Hearty American Goulash

Ground beef goulash with large elbow macaroni, marinara sauce, fresh parsley, and shredded white cheddar cheese.

This American goulash recipe is a comforting, hearty dish that brings together the robust flavors of ground beef, elbow macaroni, and a rich tomato-based sauce, infused with a blend of spices and herbs. It begins by sautéing ground beef and diced yellow onion in olive oil until the beef is thoroughly browned, followed by the addition of minced garlic, spices, and seasonings such as kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves to build a deeply flavorful base. The dish then incorporates chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and marinara sauce, simmered together to create a savory liquid in which the large elbow macaroni cooks to perfection. Near the end of cooking, chopped Italian parsley and shredded cheddar cheese are stirred in, adding fresh herbal notes and a gooey, cheesy texture. After a brief rest to allow the flavors to meld and the cheese to melt, the goulash is served hot, garnished with additional cheddar cheese for an extra layer of indulgence. This recipe offers a simple yet satisfying meal, perfect for any day of the week.



Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

45 minutes

Total Time

60 minutes


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cups large elbow macaroni
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water



  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the Italian parsley.
  • Measure out and prepare the remaining ingredients.

Cook Beef & Onion:

  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.
  • Add ground beef and diced onion, cooking until the beef is browned.
  • Drain excess fat from the pot.

Season Mixture:

  • Add garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves to the beef and onion mixture.
  • Cook, stirring, until the spices are well-distributed and the mixture is aromatic.

Add Liquids & Simmer:

  • Pour in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and marinara sauce.
  • Rinse the marinara jar with 1 cup of water and add to the pot.
  • Stir in soy sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook Macaroni:

  • Increase heat to medium-high and add elbow macaroni.
  • Cook until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally, approximately 12 minutes.

Finalize Dish:

  • Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
  • Stir in chopped parsley and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cover and allow the dish to rest for 5 minutes so the cheese can melt and the flavors can meld.


  • Serve hot, garnishing individual portions with additional shredded cheddar cheese if desired.

Serving Suggestions:

  • This dish pairs well with a crisp green salad or slices of crusty bread.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Adjust seasonings upon reheating as needed.

Gather all the ingredients. Dice the onion and garlic.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over med-high. Add the beef and onion and cook until browned and drain liquid.

Add the garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves. Cook and stir until the flavors blend in a few minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and marinara. Rinse the jar with 1 cup of water and pour into the pot to stir.

Add the soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Increase heat to med-high and add the macaroni. Stir occasionally until just tender in about 12 minutes.

Remove from heat and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley and shredded white cheddar. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Serve with shredded white cheddar to top.