made and on the table in just 30-minutes.
What is American Goulash?
Growing up in New England, this was served in our school cafeteria once-a-week and went by the name American Chop Suey. In other regions, it goes by Beefy Mac. While there are many variations on the recipe, they start with the same basic ingredients: ground beef, tomato sauce, and macaroni.
Starting with such basic ingredients means you can easily tweak this recipe to fit your family’s tastes. We make this dish about once every 2 months and my just daughter loves it! It is quick, easy and affordable comfort food. Scratch-made and on the table in just 30 minutes.
American goulash can be made as a skillet meal where the pasta is cooked in the sauce or you can boil the pasta separately. I boil the pasta separately and add it to the finished sauce. We top our goulash with caramelized onions but you may also like to top it with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley.
What do I serve with American Goulash?
Most often, we serve American Goulash with a side salad or a side of steamed vegetables. Crusty bread also goes nicely with American Goulash if you aren’t worried about your carbs. ;)
Looking for more ground beef recipes? Check out these:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large onion , diced finely
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning blend (spice)
- 28 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 28 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- Start the Pasta [See Note 1]: To a large pot, add two quarts of water and generously salt the water. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. While the water is still cold, add the pasta and give it a quick stir to prevent clumping. Pasta can be started in cold water and it will be almost completely cooked by the time the water boils. Cover with a tight-fitting lid to help the pot heat more quickly and boil faster.
- Prepare the Sauce: In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, add the olive oil and diced onions. Cook 3-5 minutes until the onions are softened and translucent. Next, add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Add the ground beef and break it apart into small chunks while it browns. Season with garlic salt (or plain salt), ground black pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning stirring to combine. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until the macaroni is cooking.
- Putting it all together: Once the macaroni is finished cooking to your desired tenderness, drain but do not rinse. Return the macaroni to pot and add the beef mixture.
- Serve in bowls topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.
- American goulash can be made as a skillet meal by adding 3 cups of water to the skillet and adding in the pasta. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the noodles reach your desired consistency.
- What do I serve with American Goulash? Most often, we serve American Goulash with a side salad or a side of steamed vegetables. Crusty bread also goes nicely with American Goulash if you aren’t worried about your carbs.
- Can American Goulash be frozen? Absolutely! Cool completely and transfer to freezer-safe containers or zip-top freezer bags. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw completely (in the refrigerator overnight) before reheating.
- How do I reheat American Goulash? Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop by adding a touch of water or beef stock to help it steam.