This Hungarian goulash recipe (called Gulyás there) was looked over by my Hungarian friend Szilvia and she says it's authentic (she also loves my Hungarian Lángos recipe)! There are a few different variations of how to make it.
Growing up in Germany, we often made this hearty soup (Gulaschsuppe) with beef stew meat, loads of onions, roasted bell peppers and potatoes for cold winter days. It also makes for a great hangover cure on New Year's Day (or whenever you need it), given the nice spice from the Hungarian paprika powder.
So work ahead on the slow days between the holidays and have yourself a filling, nutritious meal waiting in the fridge or freezer!
What is goulash?
Goulash can mean different things to different people. Ask a Hungarian, and they will proudly explain that goulash is a Hungarian beef stew or soup made with lots of onions, bell peppers, paprika powder, potatoes, tomatoes and beef broth.
There are definitely variations of it with carrots and without wine. My Hungarian friend looked over this recipe and said it looked authentic to her.
It may just be the most popular meal in Hungary because even growing up in Germany, we ate it pretty frequently on cold days.
Goulash is also popular to make for New Year's Day to recover from a hangover. It's the perfect, nutritious meal to make ahead of time and to warm anyone up.
I like that the half-sharp Hungarian paprika powder adds a good amount of spice without being very spicy. You can of course leave it out if you're sensitive to that.
Ask an American about goulash however, and somehow ground beef and macaroni noodles come up. I am not sure yet what to think of that, but it sounds like my kids would love it and now I do want to try that.
In Germany, there are lots of different goulash variations. While we love Hungarian goulash there, I also really like other variations like this pork and beer goulash. It's a thicker consistency, doesn't call for quite as many ingredients, and I served it with German egg noodles called Spätzle.
How to make it
The hardest part about making Hungarian goulash is cutting up all those onions! Watch my video and see for yourself. I am about to hire someone to cut onions for me next time I make goulash. I would also have that person cut onions for one of my favorites, Zwiebelkuchen.
Back to goulash, you'll char some bell peppers and you can do this either in the oven using the broiler on high, or put them over the flame of your gas stove if you have one. The charring is to get the skin to peel off easily, so it doesn't end up floating around in your goulash (not so pleasant).
You'll cook your goulash using lots of paprika powder, beef broth, tomatoes and garlic until the meat falls apart. I then finish it with a little wine and serve it with a little sour cream. And I gotta have some bread to go with it! I mean, what's soup without bread after all??
- Beef stew meat. Cut it up into bite-sized pieces, that way it cooks faster, too.
- Onions. Either 12! small onions or several (5 or 6) large onions.
- Tomatoes. They get chopped up and become kind of a sauce for the goulash.
- Bell Peppers. I first char them to remove the thicker skin. Otherwise the skin will float in your goulash and nobody loves that.
- Beef broth. I also like to have some extra handy in case my goulash cooks down too much. You could also add more water.
- Paprika powder. I use two different Hungarian paprika powders. A sweet and a half-sharp paprika powder. The half-sharp powder adds spice, so reduce it if you'd like (then add more of the other).
- Marjoram. I usually use dried marjoram.
- Garlic. Fresh out of the press. I love garlic, so I usually double the amount.
- Potatoes. Just a few to complete this as a meal. I also serve bread with my goulash soup as another starch.
- Red wine. About half a cup is all and leave plenty left in the bottle for you to drink while your goulash is cooking. I usually use a Pinot Noir or Merlot.
- Sour Cream. I use this as the final touch when serving. It really brings this soup together and adds a welcome creaminess.
Charring bell peppers: I love bell peppers, but I don't love eating the thicker bell pepper skin. If charring and peeling them is too much work (I use the broiler in my oven for that), you could also buy these roasted bell peppers, which already have the skin removed.
Need it faster? This goulash soup makes a great pressure cooker contestant. For the final cooking time, simply set on high pressure and cook or 20 minutes plus 15 minutes natural pressure release.
Want it with noodles? Leave out the potatoes, thicken the soup with some cornstarch, and serve with some Spätzle for a fun twist of this Hungarian goulash. Also try my pork and beer goulash for simpler, German way to enjoy goulash.
Watch this quick video showing you just how easy it is to make this Hungarian goulash recipe at home. I know you'll love it for those cold winter months.
Easy Hungarian Goulash
- 5 large yellow onions
- 1 pound beef stew meat
- 1 liter beef broth
- 100 grams butter
- 1 Tablespoon Hungarian spicy paprika powder half-sharp
- 2 Tablespoons Hungarian mild paprika powder sweet
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram or 1 ½ teaspoons fresh
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold, peeled and medium diced
- 2 bell peppers skin removed and cut into strips, the skin easily peels off after broiling the bell peppers for a few minutes in the oven
- 4 tomatoes diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 100 milliliters red wine
- sour cream for serving
- bread for serving
- Start with the worst of all: peeling and medium dicing the onions.5 large yellow onions
- Trim the meat and cut the meat into bite-sized cubes (or purchase pre-cut stew meat).1 pound beef stew meat
- On medium heat, melt butter in a large pot, then add the onion and sauté until golden.100 grams butter
- Remove the onion from the pot. Increase heat to medium high. Add the beef and sauté for 5 minutes or until all sides are browned.
- Add the spices and broth, cover with a lid, and let simmer over medium low heat for 1 hour.1 liter beef broth, 1 Tablespoon Hungarian spicy paprika powder, 2 Tablespoons Hungarian mild paprika powder, ½ teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 teaspoon salt
- In the meantime, prep the bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. To remove the skin of the bell peppers, I put them under the broiler for about 10 minutes, rotating every few minutes or so.
- Stir in the vegetables and let simmer for an additional 30 minutes.2 waxy potatoes, 2 bell peppers, 4 tomatoes, 1 clove garlic
- Remove the stew from heat and stir in the red wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.100 milliliters red wine
- Garnish with a spoonful of sour cream before serving and cut up some nice bread.sour cream, bread