Dutch Oven Goulash

This beef and cheese goulash is comforting and flavorful, just like your mom made it. Everything is cooked in a dutch oven or large pot for a convenient meal that everyone will love. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes
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goulash dutch oven

Who doesn’t love goulash? It’s beefy, cheesy, and full of deep herby, tomato flavor.

I want to call this a casserole. I don’t know – what do you think?

Whatever you call it, it’s the kind of dish that we grew up eating. Just like these stuffed cabbage rolls, this is old soul food that never goes out of style. In this version, you get all the familiar flavors in an enamel coated Dutch oven for easy stove-top cooking.

No transferring the ground beef in and out required. Just timing and basic cooking techniques…

American Goulash Recipe Overview

Star Ingredient: beef
Function: equal parts warming & cooling
Tastes: herby, savory, tangy
Textures: chewy, saucy
Ease: easy
Method: simmering
Wisdom: Cooking the ground beef and macaroni together in the seasoned tomato sauce results in the quintessential American casserole we all know and love.

How to Make Goulash

This is every bit a simple, crowd pleasing dish. You just throw everything together and let it cook for about 40 minutes total. Since a Dutch oven works to maintain heat and moisture – this is one of the fastest goulash recipes around.

The hardest part of the recipe is honestly remembering to scrape the bottom of the pan every so often to prevent burning. Other than that, it’s just layering the ingredients in the right order.

Ground Beef + Garlic

This forms the base layer of savory flavor:

  • add ground beef directly to heated dutch oven with a pinch of salt + pepper
  • cook mostly through (it’s ok if it’s a little pink)
  • stir in minced garlic


I always like to add dry herbs and seasoning right after cooking meat and before adding sauce. This way, the seasoning gets more direct contact with the heat.

  • bay leaves
  • Italian seasoning (usually a combination of thyme, parsley, and oregano)
  • more salt

Tomato Sauce

This is where we simmer the tomato sauce a bit to work the flavors we just developed into the sauce (about 10 minutes).

Macaroni (Gluten Free Optional)

Unlike Italian cooking, goulash has more of a casserole quality because we cook the dried macaroni noodles directly in the tomato sauce.

Not Liable for Burning Tip: Ok, here’s the most important part. A Dutch oven gets really hot on the bottom. It’s important to stir and scrape the bottom every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning.


Did you know that yellow cheese is died? I found this out semi-recently and switched to white cheddar ever since. Look for cheese that’s sold as a block and shred it yourself. Freshly grated cheese has more flavor.

goulash dutch oven

Get ready for a pot full of cheesy, beefy deliciousness. Bring on the leftovers! Hope this reminds you of your mom’s homemade goulash:)

What to Serve with American Goulash:

Salad: Garlicky Green Bean Salad, Super Quick Arugula Salad with Lemon and Romano, Crunchy Cabbage Fennel Salad, or Smoky Caesar Salad

Vegetables: Roasted Broccoli with Lemon Sauce or Salt Block Asparagus

Bread: Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Dessert: Red Wine-Poached Pears, Brown Sugar Walnut Bars, or Peanut Butter Mousse with Raspberry Coulis

Goulash Meal Prep and Storage Tips:

This recipe is make-ahead friendly as long as you:

  1. Do not overcook the pasta; cook to al dente.
  2. Transfer cooked goulash to airtight containers, let cool, then add lids.
  3. Reheat on the stove just until warmed through or in the microwave.

apron logoTo store in the Dutch oven, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Only reheat in the Dutch oven if you will consume the entire pot.

To Freeze: Please note that your pasta should only be cooked to al dente if you plan to freeze this recipe. Transfer the cooked goulash to airtight containers and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge then heat until warmed through.


What is the difference between Goulash and American Goulash?

Goulash refers to Hungarian stew made traditionally with beef or pork, potatoes and carrots, and heavily seasoned with Hungarian paprika (served over noodles). American goulash (like this one) is made with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and macaroni–simmered in a tomato-based sauce with Italian seasonings.

Is Hamburger Helper the same as goulash?

Both are American comfort food classics but goulash contains more of a tomato-based broth with vegetables whereas hamburger helper has a rich, dairy-based sauce.

Can you freeze goulash?

Noodles make this tricky to freeze. You can either leave the noodles out and freeze the beef stew portion or you can slightly under-cook the noodles so they won’t get mushy when you reheat.

More Dutch Oven Recipes for You:

Dutch Oven Goulash

This beef and cheese goulash is comforting and flavorful, just like your mom made it. Everything is cooked in a dutch oven or large pot for a convenient meal that everyone will love. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
4.68 from 25 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dutch oven, gluten free, goulash, ground beef
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 484kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini


  • Large Dutch Oven


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • salt and pepper see instructions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 tbsp tamari shoyu, or soy sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 29-oz can tomato sauce no salt added
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni uncooked
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese freshly shredded (4 oz)
  • fresh thyme optional for garnish


  • Cook ground beef in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until mostly cooked through. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add garlic and stir every so often, 2 minutes.
  • Add bay leaves, Italian seasoning, tamari, and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir to distribute. Add water, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Put a lid on the pot and lower the heat to medium. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
  • Pour 2 cups dry macaroni to the pot, stir, and return the lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes (*use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot and stir every so often to prevent the noodles from sticking and burning).
  • Just before serving, remove the bay leaves and stir in the cheddar cheese. Garnish with fresh thyme for a little somethin' somethin'.


This dutch oven recipe calls for an enamel coated dutch oven but a large heavy pot works equally well. It’s a simple, one pot recipe that layers flavors, cooking the macaroni in the same pot. Watch out for sticking – stir every so often to prevent the food from burning on the bottom.
Medium heat works well electric burners, but I recommend medium low for gas burners. When it doubt, test the macaroni for doneness.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 549mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 3.4mg

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Jody Klimtschuck
Jody Klimtschuck
3 years ago

You keep saying “American” but “Goulash” is Hungarian.

3 years ago

Can you freeze this? Sounds delicious.

(I found your blog from your Amazon review of linen napkins, btw!!)

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