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Easy One-Pot American Goulash

American Goulash is comfort food that the whole family will love. It’s warm and hearty with a rich, savory sauce. Best of all, it’s one of the most affordable meals you can make in a single pot!

What I love most about this recipe is just how simple it is. As much as I enjoy cooking, I still don’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen.

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Warm and Hearty American Pot Goulash with Ground Beef and Tomato Sauce

This is a meal that I can prep on Sunday and feed the family for multiple meals. It’s also great for potlucks.

American goulash is made with a tomato baste, ground beef, and elbow macaroni. Topped with a variety of seasoning to give it that rich, savory flavor.

I actually remember eating this in elementary school. One of my favorites back when school lunches were actually good.

It’s similar to what many people refer to as beef-a-roni or Chili Mac. But Goulash is my personal favorite.

American Pot Goulash Ingredients - Ground Beef, Onions, Peppers, Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes and Elbow Macaroni

Tips & Variations for American Goulash

I love the simplicity of cooking this in one pot. But if you want, you can also cook the noodles separate. If you do, simply leave out the extra water in Step 3.

Want to add in some extra flavor? Feel free to add a shake of garlic powder and fresh ground pepper.

You can also swap out the Italian seasoning for 2 tbsp of chili powder. Or simply add a dash of chili powder. That’s what’s so wonderful about this recipe. You can customize it in just about any way you like.

In fact, a lot of moms add in a secret ingredient. Two tablespoons of sugar. If you don’t mind a few extra calories, this really adds a bit of magic to this dish.

Can You Freeze Goulash?

You sure can! You can safely freeze goulash for up to 3 months in Ziploc bags or freezer-proof containers. When you take it out, be sure to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. To prepare, reheat in the microwave or a large saucepan over medium heat.

Keep in mind though that when you freeze goulash, the pasta continues to absorb the liquid – becoming softer. So they can get a little mushy after freezing and thawing. Personally, I don’t mind. It’s hard to mess up this savory dish.

But if you’d like, you can also cook the pasta separately and freeze in a separate container. To freeze cooked pasta, first allow it to cool slightly. Toss with a little bit of olive oil. (1 tbsp oil for every 8 ounces of cooked pasta). This helps prevent the pasta from sticking together.

Then spoon your pasta into airtight containers or freezer bags. You can freeze pasta for up to 2 weeks. When you’re ready to enjoy, run cool water over the bag of frozen pasta. You can also put the frozen pasta directly into boiling water. Takes just a few minutes and it’s ready to go!

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Homemade American Goulash with Ground Beef and Elbow Macaroni

What Can I Serve With Goulash?

Ohhhhhh. So many options here. But when it comes to savory dishes like this, I always love a side of garlic bread to dip in the sauce. Probably my favorite part. Cornbread also works well. And of a course, a salad also pairs perfectly.

If you’re looking to squeeze in some veggies, steamed carrots, broccoli, asparagus, or even mushrooms would be great with this meal.

But if you’re like me, this goulash with some bread and butter is one of my favorite comfort meals. Especially in the winter. Perfect for football games, get-together’s, and potlucks.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve made this before. I’d also love to hear any tasty variations you’ve come up with 🙂

Easy One-Pot American Goulash



Prep time


Cooking time








  • 2 pounds 2 ground beef

  • 1 large 1 yellow onion (chopped)

  • 1 green bell pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)

  • 3 cups 3 water (or two cans of beef broth)

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp 2 dried Italian herb seasoning

  • 1 tbsp 1 seasoned salt

  • 2 cups 2 elbow macaroni (uncooked)


  • Cook 2 pounds of ground beef in a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan until meat is no longer pink. Usually takes about 10 minutes. Afterwards, drain the grease from the pan.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and green bell pepper. Cook until onions are translucent.
  • Add the water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and salt. Mix well. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  • Add the uncooked elbow macaroni. Stir well. Cover once again and allow everything to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy! Top with shredded cheese right before serving.
Easy One-Pot American Goulash

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

7 thoughts on “Easy One-Pot American Goulash”

  1. I have saved your Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe and am looking forward to making it when the weather gets a little cooler. What I am looking for is a good recipe for Salisbury Steak and sauce.

  2. Made it. Didn’t have Ritz substituted a buttery cracker. Omitted the green pepper and grated the onion. I used 2# beef and 1# pork. Delicious..will definitely make again.

  3. I have been making a variation of this for over 65 years, The kids called it “Dad’s Special”. I use cut up bacon to start with. I agree, slice of bread, heavy on the butter, goes perfectly with this dish.

  4. I have made a rendition of this for years. I got the recipe for this from a friend, and it includes chopped celery (and grated cheddar cheese at the end). We call it Hamburger Heaven. A family favorite.


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